Follow
Share

If she becomes incompetent I would have to make choices for her that she has expressed she does not want. I am not so sure I could handle the guilt about going against her wishes.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
Labs, you do know that you cannot be forced to do any hands on care for your mother or to have her in your home, right? One idea mentioned on his forum is when she needs to go the emergency room, you refuse to take her home. It is an unsafe placement since your medical problems prevent you from doing any care and her home is not safe because of health hazards. The hospital social workers then find her a placement. An option is for her to become a ward of the state. Love her, but stand clear - no way can you or any non-professional fix the mess.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Jennie has got it right. Do't take on the responsibility of Mom's house. You can't afford it and it will have to be sold when she applies for Medicare. can you apply for some subsidized housing for yourself. A studio apartment would be ideal. Not much housework and no room for Mom.
never mind what she has destroyed in your apartment or her home. There ate services that will come and just clean everything out so no effort on your part.
Definitely call in APS and tell them she is a danger to herself and others by her behavior. it is not healthy for either of you to live in a urine filled home nd her house is probably infested with all sorts of nasty pests. Fleas, cockroaches, mice, rats, bats. Is it even safe to live in? Is the plumbing free of lead pipes? does the house still have knob and tube wiring.
You are physically incapable of taking care of another adult so have your Dr certify to that effect.
There will be a way out so try not to stress about it and start aking phone calls in the morning.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Jackie, you absolutely have to get out from under this situation. Do you have a caseworker for your own disabilities? If so, that is the person I would first contact for advice.

If not, start by getting a needs assessment for your mother. Either call her county Human Services Department or the Area Agency on Aging to set one up. When they come and determine what she needs, make it abundantly clear that you cannot provide her care, or a place for her to live.

Yes, you love your mother. You can continue to love her while she is getting professional help.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I have no POA but have had my Mother , whom had a heartattack and didnt even know it since the day she was released from the hospital. I watched my Daddy who was my world go through small vessel disease and the last stroke he had he lost the ability to speak. Never the less I was always there for them, they were divorced for many years and my mother still speaks ill of him. He died in my arms and I do NOT wish for the same to happen with my Mother. she is in the early stages of Dimentia, Iv'e seen it happen before, but she is a cruel and evil woman who refuses to take care of herself. I don't know how to get power of attorney over her she is ruining my life and hers. She has destroyed her social security by forgetting to send them things, She forgot to re certify for her food stamps so i have been using my bill money to feed this woman who eats more than any man I have ever seen. I'm lost and in tears. I love her but I get no help from my sister she wants nothing to do with her, I cant afford a lawyer and she cant go back to her own house [ if you've ever seen hordes you can understand]. I myself am disabled, I have had 17 back surgeries and I will never get better I have severs nerve damage, no lower lumbar disks and constant pain, but she wants me to wait on her hand and foot, feed her, wash her clothes do this , do that. and all she does is waste the little bit of money she gets. can someone please point me in the right direction. And she wants to put the deed in my name but who has $250 for that, me again always me. Forgot to mention she urinates all over the bed so I bought her Always panties for $20, she wont wear them, she's destroying my landlords carpet and my dead fathers bed is now garbage which was brand new. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I doubt there is a caring person here who has not felt guilt. It's normal. This job, especially any kind of POA, is not for the faint of heart. It's a tough job no matter what capacity you are in.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I agree with joannes wholeheartedly. I am in the same position only now it is just dealing with my Mom who has moderate dementia, though sometimes it seems much worse. My mother and father always stressed that they NEVER wanted to be placed into a nursing home and I guaranteed them that I would never do that to them. Two months ago my mother was hospitalized and a doctor took me aside and told me that I had to put her into a nursing home, she was too much for me to handle on my own.

So how do you handle that when you have guaranteed someone you never would do it? None of us have crystal balls and we do not know what the future holds, we honestly cannot "guarantee anyone anything," we would like to, but the truth of the matter is that health situations can change in a moment and we may have to do things we never thought we could. I did not have to place my Mom into a NH because we found medication that turned everything around for us, but honestly I was at my wits end, I was frazzled, exhausted, stressed and depressed and had we not found medication to help, I was ready to put her into a facility that could take care of her, just so I could keep my sanity. That may sound harsh but I am a single mother with a 21 year old child who became very depressed over the stress in our household caused by taking care of Mom and although my mother needs me, my daughter needs me as well.

Down the road you will most assuredly have disagreements over how you handle her affairs, although they know they are having memory problems, they do not believe it is "that bad" and they do believe, "they can take care of themselves," even though you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they cannot. They make unwise decisions, they are sitting ducks for corrupt people to take advantage of and some family members. There will be arguments although you have to be strong and unfortunately treat them with respect but do what NEEDS TO BE DONE, NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY. You become the adult and they revert to being a child.

Your mother evidently trusts you and that is why she gave you POA, she trusts your judgement. If you give it up, you will have nothing to complain about or say about what the next POA decides.... can you live with that? Will the next person in line accept the POA? In my cousins family no one wanted it..... will that happen in your family? You will still hear your Mom complain and fuss and carry on, that isn't going to stop unless you move and refuse to give anyone your number, so you will still have some aggravation. Read what joannes wrote and read it again before you make your decision. If you really just do not care and do not want the headache then pass it up, but if you feel that you are the best person to make the decisions for your Mom then take it. If you are worried about telling some to eventually pull the plug on Mom or do not put in a feeding tube or do not resuscitate her, don't worry, by the time you reach that point you will most likely feel that "Mom has led a good life and it is time to let her go." All that is written in her Health Care Directive that her doctors and hospital should already have on file. You are here to just take care/assist them until they pass.

Good Luck and Best Wishes as you make this decision, I know it is difficult for you to make.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If you do not get a Durable POA (consider Health and Financial), then who do you suppose will make decisions in the event of incapacitation,

An advance Health care directive can deal with some medical treatments, etc., You might be in a Medicaid situation by then
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Don't give up the DPOA. I did and look what happened.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Do the DPOA and do what is right for you to ensure mom is safe and cared for. Get drs to declare in writing that she is incompetent to make her own medical, living and financial decisions first so it can't be challenged by mom or family. Then find care for mom whatever works for you and do it with no regrets. Believe me, doing it their way never works out in the long run and is more trouble for you --emotionally and time wise.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Debra - this may sound like a silly thing to say but I see from your avatar that you have a dog. Maybe you have a child. Well, for animals & children, we have to make decisions all the time, don't we? We may even find it necessary to choose a health procedure that may cause them pain. We don't hold a POA for them, but being their representative is implied. In our hearts, wouldn't we have hoped that we could never cause them pain or that we would always do what we thought they wanted? Sure. How much guilt would you feel if you had to choose a surgery for your dog with a known painful recovery, but you choose it to save them and protect them? I would hope that you might feel bad you had to do it but you wouldn't carry any guilt about the choice. The only difference between that scenario and your mom is that you have this document and you know her wishes. I believe that you or anyone else exercising a POA, and most especially when the patient is experiencing any form of impairment and decision making, would logically be required to consider any wishes of the patient within the reasonable light of the condition involved. You have sisters you can consult so that the three of you can hopefully be in agreement. The faraway sister is probably not the appropriate POA agent, and the near sister isn't who your mom wanted fair or not. When dealing with elders, we can be dealing with confusion, impairment, and irrationality that doesn't even rise to the level of incompetence. Yet what they want makes no sense for themselves or for their caregivers. You indicate that you might become an emotional mess when having to confront your mom about doing something she doesn't want. I'm going to suggest that you google "compassionate lying" and read about what we all eventually have to do when dealing with a compromised elder.

Please keep posting.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I think it is very important for the person giving POA Medical Proxy discuss this with the chosen person way ahead of the time when these may need to be exercised. These wishes should be put in writing and honored when the time comes. It is best if these documents be drawn up by an elder lawyer and properly witnessed. That way there can be no argument. Never promise someone you will never put them into a nursing home if this could later be inevitable
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

There seems some confusion here about what the wishes are that Debralee would have to go against. There's a big difference whether it's last wishes and how to die vs. wishes based on stubborness and irrationality. My feeling is it is wishes like never having to be in a nursing home and the like. I face a similar choice in the future too because my mother has completely delusional ideas about capable she still is and how serious her issues are. If she loses any more mobility she will have to go to an NH and I don't think she'll ever forgive me or anyone associated with it.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Respectfully, end of life decisions aren't the only ones that may need to be handled. With Mom, we kept seeing body damage to her car. She admitted not remembering how to get to familiar places. With macular degeneration, slow reflexes and memory loss, she was, in essence, driving impaired. As DPOA, I had to take her license away. Was she angry? You betcha! But the guilt I felt was nothing compared to the guilt I would have felt attending the funerals of those she may have killed on the road. Mom stated emphatically that she would never leave her home. Filling the house with smoke, ignoring filth, etc. told us she shouldn't live alone. We all know what we do and do not want, but reality often trumps wishes. Absolutely, having DPOA is stressful, challenging and arduous. But for me, as her only surviving child, it's a privilege to be able to help insure her safety and quality of life. It's definitely not for the faint of heart. My biggest piece of advice is to take care of yourself. Get as much rest as possible, don't ignore symptoms, take mental & emotional health days and never be too proud, embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Er, my last wishes would be a suite in the Georges Cinq Hotel in Paris with Richard Burton at my bedside reading to me and Champagne on tap…

Isn't the point that Debralee already knows that her mother's wishes are unlikely to be achievable in practice? And, as her daughter, Debralee very understandably does not want to be the person who has to compromise them.

For me, the question is whether anyone would do a better job as DPOA. Debralee, as you do understand your mother so well, you're likely to be able to get closest to what she wants, which is better than nothing. I'm still not saying you should take it on, necessarily, but do make sure that this very powerful legal instrument is in the hands of someone you can form a good working relationship with. That way you'll still be able to influence what happens, without having to be the bad cop.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I totally disagree go with your mom's wishes, hopefully she has it in writing, her last wishes are for a reason, respect them
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It's an invaluable document! Two years ago my then 83 yr old mom gave me DPOA. In March of this year she was diagnosed with moderate Alzheimer's. Things got worse quickly and in July, after months of gut-wrenching soul searching, I exercised my DPOA ( on advice of counsel) and moved her into an Alzheimer facility. I have no guilt. We do what's necessary out of love. But a word of caution, friend. Although I'm an only child, I was bombarded with verbal, text and emotional assaults by two family members. Times like this bring out the absolute worst in some people. I strongly urge you to have a ready to go support system that will have your back at all times. I also very strongly suggest you secure the services of an Elder Attorney. They aren't cheap, but are worth every red cent. I will pray for your situation. Stay strong!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I was DPOA for my husband. When I sat down with our five children to determine the alternates, we discussed trying to avoid the situation that you describe, Debralee. I told them that their father had some very strong beliefs, and that if they thought they might ever be faced with choosing to honor his beliefs or honoring their own, they should not take on that role. This was primarily in the realm of medical decisions, particularly end-of-life situations. (We didn't have enough money for the legal POA to be much of an issue.)

This wasn't about doing what their father "wanted" but rather what he "believed." If I died he might "want" to live alone in our house. He had dementia. No one in their right mind should have given in to what he "wanted" in that case. But he had long-standing beliefs about his right to die, and someone who would, because of their beliefs, insist on a feeding tube for him should simply not be his medical POA. Although the chance of one of the alternates having to act was slim (and didn't occur) we took this decision seriously.

A person should not choose for POA or Medical Proxy a person whose fundamental life outlook and beliefs does not match their own. A person with fundamentally different beliefs AND who could not set those beliefs aside for decisions about the principal should not accept the role.

Having a good match does not mean the POA must do everything the principal wants, especially when those wants are not realistic in terms of resources available or safety consequences. The POA must act in the principal's best interest, but it helps avoid huge stressful issues if the POA and principal are on the same page -- or at least singing from the same hymnal!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Debra - I think joannes its most of the important points. Giving up the DPOA to another family member or to a paid agent (NOT generally a good idea IMHO), would still leave you in a struggling relationship with your mom where you would likely be the continual recipient of her anger, frustration or ineffectual ability to "fix" her problems with the expectation that you would, then more anger if you can't or won't. And, after giving over control of the finances to another party, your hands would be tied.

In your profile, you haven't mentioned dementia, but from your moms behavior, it is likely there already or coming. It is common for a caregiver to experience some form of guilt when it is necessary to take away someone's independence. But it really isn't YOU taking it away, it is the disease. That's what you have to factor in and reconcile yourself to. The patients usually don't think there's anything wrong and are unable to assess their condition while, at the same time, they can be mad at you for being bossy and overbearing because it is necessary for you to tell them what to do in order to prevent them from hurting themselves.

I have been in your shoes and, looking back from the perspective of 20 20 hindsight, I personally would never give over the POA responsibilities if I had them. You have to adopt a spine of steel and always have your focus on the goal of doing what is the BEST thing for your elder, even if it doesn't seem like that's what THEY WANT at the time. Their decision making ability is shot to hell in a handbasket, and as long as they continue living, it will continue to decline.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I would love for my mother to live out her days in her own house. I would use every available asset of hers to make it happen, but if she needs a skilled facility for her care then I would have to place her there. My sister is the alternate, but lives a thousand miles away. There is another sister who lives close by, but for some bizaar and unfair reason my mother did not want her involved. My greatest fear is if it were to come to that decision, my mother would cry, beg, and plead to get her way like she always has and I would end up an emotional mess and shut down. My mother does not realize how lucky she is having three trustworthy daughters who would try and honor her wishes and never use her assets to benefit ourselves. She could have chosen anyone of us as her DPOA. Wish I knew ahead of time the responsibilities of having DPOA, I would have declined.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If you have another family member who is willing to handle the DPOA and your mother would be fine with them or better than having you do it--it might work. However, I think it is normally in the best interest of the elder to have the child or reliable family member handle the DPOA.
As they age, they need someone to handle daily needs, medical needs and financial assets or lack of them. It is a stressful, thankless job but I would be worried sick if I had to hire someone outside the family to make decisions. Normally they don't know the person a lifetime, they don't know what they want and have expressed they want at earlier stages. Some of the parents realize what they wanted at 70 will not work for them at 91 etc. Normally outsiders get paid from the parent's estate/assets to perform tasks after all they are not "family".
Good luck with this decision but as long as your mother is your mother, you will be dragged into the decision making at some point. You are better off to have the power or authority to make decisions which are best for your mother.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If you have another family member who is willing to handle the DPOA and your mother would be fine with them or better than having you do it--it might work. However, I think it is normally in the best interest of the elder to have the child or reliable family member handle the DPOA.
As they age, they need someone to handle daily needs, medical needs and financial assets or lack of them. It is a stressful, thankless job but I would be worried sick if I had to hire someone outside the family to make decisions. Normally they don't know the person a lifetime, they don't know what they want and have expressed they want at earlier stages. Some of the parents realize what they wanted at 70 will not work for them at 91 etc. Normally outsiders get paid from the parent's estate/assets to perform tasks after all they are not "family".
Good luck with this decision but as long as your mother is your mother, you will be dragged into the decision making at some point. You are better off to have the power or authority to make decisions which are best for your mother.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

since I have a daughter from hell..a real gold digger..has poisened my sons mind ...a compleat control freak...never worked since thier 15 yr. marriage...went bankrupt..sued me for the $22.500 debt...I am living in a house with life rights and she is doing her best to get house..evil to the core ..And I.. revoked my POA.....and now they will know ....that nothing is in thier name ...and will have to deal with lawyers etc.etc.just like I was forced to do ...so my son & his tripolar wife will have to face raw reality ...she will have to get off her fat ass and get a job....its a 4 letter word...WORK
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I am doing this, having been given the responsibility by both my parents and being the only remaining child. I've CERTAINLY had my days where I've thought it NOT worth the aggravation...and actually went to the attorney to ask about hiring someone to take over. BUT....as I was told...dealing with parents who are difficult, won't stop if you give the financial aspects to a third party...and you lose all control over what/how the money gets spent, so you for sure cannot control your parents wishes anymore. AND, they will still be yelling at you about what they don't like anyhow! Some serious points though....first: it is much easier to institute a POA before the parent is incompetent. If you do nothing until they are incompetent, you then have to go for guardianship, which takes much longer, and involves court and attorney. Second: with my experience of the past 18 months, if I could help anyone go through this faster and easier, I am stressing, you have to come to terms that when the parent becomes incompetent, YOU become the parent and YOU have to make decisions that do not make them happy. You have to learn how to manage these situations and come to believe that your first duty is to keep them safe and cared for, whether or not they like the 'how'. It helps to quickly understand that your mother, even if the sweetest and most cooperative person in the world before she needed help, will fight the notion of giving up control, like a wild animal!! The elderly do not want to be in this position at the end of their lives. They will NOT clearly hardly ever see that they really need the help....without going through sort of a 'tough love' situation, where they have to have their inabilities staring them in the face. In my case, my Dad did a trust, did all the POA work, had the elder care attorney and the plan years before needing them, because he knew he had dementia and he knew my Mom would not be able to care for him or make financial decisions because he had always been the one in charge. He took me to meetings with the lawyer and financial people so I would know the plan etc. BUT, when he started missing bills and needing help....it was STILL a huge fight!! He finally went with mom and signed off on the POA and turned things officially over to me. When I started paying bills, but allowing all other decisions he could make stay in place, he would get mad at what he did and try to go back and un do things with the lawyer. We had to get the two MD letters and declare him incompetent. Eventually, last January we had to place him...but not before having police come to the home several times, and hiring an in home caregiver part time, and eventually almost full time, so I could TRY to honor his wishes to stay in his own home. He and Mom could not cooperate with any plan. She couldn't tolerate his wandering at night and 'messing up' her house; putting food in the wrong places, keeping her awake worrying about him, yet she couldn't even cook him meals on time. She dealt with the situation by wanting to run away, shopping and leaving him alone...which upset him more and then they fought. He became more aggressive towards her, thus the police being called in. AND, in general, HE was the more reasonable one! MY mom is like your mom it sounds. She's a pistol...angry, paranoid, distrusting and unable to comprehend much...and has been this way all her life. She's now at home alone, with early dementia herself.....and insists all his well with her life. If she doesn't like something....she simply denies all reality around it. She refuses to accept that she signed POA same as dad....even though she understands that I've been paying all the bills, handling all the applications for long term care and placement and am the decision maker for him....she still insists that there is no way I have any authority to 'control her'....that she's perfectly capable. She is 88 and even with all her health problems, insists she is living to be 100 because 'her father did'....and staying in her own home and totally competent to the end! And, she is rapidly getting worse. So, YES....this DPOA will be an aggravation, but it should be done before incompetency sets in as it's easier....and even if you get a public fiduciary who is paid to handle things, you will still have the 'relationship' with your mother to deal with and, if she's like mine, she will still be calling you to complain what everyone else is 'doing to her' and wanting you to fix it. You will have to learn how not to argue, but to come to be able to handle your parent as you would your 6 yr old child....give choices where you can and say NO, that's not a choice where it must be your decision to keep them safe and cared for. And all the choices that keep her from being in control will have her upset no matter what. Just an aside....I do this from living 5 hrs away and I thank GOD daily that we moved away from their town 8 years ago before this happened. I could NOT have and still could not, move either of them into my home with me! Fortunately they've had good investments to pay for care in the home, or the facility or the attorney and case manager....but it's still highly stressful to do what I do from here and travel down there what is sometimes 2-3 times per month to handle things down there in Tucson. There is nothing fun about this. I recommend that everyone should pray that their elderly person die in their sleep before dementia or incompetence sets in. That's how it worked with my MIL....and settling her affairs was a breeze compared to what I am doing now!
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

Well, Debralee if that is your position, then it would be best to concede to the alternate POA. I don't know of anyone who "wants" to go to a nursing facility once their memory or healthcare would dictate those services. So, what she says now is so common, but if you are more concerned with your own guilt, then walk away. Your health will be damaged by all your guilt.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

To answer your question, from the standpoint of your own comfort living in this world, then NO it isn't worth it. Dealing with a stubborn person is frustrating and, as you say, there's the issue of going against her wishes -- wishes which may become less and less reality-based.

So it comes down to your being willing to do this for the benefit of another person. Or not.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

To lessen the guilt, when your mom gets into the point that you think you are having to make decisions for her, have her mental status evaulated by a professional. Mental Health Clinic do this as well as private psycholgosts. And DO NOT do the DPOA if you have siblings who are in the least bit of disagreement with you - over anything. Every family, it seems, has at least ONE of these and mine has the additional davantage of being diagnosed with two personality disorders. She did all kinds of things to sabotage my attempt to act as my father's Attorney-in-Fact (divert mail, not send me bills, incur late fees and then tell dad it was my fault and MANY more). After 5 months, my own mental health was at stake so on last Tuesday I resigned. One previous POA and two lawyers have also resigned because of her serious misbehavior - which has now risen to the level of having to be reported by the administrator of the Vets Home dad is in to the state office of protection of vulnerable adults. It's not that the amount of work is so great, it's all the flak one gets from one's own family. If you mom goes to a care facility, the social worker and help you find a third party non-profit to do at least the financial part for you. If there is a medical person (not your mom's doctor) whom YOU trust, ask that person to act as her Health Care POA. NO metter what else you have done in our life, this WILL be the hardest thing you'll have done so far. Please keep us posted.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Maybe not in this world, but you'll get your reward sometime. : )

Seriously, why would you make decisions that she does not want? If you differ so much in your convictions, perhaps it'd be better to tell her that you cannot in good conscious do as she would want, and think she should choose someone else. Since there is already an alternate indicated, when the times comes that the decisions of a POA are needed, it seems she has already "chosen someone else", and you have your answer right there.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Debralee, I wish more people would do what you're doing and think this through before they take on the responsibility. Tough call. If you know of someone you'd trust to do it as well or better than you can, and who also won't feel the same guilt over your mother's sentiments, then hand it to them and heave a little sigh of relief.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

If you are not able to follow her wishes or do what is best for her, then no, it's not worth having the DPOA and living with the guilt. If, however, her wishes are unrealistic due to unclear thinking on her part, and you know decisions that need to be made will be in her best interest then you will have nothing to feel guilty about when the time comes. Something to think about.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

When your mom becomes incompetent, your duty would be to make the "best" decision for her, that may not necessarily be in accordance with her wishes.

If you are, in your judgement, working in her best interest, you "should" not feel guilt. Easier said than done, should is a big word, I personally, would feel more guilt from abdicating.

My point is if you are concerned about the guilt of making hard decisions, the decision to not be involved may be just as guilt ridden.

You are between a rock and a hard place. Whatever you decide, embrace it and do not second guess yourself, if you o give up DPOA, make sure whomever takes over is ethical and strong enough to act in mom's best interest.
Helpful Answer (10)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter