Hi there. Maybe someone has experience and can help me navigate my situation. My dad is currently hospitalized for dementia with psychosis and major depressive disorder with anxiety.
I am his power of attorney as well as the only immediate family member he has left. His parents are deceased, his brother is deceased, and his wife (my mother) is deceased. I am an only child with no other known biological children. I know my dad better than anyone else does. I’ve closely followed his medical issues throughout the years along with my mother before she passed away last year. I do believe that I am the most qualified person to make decisions for my dad’s health and safety because I know the true extent of my dad’s health issues especially how much he has been suffering with his dementia and mental health. He has become a danger to himself and those around him. He has been certified as incapacitated and my power of attorney is in full effect.
My dad has always struggled with setting boundaries with people. He is unable to set any boundaries in his current state. Knowing this, I decided to set some boundaries on his behalf so as not to further complicate my dad’s situation and to give me some space to figure out where my dad’s health is at and what next steps look like. So far, all the family members and friends that I’ve informed of my dad’s condition have been supportive of my decisions and they understand that I will update them when I have actual updates. However, there is one family member, a cousin of mine, that will not respect the boundaries I’ve set and he feels that I am being suspicious by keeping my dad’s circle small right now. He thinks that I am not consulting with people who love and care about my dad and that I’m putting my dad in a box to rot.
But the truth is, I have been consulting with trusted family members about my dad’s condition - just not my cousin. My cousin has a history of questionable behavior so I felt that he did not need access to my dad during such a difficult and unpredictable time. I feel that my cousin is overstepping the boundaries that I’ve set by going around me to try and get information about my dad and talk to him. I was even told by my dad’s social workers that my cousin told them he was ready to take my dad home. Pretty much everything I was trying to avoid has come about and it’s very frustrating to say the least. It’s hard enough trying to determine what’s best for my dad as his representative without family drama.
I never intended to cut my dad off completely from my cousin. I only expressed that I would let him know of updates when I felt they were appropriate to share. This is all out of respect for mine and my dad’s privacy. I understand my cousin loves and cares about my dad and I appreciate that but I really feel that he needs to step back and give the space I’ve asked for until I feel that my dad is in a condition to handle more conversation with more family members. Right now, whoever he talks to needs to understand that my dad will say things that may be difficult to hear and they will need to know how to navigate those difficult conversations.
Am I wrong for wanting some space from people I don’t feel safe sharing information with? Does anyone have experience with this sort of thing? How do you handle it?