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Old 12.12.2017, 04:43
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Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Hello wonderful forum: I'm a Swiss-American based in the U.S. with a Swiss father (US resident) who has moved back to Switzerland permanently in his 80's. I really need your wise advice because I'm in a pickle. Dad has re-established Swiss insurance, gets minimal AVS, and resources are scarce, but he owns his apartment. Dad is very stubborn and should absolutely not be living alone without help. I'm not sure he is taking medication. Threatens to call Exit but hasn't done it, and with early dementia probably wouldn't be a candidate. His friends have died off, family lives across Switzerland, and the few folks nearby say it's time for him to get help or move. He won't hear of moving. A relative suggests appearing before a Justice de la Paix (canton de Vaud) and having Dad declared incompetent and have someone appointed to care for him, something I'm afraid of given horror stories I have seen. On my last visit I couldn't get much done - the stubborness, I tell you.... I've got a social worker going there soon and I've gotten a distress SMS from the concierge (thankfully there is one who is somewhat helpful). I am caring for my other parent in the US and this situation is tought, so any advice is very welcome.
Questions:
1. Will my US Power of Attorney work in Switzerland? I can't get an Apostille because he probably isn't well enough to come back to the US and refuses to anyway.
2. If declared incompetent for a court appointed guardian to be put in place, do I lose complete decision rights as the only child?
3. Given the generally liberatarian (in the US sense) attitude of Swiss towards elders, is anyone ever forced to move or accept help in the home? What about in the case of possible early dementia?
4. How do people with limited income who own an apartment deal with paying for care, in-home or outside? Do they make you sell your apartment and then use that revenue to pay for care?
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Old 12.12.2017, 07:39
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Does your dad have a doctor that can do a full check up? Often lack of minerals can do weird things to elder people, due to an insufficient diet.

I´d see to get a doctor to check out what is effectively wrong with your dad, having him declared incompetent without any medical assessment might not be a good idea.

As to what to do; my only experience with a mom with Alzheimer is in another country and we got help through our doctor, insurance and Alzheimer society.

Good luck
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:03
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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4. How do people with limited income who own an apartment deal with paying for care, in-home or outside? Do they make you sell your apartment and then use that revenue to pay for care?
One property worth up to 300k is protected by law. That tells you how old this law is because it's pretty impossible to have an own appartment for that price in many parts of Switzerland. Which means he'd have to sell it and use the excess to cover the costs.
https://www.beobachter.ch/versicheru...flege-im-alter
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:38
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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One property worth up to 300k is protected by law. That tells you how old this law is because it's pretty impossible to have an own appartment for that price in many parts of Switzerland. Which means he'd have to sell it and use the excess to cover the costs.
https://www.beobachter.ch/versicheru...flege-im-alter
Presumably thats 300k of equity, that actually will cover most people. I am interested in why you believe more than 300k should be protected, there is no good reason at all.
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:41
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Were it me I would avoid calling in the KESB unless you have absolutely no other option.

For me, and for the wellbeing of my parents, I would not be comfortable with that option. That is a personal stance, given personal circumstances and my understanding of how local authority involvement works. My reasoning might not apply to your situation.

If you decide to go to the KESB, perhaps a consulation with a Swiss lawyer would be in order before taking that step, so that you fully understand what this step means.

---

My information (gathered some years ago when I was hoping to bring elderly parents here, but in the end that didn't happen) is all in SZ, unfortunately I do not know how things work in VD.

However, I would recommend as a first step contacting the VD chapter of Pro Senectute, an advocacy group for senior citizens. In my experience this group is a wealth of knowledge and support. They can point you towards resources in your father's area, can help you navigate the legalities and practicalities.

https://vd.prosenectute.ch/fr



ETA:

Here is a guide for the elderly and their relatives, providing an overview of basic services and resources, including discussions of finances, from the canton of VD. From 2010, I don't know if there have been changes or updates, but at least this is a good start as you research the issues:

https://www.vd.ch/fileadmin/user_upl..._pour_site.pdf

I know all too well how difficult this is, and I wish you and your father all the best.

.

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.12.2017 at 10:59.
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:48
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Sell his property and buy him a place in a Wohnzentrum (Senioren Wohnungen), the conditions are pretty good and they have freedom - they get in and out at their own wish. Or Alterszentrum depending on each situation.
He probably can't live on his own for much longer and he would enjoy company and care. Convince him it's for the best.

OP, this is a moment all of us who live abroad are fearing, it must be even more difficult for you in the absence of other siblings or relatives here. He really should accept he can't be let all alone.
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:55
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

My late MIL refused to move or have help.

We had our lawyer organize a control of her by KESB, they decided she was competent and could do nothing.

Finally, several months before she passed she started needing dialysis, that didn't work well at home, so finally she went to a home for the last two months.

The house could not be sold until after she passed, so the bills piled up until it could be sold.

Tom
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Old 12.12.2017, 10:55
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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Sell his property.
He can't, unless his father agrees to do so.

Tom
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Old 12.12.2017, 11:04
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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He can't, unless his father agrees to do so.

Tom
I know, if he is considered legally competent there's nothing much to do except for talk and talk to him and convince him of the realities of old age. Really difficult, probably impossible at the moment. But I guess OP will have and will be able to do this move when his father's dementia will be more advanced.
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Old 12.12.2017, 11:06
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

1. Make contact with his personal/'house' doctor.
2. Ask the family doctor to advice on what additional supports he could have at home.
3. Get some advice and counselling from a social worker or support service that specialises in dementia. They can help you to understand the stubbornness (and paranoia!), which can be related to the dementia or simply old age and *no one* wants to lose their independence.
4. It is very normal at the last stage of life to want to return to your familiar environment where you lived as a child.
5. Respect his right to live as he wishes. Do what you can to help - for my family that is visiting regularly, organising a cleaner, shopping service, nurses whatever... but it takes time to sort this out and time for the person to adapt.
6. If he asks for anything, do it...

There is a charity for ageing in Switzerland - Pro Senectute:
Maybe they can help advise you:
https://www.prosenectute.ch/

Information on possible support options here:
https://www.prosenectute.ch/de/diens...agshilfen.html

My great-uncle chose to not wash, wear his pyjamas and dressing gown down the street and eat three meals a day at the local pub, for the last 10 years of his life. That was his choice. After raising two kids, nursing his wife through alzeimers, and serving others... he got old and cranky... and that was his choice too...

There are heaps of things you can do to support. It won't be easy... best of luck!
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Old 12.12.2017, 11:09
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Oh. and you might be quite surprised by the free or almost-free support services available in Switzerland....you will need to be quite dedicated and pro-active to get them lined up, but normally his house doctor would be the first point of contact...

If he is concerned, however, that you are going to 'put him in a home' then you might need to find a trusted person who can act as a 'go-between'... someone he might listen to better than his son ?
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Old 12.12.2017, 11:44
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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He can't, unless his father agrees to do so.

Tom
....if his father has signs of dementia quite probably his father can't either. Failing a Swiss power of attorney predating dementia only KESB can do anything with it (and by repute well worth not going that route).

A US PoA won't work. Swiss law is very specific on the requirements.
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Old 12.12.2017, 11:46
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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O...but normally his house doctor would be the first point of contact...
Mainly this. Pro Senectute are also worth talking to - although not going to be easy organising either from the wrong side of the pond.
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Old 12.12.2017, 12:13
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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My great-uncle chose to not wash, wear his pyjamas and dressing gown down the street and eat three meals a day at the local pub, for the last 10 years of his life. That was his choice. After raising two kids, nursing his wife through alzeimers, and serving others... he got old and cranky... and that was his choice too...
Old and cranky is different from someone with (progressive) dementia. At some point he will need 24 from 24 hours care or supervision.


I have seen it recently at my husband's grandmother - it was tough.
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:08
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

The stubbornness is just a symptom of dementia, IMO.

Your own brain failing you would drive everybody insane and angry.

How do you keep in contact?

KESB I'd try to avoid at almost all cost because I simply don't trust them to do the right thing, given the various horror-stories - and they are mostly from "normal" people.
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:12
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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The stubbornness is just a symptom of dementia, IMO.
I have always been stubborn but don't suffer from dementia.
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:18
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Do you know about Spitex? https://www.spitex.ch/
They may be able to help. Can visit your dad on a daily basis to check up on him.
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:22
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Not sure how good your French is, but here is the Q&A from the relevant Vaud website. There is no 300.000 protection in Vaud at all - so property has to be sold to cover costs if the income/fortune does not cover all costs. And it is very difficult to force someone into an EMS (thank goodness for that) until they are certified as danger to themselves and others.

https://www.vd.ch/themes/social/hebe...ions-reponses/

It is very hard - I spent years going back and forth from UK to here - several times a year- and it can be emotionally and physically exhausting. I had to give up a senior management post due to this, and later my job altogether and totally re-organise my life to deal with it all. So I know how you feel.

But now that I look back on it (they both died in 2009) - I realise that parents' wishes need to be respected - even if their decisions are not what we would wish them to be, and to some extent- even if it puts them at risk to themselves. Bonne chance.

Both my parents were hugely stubborn - one died at 96 and the other at 94 - NO dementia or Alzheimers are all.

PS- the protected sum is 37.500, which you can pas on to your inheritors- NOT 300.000.

Last edited by Odile; 12.12.2017 at 13:54.
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:29
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

Just to check, is the EMS the Romandie version of the KESB? (Kindes- und Erwachsenenschutzbehörde)
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Old 12.12.2017, 13:54
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Re: Caring for stubborn elder: Decisions, POA, Options

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Just to check, is the EMS the Romandie version of the KESB? (Kindes- und Erwachsenenschutzbehörde)
I think it's more
Alters- und Pflegeheime
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