What are my legal rights when an out of the area, no POA and non-family member takes my dementia Mom (94) from AL to unknown places?


My mother is 94 and has some type of cognitive decline and deficit. She does not make good, safe or wise judgments about people and thinks she always needs to say yes to everyone for everything. She is all bent over, and must use a walker to even put one foot in front of the other. She moved from another county 7 months ago to AL near me. When I took care of her previously, I did not allow anyone to take her anywhere because of a history of lapse of consciousness. At that time I always drove my mother to wherever she wanted to go to meet her friends for lunch or dinner. I sat in a different area of the restaurant so that my mother could visit with her friends unencumbered. At the AL they will not prevent her from going with nonfamily members. These people do not let me know what their plans are and they do not have POA authority or any other medical documents for my mother. These people are in their 50s. I am 70 and the only one who shares the medical POA with my mother. It seems to me that they have an inappropriate, financial agenda of some sort with my mother. In the past, even her trust lawyer was concerned about these same people. I have told these people that my mother has dementia, thinking they would respect her limitations and not do things like this, which I think are irresponsible on their part. They drive 4 hours to visit my mother and stay overnight and take her somewhere to do girl things. What is that? And I am sure that she pays for everything. There is at least a 40 year difference in their ages.
I am so frustrated and concerned. I do not think this should be happening. I believe a normal thinking person would not want to take the responsibility of the risk that some emergency could happen while they have my mother out somewhere. What would they do...Would they call 911...Would they call the AL...Would they call me...I am not sure they would. My mother does not understand or acknowledge her physical or mental limitations as real and certain facts. She lives as though she believes she still has the faculties, both physical and mental, of a 60 year old. Consequently, her friends treat her in that same way.
I do not like the feeling that I have when I think about these people, who I believe want something from my mother that is inappropriate, putting my 94 year old mother with dementia into their car and going to who knows where, for who knows what, and for how long, with the possibility that my mother will again have another lapse of consciousness. Also she is under her doctors care to manage her very high blood pressure, which is as high as 220. Her doctor says if it is not brought under control soon, she will have a stroke and she will die. My mother still thinks that taking and charting her blood pressure daily is unnecessary. I just want to scream about all of this nonsense.
In your estimation, is there any firm reason why these people should not be taking my mother in their car, away from the AL... Is it bordering on elder abuse... Or, am I being completely unreasonable, and should I be glad that my mother has friends who will take her places...
I would like some input from others who have been faced with the same or similar situation.

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Everyone is indeed different. I am only looking for some compassionate support in a very difficult situation. I am not chastising all people who happen to befriend older people. I have always had a lot of friends who are much older than me. But I have not taken advantage of them and they have not tried to manipulate me. You have misread my intent. Go back and re-read both of my posts. Example of an agenda that I am referring to: one "friend" of my mother is a realtor; an excellent, million dollar level realtor. When she found out that my mother was relocating to Assisted Living, the realtor immediately told my mother that she needed to reconsider keeping her house - that it would be much better to sell it right away. And the realtor friend then told my mother that she would come over to my mother's house and help her go through all of her possessions and that she, the realtor, would help my mother distribute all of her household goods to the family. As though my mother didn't have family to help her with those kinds of things if she needed it. My parents built the house to be able to pass it on to family members into the future. And my parents had already made decisions about what would go to who. I do not believe it is my overthinking that the realtor friend crossed the line in approaching a business agreement with my mother without first asking questions in reference to the house and its contents. Actually, I think both of those questions are none of anyone's business, especially when it appears that there is a conflict of interest. The realtor friend had already been told of my mother's mental decline over a year ago. She knows it and understands it. Her father had mental decline many years ago and she acted as though she completely understood me. If she does understand, then she is taking advantage of my mother's inability to make good decisions. Maybe it is time for some of you people to wake up and realize that the world does have some not-so-nice people in it. And if we are not able or mature enough to see and accept the red flags that life reveals to us about the misdeeds of others, we will be stuck in some very deep, dark pits that will be very hard and messy to climb out of.
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Also, the corporate head of the tax department I worked with - could ignore everything short of a nuclear strike - very useful when dealing with the IRS. Actually, magpark, it seems to me that you are judging too much based on your own ideas of what is appropriate. People differ a very great deal. One of my sisters is a regular visitor to a frail woman who is now in AL - they worked together years ago and never lost touch, although there is a 30 year difference in ages. This woman's family a continent away if very appreciative of her efforts and SHE HAS NO AGENDA - i.e., it is not always about money.
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Well, I'll just say this - when I was stuck in an LA skyscraper with an elevator that was going up and then down without anyone pushing its buttons, I sure appreciated the people who, like your mother, stayed calm. A screaming fit would have helped no one and would have simply interfered with the conversation over the emergency phone.
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Magpark, boy, that is very, very strange. I'm with Babalou.
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You need to take your mother for neuropsych testing which will demonstrate her inability to reason. Pictures of the brain are one piece of the puzzle;a neuropsychologist can demonstrate what she can no longer handle on her own. You need to pursue guardianship. Please talk to her trust attorney about finding an eldercare attorney who can help you with this.
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From the beginning…My parents moved 4 hours away from me 43 years ago in 1972. They have known these people for 25 to 35 years. One of them they met was a woman in a service organization where my parents were active members. This woman today is 59. She told my parents at least 20 years ago that she didn’t like her own parents and asked my parents to be her surrogate parents. My mother was absolutely flabbergasted at the idea. My parents did not like this woman and had no desire to be her surrogate parents. They told me she was weird. Subsequently, for Christmas one year, the woman gave my parents a life story album to complete and to give back to her. The album is still sitting in my mother’s bookcase, with nothing filled in. My parents were put off by this unwanted gift. My mother said at the time when she showed it to me that she had no intention of completing any information in the book. She should have given it back to the woman or thrown it away. Both my older sister and I felt uncomfortable about this woman. In the service organization, the members wore uniforms while on duty. My dad was handsomely striking and dashing in his uniform, even when he was 85 years old (1999). It seemed to us that the woman had a crush, or more, on our dad. I do not recall any conversation with my parents during these years, prior to 2007, about my parents being social with this woman and her husband outside of the service organization activities. Then things changed.
In 2007 my dad passed away at 92. I had been with my parents for a few weeks before my father’s death, and I was with my mother for a few weeks after my father died. Suddenly, the woman called and wanted to come over to my mother’s house and spend the night there with her after my father’s death. The woman specifically told my mother that she would only come after I left to go home. She had my mother call her the moment I left the house, and she arrived at my mother’s house and spent the night with her. I felt creepy about it. Before I left my mother, I asked about her decision to allow someone who she did not like to come over and spend the night with her. Her response to me then was, Right after your father died, I decided that when someone wants to do something for me, I need to accept it as though they are giving me a real gift. And I must always say yes to a gift from anyone. My sister and I decided that our mother had flipped. She never had difficulty saying no before that time to anyone. Somehow, her mind began shifting in regard to judgments about people. She was 86 at the time, with no physical difficulties at all, and we thought, no mental deficits.
Soon after that, my mother orchestrated a monthly picnic group of younger women, 40’s and 50’s, who were connected with the service organization, including the woman mentioned previously. I kept thinking that the others organized the group and just included my mother to be nice.
My older sister died in 2010, leaving me as the only one to help my mother. Before that time, my sister always foresaw my mother’s needs and took care of them without involving me. It is something she just naturally did on her own. There was a lot that I was to discover about my mother that I had not previously known. In 2011 I discovered that my mother was the one who was organizing the monthly picnic groups. Later that same year my mother had a mastectomy. I lived with her 24,7 for 4 months until she was able to take care of herself sufficiently. During that time I was able to see for myself that my mother was unstable in a lot of areas that I had not recognized before.
Before I went back home after her surgery, I told my mother that I would come and visit twice a month instead of my regular once a month visit. She became completely disheveled. She demanded that I not come that often, that once a month was even too much. I ignored the last comment and continued to visit once a month. I had been doing that ever since my sister died. Before she died, my sister and I would alternate once a month with a visit to my mom after my father died. Prior to that time, we both visited whenever we could and whenever our parents were home; they travelled a lot of the time and weren’t always home. After my father died, my mother did not have the desire to travel as she had done with my father.
Now, it’s 2013, December. My husband and I had planned to make our regular visit to my mother’s early in December. She was going to visit my sister’s family later in December for Christmas by train. When I called to confirm our date of arrival, my mother told me that she had fallen outside, but was not hurt. She had called 911 and the paramedics came, but she refused ER transport. My husband and I left a few days earlier because of the fall. I was concerned. We spent 5 days with my mom. The last day we were there she admitted that she had not gone to see a doctor about her fall, and she had not had an xray or other tests. Previously, she had indicated to me that she had done that. Before we left, two important things happened. First, my mother asked my husband to go to our insurance company near us and obtain a free walker for her. Suddenly, she had decided that she wanted a walker for when she was out at a restaurant or shopping. We would do that for her and bring it to her. Second, I had her promise me that in the morning she would go to the doctor’s and get an xray, etc. and then I would call her after I thought she had more information.
We went home. The very next day, in a driving rain storm, my husband battled the freeways for over an hour to the insurance company office, got the walker my mother specifically requested, and drove the hour or so back home. While he was out, I called my mother to find out about the doctor and the xray. I could hear a funny noise in the background on the phone. I asked her what the noise was. She said, Oh. I’m on the freeway. My mother had quit driving on freeways many years before that day. I asked her why she was driving on the freeway. She then said, Oh. I’m in the back seat. My friends are driving me back home. Back home from where, I asked. They took me to the next town over to help me buy a walker that I need. I was furious. When I asked her why she hadn’t called me first, she replied, I’m trying to be a good little girl and not interfere in your life anymore.
That did it. I was done. I knew that the next time I went for our visit in January, we would not be leaving her alone again. It took the weeks in between for my husband and me to prepare ourselves for this change of direction in our lives. My husband has a business and I operate a ministry with a website. We put everything on hold to care for my mother until we could get her to live with us or to move closer to us.
The friends who took her to get the walker had no idea that my mother had already asked my husband to get the free one for her. My mother manipulates other people to do things for her. Then she tells me how nice all of these people are and how wonderful they are to offer to do these things for her on their own. These particular friends, a couple, are from my mother’s church and seem nice enough. But with their medical background, they should understand dementia, and they should know that when dementia sets in, it is time for the family to cover all of the bases and others need to begin to back off.
I also discovered that my mother did go to the doctor’s that morning. But she said she went because the Mr. of this couple insisted that she get an xray and told her he was going to take her to the doctor himself. When I reminded her that I had been the one the day before that asked her to do that, she didn’t have anything to say about it. She hadn’t forgotten. My mother has a better memory than I do and always has. It was a sign to me that she was following the direction of others and dismissing me and my suggestions. I later discovered that my mother would call this person to ask medical advice instead of calling her own doctor. This guy would tell her what to do about bladder infections, broken fingers, arthritis, colds, etc., and she would do exactly as he told her to do.
During the time my husband and I were preparing for the long stay with my mother, I spoke to several other people who were caring for older parents, and spoke with professionals. One warning I was given was that sometimes, with certain kinds of dementia, the elderly person completely shifts loyalties to the people or person who is most often in their physical presence and most often doing things for them, and at the same time disengages from the family to the point of requesting that family members are no longer allowed to even visit. I knew that I could not allow that to happen with my mother.
The couple who took my mother to get the walker had already positioned themselves to pick up my mother and take her grocery shopping, take her back home, and then put the groceries away. Sounds nice and helpful. Then she cajoled them into taking her trash cans out and back in again. Yes, helpful. They also would invite her over for dinner to their apartment and cook huge dinners, showing off their cooking abilities. That sounds nice. Again, with their medical background I could just hear them telling my mother, We would love to live-in with you at your house and be your permanent caretakers. We could cook for you and help with your physical and medical needs. Then you could stay in your own home as long as you wanted. Why would I think this? The comment my mother made to me in their car, in the back seat, was audible to them. They heard her comment. And it hasn’t changed any of their behavior toward my mother. I can tell you, that if I was helping an elderly person, and I overheard them telling their adult child that they didn’t want to interfere in their life anymore, I would question the appropriateness of my further help. Red flag. Time for me to quit and to contact the family so they could more easily straighten things out with the elderly parent.
Now it’s January 2014. My husband and I visit my mother, but we don’t tell her that we are not leaving right away. The first night during dinner my mother has a loss of consciousness episode at the table. She was out for 15 minutes. Paramedics came and took her to the ER. The ER doctor told her no more driving. Yes, at 92 she was still driving with the DMV’s blessing. She had never been in an accident and had never gotten a ticket, and had never taken a driving test either. The ER doctor gave us the run-down about what to do if the episode happened again, Lay her flat, make sure she is breathing, then call 911.
My mother always had a way about her to be meeting people for lunches and dinners. I knew I could not allow anyone to take the responsibility of taking her in their car somewhere and then be expected to follow the doctor’s directions if she passed out again. I didn’t think it was appropriate. So, I arranged to drive her to wherever she wanted to meet a friend. During that time, I informed the service organization woman of the situation with my mother, her instability, the passing out, and the dementia. She said she understood because she was helping her husband deal with his elderly mother, getting her into an assisted living place and dealing with her dementia. I believed that she was a supportive person, wanting to see the best thing for my mother.
Many things changed for my mother, and it made her furious at me. We had several arguments. This is a mother who never raised her voice at me while I was growing up. Never. I got grounded when I disobeyed. But my mother never verbally abused me. Now, at this point in time, that is all she was giving me. Including silent treatments, sometimes lasting for a few weeks. I was paralyzed to do anything about it. I was not used to this kind of personality in my mother; Where did it come from? What am I supposed to do about it? It was a long journey. After many months my mother finally agreed to visit an assisted living place near us. It took another two months for her to agree to move. But, that wasn’t until she just about had me bamboozled.
A few months before, I finally called my mother’s trust attorney. I had been afraid to call because of my fear of my mother’s possible retribution if she ever found out about the call. When I explained all that was going on, he said, Who are these people anyway?! He wanted names. I told him who they were. Then after listening to more of the story he said, What do they want? I didn’t know what he meant. He said, They want something from your mother…money, the house, etc. That had never occurred to me before. Why would someone attach themselves to another person just because they think they will be named in the person’s will? That seemed stupid to me. But the lawyer insisted, These people have an agenda and you need to find out what it is.
The attorney followed up by telling me to write a sincere letter to the couple and thank them for their assistance, but that it wouldn’t be needed any longer. He also told me that if they were decent people, without an agenda, they would respect the letter and not interfere anymore. It was a genuine letter of appreciation, enumerating all the things they had done for my mom, but that my mother’s family would now be taking care of everything from now on and that my mother would not need their assistance. We have seen them at my mother’s church a few times, and they have never acknowledged our letter. But, for months after the letter, they continued to call my mother about her needing the trash cans put out or taken in; asking if her bladder infection was better; if she needed them to pick up any groceries, etc. That was all happening while my husband and I were living with my mother in her house. Even after my mother moved, they were still calling her to check on her medical issues…and yes, I am sure that my mother has made her own share of calls to them. For all I know, they are still calling my mother and she is calling them. And, yes, I do believe that this couple did receive our letter – nothing got lost in the mail.
I have also been told by professionals in the field of elder care that when the elderly move on to assisted living, the friends left behind usually fade away over time and after about 6 months are no longer communicating with the elderly person on a set, regular basis, and certainly they do not go to the assisted living place for visits, especially if the friends left behind are much younger. Those are hard and fast statistics from studies that have been done. But this happened only when the friends left behind are more mature people and literally have no agenda to protect in connection with the elderly person.
My mother’s attorney also advised me to read every letter that came to her, after she had read them, and to listen to every phone conversation that I could without my mother knowing it. I felt like I was betraying her. But I am glad I followed the attorney’s direction. Several weeks before my mother moved, one of the violent outbursts that she pursued with me was about her not wanting to move from her home and not wanting to leave all of her friends. She pounded her fists on the chair and shouted angrily at me. A few hours later she got a call from the service organization woman. My mother was outside in our back yard, thinking she was far enough away from the house to have a private conversation. Here are just a few of her comments, Yes, I did…Yes, I did that, too…No! I didn’t…Yes, I did…I dug in my heels and I dragged my feet as long as I could. Yes, I put up a fight. All of this was spoken with much laughter with this friend.
Oh, my. My mother’s whole tantrum was a show and a button-pusher to me. She knew she would later relent and agree to move. But she was going to make it as hard for me as possible and make me pay for it by her attitude toward me. What an eye opener.
Basically, because of what I unearthed, I know enough about all of these people that they have sabotaged and continue to sabotage everything I have tried to do, and presently do, for my mother’s well-being.
My mother was even planning for the service organization woman to spend the night in her apartment in the assisted living place. That is cause for eviction unless the non-family member is finger printed, has a background check, submits a photo ID and has a TB test. The director told me that with those parameters, most non-family members choose to spend the night in a local hotel instead, and usually do not come from far away distances to even visit.
So, this weekend, two of the service organization women drove down here to where my mother now lives, took her out to dinner last night, and picked her up this morning to do girl things, whatever that meant.
Last night I called my mother to say hi and that is how I found out about what was going on. She had just returned to her apartment when I called. So she told me about her excursion out to dinner. But, she had not told me ahead of time of her plans. I simply do not understand how anybody would want to take on the responsibility of an elderly person, who depends on a walker and could pass out anytime, and put them into their car and go anywhere. I would not do that.
The assisted living place cannot prevent their residents from going anywhere that they want to go, and they cannot prevent them from going with any particular person. Unless there is a doctor’s directive. So far, that is not forthcoming. My mother did have several consultations with a UCLA neurologist. When I asked the doctor what the MRI showed, the neurologist said, Your mother’s brain shows signs of shrinkage; but nothing more than is common for her age. No, no signs of dementia.
I know my mother has some kind of dementia, but without a doctor’s diagnosis, there is nothing I can do about it. It took 10 months for me to get my mother to a neurologist for these tests. To find a second opinion would be hard to explain to my mother. She is extremely intelligent and has hardly any memory issues.
In addition, I myself have had older friends who have been very valuable in my life. But, when they became elderly and needed the attention and assistance of their family members, I willingly let them go, knowing that I will see them again when it is my time to pass on. I did not hold onto them insistently, telling them to buck the system and act rebelliously to their adult children. If anything, I encouraged their adult children that what they were doing for their parents was the right and best thing to be doing.
One of you asked about fear vs. smiles after being with some of these people. My mother does not show signs of appropriate emotion. She does not show fear; she is always smiling, no matter what. It is like the frog in the warm water that slowly heats up to boiling. The frog dies because it never senses the water getting hotter. My husband and I were stuck in an elevator with my mother last year. My husband is retired from an emergency service career. When the lady on the elevator phone informed us that the worker she was going to call to assist us was more than 35 miles away at 4:00 in the afternoon, already rush hour traffic in our area, my husband began to shout loudly into the phone that she had better get someone else, like call 911 for us. She kept refusing to do that. I was beginning to panic. It had already been about 20 minutes in that elevator. We knew another 45 to 60 minutes or more would be disastrous. Finally a man heard us calling out for help and he came and did something to get the doors open and we were rescued. During the whole incident, my mother stood calmly and perfectly, unruffled as though nothing odd was happening. In my estimation, that is part of her dementia. She has no emotional reaction where a normal person would react emotionally in some way. If my husband and I had been as stoic as my mother, we would not have called out for help, and no one would have known we were in that elevator. My mother has lost that. So, she fears no one. Remember, if someone wants to do something for her, it is a gift and she is compelled to say yes. So, no one can judge her feelings about other people; she doesn’t feel; feelings are not a good measure for her.
Your questions about her blood pressure. My mother has been on three blood pressure medications for many, many years. But she insists that she does not have high blood pressure. Her previous doctors would never change anything even though her readings would be very erratic at doctor appointments. Her new doctors are much more diligent. She now has a cardiologist. He has changed her meds twice. During this time he asked that the nurses at the assisted living take her blood pressure twice a day for two weeks. It was hardly ever under the 150 that the doctor hoped for. So, he requested the same thing again with a new med. But my mother complains that the reason the reading is so high is because she has to walk down the hall to the nurse’s station and then wait for the nurse to take the reading. She wants them to come to her apartment. She does not do it herself. But, she does administer her own meds. I think that is something that needs to change. We and her doctors have wondered if she is manipulating her symptoms of several conditions by taking and then not taking her meds, just to show who is in control. Her agenda is about who is in control – it is her, as far as she is concerned.
My cousin is having similar problems with her dad, my mother’s brother. Our research has shown that people with certain kinds of dementia are not capable of understanding that they have any physical problem – even a broken leg does not convince some elderly that they have a physical limitation. It becomes impossible for them to mentally understand the reality of the issue. I believe that is where my mother is. In 2013 she broke a thumb in a fall and did not go to the doctor or tell anyone for over a year because she believed that nothing was wrong. Now she can’t use the thumb because it is crooked. It can’t be fixed now, but if she had gone to the doctor immediately, he could have fixed it.
I hope that clears it up for all of you. Basically, from most of your responses, I gathered that you understand my concerns and do not believe that I am not being unreasonable. Today I am more relaxed about all of this. Your comments have helped me a lot. Thank you. I know that I cannot control everything that my mother does, says and believes, but I can still be available to her when she needs real help. I have done all that I know how to do. God needs to do the rest now.
That's enough for now. There is more to the story - two more couples who create havoc. Later for that.
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magpark, Along with "who are these out of area non-family member people", what is your basis for saying " seems to me that they have an inappropriate, financial agenda of some sort with my mother?"

This whole situation is shrouded in mystery. Please let us know what is going on?
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Oops! You're right, Babalou, it's county. Magpark, on re-reading your post, I see that you have talked to them, you do know them. Maybe you weren't direct enough. You say you told them about her dementia "thinking they would respect her limitations." Maybe you assumed too much, maybe they don't understand the implications of her having dementia, since they're so much younger. Did you tell them about her blood pressure issues? Her previous losses of consciousness? I think this is one of those cases where being direct and complete might help. Call them, tell them you're concerned that they may be blindsided by a medical emergency when your mother is with them, make sure they understand fully her condition and see what they say. I can't imagine what financial agenda they might have other than maybe an occasional expenses paid weekend. And if they spend their time with your mother, and she enjoys it --- have they maybe earned it?
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About mom's blood pressure...is there a nurse at the AL who can take it and chart it? If your mom has a cognitive problem, she would/might have difficulty with the bp machine and in keeping a chart. And in understanding why it's important. Is she taking her NP meds consistently? Is the AL dispensing them? This seems like a bigger problem to me.
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I think she moved from another COUNTY, not country. How does mom's lawyer come to know these folks? Do you have a diagnosis other than "some kind of cognitive decline"? It seems to me that if you had a dx of dementia, it would be clearer to all parties what mom's limitations were.

It sounds like you need to talk to these folks about what her I'm parents are, what you'd like them to do in an emergency. Is there a reason that you can't or don't want to?
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