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I have POA over Dad's healthcare and am the Trustee of his Trust. Starting to have issues with stepmom interfering in care. She tries to scare him by telling him that I wish to put him in a home. That is the farthest thing from the truth! She tries to get him not to take the pharmaceuticals prescribed by his Dr. for dementia and anxiety (sever anxiety), instead saying to take supplements only. He turns into a 8 year old boy when she is around him. She treats him that way. I don't really care, except that it interferes in him being as independent as he possibly can. There are financial issues to consider and I am hoping that he remains as ambulatory as possible for as long as possible. I am committed to his care, to my own financial detriment. She thinks because she is the wife that she has all these rights. I thought the DPOAs had the rights to make decisions, including determining who can help with his care. If she continues to undermine my job, is it not my fiduciary responsibility to remove her, or limit her time with him? I truly do not know what to do! Her oldest daughter is the only one of five children that really gets it, but she lives 8 hours away.

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What kind of relationship have they had and how long have they been married? If the DPOA gives you authority upon signature does it also have a clause where it can't be changed due to incapacity? She is his wife, however he gave you the authority to act on his behalf. Do they live together? You talk about limiting time, however if they are living together this would be difficult. You could discuss this with an attorney, they would be able to advise you on the legal issues. Your dad trusted you to handle his affairs should he not be able to , so he must have trusted you. In order for him to remain independent-her interference must stop. It's really sad when this happens. Maybe she doesn't understand what is going on or maybe she has had some mental lapse as well. It almost sounds like she doesn't want him to be treated or wants to isolate him, this sets off warning flags in my head. Sit down and talk with her, tell her this is the way things need to be and give her a reason why. If she doesn't understand, then maybe she will, it not maybe she's there for the money. Good luck.
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Unfortunately there isn't enough information in the posting to provide specific recommendations. I do know that it usually takes independent consultations with each person involved to get to the concerns and goals as individuals and as a family. A recommendation might be to provide your father an independent advocate such as an elder law attorney who follows the Life Care Planning model. They not only provide the legal advice, they have a person on staff who can assist with the care challenges and family dynamics.
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If you can't go to a motel - maybe just make yourself scarce (hang out in your room or in the backyard) until you can mentally work through some things.
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Dear HelpForLife - Wow. This situation almost reminds me of a child custody battle. I'm exhausted just reading the answers. There appears to be a power struggle going on here and unless it's resolved quickly you'll all lose. Maybe there's a part of SM that is afraid? I mean, she's losing her husband, her role as queen of the house is being threatened? and quite possibly coming to realize that her mind is slipping and her children are nowhere around to help her as you are helping your dad? She could be acting out out of fear. And I almost get that feeling from you. You are trying to do the best you can, in possibly, unfamiliar areas (medical / legal / Medicare) and feeling overwhelmed - out of control & frustrated? Please try to keep attorneys and courts out of it. It's really not worth it. And I understand how caring for someone is a full-time job that does not allow you to have gainful employment. Several of us struggle with that. It sucks, but we learned to accept it while we explore other solutions.

DPOA's, Health Directives & Trusts are good things to have to establish legal ground; but they do nothing to establish moral ground and guide posts. The things you do now will affect you for the rest of your life.

The family needs to be cohesive at this time. Unfortunately, it sounds as though the atmosphere is almost hostile. Is there a way you can remove yourself from it for a couple of days (ie) motel? to give y'all a chance to cool off?

I know this is going to sound corny & I may be grasping at straws here, but I really do feel badly for you & want to help; maybe if you could find some common ground on which you could relate to SM? Does she have (or did she have) a hobby? Or something she likes that you could ask her about? Get her talking on a subject that makes her happy & you may be able to establish a new framework and open up a new dialog?

Their medical conditions aren't going to get better. Your challenges will keep coming. The only way you're going to get through this with your sanity and integrity in tact is to establish a new 'working' relationship with all the players. My best wishes are with you in finding this new common ground.
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My sympathy goes out to you HelpforLife. If I did not know better I would swear you were writing about what our family is going through. I won't tell you my story but I can tell you that you have very real problems and it is not up to anyone on this forum to determine if the wife's issues are a result of love or the need to control. It is very difficult as a child to watch someone manipulate or verbally "massage" your parent. I think it might be more difficult when the parent is the male, as they typically adopt the new spouses personality traits etc. as the female sets the tone for the family and household in many cases …so from the beginning of the second marriage it may make the children feel they have lost the Dad they once knew. Stand your ground. My 90 year old Dad was diagnosed with ALZ 10 years ago and it has been living hell dealing with his wife. The length of time anyone has been married doesn't equate to love anymore than a car in the garage makes it a body shop. WIth 6 kids in my family we have the DPOA responsibility of Medical and Financial. These were made after they were married and amended many times. My dad's wife has 3 kids and they get involved as little as possible. We have caregivers, have retained a Geriatric Care Manger for two family dysfunctional issues and tried mediation about 5 years ago. SHe and her family resist participation in these activities and they do not pay a dime for anything…anything at all. She gets the benefit of someone else taking care of him, his laundry, the grocery shopping, companionship….you name it. Dad's wife continues to agitate the caregivers and stress out the household by her actions. The observation from all who enter the house is she is a master at manipulating everyone and uses the spousal card to her advantage. When a spouse engages the person who is ill in an argument or decision when they cannot recall the answer, they cannot recall the question and have no idea of the "backstory" that is the work of a control freak and someone who has placed their needs before the loved one. She attempts to monitor food, clothing selection, and nit picks every thing he does. My Dad is still able to do all his ADL's and remains very high functioning but I know he is progressing . His wife would him into a home NOW as she says he is so social. Our GCM advise absolutely no way is he a candidate for a home at this point. She has stated that she will move out once he does not know who she is…that is true love, isn't it? She has said she will not pay for his care if he runs out of money. After 27 years of marriage that doesn't speak very well of the relationship does it? It sounds to me as if your Dad's wife is pulling the spouse card and taking advantage of his condition. The laws are funny on POA's versus spousal rights and I hope you do not have to go the distance to challenge them. Are you certain that you cannot get some help etc from her family? Finding someone to talk to is difficult as the first thing you probably want is someone to say…calm down, you are overwhelmed, take a breathe. You do not need someone to point out that their is a spouse…which seems to assume the spouse is making great decisions. Is there any way to consider hospice? Hospice does not mean end of life and many people are on it for years. ( My husbands mother has been on it for 3 years and even though I resisted at first because I felt it was an unfair use of Medicare dollars I realized that so many people use it so why not her?) Caregivers need relief and you should not be expected to shoulder the burden. Statistics are not in favor of the caregiver's ability to maintain good health etc if they do not get help. Try the local Area on Aging, ALZ Association, church, adult senior centers, doctors. Also be sure to stand up to her when your Dad is not in ear shot! The thing that aggravates my Dad's wife the most is she has not been able to severe the relationship and love we have for our Dad or our Dad for us. Get help. Hang in there.
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Dear Help, I could have written what you did in your last post, (except for the blue feet) up until now you really were not clear about the situation. If they are both 87, what are you really worried about, If Step Mom is not as bad as Dad, let her have her way, wanting him with her, that's what love is all about.
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Concerns: his feet are blue.
Can the doctor order a nurse to come into the home?
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Oh, twopups, my Dad is in moderate stage dementia/alz, quickly moving into severe. Not early stage. He doesn't know what he ate at his last meal and swears we didn't feed him, he doesn't know what day it is, nor what time it is, even though it is clearly daytime. He can't remember what he just read, and reads it over and over. He wets himself on occasion and feels so bad, he lies down three or more times a day, calling out to me and stepmom the whole time due to his anxiety. He goes to bed at 9:00 pm IF we can cajole him into staying awake until then and he sleeps until 9 am. He has severe vascular disease and cannot feel below his knees. His feet are blue, due to lack of oxygen, which makes him a fall risk. His high anxiety causes OCD behaviors, he has threatened me with bodily harm and has hit me on one occasion, wrenching my wrist and arm. I spend more time setting up/going to Dr visits and buying/dispensing meds than anything else I think about during any given day. That is JUST for my Dad. I also clean the floors, make dinner every night, do most of the grocery shopping and take stepmom to most of her appointments. Until recently, when we had the big argument, she took a taxi to her dermatology appointment. Her own children don't wish to be involved, save her oldest daughter who lives 8 hours away. What does that tell you, twopups?

I do all this because I care about my Dad. Your comments are not appreciated. I believe this is a place to get help and support. I see that there are some in here that hawk around and peck on those who they have a problem with instead of offering constructive advice.

Thank you to everyone else who have posted supportive comments! I appreciate you very much!
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Helpforlife you should definitely seek a local support group and go to meetings. That was an awesome help to me, to see others in my situation, some more advanced and some just starting the journey. By all means, try to find a local in-person group.

But online discussions can be very helpful, too. You get perspectives from lots of different people. Some of them don't apply to your situation, but even figuring that out can be useful.

If Dad is so close to death SM can't be parted from him (or she thinks he is), then I suggest contacting Hospice. They will do an evaluation. If they say he is not ready for hospice and there are no signs he is likely to die in the next 6 months, perhaps that would help SM relax on the issue. After all, any of us could die at any time but we can't stay glued to all those we love.

If Dad is ready for Hospice, it is a wonderful service and would be helpful to you and SM as well as Dad.

It sounds like SM may benefit from an anti-anxiety med. Any chance of influencing that?
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Here you go, twopups:
How long have they been married? 15 years
Did your father appoint you as his DPOA before or after, and why you in particular? After they were married for 2 years. Mainly because I am the only responsible child of the three and he knows I shall honor his request to the end,

Also: you say your caregiving is detrimental to your own financial position; in what way? I moved in to help, due to my Dad's needs. Stepmom is 87 as well and cannot do it on her own. She has health issues herself. Because I am spending more time helping, I lost my telecommuting job.
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Wow! I appreciate jeannegibbs comments and questions, but I don't appreciate the others. Why am I the "bad guy" when I am trying to do the job my Dad put me in charge of. By definition, he is medically incompetent (by his Dr.s admission). In his more lucid moments, he has admitted that his second wife of 15 years is "just the nurse" (his words, NOT mine) and that he trusts me to take care of him. They are both 87 years old. I live here because Dad wishes to be in his home until the end, and I am trying to make that work. Stepmom is so argumentative, her OWN family doesn't wish to deal with her. She is getting alz too, but it isn't as severe as my Dad's. She refuses to allow someone to come in to sit with him while we run errands. Her reason is that she wants to "be with him when he dies." That is a tall order. I don't believe he must be dragged around stores, Drs waiting rooms, etc. when he doesn't feel well, just because she wants to say goodbye the last 10 seconds of his life!

I came to this site for help and support. I see now that there are many vindictive people on here who just hawk around and peck people to death when they are just trying to get some help. Maybe I should seek a support group elsewhere.
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Please give us more information. Is Brother the POA of finances? If not, what does he have to say about whether you get paid? Are you getting paid now? What would Brother prefer to see happen? Is he in denial about their health issues?

It sounds like your Dad would like to have outside help. Can he afford it? Sometimes parents are more cooperative with "professionals."

What anti-anxiety med is Dad supposed to be on that he is not taking? Does he take them sometimes, or never?
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Sorry some if the post was replicated ( not by me) but I am under the assumption Helpforlife is either being paid or trying to be paid to care for two parents in first stage Dementia. Strange! Seems like her brother nixed the paying her to live with them.
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This us what you wrote in February. Is it normal for people with Alzheimer's to tell you they're just fine?
Asked by Helpforlife | Feb 12, 2015
My Dad and Stepmother swear they don't need help. Even though Dad doesn't drive much anymore, they say they are just fine. If they need help, "we will just hire someone." That in itself is so disrespectful, as I am the only one of all the children to give up my life and job to help them. One minute they have "no money" and the next, "we can hire someone." I have 1 brother and 5 step siblings. I tried to telecommute, but that didn't work very well. My brother absolutely refuses to entertain the idea of them paying me. I dIs it normal for people with Alzheimer's to tell you they're just fine?
Asked by Helpforlife | Feb 12, 2015
My Dad and Stepmother swear they don't need help. Even though Dad doesn't drive much anymore, they say they are just fine. If they need help, "we will just hire someone." That in itself is so disrespectful, as I am the only one of all the children to give up my life and job to help them. One minute they have "no money" and the next, "we can hire someone." I have 1 brother and 5 step siblings. I tried to telecommute, but that didn't work very well.

My brother absolutely refuses to entertain the idea of them paying me.

I don't really know any of my step siblings. They all are very dysfunctional and are always calling and asking for money from my Stepmother.

I have started planting seeds with my parents about money, but it always ends up the same way. "If we need to, we can just hire someone." With both slipping more and more into the first stages of moderate Alz, and my brother's attitude, I am really stuck. The biggest issue is that neither of them accept that they are slipping.

I could gain control of my Dad's Trust (I am first Trustee), but I don't have the money for an attorney. The Trust provides for succession when Dad is deemed incompetent.

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on't really know any of my step siblings. They all are very dysfunctional and are always calling and asking for money from my Stepmother. I have started planting seeds with my parents about money, but it always ends up the same way. "If we need to, we can just hire someone." With both slipping more and more into the first stages of moderate Alz, and my brother's attitude, I am really stuck. The biggest issue is that neither of them accept that they are slipping. I could gain control of my Dad's Trust (I am first Trustee), but I don't have the money for an attorney. The Trust provides for succession when Dad is deemed incompetent.

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Here's the deal. Dad chose you for a particular legal role. He was wise to think ahead to a time when he might need that kind of help. And it is not surprising that he chose a younger person. Assuming that he and his wife are close in age, then choosing each other might not be prudent. So you have authority to act on his behalf IF HE WANTS YOU TO, or if he is not able to act for himself. You have no authority to make him do something he doesn't want to.

Dad chose your step mother for a particular life role. She is his life partner, and his soul mate. He made that choice freely, and continues to honor it. He is accepting being treated like a child (if that is what she is doing), he is deciding to take her advice about nutrition, he is choosing to stay with her. There is nothing in your role as medical proxy that gives you ANY authority over those decisions. If Dad says he wants out of this marriage and needs your help, that would be different. But I don't hear that as being the case.

I suspect that your intentions are impeccable. I have no doubt you want what is best for your Dad. You just have to accept the limitations of your role. (And, BTW, many caregivers are challenged by limitations even when there is no spouse involved!)

You haven't filled out your profile. I'm not sure if you are the daughter or son. I can't determine whether both of them have dementia and if there are other impairments. Perhaps if you give us a more detailed picture of what is going on we can provide more helpful and specific suggestions.
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If you can possibly afford to, I think you'd do better to move out. It sounds as though - how long have you been living with them, by the way? - your stepmother is beginning to behave so badly because she feels some kind of threat from your being there.

What is your brother's take on this? Others will correct me if I'm off target, but since he has DPOA for finances and you for healthcare, the two of you need to get those in force and, ironically enough, your father's funds could properly be used for that process. Your father's money can be used for any expenditure necessary to protect his best interests. That would include setting up the arrangements to use the authority that HE gave you in case of his becoming incapacitated. Which he has.

Your stepmother also sounds as if she is beginning to need support. Has she appointed POAs of her own? I think you ought to try to meet with her daughters and explain that, while you appreciate their difficulties, the fact of the matter is that she certainly will not accept your help and they need to decide what they would like to do about it if she is heading for trouble.

Normally I'd ask why you don't take over the cooking if you're not happy with your father's diet, but in this household I can see that it would cause more conflict: another reason for moving out, if possible. You could then go back to your father's GP and explain that it isn't currently possible for you to supervise your father's diet or medication, and ask him to issue very clear guidelines for your stepmother to follow. Having DPOA doesn't prevent you from sharing day to day responsibilities for your father's wellbeing, after all. You make the policy decisions, but trying to tell a woman what size her husband's helpings should be is never going to go well.

This must be very hard going. I'm sad to hear you thinking of the bitter end, and hope things will improve. What are the chances of your brother getting his finger out, if you'll forgive the vulgarity?
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If he ( Dad) has dementia how can he tell you what to do about her losing her memory, and her future health issues, does she have dementia also? If not then why are you living in their home? My husband ( I'm a Step Mother also almost 30 years) refuses to take meds, has lost most of his pre Alzheimers weight, eats very little, I have to show him where the bathroom is, I could go on and on, what you are sharing with us are common traits of those with AD, and I also treat him like he's three years old most of the time. If you were my step-daughter and I read this, you would be out of OUR house immediately. I would love to hear his wife's side of this. You need to lighten up, she has been his wife for 15 years and she is in charge whether you like it or not. Get a life, and leave them in peace.
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I wish to clarify for those who slam me. I am the DPOA over healthcare decisions and Trustee of his Trust. He and stepmom live in HIS house, while she rents out hers. They have been married 15 years. My Dad set up his Trust and DPOAs, AFTER they were married about 2 years. He was still fully functional mentally, and there is no mention of stepmon in ANY of his documents, They signed a prenup before marriage, but it only spells out what happens if Dad dies first. I have searched thoroughly to find any language concerning incapacitation and stepmom, to no avail. When asked what he wishes for me to do about her losing her memory and other healthcare needs for her, his reply is that her family should get involved. She is a control freak and her three daughters have basically washed their hands of her care. I am living at my Dad's because they could not survive alone. Stepmom won't feed him enough food, hence his weight was so low, his Dr recommended that I feed him more or put him on meds to stimulate his appetite. Stepmom doesn't think he needs any more food than she eats herself. She is 5'2 and he is 6 ft tall. He needs more food and I cannot count on her doing the right thing! His Dr has already suggested that he is incompetent, from his mental exams, but I cannot have him deemed incompetent, as I have no funds to retain an attorney to complete the process. I have no issue with stepmom being here until the bitter end, but she is interfering in my ability to keep him as healthy as I can, in the throes of dementia. She tells him not to take meds and he refuses. He does nothing that she doesn't give him permission to do. She even tells him when to go to the bathroom! It is amazing! She treats him like he is six years old! I am committed to executing my fiduciary responsibility for his care, that which he entrusted me with. As long as she is on board with it, AND doesn't have severe issues of her own, then she is welcome to be there to the bitter end.
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Actually, a wife has a LOT of rights. The POA can only carry out the wishes of the patient, who apparently is bound tightly to his wife. Removing her, thus depriving her of marital rights, would definitely require a court order.
The probable outcome of a custody battle would result in neither you nor her acting as Guardian, due to conflicts. The Judge would appoint an independent guardian. I should think you want to avoid that.
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The step mother is the wife, she is in charge. I would like to hear Helpforlifes answers to Countrymouse's questions. Also do you live with your Dad and Step mother? If not how do you know he is not happy and she is treating him as you say she is? Does he have Azheimers/dementia?
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Beware, this is a thread ripe for setting up contributors to fight among themselves for differing opinions,; or, taking sides. The tabloid of famous people have already argued this out in the courts. There needs to be kindness, trying out how to support this caregiver who asked her question needing advice. I can say this because I would have been one to take the nuclear option had I not learned more perspective from all of you.
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Review what your father's real intention may have been for your role, because the limited power vested in you did not include the power to control his wife, or divide them as have been mentioned.
Consider that your intended limited powers were meant more as fiduciary after death; and protective, but may in error failed to provide for his wife's interest in their home, in their relationship, etc. Comes with the territory, you are not the boss of everything. Best description, that you may be taking the "nuclear option"
seems close, because you are coming from an attitude "I have no problem taking care of him myself". Why does she have to allow you in her home? You may be forced to care from a legal distance or take him out of his own home and marriage if you keep going in this direction. I am not against you, and will wait for more experts to answer. With time passing, maybe it will become apparent if your father needs the emergency intervention. Hope you can receive this, take away if anything has been helpful.
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If I were the marrying kind… I'm not sure I'd be too happy with someone else having that kind of officially recognised authority in my spouse's life, either. She is his wife, she is his next of kin, she does have rights - including the right to have an opinion (even if it is wrong!) about what's best for him. So perhaps it's fair to assume that stepmother is starting out from a position of some resentment at your being involved. That's not great from the point of view of your winning her co-operation, but "I wouldn't start from here"…? Not terribly helpful, I agree.

Couple of questions: how long have they been married? Did your father appoint you as his DPOA before or after, and why you in particular? Also: you say your caregiving is detrimental to your own financial position; in what way? It shouldn't be. If you're incurring expenses, as in actual outlay, you should be able to reclaim these from the trust; although if you mean in terms of time or reduced expectations… well, it goes with the territory, I'm afraid.

Your options, depending on how strongly you feel about the various topics, are:
1. resign your POA and trusteeship
2. speak firmly to your father, reminding him of the reasons why he appointed you and asking for his explicit confirmation of his confidence in your judgement
3. step back and reconsider your stepmother's point of view. What is she afraid of? What is she failing to appreciate about your father's needs? How can you persuade her of the importance of following medical advice in order to prolong high quality of life for both of them?

It must be frustrating and annoying for you when she sticks her oar in; but the fact is they're a package, and supporting their relationship is in your father's best interests - and therefore your obligation. Sigh heavily, but take heart - unless she's seriously evil there will be a way.
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Having DPOA does not extend to separating married couples. Has your father been/would he be declared incompetent by his doctors? If he were legally declared incompetent and you had guardianship you would have the kind of authority you are talking about. If he is not incompetent then he can say "I intend to stay with my wife," or "I'm only going to take supplements," or "I'm going on some weird fad diet."

Competent adults are allowed to make their own decisions -- even very bad decisions, even self-destructive decisions. I know it is terribly frustrating and upsetting to watch loved ones make poor decisions, but that is their right.

If you feel he is truly incompetent, to the extent a court would find him so, then you can pursue guardianship.
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Maybe so.
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It seems that because you were the "second wife", it may be that YOUR perspective is a bit skewed!
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I have no problem taking care of him myself. What I don't understand is why she is so nasty, when I am trying to make sure that he is safe, fed and medicated properly. If she loves him, she should be helping, not causing problems. In answer to your question, if my own Mother were causing problems, I would ABSOLUTELY separate them, if necessary! My goal for my Father is safety, happiness, and properly administered medication. Her actions are keeping him in an agitated state. As his caregiver, why would I allow ANYONE to have that effect on him?
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If it were your mom, and not your stepmom, would you "remove" her? Limit her time with him? Personally, I think you need to change your perspective a bit. If I were you, I think my "job objective" would be to keep dad safe and happy. You're talking about a nuclear option.

I was a "second wife" for 25 years. When my husband became terminally ill, had his daughter held his HCPOA and interfered in our daily life? She'd have been taking care of him herself.
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