Q: What options do I have to ensure my terminally ill grandmother is receiving the best possible care during the end stage of her life. My grandmother is under hospice and living at my Uncles house in South East Florida. I am in PA. My mother was living there up until this week assisting the Hospice care team with the care of my grandmother. Not certain of the details but according to my mother, my uncle was violent with her and called the police to have my mother removed from the home. My Uncle claims to have POA over my grandmother although I have no idea if this is true or not. My mother claims he does not. I do not believe my grandmother has been deemed incapacitated, although again I have no way of finding out. I do know that she is of sound mind, but she is very weak and highly immobile as we have spoken. I am concerned I will not be able to see my Grandmother before she passes and I am really concerned about her quality of life.
A: This is more of a family dynamic problem than a legal problem. I would highly suggest trying to talk to your uncle and express your concerns. You may want to call the Hospice team and see if they will help convey your concern, but don’t count on them wanting to get involved in a family dispute. If you have to go legal, you can call the department of aging or social services agency in that county and see if they do home visits for the elderly. You can also seek a lawyer down there to advise you on what services are available and perhaps on what legal actions he can take such as a letter to your uncle expressing your concerns and requesting a copy of the POA. He can also advise you on the law of guardianships in Florida.
Q. Is it possible that i can become my aunt power of attorney? Her mental state of mind is going downhill and she has no children. The friend that she was staying with just recently died. He was the one that took care of her. Helped her pay her bills and keep up with her hygiene. Right now she is staying with me but i don’t feel as though I am capable of taking care of her myself.
A. Yes, I assume you can become the agent on a Power of Attorney for your aunt, unless there is some reason you cannot. A General Durable Power of Attorney (GDPOA) is probably recommended but you really need to sit down with an attorney and discuss all of the facts. She needs to be mentally competent to sign a GPOA. Don’t wait longer to do so, as her condition may deteriorate and render her incompetent to sign. You may also need to contact the Department of Aging to see what help you can get. An attorney can also advise you about applying for Medicaid if she has insufficient money to pay for her care.
Q. A year ago my mom fell and broke her femur, I also think there is more health issues. She cannot live alone anymore. I’ve been with her seven months it was to be one month only, she doesn’t want a nurse and she doesn’t want to sell her home. I have my own family to go home to, I need help please. I don’t know what to do anymore she is being very selfish and uncaring of me and my family. she wants what she wants. Can you please help me.
A. I would consult with a local elder law attorney. You have no obligation to take on such a role, especially if it is detrimental to your health. Dealing with aging parents can be frustrating, time consuming and can cause stress. You can call the Department of Aging for assistance, but that may not be the best answer. If she is competent, you could get a Power of Attorney from her and make decisions that are in her best interest. For example, you could hire in home care at first to see how that works before moving her into an assisted living situation.