Jennifer Meagher RN is a Geriatric Care Manager and Registered Nurse. She had a 21 year nursing career at Genesee Hospital, which included 11 years as Nurse Manager. She was the primary evening instructor for a local Home Health Aide training program. She has been a geriatric specialist since 1998. She is a member of Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly, is the founder and president of Better Businesses Partners Serving Seniors, and is called on by local attorneys and physicians for her expertise. She is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Independent Consultants and Advocates | www.SeniorLifeGCM.com

Dear Jennifer,

My problem is my father’s wife. She isn’t my mother, and she is only 10 years older than I am. She’s been with him for 20 years. He only married her three years ago and I’m convinced she nagged him into it to get at his money.  I’m an only child and I hate this.  When I go to the hospital to visit my dad, she’s there with a drippy condescending voice telling me that my father is resting and not to wake him. Or she asks the nurse to give him more medications right when I get there. Yesterday, she told the nurse that she wanted the medications because I upset my father when I visit! I was sitting right there when she said it. I started yelling at her. The nurse called security and I was the one who had to leave. Are you kidding me? I can’t believe it. So now, I have to call to say I’m coming and my father’s wife has to go to the waiting room. I’m only allowed 30 minutes at a time in his room. This is ridiculous. I got my attorney involved who’s talking to the hospital attorney. Do they have the right to do this? Everyone is listening to her lies and believing every word of it. I get upset and everyone thinks I’m the problem.

Please help me. I trust you.

Dear Shelly,

There’s more to this story, isn’t there?  I am going to cut past the inheritance issue and your father’s marriage and concentrate on the conflicts that are occurring. Whenever there is a public disturbance, the first thing that is measured is the behaviors of both parties. If your father’s wife is acting calm and you are raising your voice, it will appear that you are out of control and causing the scene.  You must teach yourself to keep your volume down and to avoid name-calling.  If you are able to stay calm and quiet, she will be the one talking and will likely show her true colors. You might ask to talk with the social worker about your concerns. It will be important to keep your voice as close to conversational as possible. It will be important to talk about the current concerns rather than the entire history of your relationship with this woman.  Right now, she is in control; through her actions, she is getting the response she wants out of you. Regain the control, by not satisfying her ; stay calm. Plan what you will say. Speak politely and watch what happens.



This can be a powerful question in various situations.  Here’s the nuts and bolts:

1. Next of kin in the strictest sense means blood relatives only, however commonly, “next of kin” falls first to the surviving spouse, then to the children and progresses from the “closest” relatives to the most “distant.”
2. The definition of “next of kin” varies from state to state.
3. In NYS, partners or significant others are not considered next of kin.
4. Any / all authorities determined by an individual and drafted into a legal document preclude next of kin status. For example, the person designated as health care proxy is assigned to make life and death decisions regardless of relationship. The same is true for power of attorney, executor, and beneficiary status.

When there are no advanced directives or authorities, the next of kin status falls to the strictest sense of the words in that blood relatives are given priority over unofficial relationships regardless of the years of commitment.  (Hint: get your advanced directives written!)

If you feel your legal rights are being maligned, contact an attorney for clarification.


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Brain Workout Trivia

At the time of the Revolutionary War against Great Britain by her colonies in North America, there were thirteen colonies (which became states when the United States was formed after the war ended). Which was the 14th state to join the union?
A. Vermont   
B. Kentucky   
C. Tennessee   
D. Ohio

Brain Workout Trivia is the brainchild of John C Sproul
For more trivia visit www.funtrivia.com

The correct answer is "A". Although Vermont residents fought against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, the area was not considered a separate colony at the time of the war. In one notable example, Vermonters Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and Connecticut soldier Benedict Arnold captured British Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. After the war ended and the U.S. was formed, Vermont became the 14th state to be admitted to the union on March 4, 1791.