The background story is a little complicated.....My father had heart failure which left my mother widowed at age 54. She remarried at age 63 to a man 23 years her junior. My brother (who I have mentioned in a previous thread) was a meth addict when she remarried, and Mother asked her new husband to physically remove my brother from the house she had purchased for my brother to live in. (She was an enabler and often requested others to "handle" my brother when things got out of control.) Fast forward about 16 years and Mother divorced the husband in order to give my brother complete access to her 24/7 as my brother is going through recovery. There was too much animosity between this man and my brother to allow her to support my brother while still married to him. This turned out to be wonderful for my brother as he has remained sober.
The ex-husband began to take my mother out again after a number of years. They would go away every other weekend, and it seemed to work out for all of them even though my brother hated it. Fast forward to the present - Mom is diagnosed with moderately severe dementia and the doctor has declared her incompetent. I have the POA for all matters and am the executor of her estate. I am trying to make the best decisions for her health and happiness, which sometimes conflict with each other. Mom started having delusions about 6 weeks ago. She thinks she had brain surgery, thinks she was asked by the doctor to be his "assistant" for the entire day, thinks she is part of a professional dancing group which makes her tired. etc. etc. And yes, she does have a problem with UTI's, which contribute to the problems, and I am routinely having her monitored and tested for UTI's.
Mother has continued to go out with the ex-husband. Every Saturday night they go out to dinner; she spends the night, and they spend Sunday together. As Mother developed dementia, my brother now lives with her full time. A few weeks ago my mother caught a cold. My brother and I both advised her NOT to go out that weekend. She was not up to staying overnight, but insisted on going out for dinner Saturday evening. Then, to our surprise, she had arranged to go out again on Sunday. He picked her up and took her to lunch at a friend's home. We expected him to drop her off later that afternoon, but NO - he took her home to his condo (without an overnight bag) and brought her back home the next morning. (She had no extra Depends, so she wet the bed, and this was apparently the first time he had knowledge of her incontinence.
So he returned her home Monday morning, told her to get changed and he would take her out again "for a walk." My brother was very concerned and told the Ex that she was sick, but the Ex paid no attention and Mother was adamant about going. She returned home wheezing and I took her to the doctor. She had bronchitis. The following weekend we forbade her from going out. She complied as she was sleeping most of time and really felt ill. But the weekend after that she was feeling better and wanted to go out again. She called the Ex and he took her out to dinner. Then he came home with her and stayed in her room watching sports. My brother could not get her ready for bed. (This happened another time when the Ex just put her to bed in her clothes without a fresh Depends.) My brother was furious as the Ex did not leave until 10:30 PM, way past Mom's bedtime. She was sitting on the loveseat asleep as he watched the game.
So now I feel that I need to apply some boundaries. Here comes my real question (finally!!) - How much autonomy can you allow a person with severe dementia to make their own choices when it regards going out? I called the Ex (yuk!) and told him that her doctor has given me medical authority, and going forward she will have a curfew and must return home by 8:30 PM. Also, no more overnight visits. He doesn't believe she is incompetent, and hasn't seen the delusions. Now he wants to take her out MORE often..........