My grandmother was diagnosed with early stage dementia January 2018. My father kept this diagnosis from my brother and I for months until it was completely out of control. In May of 2018 she appointed a long time friend of hers as her durable power of attorney. Since then, nothing has been done, no follow- up doctors appointments have been made, and he has stated he will not make an appointment until there is a crisis. I am trying to gain guardianship so that I can make sure she is getting the best care available to her but I live in a different state, 800 miles away. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

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That is most certainly true, JoAnn; but those family members who are not told and might reasonably have expected to be equally have the right to feel hurt and upset about it.

Well. At least, whether or not they have the right, they're going to.

But yes, I agree that confidentiality is most certainly the person's right, and to breach it is a breach of trust.

But what I shut down my computer before I thought of it, and felt an idiot, is this question: Rachel, have you spoken to your grandmother about what *she* wants?
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Reply to Countrymouse

Countrymouse, sorry, I believe if someone doesn't want family to know about an illlness, thats their prerogative.
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Reply to JoAnn29

DPOA doesn't mean he is responsible for her doctor appts and her care. His responsibility is to make sure her bills are paid if she can no longer write a check. Handle her finances. The medical part means he makes decisions based on what she wants that should be written into the Medical POA. If POA is not her caregiver than ur Dad can make an appt if he feels its needed. I think Dad and POA need to find out what a POAs responsibilities are. There are too many misconceptions.

Have guardianship from 800 miles a way is going to be hard. Also very expensive and time consuming. I really think this is ur Dads responsibility.
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Reply to JoAnn29


You're not going to like this.

But. Your father and the DPOA between them are much closer in every way to your grandmother than you are. Emotionally, in age, in length of relationship, and geographically.

If the dementia was considered to be early stage in January, and your grandmother appointed her DPOA in May, then (unless you have different information) that sounds about right - an orderly way to go about things, nothing incorrect about it.

And even now, getting on for a year since diagnosis, there's no information - is there? - that your grandmother has been found to be legally incompetent. She is free to refuse examination and treatment. And even when she does begin to be more severely impaired, it will still be her DPOA's duty to comply as far as possible with her known wishes regarding care and treatment.

I warmly recommend that you read 'Being Mortal' by Atul Gawande. I appreciate how upset you must be that important information was kept from you (that's a particular bugbear of mine, too, and I sympathise - but are you sure your father wasn't acting on instruction from your grandmother?). And I also understand the urge to rush around getting investigations and treatments and seeing if there are promising clinical trials to join and all the rest of it...

But take deep breaths, and a step back.

Unless there's a lot more information than you've shared, given that you live 800 miles away and your grandmother does have strong existing support networks - even if you don't agree with their approach - there's not a cat in hell's chance you'd be awarded guardianship anyway.

You'd do better from all points of view to rebuild communications with your father and the DPOA and find out what you can contribute to the care plan.
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Reply to Countrymouse

In order to gain guardianship, your grandmother would have to be declared incompetent to make decisions. You say she has early stage dementia and that she recently appointed a friend POA. I assume that is who isn't making any appointments for her.

If that's what she wants, and if she doesn't want treatment , that's what she gets.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

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