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My dad is 70 and is a Vietnam vet. He receives services through the VA but after a recent MRI I would like for him to get a second opinion. He is refusing. Mom works full time as a teacher and dad is left alone the majority of the day. He needs knee replacement surgery on both knees but due to his weight and taking blood thinners they will not operate. He has a lot of difficulty getting around and he has fallen several times. Mom doesn't want to be the "bad guy" and make him do things. He is a diabetic and is on a program to prevent his feet from being amputated but the VA doesn't have him checking his glucose levels. I'm afraid that without someone to be with him he may fall and injure himself. I have asked for POA but they refuse. I am at the point where I feel like I may need to go to court and ask for it but I'm not sure what challenges I would face in doing so. I am in a different state than they are as well.

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Thank you all for your responses and advice. GardenArtist: One issue we have heard about in dealing with the VA is by asking too many questions or bringing attention to his case they are likely to open up his case and review his disability status. This is something that we do not want to do. We have signed him up for MyHealthEVet (sp?) site and at least then will have access to his medical records. Jeannegibbs: I am not trying to force any decisions upon them. I have stressed this numerous times to them. I am only trying to help them. I only want for him (them) to be safe, as healthy as possible and live an enjoyable life. MACinCT: There are plenty of options for caregivers in the area and it would be covered by the VA. Currently he doesn't take insulin. Countrymouse: Thank you for the kind words regarding my dad's service. He is informed and I believe he is aware but certainly not making great choices (in my opinion at least). It is a lot of stress and worry. Mom told me last night the VA has someone coming in 3 times a week for a total of 10 hrs each week. This will be very helpful and provide dad with some assistance as well as a set of eyes on him. BarbBrooklyn: There are several things I would like for him to get a second opinion about. The biggest one would be having someone other than the VA look at his MRI. He had one ten years ago (not with the VA) and they mentioned 3 areas of concern. The VA's most recent MRI assessment was that everything was fine despite telling my mom that there was a 3cm mass. I would just like someone else to verify his scans. The VA checks his AIC and bases there results on an avg of that monthly test. I am concerned that his care is not being managed well. The VA will not do a knee replacement surgery without taking him off his Warfrin but there is information out there that it can be done. That surgery would help him greatly! I already talked to the VA, they do not recognize a signed HIPAA form. Isthisrealyreal: I keep in contact with my parents several times a week and I also visit as often as I can so I can see what is going on. I am married and I am not looking to have control of their lives. Old Sailor: My dad does have Medicare and I am going to start searching for a doctor for him and can hopefully get him to go. I agree that the VA doesn't management diabetes well, as well as some other things. I will look into getting them a meter and test strips. I don't trust them much either. SueC1957: I am not sure he will use it, at least not consistently. He does have a walker and a motorized scooter. He uses the walker in the house, he couldn't get around without it. I have found in research and talking to a lawyer that I cannot sue for POA and wouldn't be able to get them both declared incompetent.
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As old sailor said, buy a glucometer and test strips at WalMart. My hubs runs borderline high (105-110) and I bought one for $25., strips around $20.
Easy to learn how to test. The question is: will he use it?
You can buy a used walker at any thrift store, cheap ($10.) Again, would he use it? Who knows. All you can do is give them to him. The rest is up to him.

Not a CHANCE you will get POA for 2 non-demented adults.
Would YOU want someone to take control of YOUR life while you still had your mind?
Even though you don't agree with your parents, they have the right to do what they want. I'm sure they would resent your intrusion.
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If your parents have medicare I would get them to a doctor outside of the VA. I only trust the VA to take care of my hearing loss.
First of all the VA does not believe in good management of diabetes. It will provide a glucose meter if the facility believe in it. But first they must believe in management. To them an A1c of 7.4 is good. The rest of us do not. They also believe that a BG reading of 200 is okay. But they will amputate, provide meds when they think it might be called for, provide electric scooters, diabetic shoes, clear lens glasses for protection when sight gets bad.
If he is hardheaded enough nothing is going to change him and there may not be a thing you can do.
High BG can cause many problems including cognitive impairment. You can buy inexpensive meters at wahl mart. Many others are cheap but the test strips are expensive. Wahl mart Relion brand is reliable and the strips are very affordable.

A second opinion is highly recommended by me. A veteran we know was told by his VA doc to wait six months to see if the spot on his lung grew any. He went to another facility and there the VA removed the lower portion of his cancerous lung.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I do not trust them.
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Beezy, you are dealing with your parents from afar, how do you know what their day to day looks like? As far as mom not making dad, you must not be married. My man does as he pleases, I can ask, encourage, enlighten, beg, plead but NEVER make him. Your parents generation the man made the decisions as the head of the house.

Your post sounds like you want POA to be able to have control, please, if you love your parents you will not try to control their lives, you take their dignity and self respect by trying to openly be in control. Talk to dad and find out what he wants, what he would need to be able to do what the Drs order to improve his quality of life. Be prepared for him to tell you that everything is fine as is. Maybe there are things going on that you are not aware of. Both my parents (whom are divorced) used to tell me nothing until they were on the way to OR or ER. It's frustrating as can be but they are adults and have this choice. I bet you've done things that they thought should have been dealt with differently, would you have appreciated them taking away your right to live your life on your terms?

Help them if they are open to help but please do it in a loving compassionate manner. They will appreciate being treated as adults with choices that have a helper or cheerleader in you.

Getting old is not for sissies and you can not understand until you live it.
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You want dad to get a second opinion for what? Who ordered the MRI and what was the result?

He is diabetic and doesn't check his blood sugar. What do you mean, the VA doesn't have him check? Does he see an endocrinologist?

It sounds as though you are afraid that dad's medical care is not being managed well. That may well be.

But unless he's been found incompetent, you really have no grounds on which to intervene legally. You also have no obligation to care for him when this all comes crashing down.

POA is not going to help you. Getting your parents to see that they need to manage better and perhaps take you to medical appointments and sign a HIPAA form so that you can talk to their doctors, might be a better plan
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Quite a lot of challenges, Beezy.

Your mother is still in full-time professional employment.

Your father, while carrying chronic conditions which may endanger life and limb, is only 70 and as a veteran is also a highly regarded citizen. Nothing you have said about him suggests that he is not fully informed and aware about his own health and capable of making his own decisions.

So your parents are consenting adults who live nowhere near you. On what grounds do you imagine a court would award you guardianship?

I am sorry for the stress and worry you must feel about both of them. But these are *their* lives and their choices. Encourage your mother to look for caregiver's support; encourage your father to keep all appointments. Trying to force them though... not a chance.
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Once you get POA who is going to pay for caregivers or come in to give him his meds or check sugars. If his sugars are high and insulin doses need to be changed each day, then caregivers cannot do this, only registered nurses can do this. In MA, it is extremely difficult to find someone. Am I missing something here?
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If you were his legal guardian, what would be your first three changes? Perhaps some members can help you think of other ways to achieve them.
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Even if you had financial and medical POA, that would not authorize you to force decisions upon them. If they are incompetent to make decisions in their own best interests then a guardian could be appointed and that person would have authority to enforce decisions.
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Beezy, thoughts along a different line:

If you can, try to get the name of your father's VA doctor. If you can't, call the VA and ask for the VA specific form of DPOA. Your father may refuse to sign it, but it's worth a try.

If he won't sign, contact the VA again (or actually do that simultaneous with getting their POA form), prepare to spend some time on the phone and try to find out the name of the Social Worker attached to your father's team (i.e., green team, etc.)

Explain the situation to the Social Worker, and raise the issue of options for home care as well as a method by which your father's glucose level can be checked. I don't know if the VA will provide a glucose meter for checking but it's worth a try..

If that doesn't work, ask one of your father's nonVA doctors about palliative care. It probably could at least provide a nurse to check for glucose levels and show your mother how to do it.

This is a tough situation; I hope you can get some help through the VA Social Worker for your father's team. I've found them to be very, very helpful.
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So when you go to the judge and the judge asks your parents, guess what? Case closed. While dad is cognitive he gets to choose how he treats his body including refusing treatment. You would have trouble even getting a doctor to sign a competency form.
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I don't think that you can force your parents' hands to give you a POA by using the law. It is something they chose to give or not to give. Thus, you don't have a legal precedent to stand on.

If you could medically prove that both or one of them are incompetent, then you could file for guardianship, but that is a tough road and expensive.
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