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Can a POA force a move to assisted living?

My question is this...Since my husband has POA for his mother who has Alzheimer's; does he have the authority to make her move out of her house against her will and into assisted living for her safety? Two doctors have told her she should not be living alone anymore and something needs to be done. The problem is that she thinks there is nothing wrong with her and we are doing this to 'get her stuff'. So I wanted to know how much power the POA has to make her move.
Status: Open    May 27, 2015 - 02:13 AM

Elder Law

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Jun 01, 2015 - 08:36 AM

To legally compel someone to move, you must have the legal authority to do so. However, Durable Power of Attorney is meant for specifically the issue you are currently facing. Taking your question at face value, I have several recommendations.

I think the most respectful thing to pursue first is to allow your mother in law to make her own decision with heavy guidance toward your preferred outcome. Allow the senior living counselor at your preferred assisted living community direct access to her and be a part of their plan of action forwarding her decision toward the community. The counselor should be willing to spend this kind of time to overcome her objections and sell her on assisted living. If he/she isn't, find another community. NOTE: If your mother in law commits to anything, even a step in the right direction (touring, maybe), GET IT IN WRITING and HAVE HER SIGN IT. When dealing with memory loss, you MUST have a way to audit any forward momentum in the process. Let's say she agrees to a tour. Write down the date and time and have all parties sign the document. Then make copies and place them in a common place like the refrigerator door. This way you will have a resource to point back to should she waffle in her decision.

Second, you may want to look into guardianship. Before you take this step, meet with a local elder attorney to research everything involved. If you are granted guardianship you are granted the authority to make decision for your ward.

Third, blame the _________________. Most of the time, this means blaming a doctor. I don't care much for this tactic because it feels like a tactic and it can cause bad blood. It is far better for your mother in law to be involved in her own decision.

Fourth, wait for a crisis. I want you to know that I don't like making this recommendation. Sometimes, however, it is the only way that a senior will move. Only resort to waiting in the event that you have exhausted all other options. Ultimately, I recommend waiting for a crisis because it does respect the dignity of the person to make their own decisions, even those decisions that we determine to be dangerous. You role in waiting is to prepare the net for a recovery. The danger in waiting is that the crisis can be so bad that it can lead to death or long term skilled care. The other side of the coin in relation to waiting for a crisis, though, is that EVERYTHING that goes wrong is a crisis. Jump on all issues that you see and be honest about how they can be very dangerous. Not eating, not cleaning, not showering, not taking meds correctly, driving poorly, etc. can all be opportunities to demand a change.

I greatly prefer option 1. In fact, 90% of my occupation as a Senior Living Director is attending to exactly your issue. I can tell you that there IS hope. Every day I deal with seniors who have memory loss and many of them are directly involved as a decision maker. It's difficult and it takes a great deal of time and effort to overcome objections, but residents who are involved in their decision making are happy residents.

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By cconwell on Jul 09, 2016 - 10:15 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

Very good answer and great, so great that you took the time to write it.

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Jul 27, 2016 - 09:01 AM

I really like the answer from Brandon Schleeter. I would add that the direct answer to your question is: No. A Power of Attorney allows your husband to make decisions and sign documents in his mother's place. It does not allow him to override her decisions. If two doctors say she should not be living alone he needs to take action. If she will not agree he must seek guardianship. If the situation continues and the doctor(s) feel she is in danger or being neglected they are required to report the abuse or neglect to the proper authorities. Then your husband would not be involved in the decision as to where she lives. I feel you real close to needing the guardianship.
I totally disagree with cjones55. Guardianship should be close to the last resort but it is an important tool in elder care. Just like you would not let a three year-old make a bad decision with living arrangements or driving you must protect an elder with dementia. I have witnessed financial exploitation with guardianship once and I got all the money returned. I have witnessed much more exploitation without court involvment. Attorneys are not complicit with any government services. I have never had an occasion to beleive that. It is always a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends and family.
Best wishes and Godspeed to you.

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Jun 01, 2015 - 08:36 AM

To legally compel someone to move, you must have the legal authority to do so. However, Durable Power of Attorney is meant for specifically the issue you are currently facing. Taking your question at face value, I have several recommendations.

I think the most respectful thing to pursue first is to allow your mother in law to make her own decision with heavy guidance toward your preferred outcome. Allow the senior living counselor at your preferred assisted living community direct access to her and be a part of their plan of action forwarding her decision toward the community. The counselor should be willing to spend this kind of time to overcome her objections and sell her on assisted living. If he/she isn't, find another community. NOTE: If your mother in law commits to anything, even a step in the right direction (touring, maybe), GET IT IN WRITING and HAVE HER SIGN IT. When dealing with memory loss, you MUST have a way to audit any forward momentum in the process. Let's say she agrees to a tour. Write down the date and time and have all parties sign the document. Then make copies and place them in a common place like the refrigerator door. This way you will have a resource to point back to should she waffle in her decision.

Second, you may want to look into guardianship. Before you take this step, meet with a local elder attorney to research everything involved. If you are granted guardianship you are granted the authority to make decision for your ward.

Third, blame the _________________. Most of the time, this means blaming a doctor. I don't care much for this tactic because it feels like a tactic and it can cause bad blood. It is far better for your mother in law to be involved in her own decision.

Fourth, wait for a crisis. I want you to know that I don't like making this recommendation. Sometimes, however, it is the only way that a senior will move. Only resort to waiting in the event that you have exhausted all other options. Ultimately, I recommend waiting for a crisis because it does respect the dignity of the person to make their own decisions, even those decisions that we determine to be dangerous. You role in waiting is to prepare the net for a recovery. The danger in waiting is that the crisis can be so bad that it can lead to death or long term skilled care. The other side of the coin in relation to waiting for a crisis, though, is that EVERYTHING that goes wrong is a crisis. Jump on all issues that you see and be honest about how they can be very dangerous. Not eating, not cleaning, not showering, not taking meds correctly, driving poorly, etc. can all be opportunities to demand a change.

I greatly prefer option 1. In fact, 90% of my occupation as a Senior Living Director is attending to exactly your issue. I can tell you that there IS hope. Every day I deal with seniors who have memory loss and many of them are directly involved as a decision maker. It's difficult and it takes a great deal of time and effort to overcome objections, but residents who are involved in their decision making are happy residents.

Source: 

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By cconwell on Jul 09, 2016 - 10:15 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

Very good answer and great, so great that you took the time to write it.

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Answers

Dee

May 31, 2015 - 12:57 PM

Check with a Guardianship attorney or Family Estate type. But I believe the answer will be, no. Been there. After we had my mom assigned a Guardian and had her declared financially & mentally incompetent to care for herself we still could not 'force' or 'make' her move to the memory care she so badly needed to protect her from herself. We had to convince her to move with the help of the few people she trusted and by working with her on her terms. Since she was sure she wasn't sick we used that angle to our advantage. We told her that smart people would go there to live, there were people there who would protect her from the people she doesn't trust etc. Work within her reality. Be sure the home has done their assesment and has an opening and be ready to move her within days or minutes of when she finally agrees. Best Wishes.
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By cjones55 on Jul 13, 2016 - 08:14 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

The very last thing anyone should consider is taking legal guardianship over another. THis causes the elder to lose all civil and legal rights--civilly dead in the eyes of the law. It opens up a can a worms and often leads to theft of the elder's estate, isolation (often guardians prevent family/friends from visiting), over-medication and then death immediately upon the estate being drained. Most paid guardians are thieves. This is the fastest growing cottage industry in the country for a reason--no oversight and tons of assets. It's rubber stamping system and it should not be pursued. Do not seek help from an "elder attorney" without a very good and solid reference. They are often complicit as is Adult Protection. Very scary system and will only get worse from here. Don't believe me check it out yourself. Search for national association against guardianship abuse and/or boomers against elder abuse. This seems unbelievable until it happens to you and it can (and more and more it will).

By bently46 on Nov 17, 2016 - 11:15 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

My parents went into a nursing home and left ALL there finances to a lawyer who is a POA. He won't give me an accounting of how much money there is or where it's going every month. I'm an only child and we have no family to help. This lawyer is a big shot here and I'm afraid to go after him. Can anybody help me?

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May 31, 2015 - 09:11 PM

Wow- this could be my own situation! My grandma is in a nursing home after she had a dementia episode which landed her in the hospital, and was convinced she was put in there by mistake. She thinks she can just return home and continue living as before. She has been living for many years with a horrible man who mooches off of her, and is trying to convince her I am there to take everything she owns (he sees his gravy-train ending). I was worried because though I have POA, I was informed by a lawyer that it can be revoked at any time, so the lawyer advised me to file for guardianship, which is irrevocable (which would prevent him from having any power over her. Luckily she lives in a state which does not have common law marriage). Problem is that it requires her to be determined incompetent to handle her affairs. She was given a psych evaluation by the nursing home, and it was determined that she is incompetent. I went ahead with filing for guardianship. After she was deemed incompetent, my POA kicked in, which meant that I could make all decisions for her medically and financially. At the moment, she is no longer fighting me because she is very frail and realizes she needs more help than that horrible man would ever give her. She's even requested that he no longer be able to visit her at the nursing home. The guardianship at this point may be overkill, but it made sense when I though this jerk might try to marry her in the nursing home so he could take over her affairs.

So I guess that you should try to have her deemed incompetent at which point your husband will have the full power of the POA, and he can make that decision. Depending on how far along her dimentia is, it may prove to be a divisive strategy. I was out of town when my grandma was served her guardianship papers, so I'm not sure if she was angry or complacent about it, but now she seems happy enough to let me make the decisions. I must admit, however, that I haven't told her she is leaving her home forever; I'm just telling her she needs more physical therapy at a facility that isn't a nursing home... we shall see how she fares. It helps that she is currently in a nursing home. Until then I was never able to convince her she needs extra help. The social worker, nurses, therapists, etc. all help with that, too.

Another strategy could be to tell her that as the doctors have told her she shold not be living alone, they have an obligation to inform the state that there is an elderly person who is not capable of caring for herself who refuses to seek care, at which point the state could intervene and send her to a facility they choose, which might be horrible, and that it's better she let your husband choose instead... sorry for the run-on sentence.

I wish you and your husband luck!
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