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Six months ago I took on a client with severe bipolar disorder and dementia. He was in such an aggressive state at that time that he was removed from the facility he was in (and where his wife still resides!) and ended up moving into a hotel for a brief time before going to an independent care facility. His two children were very removed from his care at that point - one lives on the other side of the country, the other lives only two miles away but in the first month I cared for him, she never visited him or his wife once. After he went to independent care she came to visit once, maybe twice a week and bring his wife for an hour visit at a time. When he moved to independent care she took over paying his bills but he still had his credit card and checkbook.

I worked very hard with him for that six months to get his medication balanced just perfectly so that the severity of his bipolar disorder was reduced significantly, in addition he took on treatments which reduced the influence of his dementia and PTSD so that he was taking an interest in life again. He became animated and wanted to get out and do things, It was his daughter's opinion that these things were "wastes of money" and her only participation in his health care was to call his doctors up and tell them things that simply weren't true anymore, or to refuse to talk to doctors she didn't think were doing him any good. She tried a number of times to influence my care of him by insinuating that he was just in a "good place" and that he would quickly revert to his problem status without warning. The doctors who were treating his mental problems disagreed, they saw real improvement in his issues and were very positive in their belief that this was not a bipolar upswing but real improvement.

When he reached a point where he decided he wanted to handle his own money again, his children panicked and started hammering on him to move to an assisted living facility, claiming he was "running out of money" (he was not). They had him so scared that they were going to cut off access to his funds and dump him in a VA facility that he made the decision on his own to move to AL, and chose the facility, then informed him of his decision. It was like he hit a switch - his local child started visiting almost every day, she came in and packed up his belongings with no input from either myself or his other caregiver, she completely shut us out of the process, convinced him to let his evening caregiver go (who got him out all the time, took him places, kept him active) and demanded that he cut my hours so severely that I was forced to resign and look for other work..

In the meantime she took all but one of his checkbooks, changed all his online passwords so he could not access his bank accounts and refused to give them to him. When he went to the bank to get a copy of his most recent transactions, after we explained the situation to them, they told him that what his daughter was doing is illegal and offered to help him, but he declined.

His daughter told his other caregiver that the money he has in his retirement account isn't really "his" money, and that she will make the decisions as to how it is spent. Before she took access away from him, I used to print out statements for him and those accounts did not have her name on them, they had he and his wife's name on them. At the time of my resignation he had not yet given his daughter financial poa, yet someone had changed his checking account so that she was not a signatory, but an owner.

He will not do anything to stop her, and she believes because she is an accredited professional within the community that her credibility is far higher than mine as a caregiver. I believe she has broken or is in the process of breaking a number of laws under the Financial Abuse Of The Elderly act.

I want to file a complaint with DSS about this, but I wonder if it will even do any good. I hate to see him treated this way, he's a good man that has had some problems but has worked hard to overcome them (he's only 74). The daughter on the other coast thinks the daughter here is there every day taking care of him and that his care is such a burden to her, when in reality she's barely been around.

Can I do anything? Should I do anything, or should I walk away and let him slide back into the mental problems he had before we got his meds and therapy straightened out? Because I can promise you that she will not take him to his therapy appointments and make sure his meds are being administered correctly. She has a vested interest in him being foggy rather than alert.

This weighs heavily on me. I'd never experienced anything like this before with family - usually they're so supportive. Any advice would be welcome.

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By all means report the facts you are aware of. As Eyerishlass correctly stresses, just the facts. I think you ought to do that, as you do have legitimate concerns; but after that you leave it in the hands of the authorities. And do guard against adding speculation about the children's motives.

The only thing I want to add is my one qualm: I'm imagining what it would be like to be the daughter of a man who, even through mental illness rather than bad character, had recently been violently aggressive to the point where my mother had to be protected from him. And just how ground down your love for your father might be after a lifetime of living with bipolar disorder.

You've seen an improvement in six months of dedicated care, and that's greatly to your professional credit; but don't forget that they might have seen it all countless times before. Maybe they just can't take any more of the roller coaster. I'm sure you must have met families that were buckling under the strain?
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I can just say..."Do what you believe in your heart is right for the man." If he is unwilling to fight them or unable to, there is nothing you can do it needs to be turned over to an agency to fight the fight for him.

Basically I think from what you say, his kids really do not want him to get better, they would probably like to see him and his wife pass away as he would be out of their hair and they can take over his accounts and use the money as they please.

You became very involved with this man and you only want the best for him, I know how much this must hurt you and I feel for you and him!
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If you work through an agency report what you know to them. Just facts. If there are problems within the family chances are your agency knows about them already.

If you don't work for an agency the only thing you can do is file a report with your local elder abuse agency. Again, you'll need facts as opposed to what you think has happened or what you think might happen. Once you do that you have no other responsibilities to this man.

This is family business and as his professional caregiver it's not your place to get involved. It was a prudent decision to resign as you don't want to find yourself in the middle of all of that. Regardless of how hard you worked or how beneficial your care was to your client voicing opinions to family without being asked would have been overstepping your boundaries.

If you think he is being taken advantage of financially file a report and then walk away knowing you did what you could. You did the right thing in resigning.
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