I need to know how to handle parents that appear that don't care about their living situation. I have pulled away because I just don't know how to deal with it, and I feel bad but I don't want to deal with it.

Both my parents, still married, live 5 miles from me. I am a IT professional, recently married, only child. My Dad is mentally ill and my Mom has diabetes obesity, and other health issues. My Dad is on SSD and works part time at a grocery store, my Mom is employed full time as an HR professional.

There have been many challenges throughout our lives with alcoholism, homeliness, debt, lack of self care, lack of house cleaning, too many animals, being negative, and just general lack of enjoyment for life.

As a child you just deal with it. As an adult I have moved away from that type of life. I have tried to offer suggestions to help and I have helped, both physically with projects and money where I can.

The day after we returned from our honeymoon I got a call from my Mom that I needed to come to their house. i had not been over there in about three years because she did not want me to see "the mess". What I saw was beyond imange adn lets just say that the rental they were living in had to be gutted and remodeled for it to be livable again, and the situation was their fault. My new husband and I did most of the remodel while they lived with us. They helped where they could. In the end, as we were done, my Dad said "thank you", my Mom, nothing. I also coordinate with a house cleaning service to come give them a bid for services, she said they could not afford it. I offered to pay half, but she said she could not even afford half. This is only one innocence in a lifetime, there have been others.

I did call senior services and they said that they fall in a gray area because they do make money, they are not really a harm to themselves, yet, and that there is nothing they could help me with. I was advised to take care of myself first and then my parents.

Our family - no one knows because my Mom does not want to tell them. My Dad's family we do not see anymore.

This may seem very harsh, but I just don't want to see them anymore. I love them and always will, but they are not people I would want to be friends with and I find it very hard to being around them.

Any advise on what I can do? Resources?
Thank you

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Something I did not mention, if the house is cleaned, but the underlying psychological conditions are not treated, they house will soon be in the same condition. I know you've already learned that a few times, JML. I feel for you. I wonder if there is some way to get an intervention team together that could encourage them to go into therapy to deal with the depression and anxiety, and give them the willingness to change. I also like Tracy's suggestion about a NH or assisted living for people working through mental health issues. I don't know if your parents could qualify for it or afford it, but it does sound like a nice alternative.
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It sounds like both your parents may have depression and/or anxiety that might not be treated adequately. Mood disorders can make you not care about your surroundings or about your health and can be connected to overeating, alcohol abuse and other addictive issues such as collecting items or even animals. People in this situation are not always just being lazy but usually have underlying mental health issues that need to be addressed before they are able to progress. Sadly, you cannot make someone care or want to get better.

My cousin was in a very similar situation growing up as a single child with hoarder parents. She would periodically get a church group to donate their time to help clean the place. However, the situation was not resolved until many years later when both parents got sick and one of her parents ended up in the hospital. There, my cousin was able to get the assistance of social workers. It was complicated and stressful, but eventually, my cousin got a lawyer and petitioned the court for legal guardianship over both of her parents. She got them out of their unfit living situation and placed them in a special nursing home for people with mental health issues. It was a big adjustment but now that their mental illness is regulated and other health issues are being cared for, her parents are happier than I have ever seen them.
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JML, I know just what you are talking about. My parents are hoarders who neglected their house for over 30 years. They attended only the immediate area they lived in. The rest of the house was filthy and impassible. There was stuff piled everywhere. Closets and cabinets were full. Food that was over 20 years old was in the freezer and on the shelves. They had roaches and signs of mice.

There is a show "Hoarders" that ran on TV a while back. It is on Netflix Instant streaming if you have that service. The series shows the lives of many hoarders and a cleanup team haphazardly cleans their place. (The speed of the cleanup is actually not good for hoarders.) The lack of care and collecting of junk is approached on the show as a mental illness, a type of OCD. Many older people do become hoarders, which can endanger their safety both by creating trip hazards and by the filth. Personally, I think there is another type of hoarder who is lazy and living an unhappy life. Not cleaning up is like saying "Nothing matters and what if it did." So the filth accumulates.

If you can watch the series Hoarders, it may give you some idea. Family members are often divorced from hoarders, because no one can tolerate the living conditions.

If you do decide to help, I found the best way is to use baby steps. First, old food has to go right away. And trip hazards have to go right away. If there is old stuff lying around, work with them on what to trash, what to donate, and what to keep. Trying to do it too fast will create terrible anxiety and anger, so it has to be slow once the critical problem areas are tackled.

It is okay not to visit until they decide to clean up. If there house is filthy and cluttered, there is nowhere to sit or sleep anyway. If you want to see them, maybe they will come outside to talk. If you know they are living in unsafe conditions, you can contact Adult Protective Services who can go by to inspect. This is not a family-friendly solution, but may be one you feel necessary if their health and safety are threatened.

I definitely understand. Self neglect is a serious problem and one that does not have an easy answer.
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