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My husband assumed guardianship of his father about 3 years ago. Growing up, my father in law was verbally abusive to my husband and was an alcoholic for many years. He does not play well with others either. He hates accepting help from anyone and even to obtain guardianship, he had to be declared mentally incompetent. We had to take him to court. He was incapable of taking care of himself and his house was a health hazard as well as a falling hazard. He has had several amputations of toes and part of a foot. Not to mention he was still driving. He is ungrateful and demanding. He has been kicked out of one facility and is now in another, but we are waiting for the phone call excusing him from their residence as well. He refuses medicine (he is an insulin dependent diabetic), he cusses out the staff, and has even been known to hit people a few times in the past. He does have dementia, but I swear there are times that he has control over himself and just chooses to be contrary. My husband is the only living relative. His mom has passed and there are no siblings or even cousins. My husband is doing this out of obligation only. He is a good man and ALWAYS does the right thing, even when it is hard. However, I am having a hard time watching him go through this. It is affecting our lives and his work. He has considered giving up guardianship and even contacted the courts, but it seems to be much easier to get guardianship than it is to give it up. I would love to hear from anyone else in a similar situation just to have someone to relate to. I find that most of the people I know that are caring for older loved ones did not come from similar backgrounds. It's hard to find people to talk to that are caring for a parent now that has always been a difficult person.

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wintersun, if you mean by being ok as being a loving, non-abusive person due to the right meds and psychiatry, the short answer is nope.

If by ok you mean being cared for and safe with the right meds, etc. , then yes that can be done.

What his dad needs to be in a psychiatric nursing home that is equipped to deal with him. A basic nursing home or one with even a memory care unit will not be the right fit for him.

Your husband as an adult child of such an abusive parent needs to go into therapy to help him deal with both his past and his present.

A lifelong abusive person usually has a narcissistic or borderline personality disorder. They are not going to change in old age with meds and a geriatric psychiatrist plus a therapist.

Narcissist will not go for therapy even when they are younger.

A younger borderline just might go to therapy, but rarely stick with it and stay on their meds to make any significant progress. Some of them can be helped it they will work with the therapy techniques that have been found to be effective for them and stay on their meds. As a group, not many therapist will take on someone with this diagnosis given their attachment/abandonment issues and emotional volatility.

daisy02, you and your husband are not alone. I hope you have had the chance to do a search of this site like I described earlier.
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cmangum: Thank you for your response. We have looked into a nursing home that is more equipped to handle his behaviors, but it is $8000/month and he is private pay, so we get no assistance from Medicaid. So, for financial reasons, we have put him in a memory care facility that is $5000/month. He has been there for about 2 weeks now and seems to be doing okay. I am reserving judgment though because we had such a bad experience with the assisted living facility that I am not fully trusting of any facility's ability to handle him. It is still the honeymoon period. Like I said before, we are always waiting for the phone to ring telling us that he has to go.....

Furthermore, we are in a battle with the facility that kicked him out because they only gave us 6 days notice when they were supposed to give us 30, they overcharged us while he was in a rehab facility, and they have refused to release his records to us, even though my husband is the legal guardian. So, on top of worrying about his behavior in the new facility, we are having to deal with this and possibly seek legal advice.

I know that info didn't really relate to your response. Sorry. There are just so many pieces to this puzzle. It is consuming our lives right now and we don't even like the man! Not a nice thing to say, I know. My husband has gone to therapy off and on for years. It does help. His dad is narcissistic and I know he won't change. He has never seen himself as the problem, of course! My husband and I both know he isn't changing, medicated or not. His personality has been the same for 84 years and it isn't going anywhere. I'm just surprised my husband still keeps going back, when there is nothing there for him.

I have been looking through the site and searching like you said. It is comforting to know there are others that have similar stories. I just hope that one day we will look back on this and feel good about what we tried to do to take care of him and not regret it.
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Search this site about abusive, narcissistic, borderline and or abusive parents and you will find plenty of threads which will show you that you are not alone. Put whatever words you want to use in the search site box in the upper right hand corner of this page and it will take you to a list of threads You are not alone. Good luck.
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I think you can already feel good about what you have tried to do without any regrets now or later on. I'm glad that so far the memory care place is working. I hope it continues to work.

It's ok to say that you don't like your FIL. That's an honest emotion and an honest evaluation of such a narcissistic person.

I don't like my borderline MIL or what she did to my wife, and she doesn't know what to do with me or any man for that matter that she cannot control like she her husband. She had planned on, groomed, and wanted my wife to stay home and take care of her and her dad decades ago, but that did not happen. She's tried many times to dominate our family and did for a while, but when she started treating our children with the same abuse she dished out on my wife and her twin sister, that was it. (Too long of a story to go into here.)

My wife's mother has borderline personality disorder and has been in therapy about this since 1998 with a major turning point coming in 2005 and since then has continued in supportive therapy. She's had to set up many boundaries and has been advised to live a certain distance from her mother and to never be the direct caregiver.

I'm not surprised that your husband still keeps going back, when there is nothing there for him. Very often the adult child of an abusive parent will keep hoping way down deep for a change in their parent that will just not be.

Very often therapists will advise people with this continuing emotional bound to focus on being their own loving parent that they never had by treating themselves like a loving parent would. My wife had to struggle with such enmeshment. It still comes and goes a little but not like it once did. Thank God!

From my experience, when a spouse is enmeshed with the parent that they are hoping will one day be the parent that they never were, it hurts what's supposed to be the primary relationship, one's marriage. If this is present, it is not as easy path to walk while waiting for the spouse to get their freedom because it's all part of the emotional abuse/blackmail dance between the narcissist/borderline parent and the adult child. It is not easy and it is often a very scary thing to stop emotionally dancing with an abusive parent even if they can't physically hurt you anymore. The little child deep inside is still very afraid.

Good luck with all of the legal and other issues of this puzzle that you and your husband are dealing with. Try to chose to feel good about what you are doing and the adjustments that you have had to make along the way and to have no regrets to have needed to do this for his safety and care as well as your own protection and well being. Go out for a nice meal, try not to talk about dad and go see a nice movie. Do something nice for you and the two of you today.

Keep up posted.
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Next time he has an outburst, the AL facility needs to call 911 and have him taken to a geriatric psych ward. And if one of those doesn't have a bed, they hold him in the ER until there is an opening SOMEWHERE. This is what I had to do with my mom who flipped out in the nursing home.

A geri-psych ward is uniquely qualified to take him in a wild state, deal with him, and get him on the right dose of meds. They are not going to send him back to anywhere that can't handle him. This is what got my mom moved out of regular dementia care into a locked memory care psych unit. All of this was doctor ordered, not family requested, so it passes the insurance test.

It has made all the difference in the world to her being a life long cluster b personality disorder & bi-polar person who now also has dementia.

Sometimes you have to know how to play the game to get anywhere. The secret is the ER, refuse to pick him up, and have him sent to a geri-psych unit. If the ER people don't "get it", work with their social worker to get it done. My mom had been in the ER a couple times with suicidal ideation and showtimed her way past more than a few docs who simply did not understand what they saw with her. One of the even called me to suggest that maybe her behavior was my fault because I spend too much time at work. The nerve. I asked that doc if they had a geriatric psych background. No? Then I guess you're not the doc we need to work with.
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onlyoneholly: Thank you! I just noticed your response after I posted a second ago. You helped validate some feelings for me. We are not the "bad guys". Also like what you said about not moving him from a facility just to placate them. We have actually asked for his full record 4 separate times and have yet to receive it. It's been 3 weeks now and still no records. I thought that HIPAA stated that we had the right to inspect and get copies in a timely manner....... We are having issues with them and our next step is to appeal to their corporate office...then lawyer. Read previous post as to other infractions on their part.

Thanks again for the support!
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Lots of awful in this situation. I was married to your FIL figuratively speaking so I know with what you are dealing, though in varying degrees, your FIL exceeds my experience and it breaks my heart for ya'll. I was pleased to see he is 84. There is an end that will come and give you relief and it is ok to see that as a good thing and not feel guilty. The goal is to not let the circumstances that are so overwhelming until that end comes, destroy your health and your marriage. You sound like you and your husband make a really good, strong team. You are bright and on top of the issues. Be diligent as you are, detach from the man (FIL) and handle 'issues' wisely as you have been doing. You and your husband will survive this and be stronger. I admire what you have done and are doing. Hardest job in the world!
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It sounds like he belongs in a mental hospital not assisted care. Best of luck in this difficult situation.
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*Daisy02* My heart goes out to you and your spouse. Sure can relate on several of the difficulties you've mentioned. Guardianship is a double-edged sword -- you get the responsibility (and this is a quote from an elder atty) to "decide where the person lives, what they eat, drive or not, medical care, finances, etc, etc..." On paper it looks great, but emotionally it's very hard in light of the past your spouse has suffered. Counseling helps, and a review with the legal system who defined the guardianship parameters in your state.

Please understand that you and your spouse are not the "bad guys" here. Your spouse is understandably timid about exerting legal rights as guardian now, just as much as he was timid about crossing his father in the past. I understand this. I do not have guardianship so I cannot tell you how I utilized this legal status. However -- don't give it up yet. Encourage your spouse to get the advice, and try to put it into action. Document the attempts. Don't accept the directive to "move" your FIL again just to placate a facility unless you get full documentation why.

Your FIL is angry and is taking it out on all who will listen. His loss of mental and physical faculties is frustrating for him. However, if he needs assistance to live then he's going to have to accept the assistance given to him.

Advise your spouse to think w/ legal and keep the emotional at arm's length, much like dealing w/ a toddler. He can have compassion, but needs to be the one with the level head to make needed decisions. Best wishes!
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Sorry, I didn't read all the responses but while reading it came to me, put the guardianship with a lawyer. When the money runs out, he will do the necessary paperwork for Medicare/Medicaid. This takes all the responsibility off ur shoulders. He needs to be evaluated for meds that may curb his behavior. Your husbands health is going to suffer.
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