Would I be held legally responsible if Mom refuses to do (or not do) what the doctor orders and something happens? - AgingCare.com

Would I be held legally responsible if Mom refuses to do (or not do) what the doctor orders and something happens?

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Mom has mild dementia, is legally blind, and is very stubborn. She has been told not to drink or take certain OTC meds. She refuses to listen and founds her ways to get ahold of whatever she wants. I am her only caregiver and POA and I try my hardest to keep her on course, but she insists that she is an adult and can do whatever she wants. I am worried that if something happens, I will be held responsible. She lives by herself and can manage. Anyone have any ideas?

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It's best to ask an attorney because state laws may differ as far as what the duties of a POA are, but I agree with angelrescue that generally a POA is for when the person who assigned it is unable to make decisions of certain types either because of health issues or dementia. Guardianship is stronger.

As to whether we are to keep them our elders safe or make them happy - that's an individual decision. Unless someone has dementia- and being eccentric not the same thing as having dementia - my personal belief is that they have a right to be as happy as they can while they still have some life left.

This does not carry into areas where they can harm others such as driving a car when they are no longer capable of doing so safely.However, if they are not hurting others and don't have dementia then I'd vote for happiness. That would be my preference. If my choices shortened my life then so be it. Others disagree. However, I've seen what taking away what these elders deem pleasures (even if younger adults disagree) can do to the elder. Some just give up and die.

The bottom line as far as the original question goes is check state law if you are worried about liability with being POA.

Take care, everyone. Great discussion!
Carol
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Sounds like your Mom can still think clearly for herself even with mild dementia. Thus, she has to take full responsibility for her own actions.

My parents were also very stubborn and had age decline memory issues being in their 90's. I didn't like some of their choices, like still living in a house with a lot of stairs, so anytime they fell on the stairs, well it was their choice to stay in that house. I would just shrug my shoulders and say "and why are you still living in this house????"
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I thank you for your response, and have since spoke with an advocate who advised me that although it probably would not happen, I actually could be charged with elder abuse if I provide her with alcohol or meds that the doctor has expressly forbidden her to take. If she gets someone else to take her and gets them on her own, then no, I can't stop her. It is difficult as she claims I don't love her or take care of her because she is not getting her way.
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When I became POA for my parents, the lawyer and caseworker in his office explained that my job was to make decisions that would keep my parents safe....not to keep them happy. And yes, IF they are able to properly make decisions, they may make their own on various subjects....however, when it becomes obvious that they can no longer make proper and safe decisions in certain areas, then the POA must step in and take over. Assuming you have the Medical POW....and the necessary HIPPA releases that permit you to get info from her doctor, you should be able to communicate with her physician about her non compliance re: drinking and OTC meds. The physician can then go over the reasons again and if she continues to be non compliant, depending on the seriousness/importance of the meds that are interfering with alcohol and certain OTC meds, MD may either elect not to order the prescriptions, or elect to write a letter that says she is non compliant and therefore not able to make decisions about her medical care any longer. If she is non compliant, and no one can reason with her, then YES...you must not provide what she wants, and you would need to do what you can to be sure she does not get the alcohol or certain OTC drugs. If she drives, you can start the process to stop the driving; you could hire, with her money, caregivers into the home to supervise and monitor and drive. If it were really serious to her health and no one can reason with her, it may come down to having a neuro psych eval and see if she is diagnosed clearly with Alzheimer's or dementia and is unable to make responsible decisions. In Arizona, with two documentations from health officials that one is not able to make decisions, the full POA is in effect and the person cannot make any of their own decisions that are complex ones. If necessary, there could be a court hearing to declare guardianship, or, in my case, the lawyer helped each of my parents see that it was time to no longer live alone in the home, as they needed more supervision to keep them alive and healthy. It's a hard trek to walk, but just keep remembering that the job of the person with POA is to keep them SAFE....not necessarily happy or to ensure they get everything they want!
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Absolutely aroman, if you don't procure them for her but someone else does the only thing I would suggest is find out who they are and tell them backed up in writing that they must not do this because it will kill her. Then if they continue to do so you may have the opportunity from barring them from access to her or her to them but I suspect she will just use another route. They are damned cunning these oldies.
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I actually just asked my lawyer the same question because my mom is refusing to bathe and go to the doctor. He told me that my POA is not technically in effect until she ends up in the hospital or something and at that point cannot make a decision on her own while the doctor needs permission to do a procedure on her or send her to a nursing home. The lawyer told me only someone with Guardianship is required to make sure the parent is taking their meds, going to the doctor (even if it's by force - the emt sedating her to get her there), bathing, etc. So if she gets sick and ends up in the hospital, it will be her own fault, and then my POA would come into effect.
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Can I just say for any Brits on here and I know there are some (because AC is better than the UK forums IMHO) that POA requires you to act in the persons BEST INTERESTS. It says nothing about happy content want it is all about their best interests. Firstly there aretwo types of Lasting Power of Attorney – Property and Financial Affairs, and Health and Welfare. If I call the person who makes the POA the donor it will make life simpler.

A donor can appoint just one attorney, or more than one attorney, to act as follows:
"jointly" – they must always make decisions together
"jointly and severally" – they have to make some decisions together and some individually

Noe all the advice I have had is to have joint and several because in the event one person dies, goes on holiday, or whatever then the whole process goes down the tube

They have to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before they become active

If you have POA over health and welfare then you can decide:
where the person is to live
whether a care home or a nursing home is best for them, and which one
whether the person can continue to live at home with help from social services
You can also decide whether the donor should
receive healthcare treatment
not receive a particular healthcare treatment
stop receiving a particular healthcare treatment
Some donors may have made an advanced directive while they have "mental capacity".
If the donor made a decision, in advance of losing their mental capacity, to refuse future medical treatment (known as an advance decision), you cannot override their decision unless the LPA was made later and specifies that you have that power.

A POA over finance cannot determine any of the above HOWEVER

they are allowed to make decisions on the donor's behalf. These include:
writing cheques and paying bills
selling or renting property
carrying out their trade or business
honouring any contractual obligations
conducting legal proceedings on their behalf
The POA is allowed to make gifts in the following circumstances:
on customary occasions to those related to or connected with the donor i.e. birthdays and Christmas
to any charity to which gifts had or might have been expected to be made
as long as the value of each gift is not unreasonable in the circumstances

It is quite critical therefore that the POAS (if they are different) do at least speak to each other!
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lol yes they are. But, I found out that if she does go through someone else on her own, or takes a cab, nothing I can do. She still lives independently and I cannot control what she does without me. Thankfully, my responsibility is only to what I personally provide her with. Besides, she would never tell me if she did have someone else getting her things because she knows I would try to stop it. She already believes I have gone through her neighborhood and told all of her neighbors not to help her. (As if I had the time or inclination lol)
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The only thing you might be able to do is to try and stop the pharmacy from selling her the product but I fear that too would be a pointless venture as she seems to want to be able to get these meds and to get them by hook or by crook
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As difficult as it is to watch, everyone has a right to live their life the way they want to.
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