Dear Annie: I have been my mom’s power of attorney and medical proxy since she was deemed incompetent with a dementia diagnosis five years ago.
I am the youngest of three sisters, and the oldest sibling couldn’t believe she was not “put in charge,” as she told my mom’s elder attorney at a family meeting. It’s all about power, not about what’s best for mom. My sister has made life miserable for me for the last five years, since the decision was made to have my mom moved into a nursing home because of her dementia. I have educated myself and followed the rules and state regulations required by law. She continues to send letters demeaning me, which I send along to my mom’s attorney to file. She has told lies about me to friends and relatives and continues to think she is smarter than me and knows what is best for mom. However, she has not educated herself regarding nursing home and state regulations, rules, etc.
Recently, Annie, I have read some letters asking about this process of being the power of attorney and medical proxy, and I have some words of wisdom for those dealing with the same thing.
The first step is hiring an elder attorney, if not done already, to represent your mom’s wishes and enact the power of attorney and medical proxy she, here’s hoping, chose in sound mind years before.
The second step is to have a medical doctor deem your mom incompetent. Then the power of attorney and medical proxy your mom chose will be able to make decisions on her behalf without interference from other family members. You can keep siblings informed but don’t have to bend to their wishes. Siblings would no longer have the authority to make or cancel appointments you feel necessary for your mom. This is from experience.
It is an extremely difficult job; however, if your mom chose you to carry out her end-of-life wishes, be honored and do it out of pure love for her. Be strong and know your mom chose you to be in charge for a reason. – Chosen Daughter
Dear Chosen Daughter: Thank you for sharing your well-thought-out approach to taking care of your mother, and your insights about this process. You sound like a wonderful daughter.
Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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