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Hello,


I’m one of 5 children. My mother who is 90 was recently sent to a rehab facility where they are saying she’s most likely going to have to move into a nursing facility. My brother has power of attorney and will not tell the rest of us what’s going on with mom. Is he planning on selling her house? What are the social workers, nurses, etc saying about her condition? She has an extreme bedsore on her tailbone. Have they given him an update on her care? He won’t answer texts, emails, calls. If we try to help or find out anything we’re told the power of attorney has to approve it. Help! He’s put her in a facility that is close to his house but a long way for the rest of us. Any suggestions, advice, experience would be great. I’m worried about my mom.

Show up. Somebody needs to ho to where she is and try to visit. You need a face to face with your brother.

His lack of communication could be for many reasons. None of them justify keeping you in the dark, but they may help explain how it got this way. He may be feeling overwhelmed and defensive because he has HUGE decisions to make while also grieving. Avoidance is always complicated. He might be fearing your collective (or individual) reaction to his decisions.

Bottom line - you’re entitled to answers. Stop doing what’s not working.
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worriedinCali Jun 13, 2019
She’s not entitled to answers actually.
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A POA has no obligation to divulge information to anyone. Actually, they should be keeping that information private. Selling her house is between him, the bank and the realtor. And, medical information cannot be shared with you unless you’re on the release form. If you know for a fact that Mom is not being cared for in the Rehab and if’s the facility’s fault, call the State Ombudsman and report them.

Have you tried speaking with your brother in a non confrontational way?
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If you aren’t on the HIPAA form, your mom can add you to it if she’s still competent. You can ask your brother to do it as well. If he won’t, then you might get a little information if you show up in person. And you might hit a brick wall. As far as your moms house, your brother as POA doesn’t have to tell you anything. He’s not obligated or required to tell the siblings anything. I don’t see why he would be secretive but really no one but your mom is entitled to know anything at this point. Some POAs apparently don’t believe in transparency.
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What would happen if one of you talked with your brother to give the facility permission to contact you? The facility or your lawyer may even have a form/document for this.
We then got forms from the Drs allowing us to allow treatment for her. If you are far away, you may have to hire someone to get her to the Dr. Appointments etc unless the facility takes care of this.
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I'm going to respond from the POA perspective and tell you why I do not provide any information to my estranged brother while providing almost all information to my co-POA brother. I have my mother's primary HCPOA and secondary DPOA. My co-POA brother has primary DPOA and secondary HCPOA. Both of us can act in either capacity but if there's a difference in opinion, primary's decision is binding.

My mother prepared POA documents more than a decade before she began having any age related problems. At that time she stated she did this "...so that C will never have any voice in my care." My estranged brother C stopped working regularly in his late 40s and devoted himself to buying and reselling flea market items to make a living. Whenever a bill came due and he didn't have the money to pay it, my father would cover it. As my father's vascular dementia worsen, C needed more. As my mother objected, C began verbally and emotionally abusing her. When she wouldn't "mind" and sign over her property (home, rentals) to C because she had three children, C filed for guardianship, seeking to overturn her POAs. He lost primarily because Mom was still competent at that time.

My mother still deserves a right to privacy even into her advanced years. My mother deserves peace and not bickering over her possessions like crows before she is even dead. C used any knowledge he had as weapons against my mother. C went through her medicine cabinet and found a prescription for Aricept and decided she must have ALZ so she must need him as her guardian since her POAs wouldn't get her treatment and just said Mom's doctors noted some mild cognitive decline but no signs of dementia yet. C searched my mother's house, including her bedroom, and took bank statements and other personal property. C was enraged that most of my mother's jewelry was missing at the time of his search because Mom had appeared at my house one afternoon carrying her jewelry box and asking me to keep it at my house (I lived across the street and chauffeured Mom most places she went wearing her jewelry).

A POA is suppose to act at the direction or in the best interest of the principal, not fulfill the wishes of his/her siblings. I tell family (my mother's siblings, cousins, estranged son) the doctor's general diagnosis (hairline fracture above the knee), treatment (rest and PT), and prognosis (probably will not walk normally again but should do OK with a walker). I do not usually share details except with my co-POA and some very personal details I do not share with him unless there is some need. He needs to know only surgery will repair the break enough for a full recovery but the risk of surgical complications is so high Mom would probably be worse off after surgery than living with the injury. He doesn't really need to know I'm fanatical over cleaning Mom during each incontinence panty change because she has some birthing scars that are easily irritated. Mom didn't share information about her scars with him when she was fully competent and I'm not going to unless there is a need. I consider that respecting her privacy.

If your brother is choosing not to communicate with you it is mostly likely because he feels threaten in some way. Maybe he anticipates someone is going to question his every decision; that is very hard to take especially when the decision was difficult to make. Or maybe he doesn't know yet what he will need to do with the house and doesn't want to talk about it until he does.

I suggest you try approaching your brother in a supportive manner, asking what you can do to help. He isn't "required" to tell you anything, so be thankful for what he chooses to share. My experience is that when families have these kinds of problems over discussing a parent's care, the relationships between the siblings broke down long before. The relationship doesn't break down over the parent's care, it just becomes more noticeable.
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I'm sure you are worried about your mother, yes. It's a worrying time.

Suggestions, though, depend so much on what has actually happened. Your mother was "recently" sent to a rehab facility - when? Two weeks, a month and a half, five days ago? Clearly someone has been in touch with the rehab team, because someone told someone that your mother will probably be moved to a nursing facility - who told whom what? With what authorisation?

You are naturally concerned at the lack of information, and you say that your brother won't respond to texts, calls or emails. Hmmm. What does "won't respond" mean? If you've left several pleasant voicemails at sensible times of day asking him to call you back, and there's been nothing for three weeks, then he's not responding. If you called yesterday because he didn't answer a text at the weekend, that doesn't count. When exactly was anyone last in direct contact with him?

How long a way is a long way? The thing is. Between the four of you. Assuming you would expect to get it together to attend your mother's funeral, the travel isn't actually impossible, is it? And when you come to think about it, isn't it better to go to that much trouble and expense when the person you care about is there to appreciate it? If you're really worried and want to see for yourself how she's doing, I'd make the journey.
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I did not feel my POA was a controll thing. I had POA because I was the oldest child and who was the closest. I lived in the same town. One brother 8 hours away and the other brother, 30 min away, didn't want the responsibility.

Moms finances were never questioned by my brothers. I never gave them info. Medical wise, I don't feel Mom would have liked it if I kept brothers out of the loop. The POA gave me the right to carry out her wishes. I think its wrong not to tell siblings where a parent is. Also, what POAs plans are. He has the final decision, but if there is no family problems, I don't see a problem keeping siblings in the loop. In some instances, its a control thing and wrong.
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Thank you for all your replies and emphasizing that my brother, the POA doesn’t really have to share with his siblings.
i received a text from my sister a few minutes ago saying mom is very sick and the ambulance is at the rehab facility to take her to the emergency room at the closest hospital. I asked if my brother was with her as he will most likely have to make decisions for her tonight. She’s been sick all day and her BP is rapidly declining. My sister wrote back and said he he’s not with her and has no plans to meet the ambulance at the hospital. He told them to call if something needed to be done. Are you kidding me? If given the authority and being designated as power of attorney I believe it is his responsibility to be there in an emergency situation. That’s what he agreed to do. He is responsible for her DNR.
So once again the rest of us are helpless as everything has to be agreed upon by him.
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katiekat2009 Jun 17, 2019
Just remember, his power ends with her death unless he has been appointed Executor of the will.
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Sounds like your brother is in contact with the both the rehab and the hospital. While you and I might really prefer to be on-site at the hospital, your brother can authorize care and is legally meeting his responsibilities as long as he remains in contact so he can exercise his decision making authority.

I'm sorry your mother is ill and you find your brother's methods of exercising the POA your mother chose to give him so emotionally unsatisfying. Vent here but please get a hold of yourself and do not vent your anger toward your brother. Angry criticism is likely to push your brother farther away. Who wants to call someone just to get chewed out?

Sounds like your brother is communicating to your sister; how else would she know he doesn't plan on coming to the hospital? Is your brother also the one who told your sister Mom is on her way to the hospital? If your brother did agree to add you to the HIPPA list and you had information about your mother, are you going to angularly criticize every decision he makes?

As a practical matter, your mother's ER admission is going to be a lot of tests and assessments for at least the first few hours. He really doesn't need to be there for decision making and he called your sister so she can be there to support Mom emotionally? Your profile doesn't mention any dementia, but for your brother to be making the decisions there must be some reason Mom cannot make her own decisions. I know this is a really difficult time and the lack of information only makes it harder, but I still encourage you to consider how your approach to your brother dictates much of his response.
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Bamboo, do you mean that your sister IS with your mother and was planning to accompany her to the ER? Or... what? How did your sister come by this information?

I think you're getting sent off on a tangent by your anger with your brother. His behaviour isn't the issue, it would be better to concentrate on how you want to participate in supporting your mother and the rest of the family and just leave your brother to his own devices.

From our point of view, it would be baffling and upsetting if a child who was sufficiently close to his mother for her to have selected him specifically for power of attorney then turned out to be callously indifferent to her with no reason behind it at all. But we, of course, have absolutely no idea what's going on in his life. For all we know, he has a sick child at home, his company is in the midst of a corporate takeover, he is plain burned out with caregiving, or... he's got no problem with taking responsibility for his mother, he just can't stand his sisters and bitterly resents every question and every second he spends on communicating with them.

Whatever: your mother is dangerously ill, somebody ought to be with her, who is going volunteer? If your sister isn't already there, can you make the journey?
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my2cents Jun 17, 2019
Surely there is more family history that goes with this story.

Prior to her recent trip to facility care, where was mom? Was brother the closest to her at that time leaving all of the responsibility for her on him? Did siblings visit with her regularly for significant periods of time to deal with day to day activities or drop in here and there to say hello. Who was taking time off work or showing up at the drop of a hat when she needed something. If the rest of you were able to enjoy weekends off, vacations planned months in advance, your own family functions - and brother had to adjust/cancel plans to accommodate mom - then brother had an issue that each of you chose to ignore. Could that be why he has turned the tables? There has to be some reason the one kid in the family who has the poorest communication skills and compassion for his siblings is the POA and keeping all the info under wraps.

You seem to know bits and pieces about bed sore, needing facility care after rehab - indicative of getting info from someone. If your sister gets info from bother (as you said), then he talks to someone. What your sister did not have answers to, you choose to blame on brother for not telling. Perhaps your sister doesn't ask any questions. Some don't ask questions because it can lead to having to act - to go, to help, etc.

If your mom has been in a facility and you got no information on her health or care, shame on you/sibs for not going in person to check. If she has returned to hospital in ambulance and you have no info on her health - all or some of you should have already been on the road to pay a visit.

Sometimes it is easier to blame another when in reality it is time to step up to the plate.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I do the day to day stuff. When the siblings drop by, I get to hear about the weekend trips, weeks spent at the second homes, the cruises planned for the week of Thanksgiving while I have only been able to go to my own home (200 miles away) for one week in the past year...and I spent that week doing deep cleaning because my guy only does the surface stuff - he's great to hold the home front down, but he's no Molly Maid. It's odd to me that while they share these great adventures, it doesn't occur to them what it sounds like from my perspective. Is it possible you/your siblings gave up very little while brother worked his life plans around mom?
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I imagine brother was assigned as POA because he is the oldest son and not because he is especially suited to the job, am I right?

At 90 every crisis could be the last, you need to react in a way you can live with in the future if things go badly. IMO somebody needs to get boots on the ground to support your mother as see with their own eyes what is happening, if she is coherent she can give permission for them/you to be informed.
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Countrymouse Jun 16, 2019
Asking, not contradicting - where did you see that the OP is three hours away?
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Not sure of the circumstances that have caused this problem. This is an abuse of a POA. Why can’t you make a trip to see your mom and find out how she is. Hope things get better for all of you🙏🏻🙏🏻
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worriedinCali Jun 17, 2019
No it’s not abuse of POA.
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So difficult! And this also poisons the relationship between you and your brother. I agree with some of the suggestions below. If you can visit her, that is the best. If she is still mentally competent, perhaps you can get permission to ask questions on her behalf. It may be best to consult an attorney before you go to find out how you can get information about medical and financial matters. He might have to sell the house to cover her expenses.
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Forget writing and calling and texting, you need to go see your mom and your brother. You can certainly see your mom, and your brother may appreciate that your actual physical presence.
If he's the POA, then of course he placed her close to him. That just makes sense. There's got to be something else going on here if one sibling refuses to provide information to the others.
What do you think the problem is?
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To deny your ability to communicate with your mother is illegal without a court order stating the same.
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MsRandall Jun 17, 2019
Could you provide me a link to some source that explains this? I wasn't aware that adult children had any legal rights outside POA, agreement or a court order. I am not questioning your knowledge. I want to learn more.
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Hi, unfortunately the POA person is the only one allow to get info and updates. Even if you call the hospital they will not provide and information at less you have POA. Only she can make those changes. I am sorry about these frustration. This can put a total on the family relation. It is sad that in moments like this when we should come together, we tent to do completly the opposite. I hope you are able to get a hold of your sibling soon.
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She should be close to POA's residence. That way he can respond quickly any time he is needed. How far are you from the facility?

It is actually POA's responsibility to keep health information private. Is mom competent? If so, she could sign a HIPPA release for anyone that she desires.

Mom, if competent, could reassign POA if she wishes to do so.
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This is tough. I sugest you contact your state or county Senior services support to get guidance, suggestions. If it were me I would consult an attorney. Whn someone with POA is uncooperative with other family members that his a HUGE red warning flag.
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Call the NH and talk to the social worker. Explain the situation and ask for their advice. They've gone through this before and should be able to give you clear answers.

And as others have said, visit mom... if she's alert enough to understand, maybe find a way to explain that your brother isn't passing on news about her to the rest of you. Perhaps there is something that she can sign at the NH giving them permission to give you status updates, even though you are not POA.
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my2cents Jun 18, 2019
And an in-person visit you could actually clear up the whole HIPPA thing anyway. Get social worker in the room, ask mom if it's ok to tell siblings how she's doing, they put it in the records and then there's no more reason to blame brother for what he doesn't do. I can't help but wonder if they thank him for what he DOES do. There just has to be a reason mom put the very worst (in their opinion) child in charge of her if he was the kind of person to keep her health a secret. Not to mention, a POA is just to make decisions, it has nothing to do with the HIPPA info that mom can release to anyone she wants to
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Not entitled to answers LEGALLY, but MORALLY--Yes.
Maybe it's the way the questions were asked? Maybe another reason, who knows?
I was POA and Exect. for mom.
All the sisters had to do was ask and we would give the true answer.
Her sisters did things that bordered on meanness then spread lies about my wife and I.
Who wants to cooperate with that.
Anyway there is another side to the OP's story.
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I do not have a POA for my step dad and his wife, my brother does. This is not an issue as when they are in the hospital or wherever, they sign a form authorizing me to be given all information regarding them.
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If your mom is cognitively OK, she can change her POA...but hopefully she gave thought and does want your brother to be POA...you really need to consult with an elder law attorney asap because I'm guessing if she moves/he moves her he may be able to keep that from you...it's her choice originally. Her house could be sold to pay for NH expenses. Without justification I'd be wondering why she had to go to a nursing home
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You have all the facts and his motive doesn't hang right.
Get you an elder attorney now!
If necessary get the state adult protection or DHS involved.
Not a good situation here.
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worriedinCali Jun 17, 2019
You can’t be serious? Her mother isn’t being held hostage. She has one of her daughters with her. My gosh!
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I would like to suggest that no matter the distance you go and see both your mom and brother. Ask if there is anything you can do to help.
Tell your brother you care about both your mom and him. He may feel too busy to provide updates. However, your mom could put you on the Hippa form and the nursing home would give you access to talk with the home.
If mom has been declared incompetent yu might need your brother’s approval.
My husband tells his siblings nothing because he feels they don’t care. I am not accusing you of this but it’s where he is coming from. They have not once asked how they can help. My sil visits once a year and tells me how sad she is that we dress he mom in pull up pants. She was a clothes horse. I dress her like this because it is easier to clean up the poopy messes. This lovely daughter also called parents bank and told them her mother was still congnizant and her brother had no business moving any money. This was while her father was dying in hospice. She was four hours away and did not bother to come in till her Dad passed. My husband has not even called the bank and told them he was too busy watching his father due to think of moving money. Seven years later, we still have not moved the money. His brother has informed us he is not her caregiver nor our respite. He lives 20 minutes away and does not visit.
Sorry for venting.
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For those who were asking about background, this post is from the OP over four years ago:

Answered Nov 2014
Is there such a thing as post traumatic stress syndrome for caregivers?

Yes, yes, yes, PTSD is very real for caregivers. PTSD is not a term given just to returning veterans, it's for everyone. I left an abusive marriage and was diagnosed with it. I was laid off from my job and had to move back home to live with my 86 year old mother who has never liked me. I struggle every day to continue to look for a job, while juggling caregiving too. I have 3 siblings in town that do nothing. If I ask for help they all get mad and tell me I have to move out, even though they know full well I have no place to go. Their desire is to pack mom off to an assisted living facility and let her sit there alone until she passes. Shocks me that they don't even bother to stop by and say hello to her when they're 5 minutes away. I have seen the truth in my family that is ugly and so selfish it defies logic. I don't think any caregiver comes out of it without some form of stress-related issues. Sad, but true......

*****************************************

Bamboo, I hope you're hearing more now about how your mother is getting on. Please update us when you can.
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Flightymom Jun 17, 2019
Countrymouse, thank you so much for the background. I think many of the posters answered with their own experience as a reference, assuming she hasn’t been there to assist the POA. I was doing the same thing when I was going to post about my brother’s silence about Mom’s condition. Personally, I have a terrible relationship with him. I thought she might be in the same place with her family.

I hope Bamboo is able to get the information she needs soon.
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The power of attorney, according to hippa laws, is the one with the ability to get private and personal information. I think that whichever family member has the best relationship with this brother is the one to speak with him and ask if he will share what information he is willing to share with one member of the family, and then form and information tree. Or ask if there is any way to have a family meeting. The brother may have all he can handle on his plate, dealing with the care of the mother. He may need to sell the home in order to continue to afford her care? It would be lovely if he would share information. Perhaps go through the social worker at the facility your Mom is and he or she may be able to arrange a family conference. The truth is that the person with Power of Attorney for Health and Financial has just that. The best place for the mother now is nearest the person she has made responsible for her and her care. If this is a severe bedsore you could well be looking at end of care and hospice needs now. They happen, and they often happen at the end no matter WHAT a facility does to prevent them, and they are often signals that the body is just not able to function anymore, and the end is near. Try to maintain a very positive outreach to the brother or, in his pain and in the midst of the burden he may cut off absolutely all who add to the burden he has taken on. I agree with worriedinCali, at this point no one else is "entitled" to answers. That decision, who is actually entitled to answers, to information, and to decision making was already legally set in stone. Contact social worker at facility. Ask if a family tree or family conference by phone or in person can be arranged. Reach out to the brother in compassion and good heart. You are now dependent on him. He has taken on a very tough job.
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You need to fly out there and see her personally. If its a matter of finances, pool your resources with your other siblings and get there. If not you, one of your other siblings. Paying for attorneys will be more expensive than a plane ticket and you can find out much more, much faster by showing up. Someone needs to step up and pay her and your brother a visit ASAP. JMO
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