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Val123's avatar

When you have an elderly parent who is in a crisis, is it a foregone assumption that family members will be arguing over the best course of action?

Asked by Val123 (12704points) November 22nd, 2009

Like, an elderly 86 year old falls and has to go in the hospital. He’s lived by himself for many years in the house he built 60 years ago….and it’s crystal clear to some that he can’t live there by himself any more, but others disagree.

Or it appears that a parent might be developing Alzheimer’s. That’s a whole can of worms that can go on for years, with some family members wanting to take one course of action, others wanting to at least consider other courses.

It can almost lead to blows, and possible permanent fracturing of the family.

Would this/has this happened in your family? Is it almost certain to happen in every family?

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16 Answers

DrBill's avatar

It does happen often…....

It happened to us, we solved it by getting a POA for everyone.

We have a medical power of attorney for everyone, it says the one person who will make the decision, and who is second… and so on.

It solves a lot of problems when hard decisions have to be made.

cookieman's avatar

I have seen this happen in families of friends (and other family members). It is very sad and the amount of drama and raw emotions associated with it is heart wrenching and frustrating.

We care for my wife’s elderly parents but those tough decisions will be solely ours as my wife has sole POA. This, of course, does not preclude her niece, nephew or brother from having have an opinion – but ultimately, it won’t be there decision.

gemiwing's avatar

Our family came together peacefully and discussed the issue. We all agreed on what needed to be done. Then again, power of attorney is highly regarded in my family and deference is given to that person because there was a reason the elder chose them.

Val123's avatar

Good answers. But even at that…IDK. It’s kind of scary when the person with POA seems to totally have blinders on….

DrBill's avatar

That is something to consider when choosing whose hand will be on the plug…...

Make sure the person you choose, knows your wishes and they are willing to go through with it.

Val123's avatar

@DrBill There are so many situations….for example, if a person has dementia but can still sign their name…’s far to easy to manipulate a person who doesn’t really understand what’s going on.

DrBill's avatar

The person has to be competent or it is not legal.

faye's avatar

I thought it was clear, too, that my mom should not libe alone after she broke her hip at 80 yrs, but she wanted to and did for 6 more years. Lots of help with groceries etc but she wanted to.

Val123's avatar

@DrBill right. Then you’re looking at lawsuits. Talk about ripping a family apart. Plus, what if the family doesn’t have the money for a lawsuit?

Well, my father in law is now 86. The thing about his house is he has stairs to walk up and down. I think he’d be OK on one level, but not in that house.

janbb's avatar

We have been remarkably on the same page regarding decisions about my Mom’s care; she’s the one who’s the problem!

Val123's avatar

@janbb That is SO fortunate for you.

janbb's avatar

@Val123 Agreed and it is quite remarkable because we are fairly dysfunctional in many ways, but our values are very similar (and co-incide with my mother’s as well.)

Darwin's avatar

My parents have made it clear over the past several years who is to do what in the case of their incapacity and they have put it in writing, with copies to all children and a copy to their lawyer. We intend to abide by it all the way.

Adagio's avatar

I may have slightly gone off on a tangent, apologies….
What about the individual concerned, that’s what I’d like to know, what are their wishes? They may be elderly but that does not mean they want their lives dictated to by others, family included, no matter how well-meaning the intention. Of course, it goes without saying that an element of dementia may be the determining factor in any decision, but being advanced in years does not necessarily equate with cognitive function impairment. I prefer to think of dementia as a possibility, not a probability. It concerns me that other people may try and hustle elderly family members out of their homes and into some kind of retirement home or similar, against their ultimate wishes. While I am not elderly, I’m physically dependent on others, continue to live alone and as paradoxical as it may sound, consider myself completely independent and feisty to boot!

Darwin's avatar

My parents forestalled that problem by deciding to move out of their house and into a senior living apartment several years ago.

While it was heartbreaking for all of us, it was a wise decision and made things much easier in that everything has already been sorted through, gifts given to friends, furniture, books and tchotchkes distributed to children and grandchildren, trash thrown out, and bunches of stuff given to charity. Both of my parents had to sort through their parents’ stuff after they died and it was very, very hard. They chose to keep us from having to face that task.

In fact, although the state of Texas happily renewed both of their driver’s licenses, my father decided neither of them could drive any longer and gave his car to one of my siblings, with our agreement.

I hope I will be able to do the same thing some day to lessen the weight of my aging on my children.

Val123's avatar

@Adagio Dementia was definitely a factor in my situation. If Mom had a different POA drawn up when she was still cognizant, we never saw it. Never saw a will. The person who finagled the POA from her, also custom wrote the will, and just had Mom sign it. When all was said and done, after 3 years of expensive personal care (after she got really bad) there was nothing left to bequeath!
I think it happens more than people think. One person, by hook or crook, gets POA and pretty much cuts everyone else out.

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