Brooklyn, NY asked in Elder Law for New York

Q: Is a POA and Health Care Proxy enough to make decisions for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's?

I have an Aunt that is 83 years old that lives in NY. I live in Georgia. In 2013, when she was of sound mind, she had a NY attorney prepare a POA regarding all her finances, etc. and a Health Care Proxy. She signed and I signed.

Now she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. As such she DOES NOT see herself accurately. I am in NY now because she was put in hospital because she does NOT takes her medicines and as a result almost died from hyponatremia (low sodium in blood).

I am trying to arrange in home health care and she is NOT allowing it at all? I am not at all comfortable leaving her to live alone anymore as she has been doing. Also I have grave concern because she still has been driving up to the time she went in hospital. The doctors recommend NO DRIVING. Do I have the power to over-ride her wishes with these legal documents?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The short answer is yes. A durable POA gives you power over her finances and the Health Care Proxy over her medical decisions. However, if her condition is not apparent to a vendor or health care provider and she is expressing resistance to your decisions, you may have problems. You may have to petition for Guardianship of her personal needs. The POA already gives you control of her property.

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