Follow
Share

My grandmother is nearly 99 and is in a nursing home in another state. My dad has POA for her and has handled all her bills for her for at least 2 yrs. Before that he semi lived with her, cooking and taking her to appointments. He is now terminally ill and in a nursing home. He will be going to hospice, soon. He has end stage liver disease and his organs are shutting down. He can’t handle his mother’s affairs anymore. There is no secondary POA but the obvious person to take over is my uncle (in yet another state). He is already named as secondary executor of her will if my father passes first.
I have to video chat with my grandmother to try to convey just how serious my father’s condition is. I know dad has called her and told her he won’t be getting better-he had to be blunt because she kept saying she hoped he would get better. She doesn’t want to believe it because he’s the son who actually would call and visit. He’s also her baby. He has months to live. I don’t want to lie to my grandmother and would never, but I’m nervous about having to have this conversation with her. It’s awful. Have any of you had to do this and do you have any advice? I’ve tried calling her but she is so deaf she didn’t know it was me. She kept asking for my dad to call her because she is so worried😭

I had my video chat with my grandmother. She knew it was me immediately, which I was relieved about. We chatted a little about nice things. I did want her to hear from me about my dad’s health as it seemed the right thing to do. It was confusing-at first she asked who my dad was-when I mentioned his name she said, oh, he’s in the hospital. I tried to convey to her that he couldn’t continue to act on her behalf but I could see that was just bouncing off her. She told my uncle she thought my father was on a job somewhere. She also thought she’d already signed documents.
I gave up because she can’t make this decision and we can’t make her sign anything-she needs to be aware of what she’s signing and why.
I changed the subject to our birthdays, which are coming up and told her I’d send her something nice. I also let her see and talk to her great granddaughter and told her I loved and missed her. My uncle is going to pursue guardianship now as there appears to be no other choice.
many have suggested that I make the call with my father but he is in a nursing home and I can’t be with him because of Covid. He is planning on having a video chat with his mother so maybe seeing him will help. That was his decision.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to LAnn123
Report

Lann, how did it go? I did read one of ur replies. I hope that you are aware that your POA for Dad is null and void upon his passing. You need to be an Executor or an Administrator to handle his estate.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
LAnn123 Feb 22, 2021
Yes, I know POA terminates on his death. I will be the executor of his will.
(1)
Report
Your grandmother is 99 and I wonder how much she understands and can accept. I would not lie but rather make some simple remarks directing the discussion in a different direction. She does NOT need to know the true facts. Just talk in general terms and keep steering the conversation into a safe area. Don't upset the apple cart any more than is absolutely necessary. Use "omission" rather than truth facts.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Rusty2166
Report

Imho, it's sometimes typical for an elder to ask when a terminally ill individual will get better. When my mother suffered an ischemic stroke due to one of her carotid arteries being blocked 100%, her 101 year old friend kept asking me "Is your mother getting any better?" I had to repeatedly tell this friend "My mother will die." Even then, she kept asking the same question.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Sounds like you need to get a medical authorization to her / an MD to insure you are the POA, if this is what you want to do. It sounds like your mother is cognitively impaired and cannot understand or comprehend what you are saying / she cannot process the truth, or perhaps not understand your words.

I advise you to do what is necessary to insure what she needs, legally, and otherwise is done, and smile a lot on the video. No point in 'trying' to convince or explain anything to her. Tell her he is 'fine' or sleeping / resting now and will get in touch with her another time. Keep it short and simple.

Do not expect more than this. She is 99. Just smile and support her to relax. And you take care of business. gena
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TouchMatters
Report

Don't tell her...there's nothing anyone can do...been there...done that....does she really have to know at 99?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to DiamondAngel14
Report

LAnn, how did the phone call go?

Are you doing okay? You have some big things going on and it is important that you rest and eat well during this difficult time.

Great big warm hug!
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
thank you for your kind words. I'm still stressing out over the situation. I think I'm going to write some information down so she has everything she needs to make a decision. I got to visit my grandmother a few weeks ago-with glass between us. She couldn't hear me on the phone we had to talk to.
(0)
Report
Make sure that a staff member is with her during the video chat in case she doesn't understand something you say. Let g'ma kind of take the lead on the phone call and ask what she wants to ask. At that point you can answer some as kindly as possible.

You might start off with I'm calling because dad is sick. More sick than the last time she talked to him. Then see what she asks about. If she is still asking for him to call her, let her know it's not possible (if he can't). If there is a way for him to video chat the same way with her baby boy, I say arrange it as soon as possible. If he cannot do a conversation, then just let her know he is now sleeping all the time and not talking to anyone.

If you can get a POA document sent to the facility, and g'ma is still aware of decision making, perhaps you can ask her if she will sign the paper so that Uncle XX can do the things that your dad was doing. If not Uncle XX, then who would she like to take care of her business. The facility staff person could help her fill in the document and maybe even have a notary on hand to help. If not a notary,a couple of witnesses.

I'm sorry you have to deal with trying to explain things to g'ma. Blessings to your entire family at this difficult time.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to my2cents
Report

If your grandmother has cognitive issues she may not be able to complete a new POA. She has to be competent. If you father is able to speak with her doctor he should find out if she is considered competent. If so then she can complete a new durable POA. Is she isn't competent then your Uncle will have to get guardianship of her.

It sounds as if speaking to your grandmother isn't going to be productive if she keeps asking for your father. Be gentle and kind but firm. Know you may get nowhere with her on your conversation.

Good luck and may God bless you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cweissp
Report

Omg, I'm sure I'm feeling like so many that that it is a heartbreaking situation for all, and although we all feel we have problems to cope with, then something like this makes us realize how things could be so much worse. I am so sorry you are in this position, but your sound very wise and capable and compassionate. How would (just wondering) it work if you were with Dad when you have your video call? YOu wouldn't be alone, they would be able to see each other...She already seems to know the worst of it, and I know it is heartbreaking to endure the loss of one's own child. You never expect to have to endure that...One of my grandparents had to endure that...and yet she survived. You don't get to be that age without being tough. She's probably way stronger than you realize, and with such a loving family she will survive as well. At some point I would want to explain how complicated it can get with the POA being out of state, and her possibly needing to add someone on....maybe you? How's her vision? Wondering if a Captel type phone might help in the future. Often people struggle more hearing female vs male voices. take good care and let us know how it goes.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to gdaughter
Report

Your grandmother's way of dealing with the horrifying news of your dad's end-of-life. It's HER way. You are dealing with it differently. Each method works for each of you.
There's nothing worse than having a child of yours die. She is grieving in her own way.
God bless her.
And you.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Bethanycares
Report

Having only just seen this, the video chat would have been done already. Any update?

IF grandma is still cognitively able, she CAN assign anyone she wants to be POA. It doesn't even require dad relinquishing his or her to remove dad as POA. It is all dependent on her capability and willingness.

So, IF she is still capable, perhaps asking her to assign your uncle as a backup, so someone is available if dad is undergoing treatment might work. She doesn't sound ready to accept dad's imminent passing, so this might be an alternative. It's always best to have at least one alternative named.

If she isn't capable (attorney can determine that, if no Dx of dementia - mom was in early stage when we needed to make some changes, and the atty quizzed her and said she could still make the decisions), the next steps are dependent on what her status is. This would likely require assistance from an EC atty. It may require guardianship. Although that generally does take time (and $), the process can be sped up when there is urgent need. The atty can guide you/uncle with that.

If her only income is SS, that can be resolved by uncle applying to be rep payee. Grandma doesn't need to be there, no atty is needed and there's no fee to apply or be appointed. Technically this is the only legal way to manage someone else's SS funds (per Social Security!) If she has other income, perhaps it is already assigned to the NH? If so, no need to do anything with that. The financial issues can be dealt with in some way, with or without her input. The medical issues would need some kind of HIPPA paperwork, assigning someone to be the point of contact.

Best bet, if grandma isn't willing or is unable to make changes is to consult with EC atty and seek guardianship. That overrides any POAs, so there's no need for dad or grandma to revoke. Discuss emergency guardianship with the atty.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to disgustedtoo
Report
Lymie61 Feb 19, 2021
I don’t think anything needs to be “revoked” in this case, just another POA added, in fact I think using the term “revoked” in relationship to anything having to do with her “baby boy” may have a much more negative effect than necessary. One can have as many POA’s as they want, which is not to say it’s always advisable but it is possible.
(1)
Report
You must also be sad and "pre-grieving" yourself. Such a sad situation.

A lot does depend upon how well your grandmother understands things. Is her denial not wanting to believe the seriousness of her son's condition or really not understanding.

Telling her he is in the hospital will have to do for now. She can still wish he would get better even if you (and she?) know he will not. It's not helpful to argue with her about that.

If she asks for him after he dies, you will just have to repeat that he has died.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to RedVanAnnie
Report

The conversation starts with Hi Grandma. Love you. Dad sends his love but is not able to talk now. He is very sick and no longer able to be your POA. I am handling Dad's business for him.
Do you want Uncle to be your POA? IF she has not been diagnosed with ALZ or dementia - and if she agrees - notify the nursing home that Dad will no longer be POA. Then get an attorney to draw up new POA or have Uncle's lawyer draw up POA . Nursing home probably has someone to handle legal signings anyway (notary) - so they can take papers to her.
Anyone can resign as POA. If she has dementia - Uncle will have to get guardianship. Your Dad writes letter resigning. Uncle is 2nd executor anyway - so it just means a trip to court.
If she cant understand - just have Uncle handle things and remind her that Dad is no longer able so Uncle is now doing.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to desert192
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
I like how you worded the possible letter. Unfortunately, things with my uncle have broken down. He sent a POA and she didn't sign it. She had stated that she'd sign one if it was the same in substance as the current one. I guess the one he provided was different. Notary said the gift amendment was different than any they'd seen before. There were many emails between him and the ALF and myself. My uncle has a terrible relationship with my father and has no relationship with me, so he doesn't think much of me either. He's basically told me and dad and the nursing home to figure it out on our own.
(0)
Report
The way to handle this depends GREATLY on what your grandmother understands.
If she has dementia there may be no reason to dwell on it. (You could tell her that he is in the hospital now so he can not talk to her)
Tell her that "Uncle Roy" will be taking over her finances (Is "Uncle Roy" designated as a POA? If not that might need to be done pretty quickly and if grandma is not decisional that might be a problem. "Uncle Roy" might have to obtain Guardianship)
If grandma can make decisions tell her exactly what your dad has said, he is very ill, he will not get better. If she asks to talk to him tell grandma he is in a Nursing Home where he is being well cared for.

If she is aware of what is going on if you can do a video chat with her and your dad this way she can talk to him, see him that might ease her a bit.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

If your Grandmother is still coherent then I would first just let her know that your Dad is sick and not getting better and no longer able to care for himself.

You don't have to upset her by dwelling on her son is going to die.

My Dad is 96 and he doesn't remember my sister died so no point in reminding him to live it over and over again.

It's very sad and prayers for all.

Your Dad has told his mom so if she heard and understands then she knows.

Is there anyway that your Dad can talk to his mom once a week as long as he can, to prepare her for what's coming.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

sorry to hear of the sad news of your father. If your grandmother has dementia she won't comprehend what you are saying anyhow, and I have not been in this situation. However, I think I would just explain that he isn't feeling well and is doing his best to get better but right now he can't call her due to him feeling weak. Let it go at that and hopefully the secondary son can handle things from here on out. But I would not mention that to your grandmother. Saying prayers that all will be pain free and that whatever your belief that things will be okay for whatever way they turn out. prayers and hugs.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to wolflover451
Report

I’m reading through some of this but didn’t get to it all. As I’m understanding things your 99 year old grandma may or may not even be deemed able to appoint a POA, does your dad have DPOA and is that in effect? Unless you have inside help from someone at her NH and or a family attorney actually making your uncle may be a mute point anyway.

However, if he’s still capable your dad can probably set things up so that barring any big changes (unlikely at 99) his brother maybe even with your help can take care of all the things that need to be done. He can give authorization to the nursing home for one or both of you to make decisions and get information, he can even make one of you the contact person, he can give you both HIPPA clearance with all of her doctors as well as make sure you have that on file with the NH and local hospital, he can give one or both of you full access to all of her accounts and a list of all the bills that need to be covered. In fact it might be really beneficial for your dad to sit down and make a list, get this all done perhaps with one of you if possible and set his mind at ease about what happens to mom once he’s gone and even take that burden off of him now. As for your grandmother your dad has already told her what’s going to happen, wether it be hearing or simply what she can or can’t digest now I wouldn’t keep hammering that in if her brain is still adjusting to the idea, she knows he’s very ill and that’s enough unless she wants to talk about the known outcome. You can accomplish the same things by approaching it as helping your dad rather than preparing for his death. It might be much easier for her to accept and want to help him rather than take time to prepare for her care when he passes. People can have multiple POA, all three of us (her children) are POA for my mom, yes that isn’t always a great idea when siblings can’t agree or get along but it works well for us and enables us to share in the responsibilities and it seems like adding your uncle so he can take the burden off your dad “for now” might be less scary to your grandmother. She can help her son rather than prepare her affairs for his death and this way she isn’t cutting out the person she trusts most and if she needs to feel like he’s still in charge and running everything by managing what others are doing so be it, it will help her feel more comfortable when he is no longer “managing” her care. I wouldn’t lie when she asks for updates on his condition but I wouldn’t keep driving home the fact that he will likely pass before her and something you and your uncle could both do is make those phone calls to her, keep in contact as often as your dad has been up until now.

Im so sorry your family is going through this, sending you all the love and strength I can muster.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Lymie61
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
as far as I know, my grandmother is competent. That's what the staff at the ALF say. She knows, me and other family members, etc. She just can't hear much at all so talking is nearly impossible.
My understanding is that my father cannot give access to her accounts to anyone who is not authorized to do so. She has many accounts, cds, etc that need to be managed.
I've spoken to several attorneys and they all say my grandmother, if competent, must appoint her own POA.
I'm going to contact the attorney who drew up the current POA for advice but he was rather useless when I called him first.
(0)
Report
Will you be the one managing the transfer of POA to another?
Will you be managing your grandmother's affairs from now on?

If not, you don't have to be as indepth about your your father's situation. If you can make a phone call to her from your father's room and if he is still able to speak, then let them talk together. You would probably want to preface to your grandmother that your father is deathly ill and can not manage more than a brief polite conversation. If she could not understand that, then just let her know your father is very sick and in a "hospital" and it doesn't look good. Expect her to offer hopes that he gets better since that is the "polite response" her generation was trained to offer. Call her weekly just to give her conversation opportunities and don't worry her by bringing up the topic of your father's health.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Taarna
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
No, it's ultimately not my responsibility, I know. I just feel like I need to help since I have access to my grandmother's checkbooks and papers that my dad has at his house. I look at it as helping him. But, I feel like my uncle needs to be the one to step in. He's not much help, though.
(0)
Report
How did this go?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to AnnReid
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
not well, so far. Still no progress. I've updated this thread at the top.
(0)
Report
If I was in this position and due to her age and hearing loss I would stir the conversation in a positive direction. “She is being well cared for, dad will call when he is feeling better and Uncle John and I will keep you posted.” Steer the conversation by asking her what she had for dinner, grandkid’s accomplishments, when you will call again so she has a different focus. Her time is limited and there is nothing she can do to change the situation. Keep your calls as upbeat as you can. I learned this from others. Hope it helps you.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to GGma81
Report

Does she have to know? Will she forget? Will you have to keep telling her- if so- don't. It may difficult because it seems he was apart of her routine. Someone else needs to step up and be there for her , in terms of visiting and being present.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to BeenthereDT
Report

Looks like from the date this conversation has already taken place. I hope all went well. What a difficult conversation and a difficult time since you can’t be directly with your grandmother. A friend of mine had to tell her mother some bad news via video. She said it was helpful to have one of her special caretakers with her at the time. Praying for you and your family!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Downhomemom1
Report

She needs to change her POA because your father can no longer act for her.

Okay. One consoling thought (in a way) is that many, many people never get round to creating a power of attorney at all, and yet their affairs still do get managed. POA makes it tidier and easier, that's all. So if it should turn out that your grandmother just isn't up to this nothing terrible will happen; and so it's worth attempting but not worth hurting anyone for.

How far have you got with the paperwork? If that can be got ready, and then maybe your father could write a brief explanatory note to go with it, and someone at her residence could support your grandmother with reading the material in her own time, she may be better able to manage it.

You can see why she would want him to confirm that this is what she ought to do. Does he not have any "better days" when he could call her?
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

I would ensure Grandma can see your face well, so she can lipread. Give her time to adjust to seeing you as well as hearing. (My Mother is so distracted by seeing she won't talk). Slowing down is important & keeping it simple.

People cling to hope. You can keep it real but with a focus on kindness instead of false hope. You can mention Dad's situation is serious but also that he has good care, he is comfortable/at home/being looked after (whatever is appropriate) & that you all love him. Maybe even that he feels blessed to have had her as his Mother (if that is not too mushy for you). Your goal will be to impart news with kindness.

Tell her you wish you could be with her for a nice hug. Tell her you are thinking of her & will call again soon.

(((Hugs))) for you for this hard situation.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Beatty
Report

I am so sorry you are going through this. It's good to hear your uncle is willing to take on the responsibility for his mother. I hope the transition of POA goes as smoothly as it can. You have more than enough on your plate caring for your Dad and your own family..
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Tryingmybest
Report
LAnn123 Mar 20, 2021
my uncle has indicated he is not willing to take on the responsiblity. We are exactly where we were in the beginning, unfortunately.
(0)
Report
LAnn123, I'm moving this info up so new responders will see the full context of your situation:

"She does need to know because she needs to change POA. I can’t take on that responsibility because I am already POA for my dad and will have to pay his bills, handle his healthcare, take care of his estate when he passes. I’m an only child and my parents are divorced so it all falls on me. I live 5.5 hrs away and have a family of my own that need me, too.

My Uncle is willing to take on the responsibility but my grandmother has said she won’t sign anything until she’s talked to my dad. They have spoken at least once about his situation and I hope my call will help, too. Although I am not authorized to do anything with my grandmother’s estate or finances I care about her and cat help but take on the additional stress."

I don't know how the PoA can be changed without both your grandma and father being present in front of a notary to sign the paperwork AND if your grandma has a medical diagnosis of dementia or ALZ etc, she won't be able to do it legally anyway. I think you are able to resign your PoA but not sure what happens after that step. This may be a question for an elder law attorney for your grandma's state. I'm so sorry for this distressing dilemma. May you gain peace in your heart.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Geaton777
Report
LAnn123 Feb 16, 2021
Thank you.
(0)
Report
#1 Why isn't your Uncle looking after this?
#2 There is no reason that uncle (with your father's authority) can't be a little proactive in setting up auto payment of almost everything, or hiring a geriatric care manager to keep on top of things, which would buy time if the paperwork can't be finished until afterwards.
#3 You have already stated that your father informed her in a blunt way that he is terminal, I'm very doubtful that a video call is going to be any more comprehensible to her than that. Has anyone thought of putting it in writing?
#4 Are you certain that she really has the cognitive capacity to understand and to appoint a new POA?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to cwillie
Report
LAnn123 Feb 16, 2021
I’m not sure about her cognitive ability to appoint new POA. It is a concern, of course. My uncle was going to try to get guardianship but that will take longer, I guess. He is working on it but my grandmother is stubborn and said she wouldn’t sign anything without talking to my dad. She’s a tough and smart lady, lol. It isn’t really my responsibility. I’m going to call her because I think I should talk to her about my dad’s health, anyway. I’ll pass the info about the geriatric care manager. The thing that I can’t believe is that no one (yet) seems to know what to do in this situation. This can’t be the first time the person with POA becomes incapacitated.
(1)
Report
See 2 more replies
You talking to Grandma may get the message through to her that your Dad is terminally ill. My mother has dementia, but she figured out that something wasn't right with my dad. We never did give her the full details, because it didn't matter, but I disagreed with my dad that she shouldn't know he was dying. He wanted to protect her, but I told him that after 66 years of devoted love and care on both their parts, she had a right to care for him as best she could at that time. She couldn't do anything beyond holding him and loving on him, but it was important to both of them in the end.

Your conversation with Grandma should convey that he's very sick and needs her to love on him now. The details aren't relevant unless she wants to know them, but I believe she has a right to know as much as she wants to know. The fact that you'll be telling her the same information your dad has already told her may finally help her realize this is reality. Of course, if she doesn't accept it, so be it, but you'll have given her the opportunity to say to him what she needs to say.

Frankly, we should always tell those we love how much they mean to us without a crisis prompting us, so you can always tell Grandma that she can tell your dad what she wants, and if he recovers, more the better. Tell her what she means to you "just because," while you're at it.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MJ1929
Report

What a terrible task to have on your hands, I'm very sorry to read about it.

I should start as you mean to go on. You will, and I assume you will want to as well, be taking over your father's role in your grandmother's life, and I'm sure you will do your best with it. It's important to realise, though, that there are limits to what you can accomplish and not to wring your heart over not being able to replace him.

With tomorrow specifically, how much does your grandmother *need* to understand? I agree that you shouldn't lie to her, but you don't either have to burden her with more than she can handle. Begin with focusing on her, ask about her and how she's doing. You're calling her because you want to talk to her, not for any other primary purpose. Make that true, before you connect.

She will ask about your father, no doubt. You shouldn't need to lie. Tell her he is very unwell, and that his doctors warn that he will probably not be able to recover. That he isn't well enough to call but wants her to know he is thinking of her. That your uncle and you, between you, will be there for her.

Her son is dying. Don't disrespect her by trying to shield her from all grief, but don't keep shoving it in her face, either.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
LAnn123 Feb 16, 2021
She does need to know because she needs to change POA. I can’t take on that responsibility because I am already POA for my dad and will have to pay his bills, handle his healthcare, take care of his estate when he passes. I’m an only child and my parents are divorced so it all falls on me. I live 5.5 hrs away and have a family of my own that need me, too.
my Uncle is willing to take on the responsibility but my grandmother has said she won’t sign anything until she’s talked to my dad. They have spoken at least once about his situation and I hope my call will help, too. Although I am not authorized to do anything with my grandmother’s estate or finances I care about her and cat help but take on the additional stress. Sigh.
(1)
Report
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter