My 93-year old father, who has mild-to-moderate-level dementia adamantly refuses to go into an assisted care place even though taking care of him has put a severe strain on my sister's health, her marriage and their finances. And, frankly, myself. (She travels 2 hours each way 3 x a week and I take care of him the rest of the week...temporarily...until we find another suitable live-in caregiver.) My sister has made this trip for 13 long years—first to help her ailing mother (my stepmother) until she died, then our father. Full time, non-live in caregivers hired by an agency cost a small fortune here in the SF Bay Area, so she has done this herself and, until recently, with the help of a 4-day a week live-in caregiver. She is trying to preserve his money, and the trust. Unfortunately, the caregiver, a non-working pharmacist, turned out to be mentally ill. He has both OCD and is bi--polar and was also pitting my sisters and I against each other. My father always been a proud, high brow, elitist intellectual so it's understandable that he would be depressed at losing his mental faculties. And that he would think he is “too good” to go into a place with other common “old people” who may not quite live up to his “mental acuity.” (Or so he still thinks of himself.)
We do have compassion for him, trust me. But really, he has never been a man at peace with himself. He is filled with anxiety and now that he has dementia he's gotten worse. Frankly, I think he is one man who NEEDS to be with other people in a care facility. In his case, I think he might actually improve as once he is in a group, he actually likes to talk to people...as long as he is getting enough attention. But, as I said, he is very prideful and doesn't think he needs other people—except, of course, his daughters to wait on him hand and foot. This cannot go on like this! I mean, it's not like he's enjoying his life roaming around his big house in his so-called "golden years." He is confused, aimless, unhappy, depressed and mopes around. (Not always, of course.) He never sleeps well, eats all hours of the night and repeats himself every ten seconds. Yes, his short term memory is really that bad. I remain happy and upbeat around him and treat him with as much dignity as possible. I take him on walks (he uses a walker), to the gym, on outings, read to him, etc., Nonetheless, it is very, very hard not to lose my patience and wonder why are we doing all this for a man that is living in one big self delusion? He survives emotionally by pretending he is going on long overseas trips, is going to start a big foundation, etc. It’s sad to watch his decline, of course, but it's equally as hard to watch him become so self centered. I know it's the disease (sort of...it gets confusing as he was that way before to some degree) but he doesn't care about what the family has to endure, how their families might suffer, whether there is any inheritance left...nothing. He has said so. Of course we don't want to force him to go into a home, but for everyone's sanity we may have to in the next few months. And we certainly would make sure that he goes into a good place—where he is well looked after and where we can all visit him regularly.) The thing is, he has long-term care insurance (Calpers). However, being a dreamer, he wasn't paying attention to "minor details" and mistakenly checked the wrong box on his LTH insurance application over 20 years ago. So instead of home care, he can only go into assisted care place and have it paid for. (Up to $3000 a month.)
Here's what I want to know. I understand that if he is hospitalized for any reason (which he was last month when he wouldn't wake up and lapsed into a coma), there is some sort of legal wrangling that will enable my sister (who I believe has power of attorney) to put him in a nursing home or assisted living—depending on his mental and physical state at the time. Is this correct? Chances are good that he will end up in the hospital again soon, so what kind of strategy can we legally employ...if any?
One piece of bad news that my sister just delivered (she just discovered this herself) is that it's written into my father's will that he can never be put in a care facility. Seriously?
Surely there has to be a way to override this stipulation...especially if he is a danger to himself or others? I mean how can adult children be forced to abide by a decision made when a parent may have been of "sound mind and body" when he wrote/signed the will but then later lost his mind (essentially) due to dementia? There is no way he can live on his own and his finances are being rapidly depleted through paid caregivers, etc. It's also not possible to to a reverse mortgage on his house due to a complicated, split trust situation. (His large, paid-for California house is his biggest asset.)