"I have Power of Attorney for my aunt who has dementia and lives in an Assisted Living Senior home in Chicago, Illinois. I am not happy with their services. They do not do any thing to stimulate the mind. She sits and watches TV all day or sleeps. I recently had a major concern about the closet door in her room not staying attached to the hinges. I complained repeatedly to the Executive Director about this problem-but the problem was never solved. I took pictures just in case the closet door fell on my aunt. What is your suggestion on what I should do? I want to move her but with dementia, I heard this could be tramatic since she has made friends at the facility."

Answer:  Sometimes it is difficult to manage an assisted living facility from out of state.  You are not there to make sure they do what they say, and, many times, complaints by phone do not have the same effect as you standing there in person.  What you need to do is either move your aunt to another facility or find a local advocate to be your clone on the ground.  In my practice, we refer families to Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs).  These professionals are licensed nurses or social workers who can become involved in a situation and advocate strongly for a loved one.  They can cost between $100 to $150 per hour, but are worth every penny, especially in circumstances similar to yours.  You can find local geriatric care managers from a local elder law attorney or from elder care resources, such as www.ElderCareMatters.com.

Ben A. Neiburger, JD, CPA
Elmhurst, Illinois  60126-1438
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