Brain Injury Category >>
Some of the things that will have a bearing on the situation with grown step-children will depend on how long the couple has been together before the injury; what the relationship with the step-children was like before the injury and probably more important, what the relationship was like between the survivor and his/her children.
In our situation, we knew each other about three and a half years before my partner sustained his brain injury. At the time of his accident he wasn’t speaking to his oldest son and still doesn’t; there was little interaction between him and his second son, and he saw and talked to his daughter only occasionally. This had been the case both before his accident as well as being the situation before I met him.
After his accident, there had been no offers of help of any kind from any of his children and admittedly I was upset with the poor treatment of their father. But then when he was doing up his Will, they suddenly wanted to bond with him; they wanted to take him for dinner – a dinner I was excluded from. He has since done up his Will and has given his daughter his Power of Attorney. Needless to say, there has been no more effort at bonding since or anything more than the occasional phone call from his daughter.
There has never once been a “We appreciate all you’ve done for our father. Is there anything we can do to help?” But this is not a surprise. How could I expect that they would treat me any other way when they treat their father so badly?
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In circumstances such as this, where does that leave the partner/caregiver? The answer is – in a very vulnerable position; particularly when the stepchild has the Power of Attorney but the spousal/caregiver is doing the caring for their brain injured partner. For anyone who finds themselves in this position, I would recommend talking to a lawyer in order to get advice on how best to protect themselves and their own families. Your partner very likely is not well enough to protect you if he/she has not already taken steps to do so before their injury.
This is not an uncommon scenario with grown step-children but is made especially more difficult when brain injury is involved. It is a time for the spousal/caregiver to be proactive in order to safeguard their home and their own children.