My mom's husband admitted her to a memory care facility without our (me and my siblings) knowledge. He called us over 24 hours after admitting her. She was diagnosed about 3 years ago with Alzheimer's. My sister is a CO-MPOA and has equal say about my mom's medical decisions as her husband; however, the nursing home either did not check or ignored the MPOA. Now we are fighting to get her out. My sister, a nurse, has offered to take care of her until the time comes that she can not anymore. My mom still knows all of us, she can dress herself and carries on conversations. She is very high functioning and is well above the other residents in the facility. Her short term memory is not good however. My sister requested to see her medical records from the Director of the nursing home, showing him her MPOA papers. He stated that he could not give them to her because of HIPAA laws. They would only recognize her husband. She explained she had the same rights as he did. After visiting a lawyer, my siblings and I decided to go back and request them again. They gave them to us this time but only after we mentioned we had been to a lawyer and know our rights. My sister also requested the facilities policies and procedures for admittance. She was denied the papers by the social worker that works there. We definitely feel that the nursing home is in cohoots with the husband. We are now seeking guardianship of my mom. If anyone is facing this, seek out help. There are many articles on elder law and free state programs that can lead you in the right direction for help. Has anyone else had this happen? We have a court date scheduled to go before a judge.

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How much time are you and your sister spending with your mom?

Before you decide to take her into your homes or decide her level of care, please spend 24 hours with her to see what her needs are. Most dementia patients can "showtime" like crazy for a visit, but watching their functioning over an entire day can be telling.

I suspect her husband was worn out from caregiving.

Caring for a dementia patient is not a one person job. Was he getting any help? Or regular respite?
Helpful Answer (9)

Do you think her husband has acted in what he considers her best interest, or is there a ulterior motive here, in your opinion?

POA documents are only useful if they are known by the interested parties. If your mom's husband said there is no POA, he would probably be the contact person by default. Mother would probably be asked to sign a hipaa waiver for her husband to see her records. Nursing homes, insurance companies, hospitals, etc. have no means of researching if POA documents exist, and what is in the latest version. In most states the documents are not registered. So if someone comes in with a five-year-old document naming them sole MPOA they have no way of knowing that a new document was put in place three months ago, rescinding that old document.

All this to say that I can really sympathize with the spot medical administrators are in when there is a family conflict over decision-making authority. I suppose it is possible that that "the nursing home is in cohoots" with her husband. After all, he is probably going to keep her in nh while the other MPOA may not. Or it may simple be a fervent desire to keep things as simple as possible and deal with only one contact person.

BTW, since Mom is very high functioning, I wonder why memory care was chosen? Is she at risk for wandering? Is her behavior disruptive to others? Would you feel better if she were in Assisted Living where her opportunities for social interaction are much greater?
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I hope that mom's husband doesn't oppose your guardianship.

If there is a dispute among family members, the judge will appoint an outside "professional guardian".

Be careful what you wish for.

This is not about YOUR rights. This is about what is best for your mother.

A dementia patients needs 24/7 care. How will your sister work? Will she bring in 2 shifts of caregivers and take the third shift herself? (That's going to burn her out really fast).

How much socialization will mom get in the home? Will she be willing to go to adult day care? Is she cooperative with getting up and dressed at an appointed time and getting on a bus with other adults to go to the day care? Will she stay, or will she wander?

What are her sleep patterns like? Is she awake all night, trying to get out of the house?

How is mom to be gotten to medical appointments, hair dresser, podiatrist, dentist? Are you all going to take days off to manage those? For me, that was perhaps the greatest blessing of mom being in a facility. Geriatric psych, dermatologist, audiologist, podiatrist, dentist and hair dresser on site. No having to get mom dressed, into the car....oh, the car.

The last time my mom, with the very beginnings of dementia, was in my car? Transporting her from rehab to the very upscale AL? She grabbed the steering wheel from my husband and nearly put us in a ditch.

Nope, never again in the car. Medical transport, $200 for any trips out of the facility.

Is mom cooperative about hygiene, showers, toileting? Is SHE telling you that she does this all herself, or is that in the assessment of her ADLs?

Most folks are in memory care because of risk of elopement. Is that what's going on with mom? How are you going to handle that at home?

Think about what you're doing here, okay? Just think it through and talk to mom's husband and find out what was going on BEFORE he admitted her. Approach him in a non-judgmental way. Do this for mom's sake. Everyone leave their egos at the door.
Helpful Answer (7)

Jeanne and Barb have said what I was going to say, only they have been infinitely kinder and more polite than my initial reaction was and I am grateful to them.

Your mother has had Alzheimer's Disease for at least three years, given that her diagnosis was made three years ago.

To move her now from her memory care unit to your sister's home, and then from that home, once things have become unmanageable *again* and your mother is even less able to comprehend her surroundings, to another unit of unknown quantity at some hypothetical point cannot possibly be in your mother's best interests.

Please don't put your mother through this, and don't waste the court's time on a guardianship application.
Helpful Answer (6)

Advocateformom, the first thing I thought when you mentioned that your Mom is in Assisted Living/Memory Care is that such a unit will not accept someone unless they are assessed and are in need of what is available in Memory Care. Thus, a high functioning person would not be allowed to live in Memory Care.

Therefore, there must be something that you are not aware about regarding your Mom. My own Dad transferred from Independent Living over to Memory Care because he would wander at night and was sundowning, something I never knew about. I was so glad that the Staff was on top of this.
Helpful Answer (5)

HIPAA laws have really made it difficult for those with the legal right to medical records to be able to obtain them. I am not sure that "the nursing home is in cahoots with the husband". The nursing home is in-between a rock and a hard place. I can understand your frustration about not being able to get copies of records or admission policies as I had problems getting my Mom's LTC medical records last year when she got mad at me and changed her Durable POA. I still had POA Healthcare (M-POA) but the facility told my lawyer that Mom's medical records could only be released if Mom, the Nursing Administrator and Social Service approved the release of medical records.

Please be patient!!! DO NOT do anything in haste or in anger or while you are emotionally upset!! You might regret it later on!! (Hey, I know. I just went through H*LL with my Mom and her POA situation in August 2017.) You need to take a deep breath and calm down before proceeding further.

I think that seeking guardianship of your Mom is a "KNEE-JERK" (emotional) reaction to your mom's husband admitting your Mom to a memory care facility without our (me and my siblings) knowledge. Is he your Step-dad?

So what if your Mom’s husband called you 24 hours after admitting her. I didn’t call my brother until I admitted my Mom to LTC for Rehab nor did I call him before she was moved to the Memory Care Unit. Your Mom has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s for 3 years. A lot of changes can happen in 3 years.

While your Mom may be “highly functional” physically, she may need 24/7 supervision because of her decreased and mixed-up mental function. I commend your sister who is a nurse for wanting to take your Mom home to care for her...BUT DON”T LET HER DO THIS!!

I am a semi-retired nurse and while I don’t work, I do volunteer as a Parish Nurse (Faith Community Nurse) at my church part-time. My Mom was physically independent but she needed someone to supervise her 24/7. Mom and I paid bills together and as her mental functioning declined, it became harder to work with her. She repeatedly wanted to know whether we had paid a certain bill, if we had sold the corn yet (we own 2 farms), etc. She started to accuse me and my brother of gambling the farms away (we couldn’t even if we had to so that we could pay bills) and of lying to her. I could NOT redirect her once she focused on a subject and she became angry if I tried to redirect to another subject. Maybe this is the behavior that your Mom’s husband has been dealing with.

Mom was great when my brother and his wife or her grandchildren visited. Mom really put on a show—she was so friendly, so nice, so easy to get along with while we had visitors. BUT once the visitors left…OH, BOY!! Her demeanor changed and she complained and accused my brother of a litany of things.

I used to sleep in the basement, but had to move to the main floor after my Mom tried to walk down the stairs because she had heard me screaming for help (I had been reading a book quietly in bed). As for my own sleep quality, I slept with one ear and one eye open in case Mom needed something or started to wander around the house without her walker. Your sister the nurse better be prepared to get less sleep if your Mom goes and lives with her.

You state that you HAVE A COURT DATE scheduled to go before a judge. If your Mom’s husband opposes your guardianship or even if he doesn’t, the judge most likely will appoint an outside "professional guardian", known as an “attorney ad litem”, to represent your Mom. This person will talk with your Mom, her husband, you and your other family members, the LTC facility staff, the other lawyers, the doctors, etc. This process is not cheap! I spent over $10,000 and I didn’t have to obtain guardianship as the “attorney ad litem” decided that Mom’s situation was “a family matter” and “not a matter for the courts” and I was awarded Durable POA again. Whoever gets conservatorship of your Mom will need to be “bonded” and that cost at least $10,000 to process.

I went to the website: to learn more about guardianship and conservatorship in Nebraska. You need to go to the corresponding website for your state and learn all that you can about guardianship and conservatorship regulations in your state. The court may decide that NEITHER your Mom’s husband nor any of your family can be guardian or conservator. Then you are “Shit out of luck!” You will have NO say in determining what happens to your Mom or where she gets her care. Do you really want that???

BarbBrooklyn is correct when she stated “This is not about YOUR rights. This is about what is best for your mother.”

Please keep us updated on what is going on.
Helpful Answer (4)

Your mom was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Last year she went to a meeting with your lawyer and agreed with everything that was said.

Likely, she went home to husband and agreed with what he said as well.

That's what a lot of dementia patients do. They agree.

Do you think mom is incompetent, in the legal sense of the word?  Because no one is going to grant ANYONE guardianship of a person who is still legally competent.

Which is why I think that mom can still choose what she wants to do.

I wish that you all could sit down with her husband and work this out, out of court.
Helpful Answer (4)

It sounds as though mom is in a facility where it is easy for her husband to visit and moving her in with your sister is much farther away. It also sounds as though your relationship with mom's husband has never been very warm, so he isn't likely to feel welcome there even if he has transportation available. Am I right?
Helpful Answer (3)

"My family believes that he admitted her for his own mental health and not necessarily for her physical well being." You say that as if it were a bad thing.

Browse through this forum and look at how many people agonizing over the difficult decision about placing a loved one in a care center talk about the need to do it for their own mental health. "I'm going crazy trying to keep her safe." "I am so sleep deprived I don't think I can function as a caregiver any more." Look into "caregiver burnout." Most of us sincerely try to keep our loved ones at home as long as we can, and our physical and mental health is a big factor in the decision. That is normal and is not a bad thing.

You want to take your mother at least an hour and a half away from her husband. As he says, then they might as well be divorced. What a cruel offer. I have three stepdaughters. If any of them had offered/threatened to take him in or place him somewhere it would be difficult for me to visit daily I would fight them tooth and nail. Her husband has concluded he can't take care of her ... not that he doesn't still love her and doesn't want to see her.

Obviously you don't like the man your mother married. That is OK. But she chose him. She married him. I think you need to respect her decision, unless she herself changes her mind. This man is her husband! It is very, very sad that in order for her to get appropriate care they have to be separated. You want to make that separation even worse.

It bothers me that you talk about your "rights" in this matter. This is not about rights. It is about what is best for your mother.

You say that she is high functioning. The fact that she was accepted into memory care indicates there is some aspect of her behavior that is dangerous in some way, to herself or others. The typical behavior that requires memory care placement is wandering. Do you know if she wanders or what other problematic behavior she has?
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Your lawyer will make a substantial amount of money out of arguing that little nicety with the court.

Your mother's husband has done nothing wrong, nothing which is not in the best interests of a person with advancing dementia. Given that her daughter's being given guardianship will necessarily impact negatively on your mother's relationship with her husband, which is her primary relationship, and that her husband's choice of facility has been judged appropriate by the professionals supervising her care, there is not a cat-in-Hades' chance that your sister's application will succeed.

Look. This kind of thing:

"We were so concerned that he would place her in the facility without our knowledge that we hired a lawyer about a year ago to contact the facility to ask about the admittance policies and procedures. My mom went with us to the meeting and stated to our lawyer that she would rather live with one of us rather than be admitted."

And was Mother's husband also present at this meeting?

Hmmmm... Just chewing this idea over....

If you want to throw money at the problem. What about commissioning a definitive baseline assessment of your mother's mental state as of now? You could even submit a shortlist of older age psychiatrists to your mother's husband for his approval, and gain his agreement to this. Demonstrate that you are committed to serving your mother's true best interests, and are not engaging in power plays, and you might find it improves relations with the NH and with your stepfather across the board.
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