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My parents never had a kind word for each other, they argued continuously for as far back as I remember. They are under stress as they are close to outliving their money. They are each in rapid physical and mental decline. I recently became aware that my mother (who has always been a very difficult person) now slaps my father when they argue. She was physically abusive when we were children, so it is how she reacts when she is angry. My father is able to defend himself, and that worries us, that he will strike back at some point. In fact, we think she may be doing it so that he will react and she can be the victim.

My mother would be considered legally competent, as would my father. There doesn't seem to be a source for advice for problems like these. Especially since my father won't admit it's happening. It must be humiliating. He isn't kind to her either, but it's hard to say who is worse in the verbal abuse department.

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thanks bar girl...i really think this is a woman with a different pic! there was another instance that someone was harassing me for one of my answers. i'll report these 3 comments above too!
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meh , its all good . worked 2.5 hrs , went riding , no animals were harmed . ive been riding the same sh*t for 30 years , the animals know to gtfo the road .. takin my aunt out tomorrow . if id run over a squirrel shed have it on a platter with squirrel gravy and mashed potatoes in 15 minutes flat . we aint like other folks .
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captain.....go have a drink on me or go for a walk. Whatever you choose, we are here for you dude. Please don't kill or maim any small animals. We are all under stress. Just Breathe..... :))
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na , i aint got nothing better to do . painting gets boring , stonework borders on self abuse . this is therapeudical to me .
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dear captain....that was my parents experience...and god knows...there are many, many couples that fight! why don't you post some GOOOOD suggestions for this person...instead of being critical of others experiences...have NOTHING better to do???
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I guess getting older and running out of money would be extremely stressful...and of course, it's always been said that married couples fight the most over money. It sounds like they have always had a bad relationship...and have many other issues. I'm not sure what the answer is...but my father was a very or tried to be dominating over my mother and they got in physical fights over the years. When he didn't get his way, he would call her names. Well, even in their sixties...my mom wouldn't stand for this and would punch him in the arm or chest. Yup...I saw her do it several times...but didn't do anything, because one punch from my Polish mother...stopped him in his tracks!! lol Anyway...she's 83 now...has dementia...and my dad is 90...tooo tired to fight. The point is...since there really not much you can do, and if the fights aren't extremely violent...they just might just get toooo tired to continue this behavior towards each other. Good luck...
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I just thought of another possible solution but doubt it would happen in your particular situation. IF they would let you be the trustee on a trust you could do that. A trust will still be their money but you will be in control of it.....ie Paying bills, food, rent etc. This is a great way to see what they are spending or help control the spending but won't help with the anger/hitting.
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All of the suggestions I respect although I just don't think there is anything that can be done on this. If money is running out an elder attny/financial planner could "maybe" help but maybe not at this late stage. If money does run out then that might be the answer. Both could go to different facilities under medicaid. They would be apart but being taken care of. Sounds like she does need different medication for anger/anxiety and maybe can get it in another facility if told it was for something other than Psych problem. It's not easy seeing and living with people that don't respect and are mean to each other. Although my husband's parents never hit each other my FIL was extremely overpowering with control and my husband and his sister lived with fear of setting him off. Good Luck and God Bless.
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With both parents competent at this point in time, and your mother showing more abusive behavior toward your father, see if you can have an honest discussion with them. You do not say if you have personally witnessed any of this, and without a corroboration with your father that it is really happening, then your options are limited. If it happens again, and you witness it, call the police and have your mother arrested. Your father does not have to testify if the physical evidence is apparent. Maybe a visit from the local police will encourage her to change her physical abuse. It is NEVER okay to physically hit another. Words are much more harming, and if your parents have existed together in this unhealthy state they must not know any other way to communicate. I am sorry that you were physically abused, and as a former child protective services case manager, I still think about my 18 children who were abused. See if you can get them both into professional therapy before it turns deadly.
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The best suited sibling in town is working to get the POA, but each parent is reluctant, so it hasn't happened. Although they have released HIPAA.

Each of my parents are in need of psychiatric evaluation for dementia. Things are deteriorating so rapidly it makes my head spin. Before my father's fall he was a danger on the road. He'd totaled two cars and had several fender benders in the two years prior (how he still had insurance is a mystery to me also). There was absolutely no reasoning with him about the issue, he simply said his driving ability was as good as ever and become very angry at the suggestion he had lost the ability.

Although I don't have HIPAA rights, I called his doctor's office to tell them that they should evaluate him and persuade him to give up driving (they couldn't talk to me, I left a message). That wasn't long before he broke his hip, so presumably nothing came of it. My parent's care is fragmented. Although they do have a PCP, either by design or accident, he does not coordinate the specialists.

Also, they can fake it for short periods, or could until recently. So if their doctor is worried about decline, but they refuse assessment, there isn't a red flag that would cause him to insist. As I said, each is in a rapid downward spiral, particularly my mother, so it may be clear to anyone that something is amiss even if she is on good behavior.

They fought throughout their marriage, but I never witnessed physical abuse between them. I can say to a certainty, my father never physically abused my mother. Now I don't know what went on with her treatment of him after I left home 35+ years ago.

I don't know why they didn't divorce. They are Catholic, the Church would not recognize a civil divorce, but if they didn't remarry etc. they could remain in good standing.

It is impossible to talk to my mother about almost anything. She doesn't think she is wrong because she told a family member she did it, and even slapped him in front of another.

I will explore what I can. Many valuable suggestions would work if these were reasonable people. Then, if they were reasonable, we wouldn't be in this mess.


Thanks everyone for your input. Any new advice is also welcome.
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While I personally don't agree with this behavior, if they both are capable of making decisions then there's not a lot you can do to prevent it. You can talk to them either separately or together and tell them you are concerned. They may have behaved this way for years so this behavior could be 'normal' for them. If you speak with them and nothing changes you need to let it go as difficult as that might be. Try to enjoy your time with them before it's to late.
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Looked it up, Trazodone is a psych med, an antidepressant. Since she is taking it willingly, you now can understand how the doctor can get her to take the medicine. Now, take her to the doctor, get her meds changed if she cannot control her behavior. Is she better with your father out of the house? I sure hope there is an appropriate medication to calm her. Agressiveness, combativeness, physical agression can make her a danger to herself and others. Not a good road to travel down.
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Nowwhat, whatnow? Psychiatrists call this dyslexia. Sorry.
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Psychiatrists call this marriage negative bonding, and as time will tell, if the success of marriage is determined only by length of time married, was it successful? I am putting this out there, because, Whatnow, you need support, information, and time. Follow some suggestions from others posted here, they seem very knowledgeable.
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What do you do? Standby, your mom will ask for help when she understands all the money is going out the window, and you need her POA, HIPPA release, medical and financial POA. Be sure you are the right one to receive this responsibility and honor. Just a suggestion, a shot in the dark.
Does anyone here know if it is easier to get care for them as a couple, or divide their finances to protect their assets?
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I guess, you really need to talk about this together to understand the situation of the family. You are the daughter/son, you have the rights to know what is happening in their relationship. Anyway, try to seek some medical help if you think your mother need it.
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Nowwhat, my heart sinks for you. My parents bickered ceaselessly for their entire married life, as far as I know, and the stress it caused me, at least, was huge. But I have to admit that they didn't seem aware that they were doing it. Have your parents developed this modus vivendi over decades and just got used to it?

I have no idea what you can do about it, none. Have you tried saying out loud to the two of them together that you fear for the consequences if they continue as they are? If so, how did they react?
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I forgot to add that putting dad back at home with an abusive spouse is just as much domestic abuse as if they were both 30 years old. It simply can't be allowed to happen, and the facility where dad is now should help you avoid putting a battered spouse back with the abuser. Even if they are verbally abusive to each other, it doesn't cancel out the physical domination your mother is able to have and the risk there is to safety.

If not, and they end his stay, he can't go home. If he is well enough, maybe he can get a one bedroom apartment in a 55+ building for a while to buy some time to figure this out.

To be really plain, their time living together is probably over and the medical problems are the catalyst.

Another sad but plain thing is that were they to divorce, they could probably both end up getting more assistance for care than if they stayed married but separate.
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Medicare usually covers 20 days of rehab, but it can depend on what the hospital stay was. Then they go home or become a resident of a facility where rent is due, just like any other rented home or apartment. Medicare does not pay rent for anybody. Medicaid is a whole other deal.

Talk to the social worker where your dad is at and find out what options are. The state can assign a guardian/conservator to manage their affairs. It can be a family member or not. I would not volunteer. If they didn't provide a way for you kids to provide care to them, then this is the bed they have made.

Your mother needs a cognitive assessment by a geriatric specialist. One sign of dementia is loss of emotional regulation and inhibitions. My mother was also verbally & physically abusive before dementia. After dementia it got worse. Her anger would ignite in an instant. She is combative and aggressive. She doesn't know what all her pills are for and thinks they are vitamins. One of them is an antipsychotic to reduce her agitation, paranoia, and combativeness. Without it, she thinks everyone is trying to kill her

$2500/month for rent is pretty darn good. My mom's memory care rent is over $7,000 a month and yes, we are spending every red cent she has to her name on care. Mom's prescriptions are on top of that, as is her medigap policy.
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They are who they are no matter how ugly. You can not change them. They have made their bed. They have a life long mean disrespectful relationship.....frankly, disfunctional as it is if you interfered they would miss it.
Let it go.
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She may be taking Trazodone, she thinks for sleep. None of her children have HIPAA access, but her behavior is such that if she is still taking it, it is not beneficial. She will not agree to anything she knows is a psych med because she is fine.

I was inaccurate above, I didn't understand how it would impact advice. For Medicare reasons which I don't understand, my father was discharged from rehab a few days ago. It was unsafe for him to go home, so he is by himself in an "independent care" facility. At $2500+ a month it will burn through their remaining assets quickly. .

As are all these situations, there are more complications than imaginable.
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Not too many places take abusive persons. Try a doctor, medication, and a board and care. Try to always have a third person present. Do they have a room to rent out to another senior or to another couple, thus dividing the expenses? Our neighbor's wife will not allow even caregivers to come in. Very difficult for the person needing care.
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Have they asked for your help?
Contacting an elder law attorney might help with financial planning to allow one to stay in the home with help, and the other to receive care in a nursing home or assisted living. We have neighbors in this situation for more than two years, without much change except poor medical and money management that an attorney could have prevented with a relatively appropriate investment. Now their money has dwindled, he is not getting the care he needs, but he has stayed in
c o n t r o l !!! Ask your mother what she wants first, and try that. (Yes, without taking sides).
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Nowwhat, I think in general that we have very little power over long-established patterns in our parents lives. If they have been mean to each other for decades, expecting them to change when one or both of them develops impairments is just not realistic. So, is this a problem with a solution? I think not the solution we would prefer -- for the parents to start acting like reasonable, respectful, and respectable adults. This is Not Your Fault, and not your responsibility.

There may be a solution in terms of protecting them from harming each other physically. That would probably involve physical separation. One in a nursing home and one staying at home with some in-home care, perhaps. Or one in a nursing home and one in an assisted living facility. Would they qualify for Medicaid? Do they have resources they could use to pay for their care?

You know the saying about reaping what you sew? (Harvesting what you plant?) I think that this is an example of behavior they have performed and accepted for decades coming to its natural outcome. You can't plant anger and abuse and expect to harvest kindness and compassion.

Do what you can to protect your parents from the worst outcomes of their behavior, but remember that this is Not Your Fault. Absolutely don't beat yourself up or feel guilty if you can't impose a perfect solution on the situation.
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In addition to all of the above, have you talked to mom's doctor about this? You might find that her temperment is improved by antidepressants.
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There is a solution! 1) Try keeping him in rehab longer. 2) Involve the administration and/or discharge planning by telling them the truth. Let them offer solutions and take charge of this. Would be illegal to discharge a patient into a known dangerous to your health situation. 3) Keep them apart for while, so you can figure this out. That should not be too hard since one requires more care than the other, and can be discharged into a nursing home, covered by insurance.
4) If it can work out, arrange an assisted living facility with separate rooms. Mother will improve with less stress, maybe. 5) I have lost count, but want to include being very supportive of you in this difficult situation,.. You need time.
Stand strong. Do not take sides. You can do this if you apply yourself to these issues early on. 6) Ask them, individually, in a conversation, to be kind to each other and treat each other with respect. Be as firm as necessary, say you can report this behavior and then their options will be very limited. If you see it happening, that is when you make the report to Adult Protective Services, it is senior abuse, it is a crime. So sorry you had to live with this, with help, you can be an instrument for change, love them both anyway. Then, plan on detaching with love.
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His balance is poor. If she does this while he is standing, it will be a homicide impossible to discover.

The question I should have asked is that they are looking at retirement livivg places when he gets out of rehab, but shouldn't be together. Finances don't allow an alternative.

Is this a problem with a solution?
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Nowwhat, the key words in your post "She was physically abusive when we were children, so it is how she reacts when she is angry."

Have you lived with your parents the whole time? Maybe slapping your Dad when they argue is something your Mom had been doing all a long, but kept it at bay when you children were around. Now she doesn't care.
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Please?
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