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If my father refuses to take care of himself, refuses to go to the doctor, refuses to change his clothes, refuses to use shampoo, etc., can I be arrested for neglect? I convinced him to go with me to Hair Cuttery today, and we both got hair cuts. The woman found accumulated gunk under his hair, and some of the scalp has a minor infection. He hasn't used shampoo in two years but he told the woman "I shampooed my hair today." I don't know if he really believes it, or he's a good liar. I don't want to take him to court to declare him incompetent. He just wants to sleep and stare the remainder of his life at home. I make sure he's fed but since my mother died 28 months ago, he spends all day in the recliner. Shortly before that, he had his third psychotic break. He is sane now (I give him meds) but does not say much of anything. People are now commenting on how dirty his clothes and hair are. I got the hair fixed today (he said it didn't need to be cut but he hadn't had it done since last fall) and told him he must change his clothes tomorrow. He's been wearing the same jeans for months. I can only tell him to do things so many times; he ignores me. Am I supposed to get in the shower with him and dress him because I find that very distasteful? I've made him doctor's appointments last year but he cancelled them when they called home to confirm. I've been told I should be forcing him to do things, and now it's all my fault. He's a grown man, and his psychiatric nurse (the only non family member who sees him) won't talk to me (HIPAA). He doesn't want to be put away permanently. He thinks he's just fine. If I'm arrested, who takes care of him and my animals and the house and land? I work full time and take care of him, the finances, the animals, a 19 room house, and 5 acres. My job won't give me time off. I don't take care of myself (can I be arrested for that too? Nah, nobody cares about me). I'm exhausted.

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I never said he had a fungal infection. After the hair dresser cut his hair and showed me the gunk in the comb, I'm the one who said, "It looks like he might be getting an infection there" or something like that. I meant bacterial, not fungal. But, since you don't believe me, I'll stop asking for help/ideas. He has his psych nurse appt today that he refuses to let me take him to. Turning myself in to APS because I cannot make my father do things will be my last resort. If I'm gone, not only would he be worse off but my animals would also die in short order. If only my brother wasn't so unhelpful.
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AH see I am not entering this one....no hairdresser would put their scissors anywhere near a scalp with a fungal infection so I am entering the world of half truths I fear. either way the answer is yes of course you can be charged for neglect if you do nothing. however all you have to do is let aps know and tell them you will not be responsible for whatever follows - and that you have done your bit (something i would do in writing and keep a copy) then your responsibility is discharged
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Yeah, he forgot the dentist! I only found out because I check the caller ID, and the dentist called about 20 minutes after he was supposed to be there. I looked in the calendar, and he wrote "Dentist 12:00" on a day in July. I asked him, "You forgot the dentist, didn't you?" "Yah," he said.
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I am not Zombie. My father is the zombie. I wrote up a list of his problems which I sent to his nurse. She doesn't care. I'm at work. I hope he forgets his dentist appointment. If not, I almost hope he has a minor accident where nobody is hurt so that the authorities can make him stop driving. The last time he drove me in his truck, it was more than two years ago. He went through a red light. This morning, his left eye was glued shut. I've told him before to use a warm wash cloth to get the gunk out of his eyes but he's never done it so I didn't bother. For those of you who say I should touch him, remember that the only physical contact I've had with my father as far back as my memory goes (to the age of about 3) was when he belted me. He's told me once that he loved me, hugged me once, and kissed me once. It was also the one time he did that to my brother and mother. He even kissed her on the lips! It was the only time in my life they did that that I can remember. When did this happen? It was the first time he was in the ER. He said he was having a heart attack. We thought he had a brain tumor. At age 65, they said he had bipolar disorder. He said, "the end is near" and "I am God." He talked about aliens. This quiet man was loud and boisterous. He stripped his hospital gown. He pushed the guard. He was legally insane. So, this is the man that smells and looks dead that now I'm supposed to be intimate with? I wrote "HELP" in the thick mold growth on the ceiling of the garage three years ago. It's still there. That about sums it up.
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Hi Zombie. Glad to hear from you. I'm encouraged that you have made contact with his health providers. Regardless of whether he brushed, going to the dentist is good. I would make written contact with all the care providers he has and give them information about his status. Put it in writing. A phone call may or may not be noted on his chart but a list of your concerns should wind up in his file and provide some proof that you tried to get him health care. If he can't/won't talk at his appointment that will be noted as well. If he falls, he falls. Just be prepared to call for assistance and should he be hospitalized think about what YOU would like to happen when he comes out. Decide that for when it happens because it probably will happen at some point. It doesn't sound like your brother or SIL will be looking out for your best interest. I wish you would go to an elder attorney to determine your rights and not be taken advantage of by your family. Best of luck Zombie and keep in touch.
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Disclaimer: My advice in no way should be interpreted as advising you to be the actual caregiver for Dad.

Can you be arrested for neglect? Not sure, but maybe charged for neglect if you don't see to it that he gets care. Document everything, get it in writing when 'they'
say, or determine he can drive, etc.
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This one point, and I am going to consult a lab specialist on here. The Lithium levels are required when taking that medication. However, it is not true that the insurance should not cover other blood work, BECAUSE the medication actually causes other blood and organ issues which must be followed by testing.
Ask the doctor to write to the insurance company using the right words to get this covered. Otherwise, be sure to have the PCP write the script/Rx for lab in the future.
Next point, sorry that I am short on time here, but using the same effort and techniques you used to get Dad showered and clean clothes in April, do that again, more often. Can you have a witness at the home that day-maybe Dad will behave better, and you will be safer.
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Just an update on the situation. I got dad his hair cut on 4/27/16 and got him to change his clothes on 4/28/16. I washed his clothes (he hadn't wanted me to) but he put on another pair that had been clean all along. As of 6/6/16, he is still wearing the clothes he put on 4/28/16. I contacted his last known PCP. It had been too long since his visit. They had destroyed his records; the doctor retired; they could do nothing. I contacted his psych nurse. She finally called me back a week later to say he never gave her permission to talk to me. She said he was not a danger to himself or others, and she couldn't do anything. She said he said that I couldn't come to his previous appointments which is a lie. He told me not to. I told him I'm taking him Thurs to his appointment. He said, "No, I can do it." I'm too scared of him (from 43 years of mistreatment; he was a horrible father) to go against his wishes. I'm just afraid he'll crash his truck and hurt himself and other people. He has a dentist appt tomorrow. I know he's not brushing his teeth anymore. He's driving himself. Last night, it took him a minute to get out of the recliner. He got half way up and fell back down. I asked him if he was ok but he didn't talk and rarely does. Going up to bed, he had trouble walking. If not holding on to the railing, he would have fallen. He walks shuffling with his head down. If he were a cat or dog, most people would have him put to sleep. I had to take a Xanax myself to sleep. Oh, and the psych place called and made him his required twice a year appt with the therapist in two weeks. He's non-verbal! How will they talk for an hour? How can these people think he's fine?! I'm still waiting for something bad to happen. The DMW says he can drive. He can't see, talk, or walk but he can drive! Yay!
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Zombie
I forgot about the infection on dads head. There is a deadly staff infection called MRSA. If you aren't familiar with it please look it up. It is resistant to most antibiotics and eats the flesh it's exposed to. It's very common these days in hospitals and now out in the public. Many people carry the infection in their nose. One can come into contact with it from almost anywhere. Even a shopping cart at the grocery store. If you do use that shower stool/chair your mom may have had, make sure you scrub it. MRSA germs can live a very long time and people often have it and don't realize it. They sometimes think they have a spider bite. Broken skin is one of the ways you can pick it up. Treatment generally requires minor surgery, cultures, packing the wound, debriding it daily, powerful antibiotics, lots of follow up care and repeat outbreaks. I've never heard of it on top of the head but anywhere you have broken and dirty skin it's a bad situation waiting to happen. There is a special soap you can buy at the drug store called Hibiclens. It's similar to what drs use to wash their hands before surgery. It's red in color and comes in a pump bottle. It's like a foam when it comes out of the bottle. It's both an antiseptic and a cleanser that is long lasting. You might want to treat dads head with this if you are going to have to have a battle to get his head shampooed repeatedly. Most people never know where they picked up the germs but they are all around. You have to keep him reasonably clean especially while he has the infection. I know he's not likely to be concerned about odors and appearance but he probably knows that he has to treat an infection to keep it from getting worse. I think he listens to you when he knows you are serious. I agree with not telling him things over and over. Just be prepared to shampoo his hair and treat the infection when you tell him. Not confrontational. Just more like. Let's get this over with. I've got to get supper ready.
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You ARE making progress. So what you are saying is he put on those clothes today and didn't have a hissy fit! Good job.
Is it possible that you could find another sweater like the one he likes to wear? Maybe a resale shop? Or is there one already hanging in his closet? Too bad the insurance company won't cooperate on the CBC etcetera with the nurse.
I guess you will have to try a regular dr. Do you have a dr Zombie?
I'm sorry your sisterinlaw is so difficult and your brother is not helping you deal with dad.
When my brother was a young boy about 10 years old he would take a shower and not bathe. He would stand in the shower and let the water run. He would get out and still be dirty because he didn't touch the soap either.
He had to go back in.
I was impressed that dad got in the shower even though he didn't use the products. Did his head get wet? Did he shave himself ? I'm impressed.
Perhaps with dad in his recliner, you could take some warm soapy water and a washcloth and work on the gunk on his head? Then ask him to go shower it off. Does your dad feel safe in the shower? If he has a chair to sit in ( maybe mom had a shower chair ) and a shower wand he might be more inclined to bathe and wash his hair. If you can get him in the chair for a shampoo it will be easier for both of you. I hope you are encouraged by the progress you have made. We can get beaten down sometimes by what seems like unchangeable situations. Little by little you can get him cleaner. Does he ever go outside to look over the property and see the animals? That can make him feel better. If he can feel better he might be easier to deal with. Once you get him all clean be sure to show him off. Let others see him clean and not just dirty all the time. You could probably freak the sisterinlaw out by bringing him to her house to visit. I'm just teasing here. Call that dr. Look for a sweater. Get the gunk out of his hair. Take him out. You are on a roll.
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My brother's evil wife says I should make him do things. My brother agrees but he won't make my father do anything or help him.

My father and brother are both behind frugal. They won't spend money on much of anything.

Yes, the psych nurse did blood work but my father claims she never told him the results. I got a letter saying insurance won't cover CBC/blood panel from psych as that's not what they're not supposed to do. It just covers the lithium levels.

So, I washed dad's shirts on the floor and two "clean" jeans hanging up last night. I told him to put those on this morning and put his dirty clothes in the basket next to that. Well, he did put on different clothes, ones that were already hanging up (so they were always available), and he threw the dirty ones on the floor. That's a vestige from when mom was alive, and there were never any baskets available. I've told him he could use a basket. I'm washing those clothes on a heavy duty cycle. Not only was there urine, feces, and food on the outside but more feces smeared on the inside.

I reminded him at least three times yesterday, and the Hair Cuttery woman told him at least that many times, that he needed to shampoo his hair. I bought a $15 shampoo from there that they said he needed to break up the accumulation of gross stuff. I also told him that I changed the Dial soap bar. The one in there I put in about 6 months ago, and he never used it but it melted away from the water dripping on it, and things were growing on it. After his shower this morning, none of the shampoo bottles nor the soap had any water on them so that means there's no way he used them. If I ask him if he did, he'll probably say yes he did.

But, for the first time in half a year, his hair is cut, his face is shaved properly, and his clothes are relatively clean. That's some success. Now, if I could just get that sweater coat cleaned that he wears every day! That's his safety blanket. He says it's dry clean only but he won't part with it for the day it takes to clean. I just want to throw it in the washer. How dirty is it? It's never been washed, and he wears it every single day for two years. You don't even want to go there!
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Zombie, "I've been told I should be forcing him to do things, and now it's all my fault." -- who, exactly, is telling you this?
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Hi Zombie
It sounds like what dad has going is the nurse, the dentist, the hair cutter and YOU.
Does the nurse do blood work when dad goes in? Maybe your moms old dr or your dr would be the way to go. Someone who either already knows dad or knows about him. Perhaps you can speak to the dr's staff before you go in. You can explain what the problem is and see if they would really work with you, especially on the first appointment to make it quick and easy for dad. Maybe coordinate the blood work with the existing nurse and make it available for the initial visit?
Ask the dr for home health. This way, home health could check dads vitals weekly or biweekly and get him used to working with another person. Next step would be the aid. Even if she just gave him a shampoo and changed his sheets it would be a little help for you. Try to wash his new clothes a few times. Maybe give him the old pants and the new shirt or vice versa do he at least had a change without a big production. I'm glad you are doing as well as you are with your dad. Take it a step at a time but keep expanding his care. He's shown that he will work with you by taking himself to the nurse and the dentist and getting his hair cut. If he is frugal tell him the aid would wash his hair and save some money at the cutter. Someone is going to have to get him in the shower. I've read several posts on here on how to bath elders. Run a search on that topic and see if you can pick up some pointers. Since he goes to the nurse on a regular basis that should help you if someone turns you in for elder abuse because he's so dirty. Once you get him exposed to more help he may surprise you and go along with it. I sure hope so for both your sakes.
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Zombie; Do you and your dad live together?

You know, the nurse can't talk to you about your dad, but YOU CAN mail her, return receipt requested, letters that document his living conditions and lack of self care. You make yourself a copy of each letter and staple the receipt to each one and keep them in a file.

You can call APS and your local area agency on aging and ask them to do an assessment.

If he's taken to the hospital for any reason, you sit with the discharge planners and ask them to send an OT to his living quarters and then ask them to put IN WRITING that he's safe to return to said place without care. You also ask at that time for the OT to test his ability to drive.

I'm sorry for your stress.
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The nurse writes his prescriptions. He does drive to her appointments but I've told him that he shouldn't and that I could find someone to take him. I bought him new clothes but he won't wear them. I do wash his sheets on a schedule, and I have thrown some out and get new ones. I know all about the mental health emergency people (we used them the second time) but he's not insane now. He's nothing, a zombie. They won't commit him for that. They wouldn't even commit him when he was hypermanic and insane because they didn't think he was a threat. Yet, he told me "your life is over" and "I will destroy you." That sounds threatening to me! The last thing we want is for him to be committed because not only would he hate it, they will take him off his meds. If he goes insane again in his current condition, it will kill him. He is calm, that is good. It was h3ll when he was committed the last time. They refused to commit him at first and later to force him to take meds so he was insane for a few months until he agreed, and I believe it damaged his brain, giving him dementia. The dentist just cleans his teeth like most dentists. He needs a regular doctor and to stay at home until the end. I'm not sure what doctor I'm supposed to send a letter to because he has no doctor. He wears the same clothes every day so those are the ones I need to wash. I'm telling him to change tomorrow so I can wash them, and I told him that after I do, he can go back to them the next day if he wants. I can't wash clothes he's wearing! He thinks he's been changing them. He thinks he uses soap and shampoo. He does none of those things. Arrest me for not ripping his clothes off!
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I agree with sending his Dr a letter (certified if need be) explaining the things you are concerned about. No way can his Dr know what is up in a 20 minute visit and only Dad's story. And while his at that appointment do some cleaning and washing.. sheets,,, whatever you can get your hands on. At least you will feel like your doing something to help. And document everything
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You are depressed and who wouldn't be. Maybe I missed it but does he drive himself to the appointments he makes? I think I would get a mental health warrant based on he is a danger to himself and others. Check to see how your county handles this. Usually through county judge and sheriffs department and local mental health facility. Pick anyone and call and they will walk you through it. You don't have to let him be filthy and who knows what else.
If you can make it happen they will take him in and evaluate him. Clean him up. Adjust his meds. Run some tests. While he's gone, do what needs to be done. Burn filthy clothes. Change his sheets. Scrub the recliner or throw it out. Get home health involved. Tell him if they don't come he has to go back to the facility. They will keep him less than a week if they are like most places. If this gets him mad then good. Maybe it will shock him alive. You need to get some momentum. At least you'll have a record that you did what you could. Who is writing the scripts for his meds? That is why he goes to the one appointment I guess. Is the dentist giving him drugs? Old friend ? What's up with that?? If you have to get a warrant every six months at least he'll be in better condition than he is now.
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I would make the appointment take him out 'for the day' and drive him there and sit with him. Before that I would ring the doc say I know he won't let you discuss his health with me but I need to tell YOU ....... and I am at the end of my tether because I don't know how to stop this self neglect - I would follow that up with an email requesting a read report and then you have the proof that you have done everything you can. OR you could tell him you have made the appointment but tell them that regardless of what he says they are NOT to cancel it because you are now questioning his competency and say why
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No, he goes to the nurse. I have never even met her since he changed nurses about two years ago. I knew the old nurse; mom used to go with him to the appointments. Dad doesn't want me to go and won't go if I go. The nurse isn't allowed to talk to me on the phone. She's never been to our house. She does not observe him. She just talks to him for 5 or 10 minutes every 3 months. I doubt my father says much more than he's ok. My father hasn't seen a medical doctor since late 2013 with two exceptions. He goes to the dentist every 6 months on his own. I'm not sure why he hasn't stopped doing that but it's something. Also, I did get him to go last fall to a podiatrist as a few toenails were ingrown; he refused a follow-up appointment. I told him I'd make the appointments for a regular doctor and get off work and take him, and he won't do it. He just cancels if I try. Once I had off the day after Christmas, and he had an eye doctor appointment (he has had glaucoma, cataracts, and a detached retina in the past and is supposed to see that doctor too) that day. I told him I was taking him. I came to find that day (this was Dec. 26, 2013) that he had cancelled. He claimed, "It was too far." You don't know how many times I've tried but I can't nag him constantly. My brother lives 10 minutes away but only visits for a few hours a few times a month and absolutely refuses to do my father's nails, take him for a hair cut, or take him to an appointment. I can't keep begging my brother either to help. Since my father sleeps 20 hours a day and is still using the toilet, I haven't yet hired help (all they would be doing is cleaning him but he'd refuse) but if things worsen, I'm getting them here against his wishes. Mom tried to get her helpers to help him back in 2013 when she was dying, and he refused to let a strange woman bathe him. Because of his mental illness, anything new or changed agitates him, he has tantrums, and he refuses to comply. The house is in bad shape, and he won't let me have it renovated although I did get a new roof last summer (it was leaking) and get appliances repaired and such. He used to do all the handy work. I wish the old him was back even with all the cursing and screaming because at least he got things done.
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Meant to imply that the psych nurse should be held accountable.

It is time to start documenting to protect yourself against future liabilities.
Keep in mind that the psych nurse is there to observe your father, and NOT to document you. If she is not making any care recommendations for his improvement, then that is wrong-keeping this to herself, HIPPA be damned.

Have the medical doctor send care-aids to do these things you cannot do.
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Dear Zombie, No, they won't arrest you for neglect, but the psychiatric nurse who visits, now that is another story.
Think about being complicit in any crimes committed against the elderly, (including neglect). You don't want to be complicit, so ask the psych nurse to send help to meet these needs. Document your requests.
As for driving...can you try harder to prevent this?

Now, as for taking care of yourself, while you won't be arrested, there comes a time when a person unable to care for themselves becomes gravely disabled, and APS can recommend or authorize placement.
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