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Love or Health & Safety? Which Placement Option?
My father has a lady friend he has known for over 20 years. They eat lunch and dinner out together every day (she drives). The lady friend wants my Dad to live with her. She is 75 and my Dad is 81. She did a week test run while I flew home to see my hubby who I miss dearly. She said it was fine and she wants to have him live with her at least until spring.
My question is, do I let this happen because I know they love each other’s companionship (nothing sexual) and my Dad is happiest with her? Or do I choose family, safety and healthy meals for him instead? The lady does not cook at all and my Dad should be on a low salt diet. The lady has stairs and the bedrooms are on the second floor (Dad just starting to have stair issues). She lets him use saws and tools in the backyard to cut her bushes and trees. She doesn’t think he is that bad at all, even though he forgets who I am half the time. How can she think he is not that bad?
We are in CA and I worry about the cohabitating law too that applies to people over 62. The lady friend would like to be paid an allowance for him, or be paid a fee to watch him. Am I legally required by the conservatorship to have him cared for by a licensed person if not by family?
My head is spinning and I miss home so much. Thank you!!
Who's paying for all this dining out currently? I'm curious because I'll bet it's him.
Anyway. Absolutely NOT should he live with her. If you are his conservator, he needs to live near YOU and you will never be able to manage his affairs if he is living with that woman.Go with your original plan, move him near you in a facility where he is safe and you can monitor his care.Don't discuss the plan to move him AT ALL with this woman because she will create trouble. Your father is going to come for a "visit" to see your family. Don't bring that up until a day before the visit. He won't be coming back, but she can find that out later. Also, she cannot care for him 24/7 and you can tell her you need professionals caring for him (telling her over the phone after he is gone from the area).
She had no problem with his living in an uninhabitable home yet taking her to meals out so that says plenty about her.
dayn2nite2 has given you great advice.
It may have been fine for a week, but you know it will not stay fine. Plus, fine is her perception. It's not reality. The stairs are an issue. The use of saws is an accident waiting to happen. Add in that she doesn't cook. It's not a safe situation.
Use the strategy dayn2nite2 proposed. Tell him just before you leave. Tell her he's coming for a visit just before you leave. Then when he's settled inform her he's not returning.
Thanks for your thoughts on this. You are right, for 20 some years my Dad has been paying for every meal for this lady friend. But it all ended 2 weeks ago when I took over the accounts. Now when she takes my Dad out to eat she pays for him, gives me the receipt, and I write her a check just for his food. Dad has no access to money anymore. She wasn’t happy about this at first, even drove him to the banks to request him money, but she is getting used to it. She said she wants an allowance of money to keep my Dad, and she will give me receipts. I don’t think with a conservatorship I can just give her money prior to an expense. I did read that in CA cohabitating over the age of 62, is essentially like marriage. As long as they submit a cohabitating form to the state, she would have access to his property and money. But I would think being conserved he can’t enter into a legal contract?
My Dad just loves her to pieces. He is happiest with her. Uggggg what do I do.
The fact that lady friend drove him around to banks to get money is a red flag. There is no way that leaving your dad with her is going to work. She has no real understanding of your dad's situation.
Also consider that if you go home and leave dad with her, she could go to court and ask that your conservatorship be overturned and she be named conservator.
Pirokp- I will echo what everyone else has said- he should ABSOLUTELY-FREAKING-NOT live with his lady friend. It honestly seems like part of why she wants him to live with her is for the cash flow potential. Does she have any money of her own?
And, if she likes him so much, why has she allowed him to stay in his "uninhabitable" home this long?
Great job on enforcing that she pay for herself! That's a big step! Of course she's not going to be happy with that, but it's not about her. It sounds like she's trying to manipulate the situation so she ends up with "income" from your Dad.
The part about her allowing him to use all the power tools is just scary and shows that she's not making good choices for your father.
I am unsure why you are even considering having him live with his friend. You have a viable plan in place. You are inviting all kinds of problems + complications by allowing someone outside the family to take control of your father.
Thank you! You have all said what I know in my heart I need to do. I am going to take him home for the holidays, and continue with the plan. My father will refuse to go, he never goes anywhere except right near his home. We are going to take the train (Dad loves them) because I can’t drive him, he yells about my driving that I am trying to kill him (but I go way under the speed limit for him). I can’t put him on a plane because he was in a small plane crash years ago and is terrified of planes. So the plan is the train, 34 long hours, a family trip with Dad, myself, my sister and my son. I can’t do this without reinforcements.
Unfortunately I had already told the lady friend our plan (Dad doesn’t know), because I had invited her to come spend the holidays with us too. That was a big mistake on my part. I need to learn how to not be so nice.
I hope the Dr can give me something to calm him to get him on the train.
Thank you all for saying what I knew. I need to think with my head and think health and safety first. This group is a lifesaver.
In the few short months til spring this lady could cause problems that could take you years to repair. His safety always comes first from now on. He is 81 years old with a damaged brain. PLEASE follow the advice given here. Even if this lady has his best interest at heart, YOU are responsible for him. Too many things can go wrong. Do you want to keep flying back and forth every time something happens?
Because of the disease there’s not much time left for you to share with your Dad. Bring him home and get him settled in MC and starting making memories. You won’t be sorry! Sending you peace and love.
You definitely need to speak to his doctor about a calming medication for the trip- very important! Ask doctor if you should start giving him the medication in advance to check for any reaction.
And yes!!!! Stop being so nice! At least until you have him on your home base. We are trying to warn you about the havoc this lady can cause. You have taken away her “gravy train” and she’s not happy.
Good decision; the other scenario would not have worked well over time and you may have found him ill and not able to make a transfer to be near you and the ladyfriend not wanting to be a physical caregiver. As it is, from your writing, she does not sound as though she would be an adequate carer for your father on multiple fronts.
As for being "too nice," oh my. If there is any way of not having the girlfriend go to your house for the "visit" your Dad is having, I would back out. You will need to keep your father as calm as you can while he discovers he is not going to return back to his home and while adapting to his new place of residence.
If she is there when Dad figures this out, that he is not going home, she may contribute to a whole lot of negativity and insistence on having him NOT stay with or near you making the transition much more difficult. Would it be best if that is left alone if possible? I would think if may be.
Best of wishes for a very good outcome ; I so hope it all goes easier than expected.
I’d be really, really careful, and double-check, the safeguards you have on his money and home. She could cause all kinds of mischief now that she knows he’s leaving soon. Having him drive around to banks for money was a big deal-breaker, when I was thinking about this.
I’d be very concerned she will take advantage of him, and she knows her time is limited, so ...who knows, but I can’t imagine it would be good for him. You mentioned too many other areas that bring her “caregiving” skills in question.
Regardless of all else, I question a 75-yo woman’s ability to care for a man with dementia, especially down the road. I know many wives do that, but they usually have decades of togetherness and family to strengthen them.
Such great advice and encouragement. Thank you all. I do have one stupid question. This lady has been with my Dad everyday for lunch/dinner for 20 years. Yes my Dad always paid but I just don’t understand how she could see him everyday for that long if she didn’t love him, if she was just using him. I just can’t comprehend it.
The things you all said makes me realize she used him for his money. Poor Dad. He so loves her.
I changed the plan a bit, driving him in the car instead of the train (with two other family members). We can go when we want. The train had me nervous because it leaves in the morning and my Dad is unpredictable, I never know when he will get up or the mood. Game plan is to leave the end of November.
The things you all said makes me realize she used him for his money. Poor Dad. He so loves her.
Pirokp- That's not a stupid question at all. People have all different motivations for doing what they do. She might just be someone who feels entitled to have her man always pay for her, she could just be old fashioned and assumes a man always pays, or she could be a selfish user. Or some combination of all of the above.
I have a couple of questions.... have you spoken with an attorney about your plans and your dad's lady friend? Did you do the conservatorship yourself or did an attorney help you with it?
I ask because maybe you can discuss your concerns with that particular attorney (assuming that he/she was competent and they did good work for you). It would be great to know whether the lady friend has any legal ability to challenge the conservatorship in any way.
Much as others have said, I'm sure your dad's lady friend cares about him, and so far she's stayed with him. That's a point in her favor. That said, from your description, I don't trust her, and I would want all my legal ducks in a row.
Thank you all so much. Today I dug a little deeper into my Dad’s finances and I realized my Dad has been writing checks to to his lady friend the last two years, but doesn’t look like before that. He paid the vet bills for her dog too. I can understand now why this lady friend wants to watch him for an allowance/fee, she is getting desperate for money. She has been cut off now for 2 weeks. I feel she started taking advantage of my Dad as he got more advanced, and most likely asked him for the money. That sealed the deal for me, I am okay now taking him home with me. You all knew it, thank you for telling me.
Someone asked if I did the conservatorship by myself or hired an attorney. I hired an attorney who is a ding bat and I should have done it myself. The attorney was expensive and my case was too small and not important enough for him.
Thank you all! Still on track to be home with Dad for the holidays!!
Mystery solved. I was going to ask if he’s been writing checks to her or making large withdrawals of money to give to her.
So not only was she basically eating free all these years, he’s been supporting her financially. Yep, makes the decision MUCH easier.
I think once you get him out of town you may disinvite her from visiting by telling her you are aware she was taking advantage of him financially. Whether she is ashamed of that remains to be seen. She’s a bold one.
Easily done online. After you examine them (who is to say there are not credit cards that are open or loans out there, whether in his name or with the lady friend on as an authorized user?) and if everything is OK - -
FREEZE HIS CREDIT. Not a just a 30 day fraud alert, not credit monitering - freeze it. That will prevent anything else being opened in his name. This 20 year lady friend no doubt has all his personal information and could easily do damage.
You will get an online code where you can unlock his credit reports if needed in the future.
2. Pack up and mail back whatever he needs AHEAD of your date of departure. Do this discreetly. Do not let Dad or the lady friend know.
3. Leave AHEAD of the date you gave the lady friend. You don't need drama to upset Dad , or you. You are at great risk if this happens, because if she calls the police, you have a scene. Also, no offense, but it risks trigging emotional, fuzzy thinking on your part (I only mention this because of the fact you posted thinking leaving him for love was an option). Care needs drive the decision making.
If you ever have trouble with this concept, let me give you some words to motivate your resolve:
"If I leave Dad here, I am leaving him to spend all of his money he needs for care with a woman who is financially motivated and is too old and not thinking clearly herself to provide good care. If he suffers under her care (falls down the stairs,she doesn't recognize an emergency call the MD, etc) it is my fault because I did not think clearly enough about his care needs and left him with an inappropriate caregiver."
Go out for a drive with Dad, and keep on driving. His medication to calm him, given ahead of time. BTW, try the medication out quietly at home to make sure it has the desired effect, a week or so ahead of time.
The suggestion someone else made to have the locks changed is a good one. Also do this ahead of time.