My dad wants total control of his finances and doesn't want me to help him save money for his medical needs. He wants to spend his Soc. Sec. check on vacations and "fun" things instead of being responsible and saving. He has nothing saved up for nursing care or anything else. He thinks that he can just rely on "free" services from the government or that perhaps I will pay for it. When my husband said we will not pay for it, my dad has refused to sign for POA. What do I do?

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If your Dad has been diagnosed with dementia, he may not be legally able to sign a POA. I don't mean he physically or mentally may not be able to, I mean that legally - if he has been medically diagnosed with dementia - then anything he signs might be considered to be invalid. You'd need to check because state laws vary and indeed, different countries have different restrictions. It would be worth verifying that.

Similarly, POA (or guardianship as it is sometimes known in some places) can be assigned through the courts - though this is often a very traumatic approach for all concerned.

At the end of the day, if he is deemed to be capable of signing a POA (i.e. the dementia is not found to compromise that) then there's really little you can do other than support him as best you can. Older people, like younger people(!), often cannot see the risks or dangers which can of course be very frustrating for family who only really want the best for them.
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If dad is living with you and he needs alot of care,there are programs that pay you to help him as his caregiver.Ifhe is still in his own home,look ito a reverse mortgage.If he is slipping with his memory and have had a Dr, say he is no longer able to make good choices,you can have him declared incompadent and get whatever paperwork you need.Caution to the wind my friend ,be careful what you take on . On average a nursing home base price is $3000 a month.If he is a veteran,they will pay you to care for him .That would mean you quit your job. Can you do that? I agree with Cattails,we need more info .
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Summer, how old is your father and do you know what his income is? It seems to me like you might be taking a hard headed approach to this. I appreciate your concerns, but telling your dad that he needs to be responsible and save his money sounds like you are saying you will put him on an allowance. Understandably, he is resisting giving you POA because he thinks you will take over his life.

Maybe you could ask your dad what his income is and talk to your local Social Services to see if his income in limited enough to allow him to qualify for Medicaid. At least then you would have an idea of what the financial qualifications are in your state.

Does your father own the home he is living in. If he required nursing home care, he could still retain his home, but there is a recovery process that Medicaid can use to recover their costs at the end of your dad's life and that would extend to his home.

Does your father realize that he has dementia? Is he able to function well at this time? Does he have other health issues? Is he of reasonably sound mind?

It would be helpful if you gave additional information. Maybe we could be of more help.

Bottom line, I think you are taking the wrong approach by telling him how he has to save and that you will not cover his care. That's not an argument. It's more of a threat and it will just put him on the defensive.

It could be that your father is correct. That he would qualify for Medicaid which would cover his nursing home care. If so, he would qualify for in home care also when it was needed.

My suggestion would be to approach your dad from a planning perspective. "Let's see what services would be available for you if your health took a turn and you needed more assistance." "I'd sleep better at night, Dad, if I knew you would get the help you needed if you had a crisis."

Approach the need for a medical directive in the same manner. You want to make sure HIS wishes are followed. Also, a POA does not allow you to take over his finances as long as he is of sound mind. It's there to allow you to step in and handle things for him if he is unable to do so.

I don't know how old your dad is or how much money he gets from SS. From what you say, it's his only income. No other retirement? If your dad is elderly and getting a small SS check monthly, there's no way he's going to save up for nursing home care at this stage of his life. Maybe it would be better for him to just enjoy his life now in the time he has remaining.

Whatever you do, you need to be on his side. Do some research on what assistance would be available to him. Maybe that would comfort your fears and ease the tension and pave the way to more trust. Hopefully you could then be POA for him and allow him to live his life with the comfort that you are there to help him when the time comes.

Please respond and give us some additional details. Sending you hugs, Cattails
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This may not be very responsible of me, but I say let him have his fun now. Dementia is progressive. The time will come when he is not able to enjoy the fun. The chances of him being able to save enough money out of his SS check to make a significant difference later for nursing care is pretty remote, in my opinion. It is too little too late. (Have you looked into what skilled nursing care for a dementia patient costs in your area? It would probably take several months of his SS to pay for just one month of care.)

But, to the extent that he can, he should be paying his way now. I believe he should be paying you for his room and board and transportation to doctors, etc. That is only fair. What is left over I say let him have fun with it, as long as he can. I think that your husband is correct to be clear upfront that Dad's care will not come out of your funds. (You need to be preparing for your own old age!)

Meanwhile, start looking into Medicaid. His expenses are likely to increase as his disease progresses and they may very well reach a point where they exceed his income, even if he saved every penny from his SS checks from now on. You need a better plan in place than "save your money, Dad." A social worker from Social Services can help you understand the options.

All of that said, it is to everyone's advantage to have POA and Advanced Care Directives in place. Appeal to him on the basis of extending his control by picking for himself who should act on his behalf when he cannot. Does he want a hospital board to be making decisions for him? When the time comes, would he rather have you handling his money or someone appointed by the courts?

Good luck.
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