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How do I convince father to pay for mother's dementia care?

My mother is in the moderate stage of dementia and I believe she would be safer in a memory care facility or adult family home. We currently have caregivers coming in twice per week and my sister and I help with her care as well. My dad is having trouble caring for her and keeping her safe when we and/or caregivers are not there. He does not want to pay for her care. I do have a durable power of attorney for both mom and dad. Can I put her in a facility without his approval or permission?
Status: Open    Apr 17, 2016 - 08:23 PM

Elder Law

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Apr 28, 2016 - 11:31 AM

This is a tough situation because under normal circumstances, a well spouse would want to take care of the sick spouse, so perhaps your dad's condition is not that great either. I suggest s talk with him first. Tell him that DHR (or whatever the social service agency is called in your state) will be called in to take care of his wife if he doesn't. He may be liable for negligence and more, and he will certainly be required to go to court, hire his own attorneys and deal with the aftermath. It would be so much easier if he would simply abide by the vow they took on their wedding day and support her in sickness and in health. If he doesn't willingly, my concern is that the Court will require him to do so at his own peril. Some states have "Spousal Refusal" as a way a spouse can deny paying for care, so I suggest you check with a local elder law attorney where your parents live. From you post I can't tell your or their jurisdiction.

May 11, 2016 - 07:49 AM

Mr. Nolan provided a good answer. I will give you a couple of options that are last resort in nature and hope you do not have to resort to either of them.
Thank you for caring enough about both parents to seek some help with the situation.
In answer to question about putting her in a facility without his approval: you can contract with the facility and you can access her/their money to pay the facility but you cannot force her to stay there. If she is willing but he is not, I doubt it would work but it might.

The first option: Part of this you should do quickly. You have power of attorney that should allow you complete access to her/their money. You can pay the current care-givers and keep them coming. If you think your father might revoke the power of attorney you could go take a large sum of money and place it into another account with only your name and continue to pay the care-givers. You should continue to pay them now. The hard option would be to take almost all the money and put in a new account. If you control all the money you might get him to listen/agree.

The second option: File for guardianship of your mother. If you are appointed guardian you would have the authority to place her in a facility. It appears that a guardianship is needed. Your father is technically neglecting her to the point that it is a health and safety problem for her. If he cannot see that problem I suggest you seek guardianship for both. Seek the assistance of an elder law attorney in your area.

These are drastic options but you are nearly out of other options.


May 14, 2016 - 08:56 AM

This does not sound like a financial problem or even a legal problem. This is an emotional problem!
Background: My own wife died with ALZ at age 63, her symptoms came on at age 54.

You are loooking at the situation through the eyes of a daughter not those of your father. In your question there are too many "I"s. "I" beleive she would be safer. "I" am helping with her care. "I" have a POA and want to use it in a manner that it was never intended. . . . Ask youself if you are really thinking more about your desires or his?

As an Alzheimer's Spouse I can tell you that there is NOTHING worse in life. An ALZ death is worse than cancer, your father has watched his wife, his lover, degenerate over the past 5 to 10 years. During this time his heart has been ripped out daily. YOU may see mom getting 'better care' at a facility. YOU may see it being easier for you and your sister if mom was in a facility. Your father sees the situation as someone who wants to xxxx away the one person he has loved deeper and longer than anyone else in the world. (BTW - he has loved your mother longer and deeper than he has even loved you)

In response to the lawyer answer above, yes he DID make a vow to stay with your mother 'in sickness and in health' and this is EXACTLY what he is doing! You are trying to make him break that vow.

To understand this better, imagine that you have a disabled child that is being cared for at home through the assistance of family and paid caregivers. What would your feelings be if he wanted to forceably put your disabled child into a care facility. And do it against your wishes? Because HE felt it would be better for everyone. When you talk about 'putting mom in a facility' it brings up the same feelings in him. No, it aint about money! It is about emotions.

You have not cited any specifics about why you beleive that mom would be "safer". She is currently receiving some paid home care, have you considered increasing the number of visits/hours from the paid caregivers?
FACT: given the choice, everyone would prefer to remain in their home as long as possible before they are forced into a facility.

Perhaps mom does need 24 hour care. When this time does finally come I can tell you that it is not obvious to the person who have been closest to the person with ALZ. But the decision MUST come from him. He must be the person to decide on placement.

You need to track and identify exactly the situations why you beleive that mom is 'unsafe'. You need to track and identify times and situations when your mother's care exceeds that which 'the man who loves her' can provide. Then talk to dad about these situations and get him to agreee to placement. Remebering that while placement may be inevitable, there may be other solutions to the home problems at this time.

Your goal is to help your father understand that if he will allow others to provide the routine tedious care (perhaps in a facility) then he can visit her in a more relaxed manner. He can be more rested and less frustrated when they spend time together.

Alzheimer spouses phtsically grieve when they place their lovers. They commmonly feel like they have failed in their maritial responsibilites. But they eventually recognize that when the load of providing physical care has been lifted, then the relationship moves a little closer to what it once was. A little closer to being able to focus on the love they share not the work that must be done.

If you try to solve this forceably and legally you will carry a big load of guilt for the rest of your life.
If you solve this emotionally you will have the satisfaction of giving back to your father everything he did to help you grow into a responsible adult. That is an act of true love.
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