Using a Power of Attorney

My husband's mother has dementia, but her doctor says it is not bad enough that she can't make her own decisions. We live in another state and my husband's aunt has been taking care of his mother. She disagrees with the doctor and thinks that mother needs to be in a nursing home. My husband agrees. Does the power of attorney give him the right to put her in the nursing home without her wanting that?

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They have tried to have Meals on Wheels come and also visiting nurses to help her out, but she is refusing all help. She is 84 and forgets everything. She will have a conversation with you and repeat the same thing 3 times within 5 minutes. She really can't take care of herself and the aunt is not able to continue helping her.

By Lisa M

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April 6, 20150 found this helpful

This situation is a bit complicated but not uncommon. Your husband needs legal counsel in the issue. I strongly suggest your husband discuss this situation with an attorney who specializes in POAs. Some questions-how is the POA worded? Is your husband's aunt his mother's sister? Does she receive money or other payment for taking care of his mother? Your husband may need an independent medical evaluation to clarify his mother's condition. Good Luck!

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April 7, 20150 found this helpful

It is not unusual for people with dementia to refuse help. It is a very difficult situation, and a doctor who sees his patient only once in awhile is often not the best judge of how competent one is to make decisions.

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Services vary from place to place, so you need to find out what is available in your area, and what the procedures are for homecare, Meals on Wheels, or being admitted to a care home. I suggest you contact local government/social services and find out the situation in your particular area.

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April 7, 20150 found this helpful

All of the things said here are true and a good idea. If I were you I'd take her to a neurologist because they are the ones who really diagnose Alzheimer's and dementia. They can also write you a note that says if she is capable of making her own decisions. Most family doctors are not equipped to do this and they really do not like admitting it as well. So make her an appointment with a neurologist and see if that helps you. Good luck (I deal with this all the time in my work life.)

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April 9, 20150 found this helpful

Are you saying your husband already has a POA?

There are several types of POA's so if he has one - then you would have to read it to determine what he can legally do.

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A neurologist can make a better determination about the mental issue as well as discuss the present home situation. You generally need a referral from a doctor to be able to place someone in a home as the "home" usually has to know the condition of the patient before they will accept them.

There is a lot of financial information the home will need and if the person has any assets it may be advisable for you to discuss this with an attorney before the actual "move" is decided/completed.

How fast this decision is made should depend on the welfare of the person involved. It sounds like it will be a traumatic move for everyone involved.

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