Future possibility of caring for aging bi-polar Mom.

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This may be a little long, so I apologize now. I am a 42 year old woman with 73 year old parents. My mother suffers from severe bi polar disorder, and was also diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder, about 15 years ago. My father is a socially and intellectually inept, aging pot head (can't quite grasp the fact that this isn't 1967 anymore). Over the course of mine and my sibling's childhood, my parents made very poor choices financially, socially, etc...that rendered them incapable of providing a functioning parental model. I will not go into the long list of things mom has done, but I have chosen to distance myself both physically ( I live in Texas, they in California) as well as emotionally and mentally.

As one would guess, their poor financial management, has left them penniless, and pretty much friendless. The few friends they do have are people of questionable character (one is a registered sex offender). They are currently living in a run down, one bedroom rental home that is infested with cockroaches and mice. They lost two homes that they owned, and almost wound up homeless as they have basically alienated the entire family.

I was back in town in May, for my oldest daughter's college graduation and stopped by to see them. My mother I can tell, is deteriorating with possible dementia as well as her bi polar disorder. She had her meds stabilized for a number of years, and was functioning normally, until about 6 months ago, she wound up in another mental institution due to something going wrong with her medication. My father does not have the capability to care for her, and if something happens to her, he will have to go somewhere. They are also both unlicensed and uninsured (shouldn't be driving anyway), and I discovered that they have TWO different state license plates on their car, because the rear plate was stolen. My dad fished out an old license plate that he had stored, that came off a different car. This is how his thinking works. He says it is to throw the cops off. I find this unacceptable.

My parents have only social security income, which isn't much, no assets at all, and only own the affore mentioned old car. I don't like my parents much, but I do love them. I am concerned about their declining years. For the reasons mentioned in the first paragraph, I simply cannot live with them again. I am also not in a position to do so. I do have a sister and brother, but my sister has a home and family of her own, and my brother lives with his father (he is my half brother).

I am wondering if I should send an agency to check in on them, and possibly evaluate them. My daughters both live in the same town, but are both busy with their own lives. I also don't know what my options are when it comes time to place them somewhere. I have read that assisted living homes, are very pricey, and do not take medicare.

I know I will get some criticism and backlash for my attitude, however, I have many reasons for this. Thank you for letting me vent, and ask a few questions.


No backlash here. Your very first responsibility is to yourself, spouse and children. I can only imagine what your childhood was like. You sound as if you pulled yourself up and took a different path than your parents. Congratulations, it must have been difficult and rewarding at the same time.

I can understand having concerns for your parents but any caregiving would be best from afar, imho. For a start contact social services in their local area to find out what is available and how to apply. The first thing I thought of was Meals on Wheels. I am sure a visit and evaluation would be part of the application process.

Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney are two documents that should be done immediately; especially before your Mother declines further.

All of these things can be done from afar. Could you sister makes phone calls and get the ball rolling there. She could contact legal aid about the POA and MPOA. Forms can even be printed out from online. I just don't feel your daughters need to be involved in any of this.

Lots of other folks here will have better and personal experience comments to help you along this journey. Wishing you and your parents the very best.
No backlash from me either. Contact their local Area Agency on Aging and talk to them about possible help your parents may qualify for. I assume they're both on Medicare. They should be able to get some in-home help if they need it. If they need to be placed, Medicaid should help out.

I assume your dad was never in the military? If he was, there might be some benefits there. Your parents sound like they managed to raise some decent children, which is great. I agree with Littletonway that your caregiving should be from a distance and your children shouldn't have to get involved if possible.

Given your mom's mental history, I'd get the Powers of Attorney (POAs) done by an attorney and not use internet-printed forms. At some point, you may need to seek guardianship for both parents. Keep us posted and look at the forums here - there's a LOT of information about situations that are similar to yours.
No critism here for your attitude, It is refreshing to hear someone so realistic about helping her parents. I do not actually have anying new to add but many people here have faced your problems and will be very supportive. Staying well away from them is the only way you can preserve your sanity.Given their lack of money and poor living conditions they may qualify for some public low income houseing.keep comming back you will find a lot of non judgemental support here
Wow! You are doing great with your thinking-ahead. I am not so sure that if I were in your situation I would want POA for your parents. But it is definitely something to discuss with a lawyer specializing in Elder Law, to learn about the pros and cons. If it will help you do the caring from a distance and not entangle you in their lives it would be good. Would your parents consent to giving you power of attorney? If it is to be done, do it before your mother is not competent to sign such a document.

I admire that you can love your parents without liking them, and that your self-respect does not depend on winning their "love" or approval.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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