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My my dad & stepmom have been married almost 25 years, however they are more like roommates than anything. My stepmom has been displaying disturbing cognitive issues for years. My dad has basically had to babysit her & misses out on everything- many friends and family ask what is wrong with her - I think she has frontal temporal dementia, as she is void of empathy & her old personality. She refuses to go to the doctor. There are many documented incidents of her odd antics. My dad has been living in a state of Groundhog's Day for years. To add to his pain, he just finished taking care of his mother who had dementia for the last 5 years. His wife during all that was of absolutely zero help, and in fact sometimes impeded & made things even more difficult in stressful situations - I was needed to step up in her absence. Recently my father has broken his leg. The wife is now at home alone. Her daughters have done nothing to help my dad with their mother's condition and expect him to be the primary caregiver, even in his own declining mental condition. Currently he is about to leave the hospital and go to a rehab facility. His wife and her daughters expect him to return home immediately and do at home rehab in an unsafe environment. He had a very difficult time in the hospital & all I have heard is his wife is worried about the $$ it all will cost... Currently they still have their home of 25 years, it is a four level house with many stairs inside and outside. My dad has previously broken his neck on one of the staircases, so now that he is injured with a broken leg at age 69, I feel it is unsafe for him to return to that situation.


He is able to get along OK mentally, & for years now they have been two halves that kind of make an unhappy whole. My father says he has no intention of being a forever caregiver after his lifetime of helping his own family in a caregiving capacity (his brother was head injured since young & his mom/dementia.) I am his only daughter and I live out of state. I desperately need help figuring out how I can get him out of this situation he has US now in... He does not want to leave his wife totally high and dry, but he does not want to live his remaining days like this. The wife is not planning ahead at all for aging and refuses to move out of their very unsafe home. I have tried to reach out to their lawyer and estate planner (I am his POA) but no one will help me ensure my father is set up right as they say they represent them both as a couple. My step sisters want him to stay in this situation so they do not have to deal with anything. My dad is totally fried and wants to get his wife/roommate the care she needs -- but he really wants to move closer to me (out of state) so I can help him as his caregiver for his elder years. This situation is very strained & difficult. I do not know what to do. He cannot safely care for her right now in his condition - I am grateful in a way he had this injury because now my step-sisters get a glimpse of what he has been dealing with. I am so beyond stressed out and worried he & I both will be tied forever to this insane situation. What are the legal parameters for 1 parent staying behind in receiving care and the other leaving the state to be cared for by me his daughter? Her daughters have no intention of ever helping their mom at all & would place her in facility without his help, I want to be able to care for my Dad & would never consider putting him in a facility (as long as I can). I am SO afraid they all will continue to avoid everything & they will use up my dad fully and he will pass away due to stress. My dad and his terrible wife are not in love and have not been for years. In fact, the last time he was in the hospital 15 years ago with a broken neck (injured from the same staircase!) she was cheating on him while he was in hospital.
I'm exhausted after the past week of hell of him being in the hospital & the only one with his concerns in mind. What do I do????

I'm so sorry, your going through this. I would like to start off by saying you suppose to stay married till death. However, it's your father's decision. They are married. therefore, the wife has more control than you. you will have to get a lawyer and day has to get a divorce that's the only way and she gets half. I know a couple this happen to and the husbands family just came to pick up there never to return. she did not have a lawyer his family took control got him out asap. on the other hand, these sisters sounds like they would drag you'll through the mud. If there're wicked like you say. I suggest you and dad become as one and leave get an attorney first and move fast. Get the attorney tell him to grab all his important documents quietly and run for the borders if its really abusive. it's sad but you have to save dad 3 against one is not fair. So daughter help you dad. You have a good heart and willing to help your dad. You go for it.
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Most of today I have been trying to get people to reply back to me, Step-sister STILL hasn't replied back to our "wealth mgmt 'Care Team's'" request to have a 'Care Conference & Plan setup' -- So she has the gall to keep people, whom are being paid & trying to help, on a hold more than a couple hours..... GOD. Meanwhile I am still pulling all the strings & doing all the things.... ON TOP OF IT ALL, I can just feel my Step-Mom's despair in a way. Nobody is supporting her like i did for my Dad in his dire straight -- I called today & they had to give her a lot of meds I guess & restrain her --- I could almost throw up thinking about it.

AND then there was the moment I realized I NEED TO FIND HER CAR, & PURSE. I found them both thank goodness. But the car is not able to be picked up as it is being held for investigation in impound, another impending bill I am sure :/

Purse I have to get someone to pick it up at the hospital out of locked storage (just thankful to not have to go thru process of pausing credit card etc??)

I'm awaiting info on police report tmrw likely. I am supposed to work somehow tmrw, but I am sure I will get phone calls the entire AM/Day when working & have to keep stepping away......


Meanwhile I am trying to get my Dad even some workout/zipup side pants & couple other things, I am so broke$$ & do not have his card$ info & just sideways now. I have hit the wall.

Just mental gymnastics & can feel my logical brain faltering.
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Willy, I totally agree with GardenArtist as to resigning as step-mom's POA.

Your job right now is to get dad rehabbed and into a good Assisted or independent Living facility, preferably near you.

Let daughter sort out her mom's shenannigans.

For reference as to how this can all go wrong, search this site for a poster named Dorker and read the last 6 months worth of posts.
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Willy: Before I saw your update from 9 hours ago, I was going to post that your step mother was going to have a crisis, but I see that she already did. I'll pray that your plate full lessens.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I agree it is unsafe for him to return to the home. Look for assisted living for him ...the wife should go to memory care facility in same place but different level of care. Neither one should live alone or think that they are caregivers!!!
Hugs 🤗
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This is a sad, horrible situation. I see that BOTH of them need care and supervision and I do NOT think that family members should take this on - it will be overwhelming and cause many problems and you will never again have a normal life. My advice would be to find a way to place both of them together in a facility where they can be together and cared for.
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Rusty2166 Jan 28, 2021
If that is not feasible, then please tend to your father first and foremost - perhaps with a caregiver. Let the wife's family handle her problems. Stand your ground and don't let anyone push you into things - take care of your father first.
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Willy, I apologize but have just read your latest update, and apparently Dad is already in rehab - good move!

This may seem drastic or uncaring, but I think you need to consider resigning from being proxy for your stepmother, and let her own apparently not very helpful family take care of her.  

From the description of the altercation with the police, she may be deteriorating in behavior, and this will become more of an issue for anyone involved with her care.   Do you have any insights on whether or not this seems to be an isolated incident?

The stepsister can be removed from proxy authority for your father, but he would have to sign a new POA or amendment to the existing one.    Given that you're far away, I can see 2 options now:  

1.  Find an attorney locally in your area and ask him/her to work with one in your father's area to expedite a new POA removing the stepsister as proxy and your mother as co-principal.    Attorneys often work with others in different areas, or refer a potential client to someone they personally would recommend.

2.  Or begin searching for an estate planning or elder law attorney in your father's area.   A good attorney will come to a principal's current place of living for execution of legal documents.  I've worked for 2 law firms that did this.   

One of the attorneys for whom I worked also bridged the elder law issues to provide tax assistance as well as probate legal participation.     She also works periodically or refers clients to other professionals.    Someone with that approach might be of assistance in ensuring that all the pros on board have the same goals and approach, especially as to asset choice and management.  

On another issue, I assume you're comfortable with a wealth management company's involvement, and I assume you're aware of their costs.  You seem very knowledgeable and capable of making your own decisions; be sure that the goals for wealth management are steady income and stable investments, and not venture capital ones.  Just my opinion; I've fought off "pros" who want to reinvest in their recommended choices.
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Willy123 Jan 28, 2021
Thank you so much for the detailed reply ~ I going to reread it in the morning with some coffee <3

I am also realizing time has to pass & things come to light for a minute.

It is hard now too cuz I am literally convincing my Dad like 2x a day or more that he is in right place for now & repeating info to him ALOT on the plans... for now. I'm not going too far in the future with him. Just telling him he is still all bruised up so need to take it EASY.

I feel if he had been home dealing with all this, he would have had a heart attack for sure......

Ya, just swimming a bit mentally....
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QUICK UPDATE:  I missed your most recent post, so some of this information addresses a situation that's already moot - i.e., apparently your father is already in rehab. Great, and best wishes for his success!


Willy, what a dilemma you face!      I haven't been able to read all the posts but do agree with Barb, and others.    (Barb is a favorite b/c she's also an opera lover!)

 I think it's probably hard to prioritize, but at this point I would focus more on your father than your stepmother.    He really does need rehab as a transition, so that's a good decision that you've made.  It gives you time to analyze the situation and develop options.

Personally, I would leave the stepmom to her own relatives; you certainly don't want to assume care for her as well as your father.   And I would seriously consider moving him closer, as well as locating an attorney for him to discuss at least  a legal separation and cost assessment for their separate needs, as IF his assets are greater, there may be some family pressure for him to continue to provide for her.

In the meantime, set aside relaxation time for you, periodically throughout the day, and jot down what you consider viable options.    If your father did move and went into facility care, it would at least give him a chance to continue his recovery w/o the pressure of stepwife's apparent lack of interest as well as her family's intents, which I suspect will become a major issue at some time in the future.

I apologize for not providing more support; I haven't read all the posts, but did want to quickly share some thoughts on the need for rehab.   To me, it's an absolute, mandatory step from hospital to recovery, especially after suffering a broken limb.
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Willy123, Yes, it sounds insane!! I have very little idea of what you are going through!!  However, I do know from my own experiences with caregiving that God works in all our lives as he sees fit.  He knows you can handle this. and that you will find the right eldercare atty. for Him and the right place to 'place' Her.  Lean on  Jesus, Willy, and be guided by our Creator!!!  I will be ;praying for your situation and that of your Dad's, too!!
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Willy123 Jan 28, 2021
Thank you <3
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******UPDATE**********
Tuesday night, the Wife "went for a drive, got into an altercation with the Police(!?!) they had to use their car to spin her car out to make it stop I believe, they brought Wife to Hospital for safety & evaluation."
I am in a paperwork loop from hell, I am POA of Dad & Wife, step-sister is also (for now, want her OFF of my Dad's POA, I have asked the lawyer like 3x & they haven't done ANYTHING I have asked!)
Step-sister is neglecting her duties as POA, the secondary staff we just got involved (a geriatric wealth mgmt company, they just recently hired to help manage$/cash flow, but now they are elevating to help in HealthCare Coordination, I am being told though they do not have THEIR paperwork all set to actually be able to help yet). Meanwhile the hospital is calling my Dad with Wife's scary updates (she is NOT doing well in there, VERY confused, not listening to directions, very upset). I told hospital to NOT call my Dad, I said I will step-up *for now* Wife now as Step-sister is SO ABSENT & NOT HELPFUL.
ThIs Is InSaNe!!!!

The social worker is asking ME if i have copies of POA, I do & sent them. I reached out to Hospital social worker team, to inform they of the DOUBLE situation (Dad is at a nice Rehab finally working on himself!!) The Social Worker then said Wife needs "Strict 24/7 care" & is there family/friends available w/Dad in Rehab for broken leg. There is NOBODY that would do this, my Dad can barely deal with her/Wife daily... Wife has now really elevated everything. Her daughter was not helping much at all, I have my hands full w/Dad, & obviously she cannot be left alone at alll & this was bound to happen. I am just HAPPY nobody got hurt or worse!!?!!!

IT is crazy how both are so mentally declined -- I am getting the house tested for Radon (our helper w/eldercare/$ group is doing some ground work for me, since I am 1,000miles away out of state!)

I am now dealing with all this like it is my FullTime job!!! I can barely work as I get so many phone calls & required emails to inform necessary people now of this huge hornet nest of a problem.

This is a large house of cards finally falling -- I told Dad he might have to go to assisted living awhile to level everything out & get Wife trained in & comfortable as to how it works there. He probably can use the help still post rehab anyway, and with their home being terrible for aging (SO many stairs) this might be best option. People are tellling me 'it is overall more comfortable to have home helpers come in instead of doing a facility, especially with Covid.' I'm like - DUH, I Friking Know!! I ran my Gramma's last 5yrs of her dementia journey & legit am versed in all things assisted living/memory care etc -- I do not think I could manage any home care organization, that would be like organizing a daily Circus parade in the home, plus if they do get to go home, then if I need to reverse tactic & place them somewhere, making them leave the home would be like pulling Tiger-teeth. I also am VERY concerned NOBODY really will be available to coordinate Wife's situation, as it is still so closely tied to my Dad (for now until I can extract him) I think that I need to get involved & orchestrate this all (assisted living plan, at least to step down for both while Dad heals & Wife gets medically evaluated & stable/medicated). Wife I feel with her daughter's literal 'don't give a sh*t' style, needs to probably go to assisted living forever with step-down capabilities & an On-Site Go-To person who can serve as her cohesive care coordinator, as nobody will likely be there for her long term.
If my Dad had been home & this all happened, the stress of it likely would have given him a heart attack! He has literally by 'breaking himself(leg), bought himself at least 30days of safety/sanity in Rehab, finally worrying about himself'.

I AM JUST FLABBERGASTED -- This is insane, right??!?
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againx100 Jan 28, 2021
Right, totally insane! Yikes, your head must be spinning around and around.....So sorry that your world has been turned upside down. Try to slow down and do some deep breathing before you go cuckoo!

Glad your dad is in rehab. Hopefully he's able to concentrate enough to do his exercises and get back on his feet.

AL sounds like a great plan for them, assuming they still want to be together.

While it's a bummer that she ended up with police intervention, I do think it's for the best that something happened and she was able to get evaluated and have it be on record that she has serious issues.
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You can't do anything. Your father is an adult of sound mind. You can suggest, and no one can prevent him, that he seeks independent advice for himself, as opposed to advice that is necessarily shared with his wife and her representatives because they are being treated as a married unit; but if he were prepared to do that I think he'd already have done it, don't you?
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JoAnn29 Jan 28, 2021
She says she feels he is showing signs of Dementia in reply to me.
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There's absolutely nothing you can do about it except make the offer to your Dad about coming to live with you.
If he is no longer in love with his wife, he would need to file for a Divorce and he and his wife would sale the house and split the money and both go on their way.
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IMO - - it's either/or unilateral ultimatum time...

Of course, first you have to have a heart-to-heart with your dad, and he has to be on board with this - - but if he is, this is what I believe you ought to present to the step mom and her family:

Either you do this [ _________ ] (and you would fill in the blank with what you and your dad decide to prefer)

- - OR - - it's divorce, they go their separate ways - - you take care of your mom and I take care of my dad. Good-bye.

End of drama !!!
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Use the current injury to make the move. Tell the step sisters you are moving him closer before anything worse happens and then he would be too far away for you to help him.

As for leaving her high and dry, he doesn't have to. Ask him if he is willing to file for divorce and split the assets. Then her kids can figure out her situation and you can figure out his. If you don't think divorce is the way to go, go see an elder attorney now in regard to him moving where you are and her staying in the jointly owned home. He probably needs to bring his income with him and she keep hers. Perhaps split whatever is in savings into two new accounts so they can't touch each other's money.
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At 69---which the age my DH is...he should be capable of making a decision and not dumping the responsibility on you or his step daughters.

Does he WANT to stay living with his wife? Then you need to respect that and help him (if you want) to be able to work towards that as a goal. If he wants to split up and still care for her, somehow (you said she didn't plan well for her future) he needs to work this out.

He needs his own attorney and support in whatever her chooses.

It's not the least uncommon for couple married many years to feel more like roommates than 'spouses'. I know my DH and I are pretty much just good friends at this point. Sometimes not even that :)

Anyway, this isn't YOUR problem to fix. It is SO HARD to know how much to invest of ourselves in helping our LO's---it sounds like your dad is kind of a fragile 69 yo. The house is all wrong for them at this stage. Stairs are the very devil--I know we have about 40 and everyday I wonder how long before I go ass-over -teakettle down some flight. (DH won't move, so I'm just waiting for the broken ankle!)

I don't think at this point your dad needs your on site care. Just support. Emotional, I mean.
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JoAnn29 Jan 28, 2021
He also is showing signs of Dementia so may not be able to make goid decisions.
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Not "being in love" is the norm for many elders. They become, as you said, more like roommates. But often they are content enough in that, and they are not alone.
Your father can be moved to live near you when he tells you that is what he wants. You should be sitting with him periodically and discussing HIS wishes, what HE wants to do. Does he want to move to care with his wife also. Does he want to move her into care. Does he want to leave her to her family and move near you. You know the options. So does he. And you say he is mentally strong, meaning he has to make his own decision about this.
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Its happened a lot on this site where a couple is married and stepchildren take their parent leaving the other to fend for themselves. There are laws to protect Dad especially if Medicaid will be involved later.
First I think you need to see a Eldercare attorney that is hired to protect Dad. Then you need to find out how you can have their assets split. With her getting her half for her care and Dad getting his. This is to protect Dad. So there is money if he needs to go into an AL. Once spent down, then Medicaid can be applied for.

I suggest that Dad go into rehab for his own sake. Medicare pays the first 20 days 100%, 21 to 100 50%. His supplimental may pick up the balance if not out of pocket is about $160 a day. It maybe more now. My figure is over 3 yrs ago.

Of course its Dads decision but I would call the discharge person and tell them that going home is not a safe discharge. That his wife is not capable of caring for him. Nor can u guarentee that she will allow therapist into the home. Tell them she has undiagnosed dementia or some type of mental illness.

Just a thought since lawyer says they need to sit down with both of them. Wife may need to get a diagnosis of Dementia to get around this. If Dad goes into rehab, you may want to call APS and see if they will evaluate the situation for you. Tell them what you expect and that Dad with his problems cannot care for her and she can't care for him. Once its found she is incompetent, a lawyer may then be able to talk to Dad helping him set up something for her.

You may want to consider guardianship of Dad. Court may allow u to use his money. This way you have more control since you r dealing with steps that probably feel entitled to Moms share.

You need to get ur ducks in a row before u can make informed decisions. Caring for Dad maybe a 24/7 job. It means giving up ur life. He too needs to be evaluated. It may just be burn out on his part. Caring for his Mom and dealing with a crazy wife with no help, would burn out the best of us. Stress does strange things to us. Maybe you can suggest a little rest and relaxation at your house after rehab. Or have in home done at ur house. Its paid by Medicare so the State ur in does not matter unless he has a Medicare Advantage then u need to check with them if therapy can be done out of state. A sort of vacation. Tell dear steps that Mom is their responsibility for a while. Then you and Dad can talk about what he wants away from everyone else. Give a few days of R and R before u talk about that. I would protect his money before I did this. I wouldn't put it past wife and daughters to clean out the accts and open up new ones in wifes name. Banks have allowed this on joint accounts. So Dad may want to draw out something, like half, to protect himself. Check with the bank to see what the laws are in his state.

You are in a sticky situation and you need to proceed cautiously.
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LeeDee Jan 25, 2021
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Start by getting your dad is OWN eldercare attorney.

Once he is in rehab, start looking for AL and Memory Care facilities. Work with the social workers at rehab on a discharge plan to get him there.

To any interfering relatives "I will be advocating for my dad to do what is best for HIM". That's all you need to say. I would not entertain their speculation.
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Willy123 Jan 25, 2021
Thank you BarbBrooklyn-- sound advise for my chaotic times.

I will go that route moreso, instead of spinning my wheels...

I will update as things progress. Still waiting for him to discharge from hospital this morning to one of two rehabs...

I look forward to knowing a lot more info by the end of this week here...

Your advise is much appreciated :)
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I am so sorry for you situation. Your dad is no longer capable of taking care of his wife as he himself needs help. I think the ideal situation would be for him and her to be in an assisted living facility where they can receive the services that meet their individual needs. If needed, they each can live in separate rooms/apartments. Their house can be sold to pay for the care at the facility.

I know you say you will never put him in a facility. But have you ever toured any Assisted Living facilities? There are some very good ones. Some are like well-run hotels with all kinds of social activities and services. COVID puts a stop to the social activities for the time being, but vaccines are here. Things are looking up.

I don't recommend moving him closer to you. You say you're exhausted from being his sole contact while in the hospital, you will be 100 more exhausted and burned out when he moves close to you and you become his only contact for the next few decades. Don't do it.
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Willy123 Jan 25, 2021
Thank you Polarbear--

I am trying to figure out how to take down my other post (under wrong profile/account).

I agree, they should move to AL. I have found an option I am going to introduce when he is not so mentally loopy (Rx in hospital, he has displayed a LOT of agitation).

I have toured a TON of facilities & worked in a couple too. I am in home care part-time as well... So very versed. I joke that the nicest 'hotels' in any town are really the ritzy Asstd/Memory Care facilities - I think hotels/eldercare is some of the most sincere types of hospitality there is! :) I enjoy this field of work (now I am heading that way moreso due to the hospitality industry being crushed right now with Covid.

I am exhausted mostly with battling everyone who keeps saying 'so he is going home right?' I have done 5years already in this 'Dementia Club' many of us belong to with my Gramma's Dementia journey, I stepped in for what my stepmother should have done to help her husband's Mom.... It has just been years & years of this stuff, now to already be in a situation of more so soon....? I feel like I have to save him in a way, i am literally the only one who was actually following his care & intense experience in hospital (he was so anxious, he had to be put on a medical hold, restrained & overall just very bad time - was cleared to leave hospital medically since Friday, but is hoping to finally leave tmrw now that his mental cognition has cleared somewhat). He had some decline in this area before, now with all the drugs & sleep loss & hospital delirium- he has been through the ringer.... He also is displaying sundowning at beginning of afternoon into evening. It is like I spoke to two different people today. We spoke this AM & talked through the rehab plan, he was happy with it all & also happy this will trigger some more eyes on his wife's status & more help with that likely even. Then pre-dinner, he told me & another family member he was going home & other nonsense. I am sure it is wishful thinking, but he just cannot hold the plan in his mind during sundowning - Then later I talked to him again & he was back mentally again & happy with the plan.

It is just tearing me up because all through his dementia situation w/his mom for years, he has just been SO clear that he was NOT going to do this with his wife... He could be a companion for now, but not going to 'do life' with her forever. Her daughter just selfishly quotes their marriage vows (what a joke! my step-sister of all people knows their unhappy situation for years now). Step sister is just avoiding any consideration & is beyond selfish, it makes sense she is her mother's daughter. I cannot BELIEVE I have had to share literally most of my Dad's side family childhood memories with these people!! I am so mad at my dad for putting me in this situation, for so long now. He has always just not 'rocked the boat' but said he not doing this for life-- It was as if he just wanted to coast... Not make decisions.

I just wish he would do the work, be clear headed about it (stop drinking beer in his sadness so much) & make a decision. I think they should move to assisted living, and get the wife used to it, because that is going to be her reality. But does that mean then my Dad has to live there with her forever? I am assuming she will be elevated to a Memory Care level eventually (she is awkward, it is embarrassing & she can be very in your face about things, almost on purpose. I know it is a brain disease likely (her diet has been 80's style low-fat for life & she skips meals & drinks so, her brain probly on its way to being gone). My dad though is still very much himself & he dreams of getting to do the things he has missed due to caring for his family so long.

It's like he is drowning in his life & asking me to pull him up- The one step sister (the other one is like a ghost, hear nothing from her) has expressed her feelings of they 'took vows/til death due us part".
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Unless your dad wants to move there is not much you can do. If he has not been declared incompetent he can make his own choices.
If he states that he is safe at home. If he states that his wife can help him then they will release him to home or to rehab.
This is a discussion to have with an Elder Care Attorney.
Because he is married it is not easy to pack him up and move him (even if he wants to move).
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Willy123 Jan 25, 2021
Thank you for your concise thoughts (I am a bit unable to think straight lately).

Luckily I had Just recently gotten them to agree to have an eldercare group come in & help. They assessed the situation but I have yet to get a report. My dad was in hospital at the time, but they did a home assessment & also had a geriatric nurse evaluate the wife (I have also been trying to get her into Neuro appts w/help of my Dad driving her- but that has been one challenge after another!) I tried to talk to the lawyer, but she said she represents BOTH of them jointly so I can just basically 'go fly a kite'. All these 'People' they have on their team, do not have each of their best interests in mind, they only have the couple/marriage as their primary concern. I feel so unsupported & like I am fighting for my dad, a losing battle. And he is getting more lost yet more weight of responsibility to be her babysitter by the month. Although now HE is the one who is not doing well - It will hopefully show that the wife is in need of help & she won't be able to refuse because they are not hiding behind their codependent/dangerous relationship. I am just shredded though, I just keep being told by him he is not going to live like this forever, but yet I only see that as his likely reality.

I just wish he had never married her - she has been not cool since I was 6yrs old. His decision has rippled unhappiness mostly into his life, & now mine. I just don't know what to do.

I am going to for now focus on the week of as the rest of all this is making me so upset.

Thank you for your thoughts ~
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