My dear friend has Parkinson's, can no longer drive, and fell a few times in January. He only has for family an elderly sister and a nephew 3000 miles away. He has a lawyer that is taking advantage of him and I believe stealing all his belongings. The lawyer tells and portrays him as in very bad dementia. This is untrue. I am the one that takes him out about 4 times a week and I see him more than anyone. Once in a great while he gets confused, but is usually lucid and we have a great time. The lawyer is controlling and today said he couldn't go with me overnight to the lake and he has been looking forward to this. The lawyer and another person from the church are on his Power of Attorney and Health Car Proxy. I am at my wits end... it seems to me they dumped him here and don't give a crap about him and are stealing all his possessions. He is not that bad! Ugh. I don't know what to do? Any help will be appreciated!!

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Dear Fergal,

Your friend is lucky to have you. If you suspect any fraud or abuse it never hurts to call Adult Protective Services or the local bar association about this lawyer. I know its a lot easier said than done. If we see any wrong doing or hear of any wrong doing, it is better to air on the side of caution and act on it. I hope you can get the help your friend needs.
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My first thought was to contact the church friend (with the POA) and/or contact the nephew to find out more about this attorney who is causing suspicion. Where did this attorney come from? How long has he been involved? I'm thinking you need to find out things like that - if you haven't already. Have a frank discussion with the POA regarding your suspicions and provide as many specifics as possible. If your friend is currently in a facility, talk to the staff and/or social worker regarding where to go from here in terms of your thoughts/suspicions. However, if you are not POA they might be reluctant to involve you too much. And, I think freqflyer makes a good point that different times of day, etc can change things a lot. Sometimes people seem worse than they are - sometimes they seem better. Our mom will have a perfectly lucid conversation about how she does not need to be in a nursing home & will (without missing a beat) throw in a detail that's so outrageous it cannot possibly be true but she says it in such a way that it's almost believable. The mind can do terrible things to people.
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Fergal, that is so great that you are helping out your friend.

First question, who is telling you that the Attorney is taking advantage of your friend and is stealing all of his belongings? What purpose would the Attorney have to take your friend's belongings from the nursing home [as per your profile]?

Second question, are you absolutely sure your friend doesn't have dementia? With dementia there are times when a person does what is called "show timing" where they are able to be clear minded when friends come to visit and they all go out. But after that person gets back to the nursing home and you leave, he becomes a real handful for the Staff to control him. It could be that the Attorney is right.

Do you stop in to see your friend around the same time during the week? May I recommend you drop in off hours when he isn't expecting you, like later in the afternoon or in the evening to see if your friend has "sundowning". My Dad had sundowning and thought he was back in the 1940's.

As to where your friend lives, is he self-paying the cost of the nursing home as it can run around $10k per month. Or is your friend using Medicaid [which is different from Medicare] where Medicaid pays for his room/board and care? Not many continuing care facilities use Medicaid, and chances are this was the first bed available for your friend.
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