My parents are both sick, will not move out of their house, and don't want anyone to know the real story - HELP?

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Dad has deteriorating mental capacities and my mom says he is abusive and she is afraid of him. Mom is almost a cripple from a spinal injury, is in constant pain, and still waits on my dad - is extremely unhappy. My dad has nothing to complain about, as my mom still takes care of him; my mom is so stuck she cannot help herself and wants no one else's help.

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When you were a child and wanted to do something that was unsafe or inappropriate, what did your parents do? Well, the shoe is on the other foot now. I'm guessing your dad is a pretty dictatorial person as a parent as well? Maybe you should start by accompanying your mom to a doctor visit and enlisting the aid of her doctor in 'prescribing' a move to AL for your mom. Then, your dad would have to see the light with regard to his own care. If he insists on staying home alone, let him. Call in protective services if the situation is actually dangerous. We all have diminishing mental capacities. As long as he doesn't make decisions that endanger others (driving, using the stove) he's on his own. Or, if your parents have the financial resources, they could both move to a senior living situation in separate units. There would be many ways to explain away a separate living situation so that their unhappy marriage could remain a secret - different care needs, insurance coverage requirements, etc... It's hard to take an authoritative role with your parent, especially if your upbringing was very strict. Decide what YOU think is best, then be firm. Easier said than done, I know, but be resolute.
Would she become happier and more at peace if some of the caregiving is taken off of her?
What can she afford?
What are your options for selling assets to improve the resources she has to use in caring for him and herself?
How has she dealt with change at other times?
Has she ever asked for help?
We are here to listen as you explore you options.
zibba1, A friend of mine was in this situation once, and I'll tell you what I told her. 'Put your big girl panties on, and get your mom some help. If it means your dad gets mad, so be it'. She was no longer that little girl under her daddy's rule, so she needed to step up. Which she did. With mine, and a few other of her friends help.
Thanks for your feedback - much appreciated! Next to sedating both of them to get them out of the house, I'm not sure of my options. I have spoken with their doctor and, because they are very good actors when interacting with people outside their home (appearing like a nice, "normal" people), most of those folks outside of the home are tired of hearing their stories, do not believe a lot of what they say, and don't want to be bothered. My mother confides in me, but I don't even know what to believe! She is afraid of my father, says she is threatened, but will do nothing about it - she has told me she does not want help, unless it's to move him somewhere that he can be "monitored." She says she cannot leave because he'll end up ruining the house because he forgets to turn faucets off, leaves keys in the door, loses his wallet, etc. She is also very worried about her possessions that mean a lot to her. She does not have enough energy (and is in chronic pain from an accident from years ago) to take care of herself, yet still caters to my father, prepares some meals and cleans up after him. Without any proof that there is abuse going on, I'm not sure what to do. Addditional comments would be most welcomed - thank you!!
First of all, I send you a BIG hug. It is so hard to know the right answers when dealing with our aging parents. My precious mother, who passed away suddenly two months ago, was the sole caregiver for my father for almost 20 years. He was a stroke survivor. Shortly before he passed away in 2008, someone had called social services to go to their home and check on them. The guy would not take no for an answer and told my mother that he had to come in and check on them. Well, this turned out to be such a blessing to them and they entire family. He set them up with a case worker who did an evaluation and set them up with an army of angels. They had housekeepers come in. They had a bath aide for my father. They had companions who would take them to dr. appts., go get groceries, run any errands they needed done, help in the home or just sit and reminisce. They also set them up with meals that were delivered to their home. If they had any concerns, they would call mom and dad's contact person. It really gave our family some peace of mind in addition to allowing my parents to remain in their home, which is the goal. I understand there is a waiting list but at least they could come out and do an evaluation and perhaps give you some guidance.
Please, keep us informed and know we are here for support.
Zibba - I was and kind of still am in the same shoes. Yes, put your big girl pants on, as Nancy said!!! Good one! My Mom and Dad lived in their house @ 200 miles from me. He was dipping deeper into depression, sleeping all day, not bathing and she was drinking around the clock. The house was disgusting and started to smell like urine. So I did this: I gave her six months to (1) get someone in to clean the house very other week, and (2) hire someone to bath Dad once a week. Six months later, nothing.....So we did end up moving them out of the house, closer to me so I could care for them. It wasn't easy. In fact it was really hard and a miserable task because my siblings helped out,oh so little, during the move then COMPLETELY vanished after the move. Going on three years taking care of them by myself now. If you have siblings, don't count on them to help you unless you have a good relationship with them. Some families DO kick in, and that is great. Others do not.

Now living down the road from me now, I realized all I did was move all the dysfunction 200 miles closer. Dad continued to rage on Mom and she continued to drink. High functioning alcoholic and yes, both were what we call "street angels and house devils." Seemed perfectly fine to people outside but when in the house together was a nightmare of verbal, threatening and some times physical abuse. I ended up getting social services involved (that's the point I want to tell you about), to evaluate the situation. It was reassurance for me that the situation was unsafe for Mom and Dad needed help. So what we did was have the local Social services nurse come in and pretend she was evaluating Mom and she was really evaluating Dad. Away, it helped open my Mom's eyes that she was not safe. I got him admitted for a psychiatric evaluation and after a while got him on the right drug. He calmed down and though it was still hard, it was manageable. he is now in a NH becasue he fell so many times. So Zibba - think about getting an outside service to come in and evaluate them. YOU just need to make the phone call and be there. I went over to the house first, didn't give my parents any warning. I got to the house and said, "Mom, I asked a nurse to come today to take your blood pressure because I think it would be good for you," and I opened the door and it worked like a charm. It's one idea and maybe you could try it or a variation of it. It is Social Services job to help you. Keep writing!

xo
-SS

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