Father has dementia but is refusing our help


Q: My 82 yr old father (A veteran) needs an aide due to dementia but is challenging help, what are our legal rights? My father is a U.S. Air Force Veteran , widowed 19 years ago. He lives in West Newton now. If he challenges our help, what legal rights does he/do I have beyond having him declared incompetent. My biggest concern is his well being (he is forgetting to eat). I am currently on his accounts but have concerns with costs. What are my options as he is still somewhat aware and wants to remain independent even though we (my 2 siblings) feel that might not be possible. (Jefferson Hills, PA)

A: If he is resisting you I assume you do not have a general durable power of attorney in place. Until he is declared to be incapable of handling his own affairs in a guardianship proceeding, he is free to do as he wishes. This is a difficult situation for both of you to be in. I would not give up on communication. Perhaps he feels threatened and a gentler approach of opening up a dialog with him is advisable. If Westmoreland County has adult services in the area, perhaps they can do a wellness visit or refer him to services to come into the home. The more you talk to him, and others, the more you will learn and the closer you will come to dealing with the problem appropriately. You should consult with an attorney as to what is involved in filing to be his Guardian.

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