Recently ill mom caring for dad with dementia

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My mother is 85 years old with congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and is taking thyroid medication (not sure why). She is the caregiver of my father who is 89 with dementia. She recently experienced shortness of breath and was hospitalized for 2-3 days (fluid both heart and lungs). We have tried to get her to get some in-home care for my father, unfortunately insist that she can do it all. She barely has the strength to take care of herself. She does not take her medication as directed and continues to eat "salt or salty" foods. My father is a real handful as she lets him sit in his chair all day, he naps often, becomes agitated easily, therefore does not sleep at night. He will yell at/for my mother to do things he can still do. If she does not do what he wants he will get out of his chair and go yell at her. We cannot convince her to get help other than Meals on Wheels. My question is since she is the caregiver of my father who is unable to care for himself, would this be grounds for us to gain guardianship of my father to have him placed in a facility or even come stay with one of us until my mother has either gained her strength or realizes she cannot take care of him?


3930 helpful answers
I would think you need to do something. I think I'd ask social services to do a welfare check, or your local Alzheimer's Association. They do that sometimes.

Whoever checks will probably see that this is an unsafe situation and they may be able to get your parents into care without you needing to go through the expense and redtape of guardianship. If a welfare check doesn't work, then you may need to do so.

Your mom probably feels she should be able to take care of her husband and if she can't do it well, she feels like a failure. Therefore - denial. It's a common and frustrating problem.
Good luck,
Thank you Carol,

Currently, my sibilings and I are taking turns at staying with them in their home. Since staying with them is temporary I was seeking advice to help in the event my mother shuts us out totally. Ideally we all want to see them remain in their home safely and well cared for. While we have contacted several agencies for in-home care, I agree having a welfare check conducted by a social worker may help my mother agree to additional help. Hopefully the presence of a "social worker" will open her eyes to the severity of not getting additional help.
You do not need a guardianship to place your father in a facility. In fact, you really don't want a guardianship as, if you ask the state to appoint you and they do, you have signed up for more red tape than you can imagine, including reporting to the state. In Florida you only have to report once a year, but it is a huge pain in the neck.

You would be in a better situation if you could get your mother and father to sign a power of attorney over to you. Then you could be in charge of the finances and everything else that needs to be done in their best interests. Also, if you can get them to sign a Designation of Health Care Surrogate you will save yourself a ton of grief if either of them needs medical attention.
I agree with Carol but urge you to act IMMEDIATELY. You don't say how many siblings you have but all of you need to hold a Family Meeting and resolve these three issues with or without Mom's participation:
1) One of you must obtain POA for both your parents. This can be done with an Estate Attorney or Elder Law attorney.
2) Make sure your parent's finances are in order and that they have a Will for both their estate and for their end-of-life care.
3) Retain the services of a certified Geriatric Care Manager in your area. This person can help you with items 1 and 2 and will also help you convince your mom why these are absolutely necessary these days.
If your mom gives you lots of resistance on this (sounds like she will) think ROLE REVERSAL. If you were the parent and your mom and dad were your children, how would you respond to their irrational behavior? If you really loved them (as I am sure you do) you would force them to do the right thing. This is never easy but it is necessary under the conditions you describe. The longer you let it go the more difficult it will be to set things right. The last thing you want to hear right now is "Hi I am from the Government and I am here to help." As others have said, you will find yourself buried in red tape and powerless to obtain even reasonable assistance.
My situation is the same as yours - my Dad has Alzheimer's and my mother is planning a total knee replacement - they will both be totally helpless and my mother refuses to hire anyone or move to assisted living. I have heard that you definitely should get Power of Attorney the sooner the better.
I live 700 miles from my 82 year old father,his wife passed last year,now he lives by himself. His health is gone down considerable he is on breathing treatments and he's lost alot of weight,he does not go to doctors appt. and he is starting to get confused alot. what rights do I have as being his daughter
Bonnie, you need a power of attorney and a designation of health care surrogate. Hospitals, doctors, etc., are all so worried about violating HIPAA laws, they make it nearly impossible to do anything without the designation of health care surrogate. A POA won't help you with regard to hospitals or doctors, but it would aid you tremendously if your father can no longer pay his own bills or if he needs to be placed in an assisted living facility.

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