Is there counseling available and/or classes for abused senior wives?

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My 84 yr old dad becoming increasingly abusive, has shot a gun, to scare mom, into ground back yard. told her to call the police if ANYTHING like that ever happens again, A year later, dad held an unloaded gun in her face, she is so unhappy. All of us kids live hours away and arent sure what to do, but are scared of escalation. Beginning alzheimers?

Answers 1 to 10 of 13
Wow! That is hard to see from a distance, isn't it?

Is this new behavior for Dad or has he been somewhat abusive all his life? If it happened out of the blue a year ago I wonder if it might indicate a medical problem. Can you convince Dad it is time for a thorough physical checkup?

In any case it does not sound like a nice safe situation for Mom. Did she call 911 as you instructed her, with the more recent gun incident?

Would Mom be willing to move out? If so, that may be something you could help her with.

Would both of them be willing to go to couples counseling? If not, is Mom willing to go into counselling on her own?
No, she did NOT call police but threatened him with something else, that for the moment seems to have caused him to try and control his temper and be nicer. This controlling angry behavior is new as of the last couple of years. there are other symptoms that to me indicate onset of Als or dementia. He is at Dr. often, but I think his mental health is taboo. My mom has talked abt moving out, even talked about divorce. My dad wouldn't go but, I think counseling would help her, but what is available? They are low income.
For crying out loud, go get your mother, planned for a time he's at the doctor. First protect her and yourself, and take the cops. While you're there remove his gun(s).
Then worry about your dad. Don't be surprised if you do nothing to learn of a murder/suicide. After mom is safe call APS and/or his doctor and explain exactly what's been going on. From a distance. Marriage counseling is a ridiculous idea when he is threatening her life and is likely demented. Get on this now.
vegaslady, believe me we have thought of removing the guns, but unless you have actually had to do something like this, which you may very well have, you may not realize how difficult it is. "go get your mother...when your dad is at dr." Old men do not go to dr. w/o wives. My mom TALKS abt. leaving but when given opportunity this summer, backed off and wouldnt come up.she needs some counseling to guide her. My dad is in the hospital now with back surgery, my sister is just beginning chemo, I work full time, my mother cant handle stairs and wouldn't leave my dad alone at this point. My sis is actually down there while dad is in hospital, she'll bring all ammo home, maybe guns, too. It just all sounds so easy on paper, it's very difficult BUT you are right. The guns need to be out of house. What is APS?
Top Answer
Adult protective services. You should probably also call the local police and tell them that, because of his threatening behaviors and access to firearms, he is a threat to himself and to others. That is a key phrase and may in some states allow the police to act. Follow up the phone call with a certified letter to police, with a copy to your parents' lawyer and the local district attorney. That's what I would do in your position. Trying to get your mother to act any differently than she has for years is going to be very difficult.
While dad is in the hospital or rehab get the ammo and guns out of there. Speak to the hospital social worker in detail about what's going on and that dad is a danger to himself and others. She can guide mom to ongoing counseling if warranted. What is dad's diagnosis for his mental condition? It's likely to be worse after undergoing general anesthesia for the surgery. Is mom expected to provide the physical care for him after the surgery? That is going to be tough on her if she's not able to move around very well. Is there a longer term plan for mom if he dies? You have a great opportunity right now while he's hospitalized to put everything in motion and have the talk with mom.
Hopefully Dad will need to be in rehab after the surgery; giving Mom a rest and time for children to really have serious conversation with her. Can't believe this has been going for so long. You can always write a letter to his doctor explaining the situation and please get APS involved. He is a danger to himself and your Mom.

Sometimes tough decisions have to be made but they can be carried out regardless the situation! Might be time for kiddos to take a group vacation trip home and get this all sorted out as a group.
This isn't just senior abuse; it's domestic abuse, domestic violence, and legally actionable.

I'll go one farther than Ba8alou:

Your father has committed a felony by assaulting your mother with a weapon. It's known as felonious assault, and is actionable.

You should be aware of this potential liability of you and your siblings: You have knowledge of a dangerous situation. If you fail to act, there may be charges police could level against you. You have an obligation to protect your parents.


Your father doesn't need to discuss his mental health with a physician; a doctor can do a complete physical including mental assessment without telling your father he's evaluating for dementia.

If your father won't go to a doctor alone, then take your mother out for lunch or dinner, to go shopping, whatever. Create an excuse to get her out of there. And don't take her home.

Forget about counseling; get your mother out, safe and secure even if you have to have police help to do it.

Since your sister's there now, arrange for her to take your mother with her just before your dad is discharged. Or suggest she talk to the treating physician about referring him for a psychiatric consult. Perhaps he can be committed for an eval to determine what's happening, or one can surreptitously be done while he's hospitalized.

Removing ammo would be helpful only until your father discovers it's gone and goes to buy more. Removing the weapons is better.

But you need to act now. Contact the police in the area and ask for assistance to either remove or disable the guns. I'm not sure, but I think if the firing pins are removed the guns can't be shot, or rather the trigger could be pulled but the bullet won't fire. Still, the best thing to do is take away the weapons, even if it means confronting your father.

Despite everything that's going on with you and your siblings, this is an emergency. Take time off work if you have to - what's more important? I can't imagine any decent employer that would deny an emergency leave for this purpose.
Catcan, you wrote, "unless you have actually had to do something like this, which you may very well have, you may not realize how difficult it is" and of course you are absolutely right. BUT, your dad has fired a gun, pointed a gun in your mom's face - (nice that it was unloaded, but did he know the difference?) and she threatened him back rather than calling police. This is a potential tragedy in the making. Talking about moving out or breaking up is not going to prevent it. And what on earth is wrong with your sister that she would take the guns and ammo back into the situation??

My mom asked me to help her get ammo out of the house when Dad, who was slowly sinking into fronto-temporal dementia, got mad at her (understanable - she yelled at him constantly for everything and nothing!) and just SAID he was going to shoot her, and then was just cleaning or fooling with the guns. I did it and at the time didn't realize where it was all heading - I made sure Mom knew to call and knew the numbers to call if there were any more threats before I left, but I left it as it was because it was what she still wanted to do at the time. Your situation is beyond that.

Of course it is hard. Very hard. You have to be clever, cunning and tough - and above all, unwilling to go an accepting the unacceptable in this situation where no one seems to have any rational judgement left. look at it as you would if someone else was telling you their story - what does your gut say then? It's hard but it is time to do whatever has to be done. And I hope you have a decent enough employer - I've been denied or given a quarter of the time I really needed to deal with my own family crises.

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