BACKGROUND (next six paragraphs, not necessary to read): Dad, 97, is almost out of money. He lives at home with excellent paid caregivers until 6:00 p.m., then an unreliable (67 and flaky) live-in caregiver who arrives home from her other caregiving jobs at 10:00 p.m. We have a medical alert service and cameras.
So far, Dad is in good spirits, sweet, passive and does not wander. He has dementia, is incontinent, and is very mobility challenged, though he can “walk” short distances. A recent power outage exposed flaws in our care systems. For example, Dad’s Albuterol treatments required multiple fire department interventions (to power the compressor) and our saint of a daytime caregiver transported him to her home til the power was restored days later (I live 150 miles away with a disabled husband). Neighbors were quite involved, but we should not be dependent upon good people’s generosity as a plan.
I have asked Dad’s physician for his recommendation as to whether Dad should remain at home. The physician stated that we should do all we can to keep Dad at home, even given that night-time monitoring is marginal. He said that facilities do not provide the excellent environment Dad has in his own home, with the A-1 daytime caregiver. He is a geriatric physician and has dealt with this a lot, and that if Dad were his father, he would not place him now.
I have asked the Elder Law attorney for his recommendation, providing a good financial summary. He said that until Dad has a “medical incident” with a three-day hospital stay and step down to rehab, Medicaid cannot not kick in for home care. Dad has enough VA-Trust remainder money to last perhaps six months status quo, but it’s going fast. According to the lawyer, Michigan nursing homes are $8-$10K per month. Dad has $10,000 remaining. All facilities I have contacted have two-year or more wait lists for voluntary private pay. The lawyer reiterated that the only way to get Dad into a facility was via medical incident. More than five years ago, new deeds for Dad’s home were executed (but not yet recorded per lawyer instruction) as part of this lawyer’s VA/Medicaid estate plan for Dad. Dad gets VA Aid & Attendance and is a disabled WWII veteran.
I have spoken with so many agencies, facilities, advisors, social workers I am numb. None of them can agree what I should be doing or planning, leave alone how to pay for it. When a physician says, “Keep him at home” -- it’s hard to do otherwise. I know I need to stop paying for some of Dad’s expenses, and I am burnt out from other caregiving complications in my life. I have read through so many answers on Aging Care, and I’ve burned hole in the universe with my research. Either am resisting decisiveness, am just not confident, or have to have my head in the sand. I am Dad’s POA and I’ve worked very hard to give him a happy 9th decade. I am burnt out trying to figure how to manage.
I love my Dad, but the feeling has become a dead kind of thing. I hate to wish he would die so I don’t have to deal with these things alone. I know I will suffer the rest of my life for these unwanted wishes but that’s not my biggest problem right now. I want my husband and I to enjoy what we can of what’s left.
RESTATED QUESTION: Can I resign my POA and let Dad’s county know I can no longer oversee him and tow the line of making things magically work? What will happen if I relinquish my POA? Does anyone have actual experience with this? Or second-hand knowledge? How badly does a court-appointed public guardian treat an elderly ward and the family who walked away from all but love?