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?

You’ve made the situation clear to your cousin and owe this person no further explanation. Have dad’s medical charts noted that all communication needs to only go to you as POA, and mention HIPPA laws while doing so. If cousin persists, have a lawyer write a strongly worded letter saying in essence “back off” and send it. Don’t apologize for looking out for your dad and his best interests
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Lizhappens Oct 2, 2022
any meetings with dad should be by appt and supervised by social worker too
I believe you could gain knowledge and insights by meeting with a Geriatric Psychiatrist who will help you with this situation. I realized, early on in my husband's Dementia that I was becoming a "helicopter mom" in order to protect my husband and to plan for the future in Hell. I agree with you in that most others do not understand the exhausting gravity of the disease and may see or hear things that are frightening, scary and perhaps suspicious. I would suggest that you request a social worker to meet with your dad and cousin and see how that goes and give your cousin an opportunity to learn from?

Just a funny side note: when my mother was in the dying phase at the nursing home, I found out that my absentee brother had a conversation with her and decided that he and his wife would go and rescue her from my decision to move her there. Well, bless my mother for always coming through for me. They picked her up and took her to their home where they had decided she could take care of herself during the day (while they were at work) and they would care for her in the evenings and weekends. During her first day of freedom, she crapped all over their lovely couch and throughout the house. They came home to a nightmare, cleaned her up and put her back in the car to deliver her back to the professionals: I didn't say a word and laughed myself to sleep that night.............God Bless my mother for leaving a fabulous lesson for us all.
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Reply to ConnieCaretaker

No, you are not wrong. Dealing with Dementia is very overwhelming because now you make all the decisions basing them on what Dad would want and what he needs.

You as POA need to make the discharge people aware that Dad is to not be discharged to anyone but you. Also, the Nurses should be giving no information out to the cousin. For the main reason HIPPA laws. Doctors and Nurses should only be talking to you. If when Dad has visitors he gets agitated, then you as POA request that he not have them or maybe only during certain hours when he is good for short periods of time. I bet late afternoon/evening hours are the worst.

And your perfectly right about privacy. As Dads POA ur not obligated to tell anyone anything about Dads health. If he was a private person like my husband, I wouldn't do it. If he was more open, maybe. And those who interjected their unwanted comments would get no info. You are perfectly in your rights.

I may make it perfectly clear to your cousin, as Dads child and POA that you bear all the responsibility and control for Dad. That the doctors and Nurses only talk to one person, thats you. Only one person makes decisions on Dads care you. And they are made after talking to doctors and then doing what is best for Dad. That you realize that cousin loves Dad and is concerned but he cannot make decisions on Dads care. Just as u wouldn't be involved in his parents care.
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Reply to JoAnn29

Your cousin appears to be very controlling, but he has no rights in regard to your dad. Someone could explain this to him, if it hasn’t been done already. I had a similar situation with my aunt. She’s dad’s sister and thought she should be informed of every single thing that went on all day for months while he was dying. If she’d been around to help with him, which we desperately needed, she’d have been able to observe for herself, but she wouldn’t help. He was a very private person and didn’t want her to know everything, so I kept quiet. This was to my disadvantage because she’s mean spirited and ornery. She disinherited me from her estate, which is considerable. However, I don’t regret keeping dad’s privacy because it was the right thing to do. I’d do the same again. Stay strong and don’t doubt yourself because it’s your cousin who is out of line, not you.
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Reply to Fawnby

I had this cousin. She felt she should have a say in what was going on in my father's life despite being 2000 miles away. She would email me, post on Facebook and call my home phone demanding to know what I was going to do about him. This was a man she has barely seen in decades. We were never close family members. She just had too much time on her hands and needed a project. She crossed the line when she found out where I worked and called me there. That got her cut off permanently. She cried to my other cousins about how she was just trying to help. It did not help me, it caused more stress.
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Reply to lkdrymom

Your job is to protect your dad and his best interests. Sounds like the cousin is a problem beyond the space YOU need.
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Reply to bowgirl

Hello, you are not wrong to cut off your nosy cousin. You told the cousin the parameters and it is totally within your right. The very same thing happened to me. When my mom was on her death bed, my cousin felt she was the only one who should be in attendance! My dad was very upset so I had to tell the cousin to leave. The cousin was so affronted by this action, she hasn’t appeared since my mom’s death! Then, I have a cousin on my dad’s side who felt she should be apprised of all medical issues. I told her no she was not part of the immediate family so information would not be shared with her and she didn’t have a say in my dad’s care. She pouted for a year. I think she just wanted to be included in the will and she’s not. We are not wealthy. Shut the cousin down. They say they mean well, but I think they are just busybodies.
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Reply to TriedandTrue

I'm sorry to hear about you Dads condition, and offer advice I hope you will fine helpful, I am a care giver myself and Power of Attorney for my 92 year old Grandma who has Alzheimer's. All other Family and Friends I reach out to for help very little to get other things done, shop, medicines, and get sometime for myself is very hard. When someone in the family argue about why isn't so and so coming over to be with mom (Grandma) more? I just tell them you call and ask, I already have enough to do. And when my Brothers and sister argue about why isn't grandma's kid our aunts and uncle helping you (me)? I just lay it on the Table. When is the last time you been out to see Grandma?
Other times my aunt who lives only a mile away thinks I should take Grandma off all her meds and let hospice come in and take care of her. I tell them why Grandma can still walk, eat, and get around with of cores help, I will continue to give her the meds until she get worst and bed bound. As POA for her I will go by what she has written in her living will, and remember 1st Corinthians chapter 6: 19-20 do you not know your body is a temple of the HOLY SPIRIT within you whom you have from God? I tell whom I care for my grandma and respect,
If others do not agree with me, I just tell them, I am her full-time Caregiver and can do what I want as long as it's not against her will.
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Reply to PussJr

TippyTap: No further explanation is needed by you to the cousin as you'd already spelled it out in black and white/you were concise.
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Reply to Llamalover47

You need to cut off the cousin completely from the loop. He's too distant a relative to have any say whatsoever in what's going on, and his telling the nurses he's ready to take him home is the line he crossed.

As POA, your job is to protect his privacy, so really, it's no one's business what his medical situation is. I'd start sharing less with everyone and the cousin should get his information second- or third-hand.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MJ1929

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