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My 82-yr-old mom has been diagnosed with dementia - possibly Alzheimer's. I am not certain of the diagnosis and prognosis because her boyfriend/companion has convinced her I am violating her privacy, and she has denied permission for the doctor to share information with me. I live across the country and just returned from a visit. I had to do it as a "surprise" in order to circumvent the boyfriend, who has previously tricked me into not coming and has fostered paranoia in my mom. Although the boyfriend has proclaimed himself to be her caregiver, she is not being adequately cared for. She can't really cook anymore, the house and yard are a neglected mess, she is almost completely unable to manage her finances and paperwork, and peesonal hygiene seems to be slipping. Although she has been advised to stop, she still drives, with the boyfriend serving as navigator. Her boyfriend doles out her medication daily when he's there, which is most of the time.
After much soul-searching, I feel I have no other ethical choice but to pursue third-party guardianship to protect her health and financial safety.
Now I have to figure out how to tell my mom of my plans. During my visit, the boyfriend was there most of the time; mom was very cautious with me, and quite worried and anxious that I not leave him out of any discussions or problem-solving. In the scant few hours when he wasn't around, my mom was more relaxed, personable, open to suggestions and offers of help, and seemed to enjoy my company and that of my son. The boyfriend's presence is so pervasive (and intimidating, actually) that I don't know if I'd be better off telling her of my plans over the phone, or making another visit and trying to get her alone and/or in a lucid enough state to communicate effectively.
Has anyone had any experience with a similar situation, with the complicating factor of a significant other who is obstructive and controlling?

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Thank you all for your input. I think the collective advice is to do it and not tell her until it's imminent - which would be when an ad litem attorney is appointed and has made plans to see her. I have already started the process with an attorney; the next phase will begin when her doctors respond to a formal, written query about her competence.
The concern about the boyfriend marrying her is a valid one - even more so because my mom lives in TX, which permits common law marriage. So he (and she) need only to present themselves as married to be considered so by the law.
The guardianship "team" that my lawyer is recommending may have some good advice for how best to inform my mom. I've been thinking that I should sort out which things WON'T change for my mom (and the BF, if he "behaves"), and which things WILL change, and try to use that approach when telling her.
I know I must fly to TX for the eventual hearing. I wonder if I should make an interim trip to tell her about the guardianship process in person. It would be a more compassionate way to communicate it with her; at the same time, I'm afraid of the boyfriend's physical presence and worry that he might blow up at me and my mom.
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I agree with Isn'tEasy; if he gets one hint you are obtaining 3rd party, he will marry her and really weave a tangled web. Pensions will be affected along with social security, and any assets she may have - such as her home, car, bank accounts, etc. I wouldn't wait around on this since you do have a diagnosis of dementia; it seems he may already be influencing her since she changes for the better when she is away from him.
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I agree, don't tell your mom until you need to. Find a elder law attorney first. I'm sure they will have some experience in this very sticky situation. As terrimerritts points out, the boyfriend could coerce your mom into marrying him and then things would get really messy. So, tread lightly and with expert advice from a good attorney.
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take your ma on a shopeing trip.or short vaction,with out her boyfriehd,see how he react to this,you could gane a great deal of information from this.and it should help your plan ,because people in her case cant freely taky if they arent alone with someone.
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rrussell~ I think it best not to inform your mother of your plans. She could easily let it slip out to her boyfriend. Does he have any legal power in regards to your mother's care such as a guardianship or DPOA? He may try to counter your actions. Talk with an elderly law attorney and he/she will advice you on securing this. In California we call it a conservatorship , it takes up to six months here to go through the process but an attorney told me that in emergencies they can process it faster (cost is more), and would think in your situation it is an emergency. Keep us updated as things progress as it will help you having support plus it will help others who are going through a similar situation.
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I agree with the people here who said do it without telling her. He is going to blow up when he finds out. Best wishes!
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She could marry the boyfriend and keep you from having access to her. You need to talk to both of them together and try to work out some assistance for her that he will support.
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I know you are trying to be considerate and forthright with your mother but you really have no other option living so far away. The diagnosis of dementia and possibly alzheimers answers your own question; go ahead with what you know is the best for her and obtain the 3rd party guardianship. You may want to advise the boyfriend or his family he also has about 30 days to make new living arrangements; your attorney should be able to scare him away easily. I wish you the very best.
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First, my heart goes out to you. What a difficult place to be! I haven't been there, so I have no personal experience to share.

I'm wondering, though, if it is necessary/wise to tell your mother this news in advance? If you know that you are going ahead with it, would it be less stressful to her to be brought in closer to the time of need? Once you have a lawyer engaged perhaps he or she could advise you about when your mothe wll need to know of your plans.

However you do this, good luck to you!
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i am sorry, i clicked before this thought. don't forget to respect her independence and happiness. i know it is a tightrope, but to my mom that is all she has left in life, so i give her as much leeway as i can to keep her safe.
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just do it. if he is interfering now, it will only get worse. for the past 12 years, i have had mom living with me, the last 3 i have been 24/7 caregiver. my brother has personality problems of his own and whenever he is involved everything gets complicated and fouled up. i have found that it is much easier to keep him out of the loop during the planning stage and that also includes talking to mom, until the plans are as final as they can be and give him his "assignment". to clarify leaving mom out, my mom will often mention things unwittingly and regrets it more herself after the fact and that increases her anxiety and behaviors of dementia and my mom isn't on the defensive like yours. you say you are doing it to protect her, that she can't make the sound decisions herself, do it, as if you were protecting your child. you can't choose her friends, but you can help keep them from danger.
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