My 79 year old mother was recently diagnosed with 100% hearing loss—it all happened very quickly from having some hearing (with use of hearing aids) to none within 2 months. She lives in Vernon, BC in a mobile home, with my brother who is 61 years old. My father died in 2005—one of his last requests was that my brother not live with my mother because of his violent and abusive nature. However, my mother was very dependent at the time, had never learned to drive, my brother was there and just continued living there. I live in Calgary and my 2 sisters live in Kelowna. The 3 of us have witnessed forms of elder abuse, as well as 2 of my mother’s neighbours have said there is a “lot of screaming” going on. My mother grossed $36000 last year, largely due to my father’s pension, CPP and OAP. She pays all the bills, has a mortgage of approximately $26000. My brother pays her $700 per month—he works 15 hours per week . My sisters do most of the chauffeuring for my mother for appointments and grocery shopping. My mother does all the cooking and cleaning. I suggested to my brother that Mom might need some outside support and he replied “we don’t want strangers in our house”. A big problem is that my mother doesn’t want to leave her home. Our fear is that even if a caregiver agrees to come to the home, that my brother, who is like a pit bull, will make the environment so uncomfortable that it would be next to impossible for this scenario to unfold. A last choice, for myself and my 2 sisters, is that we may have to take control of this situation, to ensure that my mother is as comfortable as possible. This could possibly mean that we may have to use some type of legal force to get my brother out of the house; it could also possibly mean selling the mobile home and finding a suitable place for my mother to live. What, if any, legal advice do you have?
I am sorry for this difficult situation.
Is your mother mentally competent at this point?
She is likely mentally competent. Yesterday she asked one of my sisters to talk to my brother about the animals (cat and dog) being stressed. Apparently my brother is a raving lunatic at times, scaring and cursing the animals. He knows my mother can't hear but she knows what is happening. She cooks, cleans the house, takes good care of herself. Yesterday her GP prescribed a mild anti-depressant but my brother doesn't think she should take it because apparently moods get worse before stabilizing. She has also been diagnosed with tinnitus and will have this for life.
Has she appointed anyone under a Power of Attorney?
While she is mentally competent she really does call the shots.
But sometimes it's not clear that there is not abuse but she is allowing it out of fear.
Would she agree that your brother should leave?
Would she give you a POA at this point?
She probably is afraid if my brother leaves because she will be all alone. It is like a co-dependent relationship. I think she would give me poa.
If she provides you with a POA then when she is no longer competent you would make all decisions about her care and finances.
So I think that's your best approach.
Otherwise, when she becomes incompetent you would need to apply to the Court for an order appoint you as her guardian.
I am travelling to Vernon on Monday and I will explain the situation and ask her if she will agree for me to be her poa.
I think that's best and you can tell her that if she is not longer capable of making decisions and you don't have this you will have to pay a lawyer money to go to Court.
You are very welcome.
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