Without power of attorney, do I have the right to be involved in my parents' care decisions?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 27, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Both of my parents have been diagnosed with alzheimers. I have five siblings, one with power of attorney. My sister that is staying with my parents was found to have taken alot of money from them. Gold, silver, stocks and bonds are missing. The detective wanted her arrested. My parents would not press charges.

Three of my older siblings have been making care decisions without informing me and our sister. My daughter and I were recieving calls from my mom about when we were coming to see them. We went and all seemed okay, but I feel as if my sister did not forewarn, things would have been different.

My other sister and her daughters informed me my dad gets left alone, his room sometimes smells like urine, they are not fed properly, that dad was diagnosed three years ago and my sister just started his medicine six months ago. The three older siblings act as though my sister and I have no rights. I do not believe my parents are being taken care of properly. Those siblings have told my sister she can have everything....again without informing us. I want to help them. What can I do??


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

It's hard to see a straight or easy way out of your predicament"”which seems to involve a lot of fingerpointing and second-guessing, with the strong possibilities of lasting grudges, hurt feelings and family estrangements. It just sounds as if historical patterns and distrust have taken hold in your family in a way that might be tough for all concerned"”no matter how well-meaning"”to work out on your own.

Your best hope may be to call in a family mediator"”an impartial third person who is trained to help those with disputes work out solutions on their own. Unlike judgments or settlements reached in a courtroom, there are no winners and losers in a mediated solution. The goal is to encourage everyone involved to put their cards on the table and to work toward reaching the best option possible.

You can often find very low-cost or free mediators through community boards; check your phone book for local possibilities. In your situation, however, it may be important to get the help of a seasoned family mediator. Here again, an old-fashioned telephone book may be your best searching tool.

You might also find help and steering to additional local resources by contacting a local Area Agency on Agency, which you can locate through the main website at www.n4a.org.


Community Answers

Spevler answered...

It was not my siblings that said they were being neglected. It was my younger sister & her children, who live near my parents. Please any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated.