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My mother is a recovering addict who has been clean for about 5 years, but not by choice. She was weaned from the drugs by her boyfriend. Our family would like to be involved and keep up on her condition, but her boyfriend has been successful at ostracizing her from everyone for about 20 years now. I really have no idea how to move forward. She is currently living in a nursing home and her boyfriend has instructed them that we are to know nothing about her condition. We live on the other side of the U.S. and I am afraid that if she passes, or something happens, we will never know. As a child, she left us and went to live on the streets due to her addictions. She's elderly now, especially with her condition that leaves her without the ability to communicate effectively. It saddens me to stop trying to communicate with her, but it's been an uphill battle for so many years. Any advice on how to go about supporting her on a long distance basis when the boyfriend has threatened the nursing home staff if we do contact her?

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homecookin, he has a medical POA; that does not necesarily give him rights to restrict visitors she wants to have, unless those visits have been harmful to her in any way. It sounds like he just moves her to a new nursing home when he is accused of abuse. Youhave two viable options besides just letting this ride:

1. Get an eldercare attorney involved to get a copy of the POA and if boyfriend has not been acting in her best interests and/or violating the terms of the POA, he should be removed as POA. Most are written so the responsibilities are spelled out along with consequences for not fulfilling them. If this does not look like a strong enough case, then you should try to get guardianship. Hopefully you have documented everything possible.

2. You do not say if the abuse had been reported to adult protective serivces. The nursing home staff includes mandated reporters so it should have been. You would talk with the social worker or director of the facility about this, who would be under no obligation to tell the boyfriend you had done so. A new report can made by anyone if past ones had to be unfounded.
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It's a question of your mother's best interests. She has a right to contact with her children, assuming that it would not be detrimental to her wellbeing. The next time you're asked about abuse, tell whoever is asking only what you know for fact, but also request that they treat her as being at risk of abuse. If they're into a**-covering they can always call in the authorities, at which point you can declare an interest in being involved.
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It has been my mother who has told us that he is abusive, as well as the nursing home staff. When she is placed into a new facility by him, the home or hospital constantly asks me if I know whether or not there is abuse. I can only tell them what my mother tells me, because we aren't physically there.
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My husband wants me to just leave everything up to God, so I think that's probably the wisest choice, until the next time we get a call from him saying he needs help. This is how it goes with them. He has never allowed her to really visit her family, but does allow her to see his. Our family has stood by her through thick and thin, but maybe letting go and letting God is the best. The claim of elder abuse was opened because my mother accused him of hitting her when she was at the hospital, probably about 7 years ago, not exactly sure. I have kept in touch the best I can. He won't ask for any other POA other than medical.
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Yesterday, her boyfriend called the nursing home to threaten them. I spoke to the staff and they said that he called was yelling, using profanity because my mother's family should not have any involvement. The staff there say that they are afraid and when I asked them why they allow him to talk to them like that, they said because of HIPPA. Since she left my father, yes she's made bad choices, however, I was the one who found the nursing home for her. I set everything up, and arranged for the social security survivor check from my father to go to them. Like I said, we have been in contact, but this infuriates her boyfriend. She has said that she misses us and wants to see us, but he won't allow it. Her boyfriend has called us for help on many occasions when my mother tries to commit suicide or overdoses. Of course, he also is an addict and has a difficult time functioning himself. He has medical POA, which was granted to him again after he asked me to convince the old nursing home where she was to give it back to him. So, I called them and asked them to reconsider. They were in the process of investigating a claim of elder abuse against him. The state came to their house to investigate and he yelled at them and again used profanity.
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We haven't per say been estranged. I am the only family that has tried to stick by her through her addictions and suicide attempts. She really has no one. I'm 40 now and it does sadden me to just let things go, but I suppose there may be no other choice. My husband and in-laws think that the only thing I can do is let time pass. I'm not sure really.
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Does the boyfriend have power of attorney and medical proxy for your mother? If he does, he is in charge. He got your mother off drugs, which sounds like a good thing. But you say he is abusive. Do you mean he has been physically abusive for the last twenty years? Have you had no contact with your mother for the last 20 years?

It seems to me that your mother has made some life choices that did not put her relationship with her children at a high priority. That is sad. It is heartening to her that you would still like to keep in touch. Have you tried sending cards and simple messages? Maybe a few snapshots? To the extent that Mom can recognize what they are that may give her comfort. That would be only a one-way communication, but that may be as good as you can do under the circumstances.

How did you learn that Mom was in a nursing home? Do you have any contact with her boyfriend?
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*Boyfriend is also an addict and there are no neighbors or family that want any involvement except us. Please any advice?
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You could try talking to the director of nursing (DON) at the nursing home. Ask her how you could communicate with your mother. I used to send a fax to the DON for her to deliver at the beginning of her next shift. Does boyfriend have the legal authority to direct who can do what around your Mom? Ask to see his controlling paperwork. If you have been estranged for 20 years, it may be difficult to restart the relationship at this point. Take care of yourself first.
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