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What to do with an 81 yr old man who won't bathe or allow others to help him?

Forest Hills, NY |

My father is an 81 yr old alcoholic who won't allow others, family, nurses, care for him. When not drinking he is sound and personable. However, he sits in his garage day and night drinking. As it stands he has bad legs (neuropathy) and falls frequently. My family and I live with him but he refuses to eat, bathe and sleep in the house some nights. I cannot (physically or mentally) stay up day and night trying to get him in the house. He has bed sores from sitting in his own urine, which doesn't seem to bother him. I have had numerous nurses come and go, they quit bc they get frustrated that he won't allow care. Not only do I want him to be healthy, I am worried I could be held responsible for elder abuse despite years of trying to get him help.

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Attorney answers 5


It may be time to seek a guardianship from the court. This is something you should discuss in confidential detail with an attorney before you take any action. Good luck!

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I agree with my colelague

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I too agree with Ms. Brown. The procedure in New York is called a Guardianship under Article 81 of the Mental Hygiene Law. From what you've said, you have a vey good case to be appointed guardian. I refer you to this web publication for more information:

Lawyers often participate in this process as court monitors, similar to the role "Attorneys for the Children" play in Family Court proceedings, and there are panels of qualified lawyers appointed by the Courts. The Bar Association in your county can suggest an attorney who deals with Article 81 Guardianships to assist and advise you about this process.

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I am sorry to hear about your situation.

You should contact an attorney to discuss your questions as additional information would be helpful. Will he consent to a guardian? Will he consent to living in a home? If he won't consent, are you willing to go to ct. to get him help? Etc.

I wish you the best of luck.

Please remember that I do not normally monitor these questions after I have posted a reply but can be reached by telephone.

Free phone consultation Monday — Thursday 1-5 pm.

Hayley Greenberg

Greenberg & Merola, LLP, Attorneys at Law
91 N. Franklin Street, Suite 211, Hempstead, NY 11550, (516) 887-1975

521 5th Ave. Ste. 1700, New York, NY 10175, (212) 593-6111

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I agree that it is time to consider an Article 81 guardianship. You have very serious issues such as does anyone have a power of attorney, health care proxy, and other advance directives. The court will always look to these before granting guardianship. You want to be very careful that you do not in a situation with APS. You must act through a lawyer.