What is the legal obligation to provide care to an elder who is not incompetent? - AgingCare.com

What is the legal obligation to provide care to an elder who is not incompetent?


Here's the scoop -- my dad should not be living alone any longer. He can still care for himself, with allowances, but at the minimum he needs someone around in case he falls again. I can visit frequently, but living with him is out of the question.

After a stint in rehab, the hospital is urging him to go into a nursing home, but he's flat refusing. In the end, I agreed to stay with him "for a few days" to see how he does being back at home again.

My husband is concerned that this somehow means we've accepted responsibility for him, and if I leave and he's injured, we could be liable for some sort of neglect or abuse charges.

I think that since Dad is in full possession of his mental faculties (as assessed by the hospital!) and that my POA specifically says that I cannot compel him to do anything against his will unless 2 doctors have judged him incapacitated, that he has the legal right to stay at home, regardless of the wisdom of that choice.

(yes, I recognize the moral/ethical dimensions of this case. At the moment, I'm needing to know specifically about the *legal* aspects.)


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Would your dad wear an alert pendant to summon help if he were to fall? I hope so. My elderly neighbor is a fall risk - several of us try to watch out for him when he comes and goes but we obviously can't see him when he is in his house. It turns out that he fell after his sister left on Thursday morning - and lay there in a hot house until Sunday after mass when his sister came over again. He is still in the hospital 2 weeks later and is not likely to be able to move home again. He refused to wear a life alert or even to carry a cell phone. Can you share your worries with your dad and would he wear a life alert - to make YOU feel better?
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Sorry if this sounds like a laundry list of complaints but I am at my wits end. My 102 year old grandmother has lived with us in a home we jointly own with my husband and mother (4 owners) for 9 years. My mother moved out last fall and is not capable or willing to care for her mother. Grandma has her mental faculties but is constantly stressed and anxious about everything under the sun, and mostly about her money and how much things cost and her "bills". I have two very active and loud little boys ages 8 and 9, both my husband and I work with significant commutes, and have a hard time keeping up this big house even with help. We must do her personal shopping every week, arrange for and take her to appointments, all while trying to reassure her when she obsesses over the smallest of things- including how everyone is overcharging her for everything. She obsesses over receipts and adds each item with the exact cents, but insists that she pay for every cent of her personal expenses. She then will tell everyone how much she pays for things or if she gave money to someone for something (with the innuendo that she is being taken advantage of of course...) She is a bit manipulative in that she tries to use her money to influence people (I want to give you xyz..) and then if you accept she turns it around as if you are victimizing or preying on her. She doesn't trust anyone except her in home helper, who she confides everything in and now has helping her with her money (inappropriate?). She pays toward the upkeep and expenses of the house, and thinks we are making money off of her or would collapse financially if she didn't. She has had several serious illnesses over the last 5 years, including a broken hip, C-diff, Pneumonia, severe bronchitis... and each bout takes a toll on us as well. She has a helper come in a few days a week, can get to the bathroom and kitchen herself with a walker. My mother has financial POA and I have the Healthcare POA. She refuses to go to live with her sister (who wants her to) or an assisted living or nursing home-- and believes since she is part owner she has a right to stay (and she does...) But... My question is this-- I have my own health issues and am worn out... am I obligated to stay in and run/pay for this home so that she can live here? If I leave/move out, could I be charged with abandonment? Am I a hostage at this point? If I left and my husband stayed, he could not support us and this house together-- no way. Thank you.
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If he's not incompetent, you have no authority. If you have no authority, you cannot have responsibility. Your hands are tied.

I'm afraid you're in that horrible limbo where you just have to wait for him to crash and hope it's not a disaster. Sorry.
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Get him an Alert system. My Mom has Alert1. You are not legally responsible..

It's unfortunate he doesn't want help. I'm sure you'll be constantly worrying but he is making these decisions with out consideration for others...
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He is competent and his POA sounds as if it is a springing power of attorney. He has the right to make his own decisions and live with the results should they not turn out so well. At this point you can't "make" him do anything unless he is deemed incompetent, which it seems he is not. Just tell him how you feel, tell him your concerns (falls are deadly in the elderly) and that is all you can do. I don't see how you can be legally held responsible for a man who legally can make his own decisions.

Maybe someone else has a different take on this. Hope this helps.
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