RSS Feed Print
Don't know what to say to Dad...
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 9:45 PM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

Some of you were very helpful and supportive the last time I posted. My Dad has dementia and shares a caregiver with his LadyFriend. He and his LadyFriend do not live together, but they spend days together with the caregiver.


Back in November or so, as Dad was having various tests and evaluations done, a flurry of activity took place with the LadyFriend contacting various lawyers to see about getting at Dad's money. She asked her lawyer if he would revise my father's will. He said no but referred her to another lawyer who talked about a trust or getting married. So my last thread here was basically about what to do, and the crux of the situation came down to whether guardianship would be necessary.


In the meantime, however, even having taken as many legal precautions as I can, there is still the problem of Dad thinking he wants to marry this woman -- he doesn't know or care about finances or taxes or insurance or anything else, that would all fall to me to figure out. But he thinks getting married will make her feel "secure." Marriage in our state is prohibited if either party is of weak or unsound mind, and I have spoken at length with the marriage license people in my father's area -- they do quiz each applicant and they put my dad's name on a list to refuse or turn away after I sent them the PCP's letter saying Dad has dementia.


But the one thing I can't seem to "handle" is my own father. I've read books, I've lurked here - I'm not supposed to argue with or contradict a person with dementia. So when he asks me "if you have an objection, I want to know," what the heck do I say? Yes, I have a huge objection because this woman is manipulating a man with dementia, but *he's* the man with the dementia. I can't tell him that. And she will not let it go. And the caregiver has been instructed to direct each person's family-related questions back to the family (so the LadyFriend should ask her son and Dad should ask me), but Dad doesn't even know what to ask. He just knows everyone's upset and rumor seems to be pointing the finger at me as the big troublemaker.


Sooooo, if conventional wisdom says I shouldn't argue with Dad or tell him No, what exactly do I say? Do I just bluff along with the whole thing in the hopes that after hitting various roadblocks, they'll drop it? I think if the LadyFriend drops it, then Dad would just forget all about it. But she won't stop, and she's blaming me. I tried to add some caregiver hours last week so Dad would have morning care in his own house. She actually accused me of meddling with everything so I could have his money (keep in mind adding caregiver hours costs more money, it doesn't make me any). My poor dad - he loves her and he loves me, and he doesn't understand any of this.

Stephanie Z
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:31 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 4218

If Dad and his girlfriend share a caregiver, what is the reason she needs one? Is it possible the caregiver is encouraging her?

Any possibility of increasing dad's socialization with other people his age without her? Day care comes to mind.

There might be other ways to distract him from her influence. Can you afford a "companion" for him? They are people you hire not as caregivers, but to spend time with the person who has dementia. Often they go places and do things together. Maybe what he wants is just someone to spend time with him.


Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:02 AM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 108

if his name is on a "no license" list, i would let the authorities handle it.  if they do not stop your dad, then step in.  let the government be the fall guy!
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:27 AM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

Thank you for the replies!


@StephanieZ - the current shared caregiver started out as a temporary caregiver to LadyFriend about a year ago after she was in the hospital for several weeks with double pneumonia. During the course of last year, LadyFriend did not recover as quickly as the doctor had hoped plus my father's dementia -- which had been pretty mild up until last year -- started declining rapidly. As a result, the caregiver took on daily care of both of them. And unfortunately, by the time I found out about all the trips to the lawyer's and other things LadyFriend was trying with my dad's money, it was painfully evident that the caregiver was indeed helping. I called the agency and read them the riot act about how inappropriate it was/is for their employee to help someone fleece my father, even if it's in the name of LadyFriend being happy or feeling more "secure". So the caregiver was given the choice of behaving like an appropriate caregiver or getting pulled immediately. She has since backed off on the "helping," but now that I'm trying to get another person in place for Dad in the mornings, just to add some fresh blood and someone who will be looking out only for him (and also getting him into daycare, as you mentioned), things are getting very heated, with the LadyFriend telling Dad point blank that I'm meddling and trying to ruin everything. She's even told him that I'm trying to get rid of their shared caregiver whom he's grown to like.


@eloquentsolution - That's basically what I was hoping would happen. That they would bump up against these problems or obstacles, and I wouldn't be the obvious bad guy. However, there's always a chance that on the day they go for the license, someone new will be there who doesn't know about "the list" or doesn't quiz the applicants to make sure they're of sound mind. Plus, LadyFriend's son is very much behind everything in the hopes that his mother gets ahold of Dad's money because he's quite in debt. A nice guy, but in debt. So he's helping his mother get her marriage license application papers in order, and I would not be at all surprised if he showed up, offered to take them to the movies, then actually took them to the license office instead.


And while the agency has promised me that no one will take my father anywhere (except the caregiver and only to appropriate places like the grocery store or the doctor for a pre-scheduled appointment), I still have my doubts. And in the meantime, he is continuing to agitate his mother that I'm the bad guy, and she in turn agitates my father all day long about this.


It's a horrible situation, and the worst part of all is when my darling dad who's gone from being very wise and rather suspicious of everyone to just trusting everyone completely turns to me and asks why I'm causing all this trouble, I don't know how to answer him. It's for him, it's so his money will be there to care for him as he gets worse and worse with dementia (that he fully denies having, of course).




Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:11 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

I'm sorry for the situation you find yourself in.  Your foremost obligation in this matter is your dad and his protection.  Maybe speaking with an eldercare attorney to help ensure your father's finances are safeguarded.  Maybe a call to Adult Protection Services would help the son and mother back off.  My concern is what if somebody takes your dad out of the county or state to get married?  I don't know if that is a possibility.


Maybe having an attorney speak with the mother and daughter would put a bit of a scare into them to back off?


I kind of like the idea of having your dad involved with others socially, a companion as mentioned, kind of wean him from the LadyFriend, who seems to be more interested in her own financial welfare than your dad's and her in-debt son lying in wait.  I don't like that scenario at all.


Have you spoken with the LadyFriend and son and told them straight out that your first and foremost concern and interest is your dad's welfare and you will do all that you can to protect his interests including an attorney to ensure your father's financials are used solely for his needs.  They might back off. 

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:27 AM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

@KML - Thank you! As to protecting Dad's assets, I'm able to do that while he's alive by setting up a trust for his benefit with me as trustee. However, if they do manage to marry, and we (my sister and I) are unable to get it anulled based on his dementia, then if he passes away first, LadyFriend will be entitled to a third of his remaining estate regardless of his Will which names only my sister and myself.


I sent a ridiculously nice email to her son saying that it was very sweet to hear that his mom wants to marry my dad but because it's actually prohibited by law now that Dad's been declared incompetent by two doctors, marriage is not an option. And I further asked if he would explain this to his mom and try to get her to drop the idea since it only agitates Dad and does no good whatsoever. Unfortunately, he has not responded to me except to let me know that he got my email. Meanwhile something (or someone) is stirring the rumor pot that I'm the one who won't allow the marriage, and I suspect it may be the son. But I have no direct proof.


Given how upset Dad already is, sister and I are debating whether a call to elder-abuse services would only escalate the problem. Since Dad and LF spend all day together, there really isn't any way for a social worker to show up and talk to LF without Dad being there.


I'm going myself in a couple weeks and even taking the hugely drastic step of probably quitting my job here, which I love, and moving to a house in their neighborhood, all so I can stay in the loop. It makes me so mad that this woman is basically forcing my hand - but at the same time, I should be there to spend as much remaining time with Dad as I possibly can, so if I can just keep sight of the silver lining.


But I'm still at a total loss as to what to say the first time we all sit down to Talk About This, which will happen as soon as I get there in a couple weeks. I don't want to rub Dad's face in his dementia and tell him he's not allowed to do things anymore. He's still sort of reeling from the doc taking his license away, but at lease that was the doctor not me (in that situation).


Any ideas for the first time we sit down and either of them starts asking me why there's any problem with them getting married? Should I lie and go along with it? I'm afraid of that somehow biting me in the behind when LF turns around and tells her son I've decided it's okay after all.

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:28 AM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 403

I agree with KML. I would speak to the LadyFriend and son and let them know exactly how it is and that you are not going to allow it. Also, tell them that if they continue to pressure your dad this could affect his AD even more and they will be held liable for elder abuse because this whole thing is too much for him to handle. I would add that any financial discussion needs to go through you.


Sometimes you cannot be nice to people because they will take advantage. Tell them like it is and if it continues, then address it with the proper authorities. Unfortunately your dad will not understand one way or another, but you understand and you know you are doing what is best to protect him.


I had some family members always asking my mom for money and one day I sent all of them an email so they could back off. I made it very clear that the money my father worked hard to save was for their retirement and their future expenses. And I added that yes I was making decisions for my parents because the day they run out of money it would us, their children, that would come to help them, not any of the smooching relatives. I dont care if they liked it or not, my objective was met, they backed off or else they had to deal with me.


Let them know who they are going to deal with so they know it.

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 11:48 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

Definitely something very fishy is going on with the LF and her son.  They either care very much for your father or they don't understand dementia and its progression or they want his money.  I can understand caring very much for your father, but in that case, they wouldn't want to grub for his money, they would want him to be financially stable so that HIS needs can be met. 


Can you maybe move your dad closer to where you are?  Maybe have him stay with you for a couple of weeks and then move him close?  It seems maybe he's a distance away from you?  Is he alone at night?  I know you mention that he spends the daytime with his LF and the caregiver, what happens at night?  As things progress, he will not be able to be alone at all and that's when things get more difficult and needing 24/7 supervision. 


Would having a meeting with an eldercare attorney, LF and her son be beneficial.  They don't seem to understand what dementia is and maybe she doesn't understand what she is opening herself up to unless all she cares about is the money.  I'm sorry, but I'm suspicious by nature until proven otherwise by someone's motives.  Maybe you and your sister need to meet up with these people and provide a strong united front, a no-nonsense approach with these people.  I'm not sure if you have already set up a trust for your dad with an eldercare attorney, but it seems you do need to speak with one soon about protecting your dad financially.  Let the attorney know the situation with the LF and bring the letters you have from the doctors and then the attorney can draft a letter and maybe then the LF and son will get the picture.  Having things done in a legal and professional way, sometimes makes people back off for fear of legal repercussions.  They shouldn't have a problem with that if they are sincere in their feelings for your dad's wellbeing.


I don't know what stage of dementia your dad is in.  Would he understand that his is having memory problems due to a neurological disease and that you are ensuring he has funds available only for his care and not for his LF and that is what you are trying to do.  Let him know that his welfare to you is of the utmost importance.  Would he understand at this point the marriage would jeopardize his finances and the care he would need to cover in the future?


I'm thinking there are so many ways they could access his funds now if they tried, just asking him for cash and such. 



Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:19 PM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

@SadinHeart - thank you! That's a fabulous suggestion. I have sent it to my sister and I'm already sure she'll be in agreement.


@KML - I have learned that I wasn't being suspicious enough. In the past year or so, LadyFriend has gotten $100K from my father, just by asking. She tried to get his investment funds manager to transfer half of his entire worth over to her, but he said no (thank heavens). However, before I knew about any of that, I was convinced by her and her son back in April that (a) LadyFriend had no money of her own, and (b) the caregiver was essential and (c) LF's insurance would no longer cover the cost so my dad should start paying because he has all this money and was spending his time with LF and the caregiver. So I went and assessed the situation, saw that Dad was worse than I thought and definitely needed the help, so I okay'd the new payment arrangement and have been paying the caregiver invoices ever since. About three weeks ago, I learned that this entire time -- 8 months -- LF has actually been getting reimbursed by her insurance company for the caregiver invoices that I've been paying. And she never said a word or signed any of those reimbursements over to Dad. She just socked them away. Now that I'm onto that setup, I'm trying to get her to start paying for her own caregiver again while I set up a separate one for Dad (that I'll pay for), but she's balking bigtime and -- as I said -- trying to convince Dad that I'm the bad guy who's trying to ruin everything about their wonderful life together. The whole thing has turned my stomach. This woman used to be fun and delightful to be around and was a dear friend to my mother before she died of cancer 14 years ago. I'm beginning to think LF may have a form of dementia as well (she forgets a lot these days - like insisting I haven't visited for years when I was just there for Halloween) and maybe that's why she's behaving this way. But I don't like any of it. If it weren't for how much Dad loves her, I would yank him away faster than an eye blink


To answer your question - he is still alone at night, but has already had one wandering incident. It's another reason I want him to have his own caregiver, someone to get him up in the mornings and to basically tuck him in at night.


And yes, I live hours away, but it's becoming painfully obvious that moving there would solve a lot of problems. It seems unfair to take Dad away from the one place he still knows and feels comfortable when I'm quite capable of doing the moving to be nearer to him. I'm newly divorced and our son has moved away. So the timing is actually better now for me than it might be down the road.


But I'm still trying to figure out how to Talk to both of them about all this so that we all get somewhere near to the same page.. Even if Dad is accepting of the new arrangement, as long as LF continues to agitate him every chance she gets, there will continue to be lots of problems. 

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:42 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 2105

It's definitely a bad situation.  They are already abusing him financially.  Even if she does have a form of dementia, her son doesn't and you do need to seek professional advice from an eldercare attorney to protect your dad. 


Also, your concerns about your dad being alone at all any longer are very valid with his wandering.  It just takes one time for something very bad to happen.  If a person can no longer respond to an emergency situation or begins wandering, it's time for 24/7 supervision now. 


It sounds as if the LF and son have an agenda in mind and perhaps do not care to be on the same page as you and your sister, and I think the sooner you are able to get sound legal advice and direction for the protection of your father, the better.

Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:58 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740

Hi, Mingo.

Check into the trust situation again.  All of the assets would be transferred into the trust.  It's my understanding that, if the trust is set up properly, the assets would no longer be part of your dad's estate, and therefore would not be distributed in accordance with his Will.  If he were to die before all the assets in the trust were consumed by his care, the remainder would be distributed in accordance with the terms of the trust itself.

(What makes you think that marriage would have any impact on the probate court honoring the will -- or a special needs trust?  In every state I know about, spouses are not automatically entitled to any part of the estate.  Have you discussed this with an attorney who specializes in trusts and wills?)

And if you get all his assets totally out of reach of LF and her son, that might take care of the situation.

Son is quite possibly behind LF walking off with $100,000 of your dad's money.  Whether it was his idea or hers, that was still financial abuse of an elderly dementia patient.  Bare minimum, I'd talk with Adult Protective Services about the situation.

If you go ahead and file a report with them, they'd talk with the son as well as LF, your dad, you, your sister, any friends, doctors, etc.  Sometimes having the authorities show up with a lot of pointed questions can scare someone like the son into backing off.  And you've said LF has her own home -- they might be willing to talk with her in the evening, when she's in her home.  

Re arguing ... arguing is not a good idea.  Answering your dad honestly is not the same thing as arguing.  I rarely, if ever, flat out lie to my husband.  But I am careful about the attitude I project.  Maybe something along the lines of, "Dad, I love you dearly.  I just want to make sure you're happy and safe.  I do have reservations about you marrying LF, because it is against the law.  I wouldn't want you to break the law.  And you've been happy together all these years without getting married ... so why marry now?  I think you can continue to be happy, just the way you are."
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 6:48 AM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

But I am careful about the attitude I project.  Maybe something along the lines of, "Dad, I love you dearly.  I just want to make sure you're happy and safe.  I do have reservations about you marrying LF, because it is against the law.  I wouldn't want you to break the law.  And you've been happy together all these years without getting married ... so why marry now?  I think you can continue to be happy, just the way you are."

@JAB - that's beautifully put, thank you! My only question would be what about when Dad says, "What!? Against the law! Why?" which is probably exactly how he'd say it  If we're alone, I could actually tell him that LF is the one with dementia, because there is a great deal of suspicion that she is although it hasn't been documented in her case yet. But if they're both together... I'm not sure how I'd field that question. Dad would be at the end of Stage 5, entering Stage 6 on the Alz scale, but even so, even sitting in a doctor's office while the doctor tells the caregiver right in front of him that he has dementia, he tunes it out and doesn't believe any of it. He thinks he just has slight forgetfulness and needs a little help with things sometimes.


I'm sorry to keep belaboring the point, I just find that when I'm trying to talk to the two of them together, things get more than twice as complicated I still have so much to learn about all of this, especially if/when I move there to start being a lot more involved.


And about the Trust, I have burned many a dollar picking the brains of my lawyer who is an eldercare and estate specialist. As Dad's PoA agent, I do have the authority to set up a revocable Trust, but it will definitely dissolve upon his death and the Trust assets will go to the estate where the Will terms take over. The kind of Trust that dictates terms after death, a Living Trust, is not in my power to set up on Dad's behalf. And two different lawyers have both confirmed that here in PA, if LF manages to marry Dad and it sticks, then by law she can petition the court for a third of Dad's estate even if she's not mentioned in the Will and would probably succeed. Sister and I could fight it - and we might if there's enough left of Dad's estate to make fighting it worthwhile. But before any of that happens, I definitely want to tie up Dad's assets for his care while he's still with us. He and my mother worked really hard for that money, and I don't want to see it end up with LF and her kids. I agree that she and her son really don't seem to understand dementia at all. LF seems only concerned for herself and sees nothing about my father's situation that requires any extra care or any interference on my part. And he's pushed her! And that's going to happen again as he gets worse, but she refuses to believe it. They're both in such total denial about the entire situation. Even I don't understand why they both suddenly seem convinced that marriage will solve anything.

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 9:18 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 17706

You are right about setting up trusts now.

You really need to get a good attorney with estate planning expertise not just elder law.


The fact that your father has been paying for the care while the LF accepted money from her insurance co is very interesting if you can document it.


If you father, with dementia, is able to give away $100,000 in a year then maybe he should not be taking care of his finances....


PLEASE get legal advice so that you will know exactly what options are available and let us know what you find out. It will certainly help others with similar situations.

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 9:49 AM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

@jfkoc -- Thank you! You are absolutely right that he shouldn't be managing his finances, which is why I have been since October (that's when I discovered his 2010 tax returns still hadn't been filed and also when I found out about the $100K "gift"). The Trust documents are being prepared now and I will sign them next week.


I am working on the documentation of LF receiving the reimbursement money on the sly while I paid the caregiver bills. She is suddenly being very secretive with her papers (I can't imagine why ), but the caregiver knows to be on the lookout the next time a reimbursement check arrives in the mail to LF. And I have witnesses who will attest to both LF and her son insisting that (a) LF had no money and (b) the insurance would definitely not cover the caregiver costs - both of which I now know to be a total lie.

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 12:59 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 3941

Mingo, I'm not sure this hasn't already become a criminal matter.  The lady friend was taking checks from you to pay for the caregiver, but she socked the money away in her own account and her insurance paid for the caregiver?  I believe that action is legally defined as fraud.


I believe that you may now have the upper hand on this woman and her son.  Check with an attorney, but I believe you now could go to police and have her charged with fraud AND elder abuse.  And, if I were you, I would NOT hesitate to take action and I mean NOW!


I don't care how much your dad "loves" this woman, she is a criminal and I think it is time for you to intercede on your dad's behalf and cut off this relationship permanently.  Perhaps the best thing to do would be to have your dad come to your house to visit you and while he is at your home, your sister could go make a police report on this woman and her son.  Then after the visit help your dad to move somewhere safe where this woman and her son can't get their claws into him. 


But I think the absolute best, kindest and most ethical thing you could do for your dad would be to stop this situation in immediately.



Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 1:21 PM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 740

Well, nuts.


But, on the bright side ... if they were to somehow manage to marry, and she would have to petition the court to throw out the will to change the distribution of the assets ... the court is unlikely to find in her favor since the marriage wouldn't be legal.  So she'd be fighting an uphill battle on that front.


Your dad realizes that the caregiver is a caregiver?  Maybe you could say that it is the need for a caregiver that makes it against the law to marry.  That would apply to LF as well as your dad.


Hmmm ... MacyRose's post made me wonder ... what would happen if you were to contact the insurance company about the fraud, rather than the police?  You might run that past your attorney, and/or APS.

Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 1:55 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 3941

From the insurance company's perspective, it is also fraud because she is using their money to pay for a caregiver for both her and your dad.  That is illegal.  I think they would be very unhappy to learn that she took money for your dad's care and they paid a caregiver for both people's care, thinking it was for her care. 


So the first thing that would happen is the insurance company would launch an investigation into insurance fraud.  They would probably suspend the woman's healthcare insurance during the investigation.  If fraud was detected, they would file a lawsuit against the woman. I would contact an attorney before acting because they might also file against your father to recover half the cost of the caregiver since you all knew he was getting care from this caregiver - you would have to prove you thought you were paying the money directly to the caregiving agency, which is a big issue here since apparently you gave the checks to the woman and they were written in her name since she deposited them in her account. However, I think the fact that you report this to the insurance agency would be in your favor since your father is also an injured party in that he was defrauded of money.  What I don't know is if the insurance company would band with you to sue this woman. 


Definitely contact an attorney about this and get advice on what to do, but I do think that you already have powerful means of controlling this woman at your disposal due to this insurance fraud she committed.





Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:10 AM
Joined: 12/31/2011
Posts: 140

Thanks again to all who posted a comment here - I appreciate everyone's input, believe me! I'm lined up to drive to Dad's this weekend and stay for a few days to try and sort out what all's going on.


@MacyRose - according to my atty this isn't true insurance fraud. I'm not giving the woman any checks to pay the caregiver invoices. I've been receiving the caregiver invoices myself and paying them with my father's funds. I started doing that back in May when LadyFriend and her son told me that her insurance no longer covered having a caregiver.


Then last month, I found out that the homecare agency had been taking my checks in payment but also still submitting the caregiver's hours to LadyFriend's insurance company, MetLife. And that MetLife was then reimbursing LadyFriend for those hours invoiced to and paid by me.


So the insurance company and I have no direct connection at all. I pay HomeCare and HomeCare has also been sending the same invoice to MetLife. Then MetLife was sending reimbursements to LadyFriend who kept them. She now claims that there's only enough reimbursement to pay for food each week, but I suspect she's receiving much more than that. However, neither she nor her son will actually tell me what the reimbursement amount has been this whole time.


Since I suggested that she start paying the HomeCare invoices herself (because she's getting reimbursed), she's now insisting that my father has to buy all their groceries each week. The whole things continues to be such a monumental mess, which is why I need to go there and try to sort it out.


Anyway, the only fraud that my atty can see is LadyFriend basically perpetrating fraud against my father, the person whose money is paying the HomeCare invoices. Since the checks back from MetLife are for reimbursement, by definition those checks should go to reimbursing the person who paid the invoice in the first place - Dad (or me with Dad's funds) - but they are being kept by LF for her own use.


I do certainly have the option of calling the authorities about all of this, but am reluctant to do so because of the incredible turmoil and emotional harm it would cause. But it's a possibility if all other attempts at getting this whole mess to stop fail.

Cheryle Gardiner
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:43 AM
Joined: 11/30/2011
Posts: 529

MingoFan, I'm glad you're going to be able to go there and find out first-hand what's going on. That's the best way to get real information.

As far as the fraud against your dad, you might speak directly to LF's son about this and use it as your ace in the hole to get him to back off. I would definitely check into the elder abuse laws in your dad's state, especially regarding finances, and go armed with plenty of information to present to the son.

Please be safe and do let us know how things go.