Should I hire an independent guardian for my mother since our family is in conflict?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 06, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My brother has POA and will not let me see my mom. He's accusing me of stealing money when I had POA (complete lie). I have been her caretaker for 28 years in Florida and my greedy sister never visited her. Now that she's 90, she has taken over everything. I want to seek guardianship, but I can't start going into a battle with her, because I'll be wiped out financially, and I still have to take care of my family. I did call the Elder abuse hotline because I was told she's alone at night (but bedridden!!) and have written a letter to the probate judge here in Florida. I have never heard back from either yet. Should I hire an independent guardian (they have programs here) at this point? What do you recommend?


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.

The situation you describe is a sadly common one: As parents age and have greater needs, their children have various responses: concern, caring, greed, neglect, stubbornness"”and the list goes on and on. Often the immediate damage is that siblings fight or their usual rifts get wider. What gets ignored in the meantime are the parents' best interests.

In the interest of keeping your mom safe and sound, it may be most expedient to involve outside experts.

Consider consulting a seasoned family mediator, who may be able to help sort out the many needs and hurt feelings you describe. Such intervention could not only help you siblings reach the best compromises for your mom's care, but could also help you find ways to communicate in the future.

If things are too far gone to be repaired this way, or one or more of you aren't willing to cooperate in mediation, it may still be a good idea to contact outsiders"”as your instinct seemed to be.

Your best resource for local help may be the local Area Agency on Aging, which you can find through www.caring.com/local/area-agency-on-aging. Representatives there should be willing to discuss your situation confidentially and put you in touch with local resources that may help in investigating the reality of you mom's care.

Having an independent guardian appointed should be a step of last resort"”although sometimes putting the guardianship wheels in motion seems to help clarify the true needs in a situation.


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By Anonymous Caring.com community member Last updated: February 12, 2011 Sorry, this should read as: My sister now has POA and will not let me see my mom. She's accusing me of stealing money when I had POA (complete lie) I have been moms caretaker for 28 years in Fla and my greedy sister never visited her etc.(lives out of state) Now that my mom is 90, and goes in and out of lucidness, my sister has taken over everything. I want to seek guardianship, but I can't start going into a legal battle with my sister, because Ill be wiped out financially, (seeking guardianship is costly) and I still have to take care of my family. I did call the Elder Abuse hotline because I was told my mom is alone at night, but bedridden!!) and have written a letter to the probate judge here in Fla. Never heard back from either yet. Should I hire an independent guardian (they have programs here)at this point? What do you recommend?