He is in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. His wife lives a great distance away from the facility. She goes thru depression spells. My father's dentures went missing 2 months ago and nothing has been done. He has lost a significant amount of weight.

She will not return my phone calls.

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Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Baileyparker

Have you been able to look at the POA document? Often an alternate agent will be named in case the first one becomes unavailable. Or, if your father has moments of lucidity, he could sign a new POA appointing you. Also, depending on your state's laws and the decisions that need to be made, you might simply be able to act on your father's behalf without being appointed formally. The nursing home would first need to go to your father's wife for decision making since she was appointed, but if she is not reasonably available, you could be the next person in line by default. In California, when a patient doesn't have an appointed decision maker, someone who knows the patient well and has demonstrated concern can make medical decisions on the patient's behalf (family or friend). Most other states have a default hierarchy law, often spouse, then adult children, etc.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to tempoe

That's what I was about to say - you'll have to apply for guardianship.

Having said that, you don't need either the proxy or guardianship to advocate for your father. If you suspect that the care in the nursing home is substandard, you can go to your county's website and look for information about how to report concerns there. You should also be able to find information about local procedures and regulations around powers of attorney and advocacy, and perhaps which lawyers can help (choose carefully).

But, you'd do better to work with the NH if you can. It's not a good idea to move Alzheimers patients unless you absolutely have to, so you want to try to build a good relationship with this one.

The 81 year old wife may have been taken ill herself, mightn't she? Are you in touch with anyone else who knows her?

It might be worth pointing out, besides, that even if she were to return your calls she can't transfer the proxy to you - only your father could do that, and only while he was mentally fit enough to understand the process. But I suppose she could give the NH permission to discuss your father's care with you, so it's worth persevering. I hope you track her down and find her safe and well.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse

it sounds like you may need to apply for emergency guardianship. Dad is probably not capable of signing anything legally. This woman is not your mother? Sounds like she’s pretty much washed her hands of him. But the proxy is still legal. Enlist the help of an Elder Law Attorney who will know exactly how to legally go about this. You might need to ask the facility for help in proving abandonment if they cannot t reach her either.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Ahmijoy

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