Parenting & Family

How to best tell dad that he's no longer able to take decisions alone?

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  • May 10th, 2019 11:52 pm
[OP]
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Oct 21, 2015
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Westmount, QC

How to best tell dad that he's no longer able to take decisions alone?

Our dad is 84 years old. In general, he's in pretty good health considering his age. But we have come to the point where it is undeniable that his ability to discern what is the best course of action, the best choice for this or that it's just not good enough anymore. I could go over so many things to illustrate this, but I'm sure you know what I mean. My sister and I are concluding that we'll have to talk to him this weekend. The last straw was that my dad insists on buying a car and drive it (of course). Not only is he past the age of renewing his driver's licence, but he had one eye operated less than 2 months ago. He'll have the other one operated soon. One of his hands shakes to the point that he's no longer allowed to sign checks. As obvious as it should be that someone in his condition should not drive, still to him it is not obvious at all. That in itself already says a lot in my opinion.
Anyway, so at the moment I am trying to put together a text that could serve as a guide for what my sister and I need to say. I believe the hardest part is that I cannot count or depend on my dad's full understanding of our arguments. After all, if he was capable of fully understanding why he can no longer take decisions on his own for many things, let alone the important things (like giving away our heritage), then this talk would not be necessary on the first place. Then this means that this will need to be approached not as a negotiation, not as something that is up to him to accept. But rather as FYI, just-so-you-know type of thing. Of course, we'll explain the best we can the reason why we have decided this. But it's not up for discussion.

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for reading,

DPC
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Mar 9, 2012
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When you said "like giving away our heritage" I assume you meant, "inheritance". You're dad can't give away your heritage, though he certainly can pretend it doesn't exist. This concerns me the you're more concerned about losing money (the "inheritance") than anything else. Not only that, there is no such thing as "past the age of renewing", though at that point, they may have to re-qualify. In Quebec, it's every 2 years once you are past 80 years old. A medical doctor needs to certify your dad.

Since he's an adult, I can't see how you can force him to give up his "rights". Basically, you would need to get a Power of Attorney for at least his financial, if not, both medical and financial. No such thing as "none negotiation", unless you manage to have your dad committed or he agree's that you (or your sister) can be his PoA. Of course, if you approach it properly, you might have your dad agree to this.

I am not by any means old, but I do have friends in their 80's that are as sharp as any 30 year old that I am friends with. I have no idea if your dad is sharp is. As I mentioned above, though, if your dad still wants to drive, then a doctor needs to certify him. Obviously the doctor could make a medical report that he's unable to make decisions for himself, on your behalf.

Tread carefully.
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Feb 4, 2010
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jeff1970 wrote: When you said "like giving away our heritage" I assume you meant, "inheritance". You're dad can't give away your heritage, though he certainly can pretend it doesn't exist. This concerns me the you're more concerned about losing money (the "inheritance") than anything else. Not only that, there is no such thing as "past the age of renewing", though at that point, they may have to re-qualify. In Quebec, it's every 2 years once you are past 80 years old. A medical doctor needs to certify your dad.

Since he's an adult, I can't see how you can force him to give up his "rights". Basically, you would need to get a Power of Attorney for at least his financial, if not, both medical and financial. No such thing as "none negotiation", unless you manage to have your dad committed or he agree's that you (or your sister) can be his PoA. Of course, if you approach it properly, you might have your dad agree to this.

I am not by any means old, but I do have friends in their 80's that are as sharp as any 30 year old that I am friends with. I have no idea if your dad is sharp is. As I mentioned above, though, if your dad still wants to drive, then a doctor needs to certify him. Obviously the doctor could make a medical report that he's unable to make decisions for himself, on your behalf.

Tread carefully.
While I won't go far as to say that OP is more concerned about money, I do agree with the rest of your post. I also know many people in their 80s who still have their mental faculties.

OP nothing in your posts suggest that your father is not in possession of his mental faculties. If you're concerned about him driving a car, try asking him why he thinks he needs a car. There's probably an unmet need there.

You also have to remember these are your opinions/perspective, not necessarily facts (e.g. you use the word undeniable). If you treat him like a child (e.g. "it's not up to him", scold him, talk down to him, tell him hat he can and cannot do) you will likely create a hostile/resentful situation and may end up harming your relationship with your dad. I would definitely approach this from a place of compassion...compassion and understanding for him and what's he likely going through (e.g. perhaps facing his mortality, loss of independence/freedom).

Since you're looking for advice, I would hold off having this conversation and first have an honest conversation with yourself and sibling about what this is really about. My take it on it, is it fear-based on your part. When you do talk to him about this - I would advise not to make any assumptions, accusations and statements. Instead, ask questions -inquire. "Hey dad, why do you think you need a car?" , "How often do you think you'll drive"? "Did you renew your license"? Help him come to his own conclusions/decisions - I don't know why but I feel like he's probably capable of figuring this out with the love and support of his family but you've already decided he's not...that's not a good way to be in any relationship.

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