The nursing home took POA away from me. What can I do now?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 14, 2016
Missdey asked...

My granny has me as power of attorney over her affairs. She fell and broke her hip and can no longer walk. Now has entered into the beginning stages of dementia also.

Because she has this condition, she thinks that she has thousands and thousands of dollars in her bank account and wants the money. She is in a nursing home. I take care of all of her bills, personal items, various items including paying for her to get dentures which cost a lot of money. she is angry and told the nursing home that all of her money has been stolen. They talked her into giving them power of attorney without my having any knowledge of it.

I got a phone call from the nursing home stating that they are now handling all of her money matters which I have no problem with whatsoever, but I am angry that they did this behind my back and also with her having dementia, they know she is not actually 100% coherent. She seems to now feel like she and the nursing home are friends and I am out because she thinks she had lots of money, which she did not. Her life was always guided by money, which made her a difficult person to deal with but she is my granny and I love her, no matter how badly everyone feels toward toward her. Can you please help?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a 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.

You may be right about the bottom line: It might be more efficient for your granny and the nursing home and less psychologically trying for you if the nursing home administrators take over handling her finances. Just make sure they do what they are required to do: File a periodic accounting that shows how much of her money was spent and itemizes the purchases made.

That will likely take care of the financial concerns, but not of your feeling that at least some nursing home staffers are painting an incorrect picture of you, or perhaps even attempting to squeeze you out of your granny's life. To get some help and clarity with that, consider taking a number of steps.

First try to resolve your problem within the nursing facility. It should have written policies readily available that explain how to file a complaint or grievance. Put complaints in writing to the facility administrator and ask for a written response -- giving him or her a fair chance to address your concerns.

If that doesn't give you satisfaction, contact the facility's ombudsman. An ombudsman is a person outside the facility, not associated with the ownership, who is trained to investigate problems and endeavors to resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, residents in residential care facilities. You can find the local one at

If that fails, too, there are a number of local organizations that can offer you a seasoned and impartial assessment of whether your particular complaint needs additional action, along with specific help on how to get it. You should be able to find local sources through the National Senior Legal Hotline Directory at

Finally, keep visiting your granny. You seem to be understanding about the age and stage she's in"”and know, too, that it is common for many people with dementia to become paranoid or delusional about their money. For better or worse, that delusion may easily be replaced by another one next week.

If your granny seems to press you for more information about her finances or become fixated on them, simple change the subject. You might also consider coming equipped with diversions: photos the two of you can review together or simple art projects if she's able.