In rehab following a surgery my Dad is showing signs of dementia and does not like any of his past favorite foods. He is loosing weight and is not getting stronger and requires continuous help with simple daily tasks. The question is where does he go from here? I am a stay at home mom in a 2story house with 3 kids. My sister is married w/2 income, no kids & 1story house. She thinks my house is the better choice. This would also take some reconstruction to make a bedroom and full bath downstairs. I think this is a pretty one sided situation. I dont know how this sort of thing is normally setup. Also I cant help wonder what other issues are installed here that I cannot see coming?
If your father is over 60 he could get free legal advice which can include a power of attorney through Kitsap Senior Services. A power of attorney might avoid a guardianship later. Where a parent that is in need of care is staying is not dispositive of whom the parent might elect to grant attorney in fact powers. It is also possible to create a power of attorney for healthcare decisions that has a different attorney in fact than a financial power of attorney. There are attorneys that focus in elder law that can assist your family in your questions.
If you do not already have durable powers of attorney in place for financial matters and for healthcare decisions it is probably too late to ask your father to sign them if his thinking is no longer clear. If your sister already has the power of attorney, unless the document gives her the power to delegate or turn over the powers to you, you cannot change them. You will probably need to go to court and have the Probate Court appoint a Conservator to handle your father's financial affairs and a guardian to make decisions regarding his person. Since your father's incapacity showed up after surgery, he may recover enough to make decsions. If this happens, you will want to discuss the situation with him and put the documents you need into place.
If both of you are unwilling or unable to care for your father in your homes, you will want to investigate other living arrangements for him and perhaps do some Medicaid planning. I would advise you to discuss the situation with the hospital social worker to determine what kind of care he will need and what his chances for recovery are. This will help you to determine whether either of you are able to care for him in your homes before making large investments in renovations.
You will also want to have a clear understanding of his financial situation to be able to assess what kind of auxiliary and respite care are available to the primary caregiver. Please check with an experience Elder Law attorney in your state to see what types of facilities and assistance are available and to prepare to preserve some of his assets if it becomes necessary to put him into a nursing home facility.
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