My parents are soon to be 98-Dad a WW2 - Vet & Mom 96.
Live in Houston in the house I grew up in.
Dad has Alzheimer's, balance issues, can not see good nor will he wear his hearing aids & has hallucinations after waking. Can not button anything. Refuses to shave and wears dirty clothes. Dad can not tie SAS Shoes. Tries to do the laundry and dries dirty cloths and claims they are clean. Mom does not get out of the recliner much.
Mom has mobility issues, overweight, sits in a recliner most of the day screaming at my Dad to do chores and more......
Unfortunately, Mom still drives, drivers license is expired, can not hear well, has IBS, has an emergency alert to wear around her neck and will not arm it, has a cell phone she can barely use, needs eye surgery. Arthritis and more....Doorbell at house does not work, shrubs are over grown, no lights work on the outside of house, inside lights are burned out everywhere. Neighbor says he can hear my Mom yelling from his back yard. Bathroom Fixtures in showers are falling off.
Parents do not have Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directives, Wills, nor is any paperwork organized. I am not listed on any bank accounts.
VA & Hospital has encouraged her to make the above decisions.
Hospital will not let parents stay together when emergency room is necessary. This has happened twice in the past month.
The latest (we are in crisis situation) phone call to me in Florida started one afternoon at 3:00pm and went back and forth till 3:00am. This is an example of the latest.
Parents are not well. House is falling apart. Will not let anyone come to the house to repair anything because she does not trust. House has not been cleaned since, I do not know when.
VA will not talk to me because, I do not have my Dads SS#. Says I am listed as family member however, we can not talk about your father's case.
I know there is a home healthcare guy that goes by the house to take blood pressure and walks my dad around the house to check his balance once a week if my Mom does not cancel the appointment for the week.
Solutions: Do I anonymously call Adult Protective Services?
Last attempt - Do I go to Houston and take a local family friend to talk some logic into my mother?
This situations has been going on for a few years.
Scared to visit because of Covid and no-parents have not been tested.
I have no idea what the income situation is for parents. Suspect no money for assisted living for Mom and Alzheimer's care for Dad.
I may crack-up soon.
I am open to any suggestions or organizations I may call for suggestions.
I know, I am not the only one in this difficult situation. I read AgingCare Daily.

I would call APS and not anonymously. I would provide APS with the name of their VA case manager and anyone else that may be of assistance or may have witnessed concerning circumstances - like your neighbor who says he can hear your mother yelling. Be prepared that APS might not do much, but you never know. Your call will be on record showing that you are concerned.

Your dad may have VA benefits to help with payment for AL or other services. In my opinion flying there to “talk logic” into your mother likely won’t work because she believes things are working just fine! And travel due to Covid is a real concern.

I had to wait until my mother was hospitalized multiple times and things had completely fallen apart before I could move her. As far as guardianship you may want to consider your options. You can consider letting a state guardian step in because you live quite a distance, or if you believe you cannot emotional manage this job. But the guardian will make all the decisions. Also, if your parents are very close to 100 years of age, I’m sure you have your own aging concerns to also manage.

The next time your parents are in the ER tell the hospital staff that you are contacting APS because it is not safe for them to go home. Repeat the word unsafe discharge multiple times. Let them know that you are not POA because your parents have refused to acknowledge their situation and that your dad has dementia and unable to make safe decisions for himself. And that your mother is unable to manage her own care. Be firm about this. Don’t let the hospital staff try to push the responsibility off to you - you live out of state, have your own problems to manage and have no POA or guardianship. The hospital recycled my mother several times back to an unsafe situation without letting anyone know. And your dad’s case manager can put in a little more effort. The VA can arrange for hospice if needed as well as other services. Even if they won’t discuss the case with you, you can leave messages and write letters to the supervisor. Having traveled multiple times in the past to try and help my mother, looking back it was a waste of time and money and emotion, and it accomplished nothing.

Your parents seem to want to die at home and they deserve to have their wish. They never got paperwork in order and maybe that’s because they didn’t want anyone to make decisions for them. Who really knows. However I understand your concern for wanting them to have some dignity and to insure the house isn’t falling apart. You can work from afar to try and locate resources for them. But be prepared to run into road blocks. Sometimes things just need to follow a course of least resistance. Take care of yourself first.
Helpful Answer (19)
Reply to Mepowers


It's like this. You are all standing outside in the middle of a hurricane. And when I ask you what you want to do to find shelter for yourself and your parents, your response is the equivalent of "I want someone to make the wind stop blowing."

What I hope to do is prompt you to create some SMART goals (that's SMART as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-limited, i.e. with a deadline attached to them).

Here are two SMART goals that you can set up today:

1. Find the telephone number or web contact for APS in your parents' area, and tell APS that your father is at risk of neglect and abuse because your mother is unable to handle his needs. APS will need facts - e.g. dates, known issues - to work on, so have them ready in a list.

2. Ask your parents' neighbour to do the same - to put in a report to APS, and reassure him that he has your blessing to do this because he may otherwise be reluctant to "get your mother into trouble."

The VA won't talk to you because your parents' information is confidential and they do not have your parents' permission to share it with you. Your parents have decided not to create any Durable Powers of Attorney, or to list you as an authorised contact for HIPAA purposes, or to give you any access to anything you would need to support them.

It is important for you to recognise that this decision not to act was your father's just as much as it is now your mother's. It was open to him at any time during his later adult life to look ahead and plan for his own, and for your mother's if she agreed, old age. Do not blame your mother for everything that is now happening because it is unhelpful and unrealistic. She is an overweight arthritic 96 year old with mobility issues who is trying to communicate with a deaf 98 year old: of course she sits there yelling. How else?

Reading between the lines, it seems that your parents' goal is to remain living in their own home. There are ways to make that happen. They are typical in believing that if they accept help, and thereby acknowledge that they do need help, it will open the door to faceless state bureaucrats who want to steal their house, abduct them, and imprison them in a facility where they will be force-fed apple sauce and knock-out meds.

The truth is that if they accept support at home, they will greatly increase their chances of achieving what they want: to remain living at home.

You say that your goal is that they should sell their house and use the funds to buy long term care in a nice facility. There is nothing wrong with that idea, except that your parents don't agree with it. So drop it. It is their life and not yours. They may in due course be persuaded to change their minds, but if you persist in pushing an idea they currently reject they will not trust you to support them in what THEY want - so they exclude you completely.

You say there have been two ER visits in the last month: what happened, and what information were you given (and by whom) each time?
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Countrymouse
jacobsonbob Jan 22, 2021
CM--I copied your "SMART" formula; thanks for this wonderful planning tool!

Your suggestions are all spot on.
I'd call the police for a welfare check. That would put immediacy on this because they'd be there within the hour. The police will probably contact you and APS or ask you if you want to call APS, which of course you do.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to MJ1929
cartermac Jan 20, 2021
Great ideas. Thank you very much.
You are living a nightmare...I am so sorry you are going thru this. My MIL just died and we went thru something similar, though not nearly as bad. Do try to get the VA to assist. They are a good resource. Calling to police and asking them to do welfare checks is a good idea. Tell them about the expired driver's license and make theg can handle that part of it. Do you have a good attorney? Sit down and tell them the entire situation and get their good and legal advice. Our attorney saved us a LOT of grief over the past few years in dealing with my MIL. Lastly...prepare to have to sit back and do nothing if there is nothing you can legally do. My 93 year old MIL...widowed 2 years ago, my husband the only living child, and in worse health than she let on to us...finally told my husband to stay out of her business, that she was "independent." Legally, he had to step back, but that was also a relief to him at that time. The last months of her life we very unpleasant because of her own choices. But, legally, there is only so much we can do when our parents refuse our help or advice. I wish you much luck and peace of heart and mind.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Monica19815

Sounds like you are in a hard place. So are they. So whose wishes take precedence? I have posted before and will now post again my passionate belief in the rights of these two (and any of the rest of us) to make their own decisions about how they want to live their last years and how they want to die. If it’s at home, making do with things as they are, then so be it. The guy who comes and walks your Dad around should be able to report any truly dangerous issues. Sounds to me like they just don’t any longer have the same standards as you do — if your Dad has Alzheimer’s, he won’t even remember the verbal abuse 5 minutes after it occurs. Maybe she’s always yelled at him and this is their normal. So the house is not as clean as yours or as clean as it used to be. Not really your business. So the yard doesn’t look great. Maybe they like or tolerate it because they really don’t mind much. Bottom line — don’t disregard their wishes. It may make you feel less guilty to think about “placing them”. But my opinion (and the older I get, the louder I communicate this to our children): If I have gone to the trouble to tell you my end-of-life wishes, then by golly don’t ignore them because it makes YOU feel better to take those decisions out of my hands. Dying at home is not the worst death a person can have. Sounds to me like they have access to what they need and are choosing not to use it. It is their right to make that choice. Your Mom has lots of health issues, but it sounds like dementia is not one of them. So she will likely continue to object to anyone else making such important decisions for her. I say that’s okay. They have lived long and productive lives and have communicated how they want to spend the last part of it. Call them on a regular schedule with happy news so that someone is checking in on them every week if not every day. Listen to them with an open heart and let the verbal abuse slide off like water off a duck’s back. If they ask for help, be there. If you call and they don’t answer, call police for a welfare check. Until then, just be a loving daughter to the best of your ability and without taking over their lives for them. Clearly this is just my opinion, but I am a staunch defender of each individual’s right to make their own end-of-life decisions. And if it helps, probably no matter what you do or don’t do, you’ll feel some guilt about it. So good luck and prayers as you carry on. And remember, each response on this page is simply the poster’s opinion based in their own caretaking journey, no two of which are identical. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to lindabf
ClauChar Jan 22, 2021
They have the right to their own decisions? What about mom still driving and killing someone else? What was that person's right?
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Rovana, who is going to take mom off the road?? She isn’t even driving legally. Call the cops. What are they going to do? Throw a 96 year old woman in jail because she is driving illegally. You would be surprised how many people out there who are driving illegally. They still manage to drive.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to elaine1962
Beatty Feb 24, 2021
Yep they manage - until that one day they can't. They infuriate others going so s l o w.. maybe get pulled over... Police may say 'drive safely now' & shake his head.

Then one day they hit something. Hopefully their own letterbox, going very slow.

Not accelerating into a shop front when trying to park. This seems to happened quite a bit.
Yes, call APS tho I don’t know why you need to do it anonymously. You might also see if the police can do a wellness check and report the expired license to them. You are only seeing to your parents best interests as well as to the drivers and pedestrians they are endangering.

It's interesting that the health resource hasn't reported these things.

With no POA you can’t really do anything, nor are you legally obligated to. The state May have to appoint a guardian if your parents are deemed unable to care for themselves. You Might be asked to take this on but I would caution you to think long and hard about this.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Frances73
cartermac Jan 19, 2021
Great Suggestions. I believe, I am going to call the VA and give them one last chance to do the wellness home check or have VA initiate a wellness home check through the home healthcare service my MOM is using.
Local Police precinct is another good idea.

Appreciate your thoughtfulness.
I hear you! I hear your heart and I feel SO much compassion for you. My elderly parents are in AZ 15 min. from Mexico and I too am in FL. They refuse to move closer to any adult children and I imagine it’s just too daunting for them to deal with a move at their age.
First of all, wow! 96 & 98!! I wouldn’t worry about covid at this point. much longer do you think they could live anyway? I don’t mean for this to sound heartless. I am a realist. I would definitely call Protective Services. It would be worth paying a TX Elder Law or Guardianship attorney for a consultation for an hour of their time. They can tell you what your options are in way of getting help for them when they don’t want help. It could cost you $300-$350, but it would be worth it. It sounds like at this point they need to be under the guardian of the state.
My sister, a nurse who works with the elderly, always tells me “Sometimes worse things need to happen and play out before the right changes come.” So don’t be fearful of all the “what if’s” that might happen to them.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to DILhagen2

Please be aware that if you 'do nothing,' it is likely based on feeling overwhelm.
And, that you know your mother is driving without a license, doesn't hear (well), and has other health issues, that you are, in part, responsible for her potentially injuring or killing herself or others when driving.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to her and the community and anyone else driving or any pesterdrian in her path to report this situation to an agency. Then, if you want to do nothing, you will have at least done something to alert authorities to the situation.

FYI: It is very easy to take a part out of the engine so the car will not start. If you do not live in the area, you will need to enlist the help of a friend / neighbor, etc. This is no joke. How would you feel if she killed someone? a child?
This is serious.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to TouchMatters
rovana Jan 23, 2021
You are so right. Even if OP can do nothing with mom, why not try to protect Dad from her abuse? Why throw a demented father under the bus? Doesn't he matter? And also, please, please protect innocent drivers and pedestrians from your mom. She has no right to make life and death decisions for them. You probably cannot do much with mom, but why abandon dad? IMO you are not "honoring" anyone here.
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Call APS immediately!

Per your post, your parents are unable to perform activities of daily living and are at risk.

I experienced a similar situation (i.e., no "known" POA, medical directive, authorization of any kind, will, and maternal distrust, etc.). At first I was reluctant to call APS and report my concern for my mom's safety primarily because I was afraid they would come in, declare my mom's house unsafe, and leave her homeless.

Long story short: after a recommendation from a family member, I called APS in June 2018, worked with 5 social workers, provided supporting documentation, met with her doctors/psychiatrists, helped to build a case for a county directed/financed guardianship hearing, attended her guardianship hearing in December 2019 where the court appointed a guardian/conservator who sold her properties to pay for assisted living and placed her in a quality memory care facility in February 2020 that she enjoys.

I left out a lot of detail because this post isn't about me and the risk my mom endured. Everyone's story and circumstances are different so there isn't a single solution that fits all situations. I hope APS can expedite the process for your parents, but if you decide to pursue guardianship (county is free; private Elder Care attorneys $$S - I didn't have the funds), remember attorneys must be thorough because taking rights away or independence from an individual is extremely serious and the process can take time.

In your case, with your parents approaching 100 and the scenario you described, I imagine it may be easier and more streamlined (quicker) for the county or private lawyers to build a case provide your parents the safety they deserve (i.e., placed in an assisted living facility, proper in-home care, etc).

Cartermac, I'm praying for you and your parents ... there will be a solution.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to helpingson
FamilyNeeded Jan 22, 2021
ABSOLUTELY NOT! There is a better solution then calling authorities on your own parents!
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