Two years ago with my parents approval I had everything all set up POA for financial and medical because my folks asked me to take care of them. Then my dad started distrusting me and my husband. He took away all the POA's. And now he is lying to relatives that we tried to steal things from him like land, his will, etc. He is completely paranoid and we have tried to get him to see three different psychologists. I even had people write letters to the psychologist about what they have observed about my dad. And I've even tried talking to the psychologists but can't because of HPPA and because my dad has taken away my POA medical. My dad either refuses to continue to see the psychologists or he lies to them that nothing is wrong and that I'm the one that is lying. The doctors think he is just fine and completely competent and I'm the daughter just trying to steal control. He's well enough to take care of himself yet he makes up all these lies to friends and relatives and lawyers (who all believe him). This is seriously hurting my marriage, and our whole family relationship! What can I do to stop this? We have tried to have family meetings to no avail. Even my mom has turned against me and sides with my dad even though she knows that it is wrong. He also lies to the psychologist because he thinks he will be institutionalized. And that is why my mom lies also to protect him. We have told him this won't happen but he still continues to drive us crazy! I'm completely befuddled as to what to do to get people to believe me that my dad is crazy! What can I do to stop this madness? Please help me!!!

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I understand that your heart is in the right place, and you are worried. You think he will do things that will hurt him, and you want to stop him from making mistakes.

There is no way to convince an unmedicated paranoid that you are not out to get him. Your best chance to be there to help when needed is to completely stop arguing with him. He will do what he wants. It is more important to keep up a good relationship with him.

Do not tell him that he is wrong. If he tells you about a plan, just calmly ask questions to get the full story. Agree with what you can. "Yes, that is a problem. What do you think you'll do about it?" Be friendly and just slightly distant. His problems are his to solve, and you have confidence that he can handle them himself. If you can get him to see you as admiring and respecting him, he will cooperate and ask for help more.

It's hard. If he were a child, you could pick him up and send him to his room. But he's a grown-up, and is assumed to be competent. You can play legal hardball and try to get him declared incompetent, and to obtain guardianship. That will be expensive and will create hard feelings. Or you can gently try to get on his good side, so you can know what he's up to. God bless you.
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Oh boy. I see. The second you mentioned the 6-months ago lawyer I thought "oh-oh."

So what does the rest of the family think you ought to do?

Have you thought of going back to the lawyer who did the original documentation? S/he might have some ideas about the validity of the revocation of POA - after all, you have to have capacity to revoke them, too. Tell her/him about the police letters etc. And if this second opinion herbert is known to be dodgy… You never know, maybe the original POA could stand.

I'd start there, I think; although it's already beginning to sound expensive - be careful. Other than that, it would have to be: stand by and await developments, not a very attractive prospect when your mother's in the mix.

If you're getting very concerned about your mother's welfare, could you call social services? Just to alert them to her circumstances and take advice, I mean: I'm not suggesting it would be remotely helpful to set them on your father!

It's odd: there's nothing to stop your father's family doctor contacting the psychiatrist who prescribed for him. So even if it has to be "for privileged eyes only" it shouldn't be that hard to collate a record of events. What was the medication the cardiologist stopped? - I know some of them are contra-indicated: I got a raised eyebrow from a psychiatric nurse last week when he heard that my mother is taking even a low dose SSRI, so I can understand your dad's doctors' concerns - but not their later inaction. Is anybody among this phalanx of professionals doing anything to help your parents as a unit? It'd be nice if they were coming up with constructive plans.

Oh boy oh boy.

Record telephone conversations. Put together a time log of events. Other than that wait for the car crash, I'm afraid, and be ready - wish I could think of something better. Sorry if I sounded suspicious myself, and thank you for taking the trouble to clarify. Best of luck x
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In answer to Countrymouse's questions my parents had signed POA papers years ago with my name on them when they made their will which I didn't even know about (and my parents had forgotten about). So when they moved three years ago to live closer to us we all signed POA paperwork and my parents were fine with this. It was six months ago that he went to a lawyer who preys on seniors with suspicions which is a common sign with people with dementia and had my powers revoked. What I'm really worried about is that my parents could fall prey to crooked friends that might now take advantage of them since I have no power. My dad has lost trust with us because of land issues with his farm and other issues too complicated to mention. We never wanted to be involved but he forced us to and when we tried to help solve things with even the help of close friends things got even worse. It's a really long story. One month before he went to the lawyer he had a nervous breakdown and talked with a psychiatrist in the hospital. He was given meds but my dad's heart doc took him off the meds. and didn't give him others to replace them. I convinced the general doc to get him to see another psychologist since nothing had followed through on the first one but he only went to that psychologist once and refused to go back because of the reasons I mentioned in my earlier blog. He was then assigned to another psychologist who I got to speak with and letters were sent to the psychologist from police, etc. about his former actions. My dad got irate (which I don't blame him) and denied all the letters and refused to see the psychologist again. So my dad has no real diagnoses because he hasn't been to a psychologist long enough to get a diagnosis. It's not only my husband and I that he is completely suspicious about but others as well. I called and wrote letters to the psychologist and he won't speak with me either. No one believes me! Yes I am also concerned about the welfare of my mom because my dad has been violent to me both physically and verbally in the past and I know he has been verbally over powering my mom. I just don't have any real proof of this to show to others and of course my dad is sly and can be very charming if he wants to. We have tried to have many talks to no avail. My dad can be very stubborn. My parents drove the whole family crazy at Thanksgiving time when they thought we were celebrating Thanksgiving without them. My daughter called them back to let them know when we were and my dad hung up on her. Of course they came over for Thanksgiving as if nothing were wrong but didn't speak to my husband or I. I don't know what to expect for Christmas! Thanks to everyone for all your good advice!!!

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I agree with what Veronica and pstiegman wrote. Just step back and relax. You may be needed sometime down the line. I am sure that your mother and father will let you know when that time is. If there is no immediate danger to them, it is fine to just wait and enjoy your own life until it is time to help.
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1. Take a deep breath. Aaaaaannnd…. release. There you go.

2. From the top, now. When you say you had everything set up for POA, what do you mean exactly? Were the documents all prepared for signature? Had you arranged separate sets of documents for your father and your mother? Did you get as far as having them signed, and then your father revoked your POA at some later date? Or were they never signed? Did your father refuse to sign them once he had read them, or even because of what he read?

3. What did happen, or might have happened, to make your dad lose trust in you and your husband, do you know? How long ago was this?

4. When you say "we have tried to get him to see three different psychologists…" Who is the "we"? Why three different psychologists? Has he in fact been assessed by any or all of them?

5. What people did you ask to write to which psychologist? What additional information did they provide about your father's state of mind?

6. HPPA doesn't stop you speaking to the psychologist; it stops the psychologist discussing your father with you. Not the same thing.

After the points that raise these queries in my mind, the rest of the narrative seems to say that you (back to that "we" - who is that again?) think your father has gone crazy enough to develop paranoid suspicions about you; but everyone else thinks he's fine? Everyone else, including his wife who he lives with. I appreciate that you believe her reasons for saying this are not good ones; but how do you know that?

To be blunt, I'm not surprised that you're having a tough time convincing the psychologists that your father should be declared incompetent, assuming that's the aim.

Does your father show any other signs of confusion, forgetfulness, paranoia in any other aspect of his life? Anything other than his evident anger with you, your husband and the whole POA business?

Take this section: "Then my dad started distrusting me and my husband. He took away all the POA's. And now he is lying to relatives that we tried to steal things from him like land, his will, etc." Rephrase it in less emotive but semantically identical language, like so: "My dad lost confidence in me and in my husband. He revoked POA. He now tells relatives that we have tried to take away land, his will, etc.…" The thing is, if you take away the charged word "steal," what he's saying is to an extent true. Had the POA ever come into force, you would ultimately have gained control of his assets and his legal affairs, after all, wouldn't you?

Now it would seem that at some point the full implications of the POA dawned on your father, and for some reason he felt that he had been deceived, tricked into giving up his rights to his property and his own affairs. Not knowing anything about your father, I can't begin to guess what misunderstanding might have caused him to feel like this, let alone why on earth he should blame you; and of course there could have been any number of other conversations, offhand remarks, advice from his buddies, stories in the press - anything might have made him flip his lid about this; and the rest of the deterioration in your family relationships all leads back to it.

Please, please - I am absolutely NOT blaming you. Heaven knows what went on to make him get so worked up, it could have been anything. But it seems to me that the more you push it (how would you like it if someone started trawling Yellow Pages for a shrink who'd have you declared incompetent?), the more you're likely to feed his mistrust. And with that the mistrust of some professionals who, all being well in the end, you will need to develop good working relationships with, such as his doctors and his lawyer; not to mention the rest of your family.

Unless you can give other good, unconnected reasons for doubting your father's sanity or competence, I'd advise you to drop the subject. Either you do know why he's gone ballistic about it; or you've tried to find out and failed; but in either case I can't see how you're going to get any further forward without a lot more to go on.

Are your parents currently in reasonably good health? I hope so. This would give you time to back down gracefully, concentrate on repairing damaged relationships within the family, and let the dust settle. After a decent (which will probably mean lengthy) interval, your parents will need to make provision for their future care and support. At that time, I strongly recommend that you leave the arrangements to them and their lawyer; you could research specialist attorneys for them, if you want to help; but don't stray into the same minefield again.

Just wondering about this, too: "Two years ago with my parents approval I had everything all set up POA for financial and medical because my folks asked me to take care of them." Did you think that because your parents asked you to "take care of them" you therefore had their approval to set up financial and medical POA? If so - oops. You might have jumped the gun, there. And a false start can get you chucked out of the race.

I'm sorry if I've misunderstood, but I hope this way of looking at the problem will help in the long run. Best wishes, hope things start to get better very soon.
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Your dad may have early Alzheimer's, early enough that he knows something is wrong, but stubborn and independent enough to deny it. Your mother is terrified at the prospect of losing him and takes his side. At this point, you must wait, not interfere (so hard, I know) because he will back himself into a corner, he will slip up and not know what to do as the dementia advances. Wait for your mother to ask for your help, once she is on your side things will go better. Waiting will also help your marriage. Eventually other family members will begin to see what you see. I have been through this, the AHA moment when they call you to tell you he isn't making sense. I wanted to say "I told you so" but instead I bit my lip and said "Gosh, what should we do?" Things began to fall into place after everyone came to their senses. If you don't back off he will continue to rage against you instead of the disease. Stay out of his crosshairs.
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This is a tough one and for the moment you are probably powerless. As long as they are not in physical danger I think you have to walk away for the time being. Above all do not let this have a negative impact on your marriage. from what you have said Dad is clearly mentally unstable from some unknown cause and for now is very successful at hiding it. He has taken away your ability to help him so leave him alone there is nothing you can do to change the current state of affairs. Mom knows things are not right but she too is powerless. Watch for any signs that he has become abusive to Mom. It may only be a hint in a phone call but if you get one invite her to meet you for coffee somewhere and let her take the lead. This could progress to actual violence and he may need to be hospitalized so do not make any promises you may not be able to keep. Has he always had a volatile personality or is this completely new?
There is nothing to stop you writing to the psychologist and telling him/her what is gong on. HHPA does not come into that. the psychologist can not talk to you about your Dad but you have done what you can, they can believe you or not. in fact because of the confidentiality you actually have no idea what dad has told the psychologist be it lies or not same with the lawyer.
What you can do is to consult a psychologist yourself not one that Dad has seen and tell them the whole story and they will have some advice on how you should proceed. Other people on this site will also have lots of ideas and similar experiences to share. If this is a sudden change in behavior there could be something radically wrong such as an undiagnosed brain tumor. Keep calm for now
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