How can I have a say in my married father's care?
How can I have a say in my father's care when he is still married? I am adult daughter - my father has Parkinson's and cancer - he is living at home but deteriorating - his wife does not always make decisions I agree with, and she has control of finances, though he has 1-2 accounts in his own name. They have had serious marital problems in the past - she loses her patience and they have terrible fights - but they were together at the time of his cancer diagnosis and hospital stay (2+ months long). He is on her insurance (she works, he does not), but he has medicare as well - I have no financial resources to take him in myself, but I care deeply about what happens to him. So looking to the future, is there any way to maintain some control over his care, or do I just have to go along with what his wife decides?
Adult children would like to have a say in a parent's care when the parent is seriously ill. However, when the parent has a spouse, the child's opinion will have to be secondary. This does not mean that you should not participate in your father's care or contribute your opinion in the decision-making process.
Apart from the legal status of the spouse, consider the nature of marriage. When you father dies, you will grieve but your life will go on pretty much as it is now. A wife's life changes dramatically when her husband dies. Her status changes from married to widow, her full time companion is gone from daily life, her friends change from other couples to single women, meals change when there is only one person, and many, many other things. So it is right that the spouse should have the primary say in how her husband's care is provided.
But care giving is not an 'all or nothing' situation. The wife needs support, especially since she is still working. She needs assistance that the adult child is uniquely situated to provide. You can give emotional support to your dad, you can share memories with him of times before he was ill, when you were a child, of past family vacations. You remember what little things used to please him that might please him now. You can visit and bring sunshine.
Be very careful to remain an advocate and not become an adversary. If you disagree with a decision, keep it to yourself. If the spouse sees you an part of the problem, you will have less access to your father, and be less a part in making vital decisions. On the other hand, if the wife views you as part of her support system, she will be more likely to consider your opinions.
Ultimately your goal is for your father to have the best care and the highest quality of life. Be part of the team to make that happen.
Kay Paggi: The above was a very thoughtful answer but doesn't really address the actual question. By reading the question, it seems that the marriage in question was not healthy to begin with (note: serious marital problems), before the illness... it seems to me the asker is in a difficult position as the wife is not capable or willing of providing good care for her husband. To the asker: I don't know what the answer is, but it seems the above answer is coming at this situation from a healthy marriage perspective which doesn't seem to be the case. I hope others on this website can help you with advice that you can use for your situation.
Hi, Ano. Kay did indeed answer the question, and very well: The spouse, not the child, has the legal right to make decisions on behalf of the parent. If the child wishes to participate in caregiving, then it must be with the permission of the spouse. And if the child becomes adversarial, as Kay gently pointed out, the spouse can limit the child's access to the father or deny access altogether.
You will note that the child does not claim that the wife is neglecting or abusing her husband, only that the decisions the wife makes are not always those with which the child agrees. I see no indication that the father's mental status has been seriously compromised by his Parkinson's, so it is entirely possible that the father is actually participating in the decision-making process ... and even if his mental health is declining, he may have prepared an Advance Health Care Directive, and/or discussed his wishes in depth with his wife. His wife is much more likely to know how her husband wishes to be cared for than his child does.
And the "serious marital problems" are described as having had fights ... something most (all?) spouses do at some point in their marriage. The father is still with his wife, apparently by his own choice. And the child says the fights were "in the past". Perhaps his illness has drawn husband and wife closer together. The fact that the father has given his wife his POA (indicated by his wife having control of his finances) says he trusts her to make his decisions for him. If he did not, he would have given his POA to the child. The fact that the child does not have POA for either healthcare or finances speaks volumes about the father's wishes in this matter.
As a home care nurse who works directly with these types of situations I may have some advice that could help. The previous postings are correct, the spouse overrides adult children in decision-making capabilities. However, what I see time and again is that the spouse (or whoever is making decisions) steps into this role before they need to. If your dad is of sound mind and is capable of making decisions then he should be doing that until he no longer can - that is when the POA would take effect. If you can talk to your dad privately and encourage him to continue to be a participant in his care planning that would be a good first step. It isn't clear what you mean by the spouse not making good choices but if any of her decisions are impacting the medical plan of care (not giving him his medications, not assisting him with his therapy or providing for his physical needs) you do have the ability to let his medical care providers know. They will not be able to discuss his medical plan of care with you because you do not have POA - but - they can listen to what you have to say and address the issues at his next appointments. The more informed the doctor is as to what is 'really' going on at home, the better he or she will be able to relate to your father. If you do call, you can even suggest that the doctor see your father alone for the first part of the visit, then bring his wife in at the end to go over what the doctor and your dad have agreed upon. Of course, your dad would have to be in agreement and be his own advocate to make that happen. I would also make sure the doctor has had your dad make out a living will/advanced directive so that when he is no longer to make any decisions for himself, his spouse has to abide by his wishes in that document. In fact, he can name a different person(s)to be his health care power of attorney than his financial one. In addition, if you feel at any time that his health, safety, well-being are being grossly compromised by his wife, you can make a report to the authorities (in MN it is by county) and they will investigate. Keep in mind that those these reports are anonymous, she will probably figure out you made the report which may further alienate you from the entire situation. So, even though you do not have POA, you can do a few things to help look out for his best interests.
jboone1408: Please keep in mind that many step-family relationships are difficult to begin with and advising a child to speak to a parent "privately", to try to communicate with a doctor without knowledge of the spouse and to try to otherwise act in secret is not sound advice. The doctor may even feel the HEPA act precludes communication with the child. The spouse is likely to find out about or have strong suspicions about what will probably look to her like attempts to undermine her relationship with her husband and criticism of her care giving. Children often visit when it is convenient, be unaware of all the circumstances surrounding the decisions that are being made and offer unsolicited advice based on on incomplete picture. It would be better to encourage developing a better relationship with the step-parent and perhaps offering to relieve some of the stress of care-giving. These could come in the form of grocery shopping, walking the dog, picking up prescriptions, preparing a meal from time to time, etc. and would show a sincere desire on the part of the child to be helpful rather than the child being perceived as someone who comes when time permits, offers unsolicited advice, and stomps a foot when the advice is not followed. In the absence of serious mistreatment, no adult child can honestly claim to care deeply about a parent when that child is antagonistic to a spouse the parent has chosen to marry and continues to choose to live with, this causes the parent a certain amount of anxiety and places him or her in the position of having to take sides.
I also agree with Kay's response. I am caregiver for my husband who has a neurodegenerative condition, and he is very disabled mentally and physically. We are a second marriage - he has five grown children who are my stepchildren. To the person who posted this question (ANO) - I applaud you for caring for your father; my stepchildren leave the caring up to me - they think I do a great job, but I sure would appreciate more attention from them.
I would recommend fostering a good relationship, if possible, with your stepmom. Also, please tell your stepmom to check out the Well Spouse Association, a national support organization offering emotional support and friendship to SPOUSAL caregivers - it has made my caregiving journey SO much better, being able to share my trials with others going through the same trials. Visit www.wellspouse.org.
"the child being perceived as someone who comes when time permits, offers unsolicited advice, and stomps a foot when the advice is not followed" - THANK YOU jboone!!! You have described it perfectly!
I was the asker on this question. Thanks for the responses, but I have to say I am somewhat surprised by the lack of understanding by some the respondents, and the total suspicion of the adult child's role in this difficult situation. The marriage is emotionally dysfunctional, and it would take pages to describe, so I took shorthand to say they have terrible fights - and though no one has hit the other, their screaming fights involve a lot of emotional cruelty and regularly end in declarations of divorce, bags being packed, etc. Yes they have chosen to stay together, but why would someone question my care for my father based on the fact that I didn't show evidence of physical abuse in his marriage ???!!
"In the absence of serious mistreatment, no adult child can honestly claim to care deeply about a parent when that child is antagonistic to a spouse the parent has chosen to marry and continues to choose to live with, this causes the parent a certain amount of anxiety and places him or her in the position of having to take sides."
That is frankly outrageous - I have respected my father's wishes for the last 14 years of his awful marriage, and stayed out of it, made nice, made peace, and never asked him to choose sides. When it came down to it, it was his wife who asked him to choose sides and let me know I was unwelcome in their home. Even so, I respected them, and got on with my relationship with my father in spite of that, NEVER asked him to choose. I know the respondents don't know the whole story, but I am shocked that so many make the assumption that the adult daughter is simply having some kind of tantrum about her father's choice of spouse. How dare you question my care for my father ??
"The fact that the father has given his wife his POA (indicated by his wife having control of his finances) says he trusts her to make his decisions for him. If he did not, he would have given his POA to the child. The fact that the child does not have POA for either healthcare or finances speaks volumes about the father's wishes in this matter."
Again, a huge assumption to make.
He has not given POA to anyone, because we have not pursued it, and he is unwilling to face reality. his wife has plenty of help from me, my brother, and a paid helper. However, she blows up and insists 'she can't take it anymore' on a regular basis, and is now pursuing a nursing home, against my wishes, and my father's. She is now pursuing divorce so she can protect "her assets" - she is unwilling to continue caring for him. Does that "speak volumes" about who cares for him ??
I have held off on asking him for POA in order to respect their adult relationship - that's why I turned to this column in despair, for some advice. I know it is the spouse who takes the brunt in this situation, thats why I have not tried to circumvent her by sneaking in a POA for myself.
My point was : What does one do when the spouse is emotionally unstable, and yet holds all the financial cards - even before we get to POA, there are plenty of financial decisions that have to be made - and I DO NOT HAVE FINANCIAL RESOURCES !!
I came to this column with a feeling that his life was in her hands, which genuinely concerned me. But I came away with the even more horrible feeling that people assume that a spouse, because of a marriage certificate, always has the best way of dealing with things, and that a child, even though a competent and emotionally mature adult, must just be peeved that her dad maried the wrong woman.
This is a heartbreaking situation -- it is bad enough to have all these health issues without a rift in the family. I know, because I am the wife in a similar situation. I am sure my husband's daughter would post a long message about how terrible I am and she would believe every word. I am quite sure she thinks her dad married the wrong woman, but we have been married for over 20 years and until my husband's stroke we were happy together.
Try to think of your father's needs, not your antipathy to his wife. He is the real victim of any break in the family. You can't force his wife to care for him at home -- it is a terrible burden -- and you admit that you can't care for him yourself. If he has to go into a nursing home, try and be there for him as much as you can.
From my perspective my step-daughter's behavior (temper tantrums, name calling, refusal to help when help was so desperately needed) made a terrible situation much worse. We got on fine until we disagreed on his care and I made the final decision to follow the doctors' advice and keep my husband alive. (There is a religious element to this -- she doesn't believe in using medical care) She never spoke to me or acknowledged my existence again, walking past me into our house as if I were not there. Eventually my husband (who by then could make his own decisions) and I moved far away from her and her children and have had no contact with them for over a year.
It is a tragedy and has broken my husband's heart. He loves his grandchildren and to lose them in this stupid way makes his disability much more bitter. I reached out to his family over and over again, begging them to let bygones be bygones for his sake and they refused every time. So please, for your father, let bygones be bygones, avoid his wife if you must, and be there for him.
Wow - this really shows the importance of having one's wishes legally written before illness strikes. I maybe facing a similar situation, but must emphasize to the poster that the intimacies of our marriage are NOT what my step-children perceive them to be. No matter how much an adult child THINKS they know what their parents marriage is like, they really don't. My, uneducated, suggestion would be to consult an elder care attorney, but if you do not have the resources to care for you father yourself, I don't see what options you have - you certainly want the best for your father of course, but you also don't have the right to put your step-mother in the poor-house either.
Good Luck to all of you
What looks like a terrible relationship to the child, may just be the way this couple relates to each other. Or could it be the wife is expressing anger and frustration over losing her "marriage" and becoming sole caregiver. It is a tough position for the child and the wife. I suggest you show the utmost respect for your father's wife.
Please allow me to express some ANGER - I have lost my marriage from almost the beginning to my husband's neurodegenerative illness, and have been SOLE caregiver for 12 years - today is our 12th anniversary. He has gotten excellent care, we love each other despite the lack of communication and his almost total inability to do anything for himself - the only help I have had is what I pay dearly for in home health aides, and they are a problem in themselves - getting decent aides is very difficult. My five stepchildren show very little in the way of caring or attention. They should be sending me flowers on our anniversary - and maybe more often, as I do everything and they get to just have fun or do whatever they want. They have done some nice things for us in past years, but I am very angry, and abandoned and would LOVE some of the respect mentioned in the post above!!!!!!!! Sorry for the anger, but it feels good to get it out.
GET POA FOR FINANCES AND HEALTHCARE RIGHT AWAY !!!! I TOTALLY SUPPORT YOU AND EMPATHIZE WITH YOU. NO ONE REALLY KNOWS HOW HORRIBLE THIS SITUATION CAN BE FOR A CHILD WHEN A HORRIBLE STEPPARENT IS INVOLVED. DO NOT ASSUME THAT THIS WOMAN HAS THE FATHER'S BEST INTERESTS IN MIND. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU POSTERS WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN IN HER SHOES BUT HAVE THE GALL TO JUDGE HER INTENTIONS. I HAVE SEEN WAY TOO MANY WOMEN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SICK HUSBANDS. HOLD YOUR GROUND, HAVE YOUR FATHER GIVE YOU POA AND CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION. STEPMONSTERS MUST BE CLOSELY MONITORRED, AS THEY OFTEN DO NOT HAVE A SPOUSE'S BEST CARE IN MIND.
What utter nonsense. Why would you think a person has no concern for his/her spouse's welfare just because there are children from a previous marriage? Devastating illness is stressful for a family, sometimes people don't behave all that well under stress and generally there are two sides to a quarrel.
One thing is certain -- a serious illness will have a much bigger effect on the life of a spouse than on the lives of adult children. My husband's children have continued with their lives much the same as they were before his stroke, which is appropriate. My life (and of course, his life) is changed forever.
Thank you "ash": I was advised by lawyers years ago (when I thought I got along with my stepkids - and I still do, because I ignore that they don't care) to get POA and all finances in order to protect myself. Anyone who knows me knows I have done amazing things for my husband - stepkids would have him in a nursing home. One of them suggested it once because I was honest in saying that this was all difficult - I just wanted some kind of support from them; I said the nursing home was NOT going to happen; I will manage. And "ash" - do you know about the Well Spouse Assn. for spousal caregivers? Please check out www.wellspouse.org. You are one of us!
YEAH, SOUNDS GOOD IN A GOOD SITUATION. COP A CLUE PEOPLE, STEPPARENTS AS WELL, NOT ALL STEPPARENTS ARE GOOD SPOUSES AND STEPPARENTS. I HAVE SEEN MANY ROTTEN ONES. PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM THE STEPMONSTERS OUT THERE AND THEY ARE OUT THERE.
All I can say is WOW! So much obvious emotion here. There are no canned answers for this. Each situation is different and requires an individual response. Think about how you have approached your family in the past that has gotten positive response. Perhaps the place to start is trying to sit down calmly with Dad and Stepmom and talk with them on an emotional level. Go in with a white flag if necessary. Ask them each to say what their goals and fears are. Tell them your actions are motivated by love and love alone. It sounds to me as if everyone is being defensive for different reasons. I am also in a difficult situation. I am now mostly living in my parents home after much discussion and their invitation to provide assistance while also working full time from my home office. It has been very difficult setting bounderies for all of us. Emotions run high toward end of life. After agreeing for me to move in they both continuously attacked me and accused me of trying to "take control" of their lives. It was ugly and very, very hurtful. It's all a matter of perception. I had to put my hurt aside, recognize how difficult this is for them and calmly make it clear that that is not my goal at all, but rather to keep them safe and help provide the best quality of life possible under the circumstances. I had to be very respectful, ask them to be respectful of me as well and then give them time to think about it. I placed the decision for me to stay or leave entirely on them. I don't always agree with their choices especially from a health perspective which is very hard for me to swallow as I am a nurse who works educating seniors about their conditions and finding services for them! It's a whole different ballgame doing this for your own parents. I had to re-evaluate my position as daughter vs nurse, take a step back, and just be a daughter. If your parents are in their right minds (that doesn't mean you have to agree with how the relationship looks) it is THEIR right to make the choices they do, even if you don't agree. I'm not saying that is easy to do. If you approach them with respect, tell them you are there to offer care w/o control, put your own feelings aside and let them drive the bus...you will probably find that after a time they will be more open to hearing what you are saying. It's all in the way you say it. Offer your opinions and then add, "but this is your choice, your life". I also pointed out that I have nothing to gain by taking any control. I know this sounds simple...but, honestly I do this every day with my patients, their caregivers AND now my parents... and it seems to work....I think because it is honest, understanding and non-threatening. Most people are not "bad" people, they are people who feel defensive, afraid and have been hurt in some way that makes them behave in the offensive and sometimes say mean things. You don't know what goes on between your father and his wife when you are not there, you cannot presume anything, and bottom line, they are both adults who have made their decisions and continue to make their decisions. Your father is a man, not a child. He has made the choice to stay with your stepmother and to give her the control she has. Again...you don't know all that has gone on behind the scenes. It takes two to Tango. It's apparent that you love your father. Be the peacemaker, be the sanity in a time that feels insane to everyone. Also be aware that you cannot control what is to come and possibly that is where some of your emotions are coming from. It's a loving sacrifice on your part. I also understand that from your perspective it probably feels impossible to achieve...but if you truly love your father...you CAN do this....remember to do something to blow off your own stress...and let it go. The alternate choice is to end up loosing contact with your father at a time when he really does need you. Good luck and God Bless! I will keep you in my prayers as we travel this difficult road together.
My husband and I have been married 13 years, have been together 18. I nursed him through spleen cancer, kidney cancer, stroke, 2 hernia's , prostrate cancer and now dementia. I have durable power of attorney we have had this set up for 9 years. He had a rocky relationship with his two sons, both recovered acoholics on and on. His daughter he has been very disapointed in because she imbesseled money from her employer, but he still loves his kids although through the years did not want to see one son, and the other he wished never would come around as he always wanted money. Now that my husband can't remember how he past felt about his kids, I thought they should be more of a part to his life. I had to put my husband in a adult care center, because he was up all night, tried to kill himself, and I could not let my eyes off him for 2 minutes or he would be outside exposing himself to the neighborhood. Timing was horrible, his 82 year old sister just lost her husband and his other sister JUST had triple bypass surgery. Now the kids and sister have turned me in to the Adult protective service stating he does not need to be there and I never let his sisters know I put him in the home. They are investicaging at this time. I cannot trust that the kids won't take my husband to the bank and clean us out, as he smiles and nodes his head and agrees to everything said. I told the Care center that I did not want anyone to take him out of the facility even for a day because I am a wreck thinking about what could happen. The care center called and said the daughter told them that YES she was going to pick him up tomorrow when they told her no. Boy what a heart breaking mess. I told everyone, that they could visit him anytime they wanted, but not to take him out. Not really sure if I as a wife can tell them not to take him out. I would hope so. As bad as he is, I have decided to bring him home so I can make sure where he is. Not looking forward to that, as I am at my breaking point, The kids will be glad to hear that, as they can spend our bank account.
Dear exosted, I am so sorry to hear of your situation. Your husband's children (I assume they are your stepchildren) have no right to step in when they have not been there to help you all along. I have five stepchildren who have been quite distant from their father and me as I have cared for my husband the whole 12 years (still going) of our marriage - he has a dementia illness. I have all legal powers in this situation; I care for my husband at home with home health aides; at this point, I feel my stepchildren have no right to say anything unless I ask for their advice.
I wish I could be of more help, but know that I support you in how you are trying to care for your husband. Check out the Well Spouse Assn. at www.wellspouse.org to connect with other spousal caregivers who will understand! Best wishes to you.
The parent child relationship is scarosanct and should be held in greater regard then the step parent in the eyes of people and the law. Its an insult to the adult child to be regarded in the diminutive when it comes to making decisions for their own parent.
My advice for step parents is the reason adult children of your spouse don't show up, communicate, participate is because of YOU. It is your unability to cede control that drives them away.
GNO, that may be true in some circumstances but is not necessarily true. Not all children have the best interests of their parent at heart. Sometimes they just don't care all that much.
My husband's children asked for their "inheritance" while he was still in intensive care, and wanted to divide up the household possessions. Five years later he is still alive and needs the money we earned and saved together (over nearly 30 years of marriage) and still enjoys his home. How would I have taken care of him with no money and no furniture? Is this showing care for their father?
As for the sacrosanct relationship, you are actually talking about the relationship between spouses, not step parents. And the spouse is the caregiver; in the initial posting the child wasn't even offering help.
My steomonster -and dear lord how I've tried for 20 years to like this woman who is 9 years older then me and married my wealthy -heart broken just divorced from my mom, 25 yrs older then her dad...tricked my dad with dementia for going on a ride in the car and took him to a fully covered by the VA nursing home. My dad wanted me to be his caregiver in the home -but she refused it. She got herself post for medical and financial. 4 years ago she told my dad to buy her a new house, or give her 200,000 dollars so she could leave him and go buy one. He didn't want to buy a house cuz he wanted to help me out and my son -his grandson -who is special needs. My dad and I are so close when I randown to the nursing home the next day dad saw me -dropped his lunch tray -ran to me -and held me so tight -we both cried. She has him conditioned to believe now, almost 5 months later -that is where he needs to be. Dad still knows me -but never remembers her name and she hates that and said "someday he will forget you too. " who the hell says things like that .I don't have money to fight her and don't want to lose seeing my dad. We are the only family for him here in Washington state -his wife, me, my son -and my deadbeat brother who says "dads already gone -move on " and supports his wife cuz that's who holds the bank. My brother was gone for 10 years and now shows up. My dad had a manic episode alt the nursing home and neither my own brother or her told me he was there because she left on vacation while he was in the hospital and they thought I'd think she was a "bad wife " hmmm -my mom says dads wife is now probably hitting on my brother. So here's people controlling dads life that he doesn't really know and the one he does know they push away. As for the daughter who started the link at the beginning -please get the Poa. It is hell on earth loving your dad with hands tied to do right by him without it. If anyone has any advice for me too --lord knows I could use it.
It isn't really about what anyone thinks is morally right or wrong here it's about what the legalities are. If a person is in their right mind and alert they make they own decisions. If they are not then it is whomever they have named in a medical power of attorney. If they didn't make one out then that falls to the spouse not to the children.
I have been in this situation recently with my spouse who was in a drug induced coma when he had a very serious heart problem. His daughters came for the time they could (3 days out of the month he was there) and tried to have him moved. Each one wanted him moved to the area where they lived. Insurance would of course not pay for this as good medical care is abundant where we live. A social worker was called in to see if they were a real threat to anyone because of their behaviour as they tried to block me from his bed.
He did survive the incident and he did get all his affairs in order legally. He took their name out of his will and named me as POA medically and financially due to their disrespect of us as husband and wife. People did try to explain the law to them -they just didn't like the answer.
It doesn't matter that he hasn't named anyone-if there is a spouse that is their job. If he had wanted to name his children he could have done so at anytime before falling ill. If he didn't trust his wife he probobly would have done so. Many older persons while they have taken action on the proper paperwork know that these decisions will be made by their spouse.
You will have a better relationship with your parent and stepparent if you respect their union. If that is hard to do then you can respect what the law is which will have the same result. Stating that you don't like it won't help in changing the facts.
It is frustrating for everyone involved. I think it helps if people do try to assess what their boundaries should be. In this case the law spells it out.
Stepmonster? I don't know-to the stepchildren perhaps. I have never done a thing to them nor do they know anything of mine and their fathers relationship. They just made it clear that they did not want him to remarry and haven't come around since he has.
If he is ill again I will not contact the stepbrats. Way too much drama and trouble at an already awful time. Based upon my last experience why would I bother?
There is one scenario in this thread that has no been discussed. Using the example that been described, let's say that the father had written a General Power of Attorney and assigned the General Power of Attorney to his adult daughter and not the second wife.
Does the second wife still trump the adult daughter or does the adult daughter now get a voice and the right to advocate?
In this situation, the father is not incapacitated, he has cancer and Parkinsons, but there does not appear to be any question regarding his ability to make decisions.
Surprisingly, even if u have mpoa and r named executrix there is no justice for one without money to sue. My father recently died and I was denied autopsy request. His foreign wife just got citizenship 45 days prior to his death at hm. I recently found out she has been cheating on my father with a married man. I spoke to this mans wife. My father was cremated. Everyone knew he wanted to donate but widow declined to donate organs n tissues and had my father cremated 4 days later. She's cleaned out bank accounts and is destroying property and also presented a fraudulent deed of trust to take even half away from me. Needless to say I'm his only child and he left everything to me but since he may have a 0 cash estate Im not able to fight for justice nor my rights.
To Maryl33133....get your head screwed on right. SUE, SUE, SUE at any and all costs. This is fraud. Maybe it won't be very expensive....look around for an attorney. Call the nursing and other authorities. Don't back down!
Mary/33/33, you have my deepest sympathy on the loss of your father. Such a loss is difficult enough without disputes over the loved one's wishes and/or estate.
Have you spoken with an attorney? Find two or three estate planning attorneys who specialize in litigation and request an initial consultation. Typically, initial consultations to determine your standing and the attorneys' qualifications for handling the case will be free, and you are under no obligation to retain any of them. That will give you a much better idea whether you have sufficient grounds to fight her and what needs to be done. I don't know about where your father lived, but in many states, private citizens can take all sorts of legal steps without being required to have an attorney involved, and most reputable attorneys will be happy to give you some guidance on what to try. Take along paper and pencil, so you can take notes and won't have to rely on your memory.
I suspect that neither the timing of her citizenship nor her indiscretions would have any bearing on the case. MPOA would have expired when your father died, so she probably was fully within her rights to decide on cremation -- unless his most recent will or trust specified his wishes with regard to disposition of his body. If his wife has access to bank accounts, they may have been joint accounts and, if so, they became hers on your father's death -- they are not part of the estate. And/or perhaps your father executed a new will or living trust of which you're not aware.
His last testament and will was signed on 9/27/2012 right after he found out that she passd her citizenship test. He was in the process of filing for divorce. We live in Texas. I've seen numerous people. I've even seen the DA. They all told me to talk to my lawyer. Lawyer says such a small estate, y do want to keep fighting?! To him it's a small estate, for some that has nothing even just half means so much esp when my dad built it w his own hands and sweat.
I know this woman makes 1000 a week doing nails but only files $8000 a year w IRS and drives a new infinity suv w custom plates.. Nice and claiming low income and gets medical aid from government.
I am a new mom to twin boys whom r 15 mths old , suffered a broken femur at 19 wks while pregnant. And had been estranged from my father bc he left my mom n I for this woman. She's 30 yrs younger from him n he brought her here from Vietnam. My accident brought us closer . I had just seen my dad 2 days prior to his death. I got the call logs and I noticed his aid was delayed by almost an hr. no money, no case.
No body, no case but the pic I took of my dad at the hospital shows bruising around his neck... Sheriff and ems reports states he died at home.
Physician and nurses documents does not match. If dr pronounce dad died at 10:00a how can Patient tell him symptoms are new and Is improving at 11:14a???!! So documents from 2 personnel in one facility doesn't match, I know there's something I can do. Death certificates states father had heart attack 30 mins, chest pains an hr and smokes cigarrats( cigarette spelled wrong) MY FATHER HAD QUIT SMOKING BACK IN 1999. I pulled medical report from physician and he also noted my father didn't smoke... So why did he e-sign the certificate?!
I'm in so much distress, depression, emotional.... It's tough. Thank you all for guiding me and even replying back. Means so much to a child that is truly lost and dazed I've yet to grieve for the widow who "no speaky Englis" is moving so quick all I was able to get was documents bc my father was a security guard and documented everything. I found a note from October that she stated coming into his room and giving him a warm cup of water to drink. 11/02 my father passes. It's a civil matter, Is what I keep hearing.
I talked about her citizenship bc she came to us nov2002 n father passes nov2012.. It's quite suspicious. Being he just retired in June of this year.
I hear your frustration and deep anguish... you've been through an awful lot. Perhaps some of us can help you sort through the issues you've been raising, and maybe help alleviate some of your concerns.
However, one thing that isn't clear is whether your father was older and/or in poor health. I'm assuming he was, since you're here on a website for caregivers. Without knowing the circumstances surrounding his death, some of what I say may be a bit off-target, but may help get the discussion going so we can learn more about the relevant factors and be of more assistance to you.
The hour's delay in aid ... are you saying someone called for medical support and nobody arrived for an hour? The priority that was placed on sending an EMS team would depend on who placed the call, the number that was called (whether it was an emergency or a nonemergency phone number), what the caller said, and the availability of a suitable response team. I went through hospice for emergency help twice ... the first time, it took well over four hours even with my making repeated calls to hospice, and I eventually had to call 911 directly, myself, to get help even that soon. The second time, I called 911 myself when I hadn't gotten a response within an hour. I found out that hospice calls a nonemergency number, and it's not unusual for the response team to take several hours to get there. In your father's case, if the symptoms weren't clearly indicative of a heart attack, the dispatcher may not have given him a very high priority. Early symptoms can be very vague, and appear to be, e.g., just indigestion. And the comment that the symptoms were unusual for your father and that he felt he was improving may have led the dispatcher to feel that he wasn't in any imminent danger.
It sounds as if your father died at home, possibly even before the EMS arrived, and there was no doctor present. It is up to the State to decide who can legally pronounce a patient dead. In some states, police (or the sheriff) can make a determination of death, in some states paramedics and/or hospice nurses can ... in some, the patient isn't legally declared dead until actually examined by a doctor, which sometimes isn't until many hours later. And an ER doctor who declares the patient dead after the body has been transported to a hospital often is not the one who signs the death certificate -- the attending physician (e.g., your father's primary care physician) would be asked to do that and "determine" the cause of death and file the death certificate.
Bottom line, it's probably unlikely that anyone is going to be suspicious if the time of death on the certificate doesn't match well with statements from other parties in other places about the patient's status at any given point in time. In fact, it is not at all unusual for reports from different sources to contain conflicting information. I have a friend who just spent weeks trying to straighten out her father's death certificate ... someone, possibly at the hospital, put down the wrong date of death. She didn't notice it right away, the funeral home delayed requesting the correction, the hospital delayed signing the approval for the amendment, and after so much time, it took six weeks for the state to process the paperwork needed to approve the amendment. There wasn't any hanky-panky, it was just a typo, complicated by bureaucracy. I had problems with my loved one's death certificate because whoever was supposed to arrange for his doctor's signature apparently forgot, and four days later, the funeral home called me in a panic because the hospital where they'd picked up the body told them my loved one hadn't died there and their doctors weren't about to sign anything. Now, in our case, the doctor who (eventually) signed the certificate hadn't seen my loved one during the eight days prior to his death. He was on hospice, and died at home, and the time of death was supposed to be declared by a hospice RN. However, we had total chaos and confusion, because my loved one was in a study at the university and was supposed to have an autopsy as part of that study, and although I'd told hospice that when I first brought them in, they had never followed up to find out how to arrange for it. My loved one died on a Friday night after all the university study people had gone home for the weekend, and the RN spent the next couple of hours trying to track down who was supposed to transport his body and where, and what I was supposed to do to reclaim it when they were done. I don't think anyone actually made an official record of what she said during those phone calls, and I'd be surprised if she remembered a detail like the exact time afterward, especially since she was heading to another hospice patient's home when she left ours. I think what was eventually entered on the official death certificate was what I wrote on the form I filled out for the funeral home, which was based on what I thought I remembered hearing the RN say during one of her many phone calls.
"Determining" the cause of death can be based solely on medical history and symptoms and signs immediately preceding the death, not necessarily on any tests actually performed at the time, which is why the attending physician is typically the one who signs the death certificate.
Death certificates list the primary cause of death, and also have a space for factors that may have affected a patient's overall health but did not directly contribute to the immediate cause of death. Even if your father quit smoking a long time ago, his earlier habit could easily have been a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, and it's therefore not surprising that it's mentioned on the certificate. In my loved one's case, the cause of death was end-stage Alzheimer's. Contributing factors included parkinsonism, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cardiovascular incident. Obviously, he didn't die from GERD ... but I can see why it was listed, since it did make it harder to get adequate nutrition into him and since the meds for treating it interfered with other meds he needed to, e.g., help prevent strokes.
If an EMS team is called for a patient who goes into cardiac arrest, they will do CPR unless there's a DNR in place (and often even if there is a DNR, sigh.) CPR involves a great deal of physical force and is going to cause a lot of bruising -- it can often even break bones. So while I'm sure the picture of your father was very disturbing to you, it might not be disturbing to someone who is used to patients who have died under similar circumstances.
It sounds as if you think the cremation was arranged suspiciously quickly. Actually, a cremation must take place soon after death -- I believe within three days -- unless the family wants the body embalmed or is willing to pay for special storage conditions. Either of those can cost quite a bit of money. Embalming is usually only done if there is going to be some sort of memorial service at which the body will be "viewed". If "direct cremation" is chosen, the body can move directly from the place of death to the crematory, or it may stop at the funeral home just long enough to secure the death certificate, cremation permit, and cremation authorization form. The fact that the authorities -- including his primary care physician -- allowed direct cremation says that they saw nothing suspicious about your father's death.
While it's very admirable that your father wanted to donate his organs/tissues and that you supported his wishes ... there are severe limits as to the types of donations that are possible when the patient dies of cardiac arrest. The whole body could be donated to a medical school for use in teaching students, or for experiments involving various types of tissues or organs if there is a demand for them at the time and in the vicinity. When it comes to transplants, however, very few of his organs/tissues would have been healthy enough -- probably only some of his skin, and maybe the corneas of the eyes if they were in good shape.
OK, on to another subject. Apparently you've been told that even if the widow's actions with regard to the estate may not be in keeping with the most recent will, that would be a civil rather than a criminal matter. That means your only recourse would be to sue. And it sounds as if you have discussed this option with an attorney, although it's not clear what the attorney's area of practice is and whether he'd be well-qualified to advise you. What I'm getting from what you've said is that he doesn't think a lawsuit will be worth your while. Maybe he doesn't think you have a good enough case to justify the severe stress suing her will place you under. And really, Mary, lawsuits are extremely time-consuming and stressful even when the death of a loved one isn't involved. Maybe he's trying to tell you that your legal costs will be too high in comparison with what you might gain. Attorneys chew through money at a mind-boggling rate, and then there are all sorts of court costs as well. Maybe he feels your case is pretty weak, and you would have difficulty prevailing.
I would suggest that you consult another attorney or two, and that you look for attorneys who not only specialize in estate planning, probate, and trust law, but ones who focus on litigation. You want someone with exactly the right experience and expertise to help you evaluate your own, particular situation and whether pursuing legal action will be of any real benefit to you.
Now, maybe this woman is defrauding the Government by claiming benefits to which she has no real right and/or by under-reporting her income. And maybe you could cause trouble for her by reporting her to the appropriate authorities for either or both of those. The thing is, that if she was married to your father for quite some time, then his financial status would have affected her eligibility for benefits, and the two of them would typically have been better off filing jointly than separately. Ergo, your father may have been involved in some way, and any repercussions might affect his reputation and/or your inheritance. ($1,000 per week seems truly exorbitant for a manicurist -- salary.com says the average income is $19,381 per year, only a third of that. And if she lives in a smaller town, the average salary could be thousands less than that. If she owns her own business, then the business might collect $1,000 per week in revenues, but the actual income that she realizes would have to be adjusted for expenses.)
If it's determined that there has been some wrongdoing in this area, I wonder if it would affect the disposition of your father's estate. If, say, he got Medicaid benefits, they can come after his assets, including his home, whether or not he left them to you in his will. Since they were married, even if the house was in his name only, the Government might be able to come after the house if she received Medicaid benefits without actually being eligible -- that, I don't know -- and even if she was eligible, they can still put a lien on the house.
So before airing your suspicions, I'd talk with the attorneys about the evidence you have that she's been defrauding the Government, and what possible impact that might have on you and your hopes for an inheritance.
By the way, I can certainly understand why you think there's quite a coincidence in the timing ... but ... I'd have found things much more suspicious if he hadn't executed a new will right after he found out she passed her citizenship test. It sort of sounds as if he wanted to be sure nothing he did would have any adverse impact on her ability to become a citizen (he may have delayed filing for divorce for that reason) and felt obligated to make sure she would be taken care of in the event something happened to him before she was a citizen in her own right and could claim the benefits due to a naturalized citizen (and, hence, waited to execute his last will and testament until after she passed her test.)
He may have retired because of his health.
And if he was in the process of filing for divorce, then perhaps he was fully aware of her relationship with the other man. Maybe she got into that relationship because her marriage to your father was already on the rocks as far as both she and your father were concerned, and they agreed to stay in a marriage of convenience until she got her citizenship.
JENNYB-I TRULY DO THANK YOU.
my father was in good health as far as i can understand by reading his physicians report. he had a follow up and was cleared with ekg, colonoscopy, stress test etc. yes im in turmoil anguish. im hurting everyday. i will get over this. i cant stress over how may times ive approached lawyers if u can take my case, i want to donate it to u. all of it. if theres even something. i have nothing therefore i wont lose nothing nor do i want to gain anything from this. just justice and peace..... i found this blog with google. ive read over n over it many times before. even prior to my fathers death. everyone had opinions from every spectrum n thats what i loved about this website. im HSP (HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON) i take in every emotion from every person in a situation. the inconsistencies from the widow and the exbro in law just made me more suspicious: 1.the medical call to 911 was delayed by the widow. she didnt call until 9:04 am. 2.the neglect of telling me which hospital my father was at. 3.how his name was obtained from medicine bottles. 4.ems signed for him bc no family was in er.. 5. spouse never returned to hospital due to car overheating (this is a brand new infiniti) etc.......so sad. i cant recount how breathless i still am every time i think of my father.
my father had been a security officer since 1990. he gets paid by a company electronic check. he had paid his dues and irs on time and on point. he just retired in june. he had been trying to work things out with my mommy but mommy said friends for now and once divorce is final they can see where itll take em. i spoke to the mans wife. she followed them to a motel. they met several years ago when she was wking next door to the hair salon he bought for his sis in law. my dads widow thought he owned it but in reality it is in their only sons name. even his new tundra. hey like i said. ill pay back with what little i have. i know what whistleblowin can entail. i have rights as a natural born citizen dont i?? my suspicions are just my suspicions. its the paper trail that are proof. lien on the house?? its a real property. land and trailer on 15 acres paid off my my dad. she presents a fraudulent deed and states in dealing w seperate property. has my dads name but no signature.. back dates it by 10 yrs and files it 2 days after my will was probabted .she already is putting a lien on it and her sister owns it now...... SMH. i use to do nails. asians are a hush hush community. if i have to go against the community to be heard I WILL. it takes only 17-20 mins for a pedicure. imagine for one that does only pedis in a local walmart regal nails salon 7 days a week from 9a-8p. how much do u think one brings home??? i only did enhancements and brought in 1200 a week (before the economy got really bad). 60% was cash and 40 % was check. i started doing nails at my aunts job at the mere age of 16 (1999-2000?? unsure what year). paid cash w/o a license . im sure u r probably thinking i too was in on this BUT i knew nothing nor did i care about laws at that age. I LOVED MY JOB. I TAKE LOTS OF PRIDE IN CARING FOR MY CLIENTS HANDS, NAILS AND FEET. i got my license at 18 and they (same shop widow has wked for since her arrival to the states) fired me after i got my first car(1997 honda accord) bc my best friends family opened a nail shop across the street. i left the vietnamese salons in 2006. i cant stand how they were defrauding the system and taking my tip moneyso i went off and started booth renting at salons in the park.. then my car accident happened and ive not wk since 3/20/2011. this was how the asians ran their business. u dont like it u leave. take a look around. they all drive nice new shiny cars. designer purses. faces full of makeup... but guess what? majority of them r on low income, and government health insurance. their cars and businesses r in other family members names. oh.. the greed in running a nails chop shop.... if only the world can take a closer look...
Well, you're certainly right that we have a very broad spectrum of opinions on every subject on this website. LOL
Have you spoken with your father's doctor? Perhaps he could shed some light on what happened, and give you some perspective on the likelihood of your father having a fatal heart attack in his condition. Physicians' reports can be difficult for a layman to understand.
You know, in addition to talking to a couple more estate law attorneys, you might want to talk to someone who practices real estate law. I don't see how anyone would accept a document that doesn't have an original signature (and I'd think it would have to be witnessed, too, or certified by a notary public, if it's on a deed), but I don't have the foggiest what would have to be done, or by whom, to straighten things out at this point.
And ... you might consider joining a grief/bereavement support group. Even under the best circumstances, it's very hard to cope with the loss of a loved one. Many support groups are free of charge -- a good place to start looking might be local hospice organizations:
As the sole caregiver for seven years of my husband of 22 years - a man with two healthy, married adult children and two adult grandchildren. I should have the help of six adults, and I have had absolutely no help from any one them. Ever.
That's why I am going to ask you to consider the following.
My husband's family project various fantasies onto our situation in order to stay away from it. First, fhey pretended that their father, who cannot walk, and uses oxygen, was healthy. "How's the skiing?" they'd ask. His illnesses have all but depleted our finances, and they ask, "Where are you vacationing this year?"
This enabled them to stay completely out of it, no matter how many times I explained how ill their father was.
After I begged for help, they had to shange the script. Now the second wife was crazy. Dad was fine, but she was overreacting, and worse, she wants to be congratulated for being a hero. What an egotistical woman, who wants so much attention. What a martyr. Let's ignore her.
Now that my husband is desperately ill, I've become angry with his family. I wrote two rude sentences to one of his kids. This has given them the opportunity to finally unlease their tempers on me. They can't deal with me, they say, because I'm so mean.
So they can continue to stay out of it. No calls, as usual, no visits, as usual, and no help.
So please make sure that you're seeing the situation for exactly what it is. If you really want to wade in to that situation and straighten things out for your father, do it. Roll up your sleeves, go over there and state your case. "I want to help. I don't need you to assign projects to me. I'll just see what needs to be done, and ask your permission to do them." Get in or get out, but first determine whether you've been pushed away, or whether you've stayed away.
Have any of you delt with the second wife who will not let you be involved. Her answers is She and her son (my stepbrother, not by her choice I must add) have made the medical decisions for my father who has ahlzimers. She never calls with updates and I only find out his condition when I call him. She may then get on the phone or she may not. I have tried to be involved to no avail....it's all about her and her and my dads son deciding everything, nothing like being made to feel helpless.
Hi, anonymous. You may want to join a discussion forum, here and/or on the Alzheimer's Association website, to talk about your questions and concerns in detail. For example ... it's not clear what sorts of "medical decisions" you feel you're being left out of. There are very few drugs that can be tried, and all they do is help the brain function a bit better while it is being damaged ... but they do nothing to slow the damage. The bulk of the care is helping your father with ADLs (activities of daily living). Depending on where he is in the progression, they may be helping him bathe, use the toilet, dress, eat, move about the house. They struggle to keep him safe, and to deal with behavioral issues. Caregiving for an Alzheimer's loved one is very time-consuming and physically demanding. Your husband's wife may be too tired, and grieving, to want to talk about it frequently. She may feel you're getting all the information you want/need from her son. It's also entirely possible she doesn't want to upset you, by talking about things you can't change no matter how much you want to. I gather, since you're only calling and not visiting, that you don't live nearby. Otherwise, I'd suggest that you offer to help take care of him on a regular basis, to give the two of them a little respite. 24/7 caregiving is extremely stressful. But ... what about asking if you can visit for a week or two? That may give you a much better feel for how your father is doing, and what their lives are like. You'll have a better feel for what to talk about with your husband's wife and son in the future.
I think that the fact that your father has not assigned POA to his wife speaks volumes. This is what I might do. If you cannot get a lawyer, get a POA downloaded that is applicable to your state. Research what is needed for signatures and witnesses. You may want a POA and a health-proxy. Make sure it is a DURABLE POA. Your step-mother never has to know that your father signed it. Be sure that you include an alternate which could maybe your brother. Make sure it is legally signed, etc. Pretty much, that will be yours and your father's salvation.
You can present this to your father gently and casually. He may want this as well. Keep in mind that there may already be a POA that you do not know about which he would need to revoke. Good luck but be careful what you wish for. Your brother needs to be on board.
a daughter who also loves her father
As a second wife I need to chime in. First Jboone1408, please be careful what you advise people. While step children think we are living the dream, in truth, it's a nightmare. Would they step up? Heck no! They think their Dad would be happier in a nursing home than at home.
It's a dangerous slope to suggest that a step child should try to undermine the wife. And have "secret" meetings. To find someone to suggest the victim/parent with Alzheimer's revoke a spouse's DPOA and give it to a child who could never live up to the terms of the POA and Advanced Directives is pure malfeasance!
My Husband has two absentee children. One lives only a few miles away and we never hear from him, the other lives a couple of hours away and may call once every two weeks. They are both under the impression that I "owe" them updates daily or weekly without giving any consideration for what life is like. They are rude and hateful towards me and accuse me constantly of neglecting their Dad.
Fortunately, we have a great PCP, Hospice Staff and close friends that know that to be nothing but a malicious lie.
For Years these two would tell me and others how happy they were that Dad and I are together because "now we don't have to worry about him being alone..." Mention the word Hospice and have many family meetings and boom, they try to undermine both of us at every opportunity.
There's a bottom line, guilt for not being around and greed because for some unknown reason, they think we are sitting on a huge pile of $$, and everyone has conveniently forgotten the market crash when my Husband's 401K took a fatal hit in '09.
It's not easy being the second wife. Life with my Husband when he was well was just awesome. We laughed, joked, loved and played like kids. Now, I cry and bang my head against a wall because I lost the man I married, but still have the man I love.
And "Big Bad Second Wife" are we related :) You just sang my song like you wrote the music!
To "Big Bad Second Wife and Luvmyhusband"
There are so many women who take advantage of men, particularly remarriages. Blood is blood and most times, the second/third times around is often fraught with greed and deceit, usually on the part of a gold digger second or third wife who would want nothing better than to ruin the primary family ties. I have learned a lot FINALLY about these femme fatale types - didn't know about them until I got older because my girlfriends are honest, working women who don't use men to get what they want. NEVER TRUST A WIFE OR HUSBAND OVER A LOVING CHILD. Blood takes all - sorry!
Dear Anonymous, this forum isn't to argue and pick fights, but I'll address you as I do my stepson.
You are right, some second marriages are not for love. We on this forum are not 22 year old girls married to 80 year old billionaires! Yes, this runs the full circle ... even older couples abuse each other.
At least in my situation, I married a wonderful but lonely man. We had a strong friendship long before we were involved romantically. I witnessed how his kids treated him for years and it broke my heart. The stepson has a serious drug problem and is in and out of jail. He only ever calls his Dad when he wants something. He has stolen from both of us and is not welcome in our home as a result. He never even calls to say Happy Birthday to his Dad, and forget the other holidays that most families treasure.
When my husband became seriously ill and entered the hospice program is when they, brother and sister, all of a sudden think they have the right to push their way in and take over. What that means is stuffing Dad in a nursing home and taking the house over. They tried to convince our PCP the Dad was happier in the nursing home than at home...He flipped out on them and made it clear that while they see snippets of life he and the wife see the other 23 hours daily...not just Saturday afternoon for an hour or less; and that putting him in a nursing home is not on the table!
Prior to his illness, I'd hear how happy they were that Dad had someone that loves him and is a strong advocate for him. Meaning it made it ok for them to be absentees until the will is read. This is deplorable, hateful and malicious behavior. They think they have rights, when in reality, when others on the outside looking in see how awful they have been over the past year; know how hard I work all day and night. It is a very difficult job to watch your spouse wither away and be the only caregiver. We don't have round the clock help, I'm completely alone in this situation.
So as far as blood takes all goes, how often have you sincerely tried to help your parent? Run for groceries, help with housework, do laundry, follow that loved one with a mop because the floors are always wet? Have you even offered to help with meal preparation? How about setting up a pill minder and ensuring medication is administered on time? It takes careful record keeping to ensure the latter is met.
JennyB said the worst thing we have to face is an adversary within the family. Children's lives continue pretty much as normal, a wife's life is changed forever by losing a friend & Husband.
I am so sorry that you are so bitter and truly hope you will be able to mend your relationships. Clearly you're in pain and I hope you do find peace.
I believe that a lot of the irrational behavior is due to fear or losing a parent, and guilt for putting him on a back burner for so long. In the 18 years that we have been together I can honestly say we've only ever been visited about twice year by the daughter and maybe once by the son. Nothing changed when I came along, it's not the wife in this case. It's selfish, self centered, greedy children. Who I might add have demanded to see our wills and health care proxies. These are private documents between husband and wife.
I have had threats of physical harm by these people, especially the son, telling me to be careful when I drive our car cause things happen to cars - and you never know who's hiding in the shadows.
The last thing I reminded my step son is this, we chose our spouses not our children. My husband has actually asked an attorney how to make the kids back off. As sick as he's been, he's fed up with their behavior.
Dear Anonymous, I don't believe it's possible to draw such sweeping generalizations.
Do gold diggers exist? Absolutely -- of both genders. There are men who prey on divorced or widowed women, too. Is every second/third wife a gold digger? Well, of course not. You yourself say that your girlfriends are "honest, working women who don't use men to get what they want."
In fact, a second marriage is often much better than a first marriage because both parties have matured, have learned more about themselves and what they want in a spouse, and have learned how to be better spouses themselves.
Are all children loving? Of course not -- just ask Adult Protective Services, the police divisions in charge of investigating elder abuse cases, the DAs in charge of prosecuting them, and the probate court judges and investigators and the attorneys that deal with guardianship issues.
I've been an active member of three dementia caregiver discussion forums for eight years now, and sadly, they've been full of situations like those of Luvmyhusband and Big Bad Second Wife.
As Luv says, we choose our spouses -- and we are also free to choose whether or not to stay in the marriage as time goes by and the relationship evolves. We are free to give DPOA for financial and/or healthcare matters to a child (or other relative or friend or attorney) if we have concerns that a spouse may not always make the decisions we'd prefer. If a man chooses to live with and love and trust a second wife, and continues to do so for decades, if he chooses to grant her legal right to take care of him should he become incapacitated, then who is to say he's wrong?
To Luvmyhusband and Jenny B:
I gave up my life, jobs and millions of dollars to assist and later provide FULL TIME 24/7 care to my father. It could have strained my marriage but my husband is as good-hearted as I am and has done a yeomen's effort as we together saved my Dad's life and prevented his wife (under investigation for 2 years by Adult Protection Services) from putting him "away" in a nursing home as she wanted to at the first indication he was very mildly ill. That was 3 years ago and he STILL is not in a nursing home. She put her first husband in one in his 40s. AND I DO have POAs for him, thankfully. AND he is divorcing her after she neglected and abused him and caused a temporary guardianship. I am not bitter - just smarter. I am sure that there are spouses that are wonderful the 2nd or 3rd etc time around. Often that's not the case. Guess what? There are great children with moral underpinnings that do the right thing for their parents - as should be the case. I SAVE my father money, not take it for heaven's sake. If you raise a child right, as I was raised, with strong family values, you should be able to count on a responsible and loving child to aid you in your older years. I didn't even get along that well with my father growing up and into adulthood - he was verbally abusive at times, very strict and hard on me - and I STILL have done the right thing by him, even though in many ways he doesn't deserve it. I am a better person than him and his soon-to-be ex-wife gold digger and God has given me and my husband the strength to save my father's life 3 times and help him out of a terrible marriage that surely would have killed him. I have the utmost sympathy and regard for true caregivers - like some spouses and people like ME! Thank God my father was savvy enough to plan for what turned out to be a nightmare spouse who cared little for him despite a 20 year marriage. And, by the way, her family wishes me dead too - I stand between her and her family robbing my father of his and my deceased mother's hard-earned estate. All that glitters isn't gold - and she isn't younger! Another misconception...that only the "young ones" marry for money....WATCH OUT KIDS! I never told my father not to marry although I saw right through his wife early on - now he keeps asking me why I didn't warn him more!
Elder abuse. My father has had parkinsons and for at least the last 2 years, dementia. After he suffered major health issues this fall, my sister and I asked our stepmom (of 5 years) for copies of his will and last wishes. She did give these to us for us to learn that they were recently updated and not only had all of HIS assets going to HER heirs -- but should she pass before him, all of HIS assets go to her family leaving him with just a house -- nothing to care for him!!! We have been battling this with her since then and as of today, she says it is final and will not be changed. She has now convinced dad that all of his funds will go to his children. But what she is now doing is moving HIS funds from their joint accounts to HER sole accounts. Yes, we will be finding dad his own attorney to represent HIS best interests.
Oh, forgot to mention -- his doctor has called me and my sister about elder abuse -- she yells at him -- he falls and bleeds and rather than be concerned that he may be hurt and blood unable to clot because of his meds, she yellls because he is staining the carpet.
She recently 'dumped' dad with my sister and I to care for for a week while she went to NY with a friend. No clue on when she was returning. His weekly tray of meds was inconsistent day to day. She is NOT a caregiver -- she is a gold digger. Her last husband was 25 years her senior -- my dad is 10 years older. She is just hoping and helping him die.
Kids- SPEAK UP. The doctor can help with the elder abuse claim. Get your parent their own attorney -- someone to look out for them and not hired by the spouse.
Evil exists and yes, just because they are elderly, they scam at all ages -- stepmom recently bought herself a new mercedes -- 4th new car in their 5 year marriage..... with HIS money not hers.... sadly, dad's dementia is so bad he only believes what she tells him -- and she knows this.
My dad was not the best of fathers growing up. So perhaps I could write this off as payback -- but it is wrong. So do what is right and not let her get away with this!
TWO WORDS FOR ALL YOU CHILD BASHERS AND 2ND/3RD WIFE SUPPORTERS: CASEY KASEM!
Get an elder law attorney for you AND your father RIGHT NOW! Get guardianship of him! Health and finances! If wifey fights it, which she probably will, even if the court grants her guardianship, she will have to report on his health and finances regularly to the court that will scrutinize her actions as to whether or not they are in his best interest. HURRY!
This may have been addressed, but if the spouse is committing elder abuse, you need to report it. If that is going on, you owe it to your dad. If it is indeed elder abuse, the woman is committing a crime, and it is likely that decisions will fall to you. I do agree with one of the much earlier posts, that as long as he can, your dad needs to be a part of his own care decisions.
She was under investigation for 2.5 years....but she finally fooled them and he was placed under guardianship (she didn't wan to be guardian...big surprise). After some quick and expensive work ($16,000 wasted on attorneys) - my POAs were reinstated to me. He divorced her. She is the reason he is dying...we are looking at more litigation against her and others for missing medical issues due to her ongoing distractions. She is dying too. Karma is wonderful.
My father died and thankfully he divorced his wife (the stepmonster) months before. It was such a relief to be rid of her and to not have her interfere in his getting good care. All she wanted was to dump him in a nursing home while he paid all her bills and she lived in his beautiful house. He took crap from her for years, but showed her in the end. He died peacefully, knowing all the strife and heartache she caused for decades was finally over. He had a great attorney and she got 1/7 of what she wanted. She fought him right to the bitter end, but he "won". She was evil incarnate and karma already is getting her. We have been happily remodeling his house and had a priest come over to bless it to get rid of all of her negativity. Because of her and the terrible memories we have there, we don't even want the house and will rent it instead. Its feels great to cleanse it of her bad spirit with remodeling and choosing not to live there. She killed my father with her neglect and abuse and we can hold our heads up as we did everything possible to help him and I was a model daughter who sacrificed much and took much abuse because of my father's stupid fateful act of marrying her and staying in the marriage too long, despite almost divorcing her 2 times before the final time. Karma is good....God rest his soul. We gave him a stupendous funeral that months later, people are still complimenting me on. The truth eventually prevails. Rotten people ultimately lose. Again, two words: Casey Kasem!
I appreciate the responses of all people above who have had to bear the brunt of their spouse's care. If I may, I'd like to add the perspective of an adult child as well. I'm the oldest of five children. My Dad is completely debilitated from two massive strokes and other health issues. He is declining in health. He had no advanced directive and his wife is his POA. He has very little cognitive power left, but occasionally will recognize us. When he IS aware, he tells us with his actions that he does not want agressive care any longer. This includes physical therapy, forcing him to get up and walk to the bathroom, and having his wife in his face every day, haranguing him to cooperate and do things he doesn't want to do. She is so afraid of him dying that she's being pretty unrealistic about his longevity and ability to improve. He isn't improving at all. She explains away any decline with "oh, he has a urinary tract infection and it's distracting him," or other farfetched "reasons" for his lack of improvement. Dad wants to be left alone. I really feel for his wife; they've been married for over 30 years and of course she's terrified. BUT: when it comes to his care, she is adamant that she wants no opinions other than her own. If a doctor or physical therapist does something she doesn't like, she fights them and threatens to sue; I mean, it's gotten pretty ugly at times. She is not letting these professionals do their jobs, and we children have absolutely no voice. I'm not saying we should make decisions for Dad; his wife has accepted that responsibility. But it would be better for all if we could at least offer an opinion. And before anyone says anything about us not helping with caregiving, please stop right there. I have traveled back and forth many times from my home to my Dad's over the last five years helping to care for him. My sister gave up her retirement dreams to help care for him. My brother, who lives near him, also takes a regular hand. Yet we have absolutely no say. Well, I can say it here: my Dad needs palliative care. Not aggressive therapy, not a feeding tube, not a million doctors (whose opinions the wife dismisses anyway), not 15 different medicines. He deserves some freakin' dignity on his final path. Even his professional home caregiver asked my sister to "please talk to the wife as she is not making wise decisions and is forcing your Dad into therapies and situations that are no longer productive". Not only that, but Dad's wife has lost so much weight and is so burned out that her own health is in danger. We are very lost here.
Hi, Anonymous. The really bad thing about your situation is that there are no simple, straightforward answers. Nothing about caring for someone in your Dad's condition is clear-cut. I'd agree (very strongly) with you that palliative care would be best for your Dad. But many people -- and his wife appears to be one of them -- feel, deeply and intuitively, that they would be, in effect, killing the loved one by opting for palliative care or hospice care.
Your Dad may indeed just want to be left alone, but he probably doesn't understand the ramifications, and it appears you might not, either. For example, walking to the bathroom is probably very good for him -- movement helps to keep the bowels regulated (you don't want him suffering from constipation, maybe even develop fecal impaction, trust me on this), helps prevent bedsores, and helps prevent the development of contractures (which are excruciatingly painful and very debilitating.) And, of course, if he doesn't use the toilet, then he has to use diapers, which would have to be changed frequently to prevent all sorts of skin problems. Changing the diapers of a debilitated, full-grown man (and probably also having to change the bedclothes) isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, so it would be very hard on his wife, and can also be frightening and upsetting to someone with cognitive dysfunction. Physical therapy involving range-of-motion exercises is also very advisable, to keep your Dad as comfortable as possible. Urinary tract infections can cause all sorts of symptoms, including cognitive dysfunction, confusion, lethargy, agitation, delirium, and so on and so forth.
And -- no offense to the highly qualified, experienced, and competent healthcare providers out there -- some providers are not particularly experienced in working with someone as debilitated as your Dad, and it's quite possible they have been giving poor advice. It takes two to fight ... having to fight to get her decisions honored is unprofessional on the part of the providers. I realize it's sometimes necessary, but the times I know about, it was caregivers who had to fight tooth and nail to get providers to honor advance directives that call for palliative care. Many providers insist on aggressive or inappropriate treatments despite their being in direct violation of the AHCD -- they are trained to prolong life. If a doctor or therapist is clearly and repeatedly going against your Dad's wife's express wishes -- in either direction -- there's something wrong here.
I had to change doctors several times before I found one who understood dementia and gave what I considered to be good advice for my husband's care. The others were insisting on meds that were inappropriate for his age and condition, insisting on invasive tests when there was no way I would permit aggressive treatment if the test results came back positive, and even ignoring his weight loss as "to be expected." (It wasn't. It was due to gastroparesis, a symptom very common in patients with parkinsonism, which I finally had to figure out for myself. Once I put him on a gastroparesis diet, he started eating again and enjoying it, and put the weight back on.) The doctor I finally settled on -- LOVE that woman -- is certified geriatrics and certified palliative care / hospice care, and divides her time between a senior health center and hospice. She agreed with me right down the line, bless her. And there's no question my husband was much happier under her care.
Is the doctor in charge of your father's care certified palliative/hospice care? If so, have you been able to sit down with him to discuss your concerns and obtain advice directly from him on what he thinks might be best for your Dad, and why? If you're only able to judge by second-hand information such as his wife's fussing and fuming, you may be getting a skewed picture. And if the primary care doctor is not certified palliative/hospice, would there be a specialist in that field you could consult? A good specialist may not only be able to address your concerns, but help you find ways to help your Dad's wife with her fears and frustrations.
(((((hugs))))) to all of you.
I'm planning to go to MI to visit my very ill 78 yr old father. His 2nd wife has a PIN# at the hosptial and is trying to keep our family from him. She even told us he was in Hawaii and couldn't be bothered. She is awful. I want nothing but to say I love you. I need the law on my side to allow just that... to see him.. hold him. Tell him he is loved. She says she hates it. That shows in her actions. no one wants to help
As a daughter going through a similar situation, I want to send a message to stepmothers out there. I realize not all of you are bad people and want only the best for your husband. As children, we did not ask for our parents to divorce. All kids want their parents to hold it together, as that represents home to us. So when a parent remarries, remember you are not our mother, we were not raised by you, and we are part of dad's life, like it or not. Just because we are younger than you does not mean we are immature and don't love our dads. We want only the best for our dads too, so when something isn't right, you better believe we are watching. Keep all lines of communication open, no matter if you can't stand the kids. You should never make him choose between them and you.
I have a wicked stepmother who only married my dad for money and to burn the rest of the family. Everything revolves around her, even though dad is mentally ill and can no longer care for himself. Karma is a bitch.
Get an attorney and get your papers in order. Make sure you or another child has Power of Attorney for Property (which is finances) and Power of Attorney for Health (so you can make his healthcare decisions). Beware of involving the authorities (elder abuse "protectors" etc) because of the chance that they will make your dad a ward of the county or state by naming him a public guardian, which also could be her. See website of the association against guardianship abuse. Its a racket to steal elder's estates!
I read many of the responses and there are many different situations and variables to consider. Some step parents illicit and want help from the adult children. Some children are out for themselves and don't offer to help. As diverse as the many scenarios are, there are predators that prey on the elderly and the laws need to be changed so that adult children are included in the decisions made and allowed to share the last days of their parents life. Currently, the laws favor the spouse and don't consider the family members. I've wondered what I would do in my retirement and I now have my life's goal to have this law changed! My stepfather has cut my mother off from all friends and family and has isolated her from everyone! My mother was admitted to a memory care facility, which we found out from a neighbor. Long, long painful story. It really pushed my buttons when I read the advise about being nice to the step parent. I get it, I understand what that advise was proposed - because of the law. If you don't play nice then they can cut you out of the picture. And they can cut you out of the picture if you play nice too. My mother married has been married to him about 8 years now and he has systematically isolated her. When I asked to go with her to a doctors appointment( about 3 years ago) so I could hear what her issues were, he freaked out and I wasn't allowed to see my mother for months. He disconnected the phone and wouldn't answer the door when I would come over. When I was able to get in, normally my mother would be out of it (as if she were drugged). My brothers and sisters started to visit and that became too much for her husband who cut off all contact to the family. Being nice with a predator does not work. His motives are not honorable.
Were going through the same dads on his third wife. This time a bulgarian lady last time russian and the first one our mum who was english. He now has parkinsons, dementia and cancer she wont let him out or me see him. She is aggressive towards me so its not safe to visit. Social services spare involved but what can they do she is his wife. Im at my wits end and my fear is i wont know when he dies now or be part of his life ever again. She married him for money he is wealthy and she has nothing not even a home of her own. She brought her child to england to go to uni at the age of 21 and she lives off dad too. Nobody will listen when i say hes left 5 hours a day or more when she goes to a cleaning job and he is bed ridden. What is the answer as i tried to be on her side and got it thrown in my face.
I can certainly understand the original poster's concerns. My father has Alzheimer"s. He divorced my mother when I was a child. He has been in a very strange relationship with the mother of his child for 20 years. He has always maintained through the years that he did not want to marry her. He said she was emotionally unstable, and even pulled a gun on him in the past, and has tried to commit suicide a couple of times. He has had to call the police several times in the past in the middle of their disputes. He had custody of my sister while she was growing up. She is now an adult, but has had "issues" as well and is out of the picture at the moment. This mother of my half sis is 12 years younger than I am. She and my father have had hard times financially, and wound up living together (several states away from me) although my father said it was just for convenience and to help one another financially and that he still had no intention of marrying her. She has always said she loved him and has always wanted to marry him. He was diagnosed with Alzheimers about 6 years ago. About a year ago, they got married, and did not tell me until after the fact. I fully believe that she manipulated him so that she can keep a roof over her head. She does not work at present, and has a horrible work history. Their sole income his his small social security check. She is only 40, and is quite able bodied. Years ago he appointed me as his financial POA and healthcare proxy, but it is not a durable POA. I do not trust her, for the reasons described above, and for other reasons that I won't go into. Although my father may have known that he was marrying her at the moment, I do not believe he could fully understand and remember the ramifications of marriage. If the Justice of the Peace had spent any time at all talking with him, he should have picked up the fact that this man was not in his right mind, and should not be getting married without some kind of further investigation into his mental capacity. As soon as he told me about the marriage, he told me that he thought he made a mistake, and has maintained this everytime we have discussed it since. His wife is now posturing, trying to keep me from seeing him. She is very insecure, and it seems she has always for some reason seen me as a threat. I think before they got married she thought I was going to try to come and get him and take him to live with me.. I would have, however, due to my husband's health, that has not been a possibility, unless my father went into a nursing home. Right now (since a couple of months ago) she will not allow me access to him either by phone or in person. I know that my father would never want this, as we have always been close. And I know from his long history with this woman and from more recent conversations up until the last couple of months he has said he wants to get away from her and get a divorce. He can no longer drive, and is very weak, so he has no way to get away from her. I am wondering what recourses I have.
Bless you jennyb, for your response to the adult child who felt that his father should be in a palliative/hospice program. Having been in a similar situation as the second wife he described, I'd be willing to bet that the wife would welcome palliative care if it were an option.
Unfortunately, most stroke and other brain injury victims don't meet the insurance criteria for receiving palliative or hospice care. Most insurance companies won't pay for palliative care or hospice unless the patient has been diagnosed with a terminal illness that is expected to result in death within 6 months or less. Strokes, while devastating, usually aren't considered terminal in and of themselves. So, unless his father and stepmother are independently wealthy, the healthcare system leaves them no choice but to try make the best of what is most likely a very bad situation.
I think you were probably on target when you pointed out that therapy could very well be necessary even if the goal was maintenance, not functional improvement. I also think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned that neither the father or the child probably understands the implications of refusing therapy.
It's nice that the adult children are concerned and involved with their father's care. I do wonder though, what the wife would say if you asked her about the children's level of involvement. In my case, I've never doubted that my husband's kids care about their father, but although they think they are involved in his care, the reality couldn't be farther from the truth. They visit once a month or so for a couple of hours, Neither of them has ever changed a diaper, fed their dad, transferred him in or out of his wheelchair, dressed a skin tear, nursed him through a UTI, or helped shower, shave, or dress him. Neither has ever volunteered to help get him to the doctor, or coax him through a therapy session. But they both have very strong opinions on what should or shouldn't be done when it comes to a care plan.
My advice to adult children is this: unless you have been hands-on involved in the day-to-day care of your parent, you can't possibly have enough information to form an opinion, And that's doubly true if cognitive dysfunction or brain injury is involved. If you haven't lived it 24/7, you don't have any idea what you're talking about. And unless you're willing to devote the time to hands-on care and to shoulder some of the physical, emotional, and financial burdens, then you don't have input when it comes to decisions.