I can't get help for my dad. Any advice.

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I am shaking, I am a mess right now. Hopefully, this can come out and make some sense. My father lives in the next town over from myself. I have 2 children and a husband. My father lives alone, has been heavily addicted to pain pills for 30 plus years. Over the past 5 years, things have gotten so much worse. The doctor he was seeing cut him off his monthly supply of morphine and liquid vicodin. He started ER jumping sometimes 3x a day to get pills. As time kept going on, I called Adult Protection Services and they went to evaluate him and told me that they feel he makes bad choices but not enough for anyone to intervene, even though there were burn marks in his carpet and recliner chair from smoking and blood on the back door. I was beyond upset. He ended up getting knee replacement, but didn't comply with the therapy afterwards and wouldn't take care of himself. Took all the pills in a matter of a few days and started ER jumping again with a newly knee that wasn't healed. He ended up with an infection. He was giving antibiotics but if it wasn't pain pills, my father wouldn't take them. He would be admitted to the hospital and they would start IV antibiotics but he would pull it all out and walk out. Finally, the infection went into his bone, they did multiple surgeries to put an antibiotic spacer in his knee and give him IV antibiotics. It didn't take care of it all, they decided to try again and cast his leg all the way up to keep him from leaving and requiring him to stay for 6 weeks more of IV antibiotics. His stomach ended up getting a perforated ulcer and he required extensive surgeries following. Long story short, his leg became priority number 2 because of it. He has currently been in a bed for 8 months, he ended up losing the leg to a above the knee amputation a month an half ago. He refuses physical therapy and since the bacteria was still showing in his blood, they kept him to continue IV antibiotics for a few more weeks to make sure they can kill off any remaining bacteria. My dad ended up leaving, took a cab home (he hasn't moved on his own at all for 8 months, not even bathroom wise). He fell and 911 was called and took him to a hospital. They were again going to try to do 2 more weeks of the antibiotics but again my dad stayed 24 hours and left again in a cab. He has fallen again but refuses transport. He told me he will not stay at any hospital or nursing home. I have again called and left a detailed message to APS again but haven't been called back and being the weekend, I doubt I will get a call back until Monday if then. I feel like no one will help me with him. That they all agree his reasoning is not good but that it isn't enough yet to require anyone to step in. I told my dad that I wont continue to help him since he isn't being compliant to his own health care needs and I am done. My kids have seen too much and dealt with this for years. I feel like no matter which way I turn, it makes matters worse. I have never taken the 'I am not helping' stance and figured it would make him stay at the hospital or nursing home to finish his treatment but with his behavior, he isn't seeming to budge. I am beyond exhausted sadly to say to continue dealing with his out of control behavior. I don't know what to do. Any advice? I have tried to explain to my father that his choices have lead him to this point and until he can make better choices he will not get better. I have also explained that the bacteria he has is serious and he has already been told this is the last antibiotic to treat it because it has become resistant to everything else (probably with his own doing of taking them and not taking them so much through the last year) and he still doesn't seem to care. Let alone, he also has sever COPD, his lung has collapsed 3x since May and he has pnemonia which they were giving him a separate antibiotic for that when he left the hospital. Now he is receiving no antibiotics at home.

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The first thing you need to do it to care for yourself. People have offered lots of good advice to help you do this: Serenity prayer, Nar-Anon, and I would add individual counseling for you and/or your children (depending on their duress).

I work with older adults. Addiction in older adults is rough to overcome. Often there is depression along with it due to a loss of quality of life. The catch 22 comes when addictive behaviors further deteriorate quality of life. Hospice may help. An adult behavioral health hospital (especially those focused on older adults) may help. A skilled nursing facility stay may help.

But the most important thing for you to do is take care of yourself and talk to a support group or therapist about what are realistic expectations for your involvement in this situation. As a rehabilitation specialist, I can tell you that the number one factor for improvement is personal motivation. It doesn't sound like your dad has motivation to recover. Coming to terms with that and determining your involvement is key at this stage.
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Susie,

I can just tell the stress all of this is causing you and I am so sorry that you have to go through it. I hope you find what you need here.

As others have mentioned, your father, above and beyond anything else, is an addict and addicts have a whole different way of doing things when it comes to their lives. The addict is driven by an obsession, as you have seen with your dad, and nothing but 100% recovery from the addictive substance will help. An addict is a sick person.

As you detailed, your dad has made very poor choices that have caused him great harm and have endangered his life. From what you said, he will continue to make poor choices and you are hoping that APS can step in and protect him from himself.

I know how much you love your dad and I know how concerned you are, how stressed out you are. I got stressed out just reading about what you were going through! But if your dad is hell bent on doing things his way without a care or concern about how his daughter feels about anything maybe it might be time to step back, get some perspective, and let dad do what he needs to do. Fighting him obviously isn't working and it's making YOU crazy. We can't make the elders in our lives do anything they don't want to do. If we could websites like this wouldn't exist.

I'm a recovering alcoholic. 16 years. I've dealt with many alcoholics and addicts during my recovery and it's common knowledge in the recovery community that we can't make anyone stop doing drugs (or drinking, but for your situation it's the prescription drugs). We can beg and plead and emotionally blackmail and bribe and do all kinds of crazy, off the wall things to try and get the person to get sober but nothing we can do can get anyone clean and sober. I've sat and watched loved ones destroy themselves because there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it.

Talk to APS, see if they can offer you a solution but if your dad is continuing to make poor healthcare choices that are hurting him I don't know what you can do anymore. I'm assuming you've tried to discuss this with him and it hasn't helped. Sometimes we have to let go. Detach. Let your dad do what he needs to do so you can hang onto your sanity.
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You have done everything you can, so please don't beat yourself up. Please go to Nar-Anon with your children if they are old enough.

You can't help your father other than to check that he has food and his house is clean and safe. Have him hire someone to come in to clean or cook a couple of times a week. His social worker at the hospital or the Veteran's Administration may be able to get home help for free or reduced cost.

He is an addict and you can't fix that if he doesn't want it fixed. Limit your contact with him. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with him and tell him you love him but can't have his addiction ruin your life too. Anyone who is so addicted that they would rather loose a leg than quit their drug abuse is beyond your help.
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Honey, I agree with every bit of advice everyone has given you so far. In my heart I know that to walk away would leave too much of your own peace of mind for it to be a good answer for you. Truth is it may be what he wants, to just be left to let the chips fall where they may. Maybe he feels the pills will brunt the pain of whatever his actions will cause him, and he feels nothing could be better on this earth than the solace they offer. This may be that his method of dying is also his method of living. You might need to let him have his choices. Have you thought to catch him at a time where he is not in any state of need - hopefully there is a time when the drugs are at maintenance level - and talk to him about what he hopes and wishes?
Also, please pursue hospice care ... find a doctor who will look at his history and who will acknowledge that his current mental state coupled with his past medical history and history of actions indicate that (given the fact that you can find no way to change his course of action) he will likely (not for sure, but likely) not last more than six months. That's all you need I believe, the distinct possibilitlly of death within six months. Hospice will provide a lot - volunteers for him and even pschological help for you and for your two children who must be suffering from this situation as well.
I am wondering, if he hasn't been able to move on his own for eight months, who is providing food and helping him to the bathroom during that time?
If it is you, and you stop doing that, calling APS after a couple days of leaving him alone will surely cause him to be placed in protective long term care, wouldn't it? Does he have assets that they will garnish to pay for his care? If so, you must be willing to let those go. Not that you care, just saying be prepared.
I apologize for the harsh words, I am sure it can't hurt more than the harsh reality you face every day with this. I embrace you, big hugs.
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The overarching message here is the serenity prayer...
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Susie - What if there's nothing else you can do? It sounds harsh but I think you just have to learn to accept things that you can't change. My brother pointed out to me that I wanted things to be like they were with my mother a few years ago and he said, "It'll never happen. You can't make her the same as she was". It made me stop and think. Acceptance isn't easy for me but I'm working on it and "kindness". Kindness because sometimes I get frustrated and grouchy. Just do what you can and don't beat yourself up or carry the guilt for your dad's choices.
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Your father is hell-bent on destroying his life piece by piece. Since he keeps leaving hospital care, injuring himself by not taking the correct medication, is addicted to pain meds, and refuses to listen to your advice, you have no other choice than to leave him to his own devices. You have a family, you have done all you can do, and since APS does not want to get involved, leave him be.
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You could ask him if he wants you to call in Hospice. This is not to be cruel, but to provide a sobering moment where he can tell you what his intentions clearly are. If he seems suicidal, you may involve the police and have him taken in to a psychiatric ward under court order. In the meantime, take his car keys away.
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You can persist in contacting APS with any new information, but if they choose to do nothing until something worse happens or he is more clearly incompetent to make his own decisions, it is not your fault. You may want to look at Nar-Anon for yourself and find out if anyone from Narcotics Anonymous could reach out to your dad. He sounds like a classic example of self-will run riot. The sad reality is that you may not be able to help and he may die of his disease, but please remember it will not be your fault! A dear friend of mine lost her husband to alcoholism and other bad choices, and has just had to learn to care for herself and their children without him though for years she tried to cover for him and encourage him and bring back the good father he used to be even when he had to get a iver transplant then left again in relapse. Try looking at www.nar-anon.org/naranon/About_Nar-Anon/New_to_Nar-Anon/20_Questions and see if there is a group nearby that can help you.
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It is hard to believe that the people at Adult Protective Services wouldn't see that this is not a safe situation for your father. How frustrating this must be for you. I deal with a lot of problems with my husband who has dementia and Parkinsonism but he doesn't live alone and, fortunately, things aren't complicated by drug addiction so I am not in a position to offer much in the way of a solution. I know nothing about the Marchman Act that is mentioned by LifeinHell but if doing the paperwork that is needed that will get him some help, by all means do it.
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