My husband's father is an alcoholic and is now elderly and lives on his own. My husband grew up in an abusive alcoholic home where the kids were not cared for and often went without food or clothing. His father was working but spent his paycheck at the bar for alcohol and gambling the same day he got it. As soon as my husband was old enough to leave, he did. We met, married and made it our mission to have a safe, non toxic home for our kids. We had been in touch with addiction professionals who encouraged us to set healthy boundaries with his family to keep our kids safe which meant not having a relationship with his family while they were in addiction, codependency and chaos. His mother died several years ago and there are two other siblings who are still living in the dysfunctional way they grew up.
My FIL would sponge money off his mother, my DH's grandmother, her entire life and when she died, he sponged money off his two sisters, my DH's aunts, and continues to do so. They all enabled him, gave him money, cars, a house, paid his utilities when he couldn't, all while he was still drinking heavily every day. The aunts have said many times they are glad my husband got out and changed his life from what he grew up in.
Fast forward about 30 years and my FIL is living in his home and his daughter is his primary care giver. She also has a history of not working much and sponging off the aunts.
A few weeks ago we were contacted by one of aunts, now in her 80's, explaining that my husband's sister was in the hospital and as a result, she was not able to get food to my FIL and would we mind getting him something. We reluctantly agreed, because he is elderly and we couldn't in good conscience let him go without food. We had not seen him in many years and he never contacts us. Neither does my DH's sister. DH took him food and saw that he was living in a dirty house with poor hygiene, as he always had. (that's how my DH grew up too) But we emailed the aunts to ask them if anyone has looked into plans for him and to explain his living conditions.
One aunt wrote back and addressed our questions and basically said that he is an adult that chooses to live like that, which we know. We just wanted to make them aware he was still the same. The aunt said that one of them was coming in spring to check on him. (they both live far away) She also said that his caregiver was discharged and able to go back to caring for him.
Then on Friday, we got a call from my FIL telling us he needs food. I asked him where his daughter was and he said she doesn't have any money because she's been off work. I asked him where his pension and social security is and he said he won't get SS until the middle of the month. I said we will get him some food and I asked if he mind if I contact some agencies to see if he can get aid. He said "go ahead, but I think I make too much money". He also told me that his daughter took him out earlier to "buy beer and cigarettes". My DH called her and told her that she is his caregiver and that he needs food. She got defensive with him and said she is not his caregiver. ?? She is on his bank account with him and pays his bills. She also takes him to doctor's appts, etc. She took him food and so did we. His father was under the impression that the aunts were paying us to bring him food, which we told him we were not. My DH's sister told him that.
I called aging adult services today and they basically told me he is an adult who is able to make his own decisions, spend his money the way he wants and has not been declared mentally incompetent. She went further to suggest that we start to try to have a relationship with him to make sure to remind him to eat or take him for groceries when he gets a check. !? We spent our whole lives trying to get away from the alcoholic enabling atmosphere and my FIL has had a lifetime of never having to do anything for himself; he has always had someone take care of him. We don't know what our legal obligations or protections are.
I called an addiction support to ask them how we are responsible if he chooses to spend his money on alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. She said alcoholism is the same whether a person is 20 or 70 and they don't have many elderly clients because of insurance. She suggested we contact a lawyer to see what we are responsible for. We feel like we are being forced to establish a relationship with him and take on responsibility that is not ours just because he is elderly and we don't want to be accused of being neglectful. Do we have to provide food for him after he spends his money on his addictions? Are we responsible for a person who has never cared about us? It's only now, that his sisters are older and can't provide much, that he contacted us. He also has several outstanding loans and debt. The aunts tried to help with bankruptcy but he bailed on that because he wants to be able to get more loans if he can.

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I am afraid you inadvertently dropped some blood in the water wheen you agreed to get some food for FIL. Don't do it again. if Dh's aunt feels some one should be feeding this worthless shadow of a man Auntie can call the local Walmart and have them make a delivery to him.
He is an adult capable of making his own decisions and has not been declared incompetent. He has another adult living with him with a pattern of supervision, let her get on with it. She has no money so tell her to get her a** down to social security and apply for some temporary help till she starts working again. There are also free food banks all over the place and HEAP to help with heating .Most weeks one church or other hosts a free dinner or breakfast there is usually a free will offering. One church near us offers free soup and sandwich once a week and the senior center has a low cost lunch every day. there are also very low cost frozen meals. I know Banquet meals usually sell for $1 or less. I saw loaves of bread in Walmart today for $1 each and day old bakery very cheap. Chicken was 69 cents a pound and other stores usually have fruit and veg marked down if they are getting old.
Stop or don't start enabling FIL he is perfectly able to do things for himself. He obviously won't nor will SIL as long as family members are ready to respond to a phone call.
Never mind what he has done in the past. This has nothing to do with punishing him. It is about his current situation and behavior. Don't even think about feeling guilty or sorry for him he has been playing his family like a fiddle all your lives so don't join the band.
Prepare for your proceedure on Wed and concentrate on recovering and interacting with your own family. He has plenty of other people in his life to manipulate, you have both worked hard to overcome hubby's early struggles and done an excellent job so don't jeapodise it now.
Helpful Answer (10)

"This elderly man is the abusive alcoholic biological parent of my husband. My husband has been advised by medical and addiction specialists to allow the state to take over his care" Click.
Helpful Answer (7)

everyone is telling you he can make his own plans and choices, so why would you be held responsible? He has a daughter on his accounts, who is his primary CG.. this is HER PROBLEM, and they are making it yours. Just say NO!
Helpful Answer (6)

You have no, repeat NO legal obligation to provide support to your FIL. In some " filial responsibility stattes" the courts have gone after very wealthy children whose parents are destitute. I don't believe you fall into that category.

You might want to contact Meals on Wheels and get that information to Aunt who can set that service up.

Addiction is very sad and destructive.
Helpful Answer (6)

Even in a filial responsibility state, children who were abused or neglected are exempt. You have NO LEGAL responsibility for this biological father. Go back to your previous position of no contact.

A social worker or other social services employee would, of course, like a family member -- any family member -- to take responsibility. One less case for them. Hospital discharge people do the same thing -- try to guilt the family member to take the patient into their home even when that would clearly not be best for anyone. Gets them out of the hospital, though.

This man makes too much money to qualify for help. And he can't afford food? Definitely not your problem.

Detach. Stay away.
Helpful Answer (6)

Thank you both!! You have no idea how this has been weighing on us! We do live in PA where some people have been sued under the filial law and it was shocking to read about it. Add to that the woman at Agency on Aging telling me we should try to establish a relationship with him and start helping him get food practically put me in tears. The very first question she asked me was how close we lived to him (the same town) and the second question was why haven't we checked on him before? I felt very judged and I don't know if she understands anything about addiction issues. You HAVE to set boundaries, which we had spent a lifetime doing. We had taken marriage classes, parenting classes and worked very hard to get away from the abusive alcoholic family. For her to suggest that we start being involved with him after 30 years made my heart sink! For the life of me I could not figure out how it's ok to set boundaries with a dysfunctional alcoholic family for our whole married life, and then have that fly out the window just because my FIL is "elderly" now and we shouldn't neglect him.

When I spoke to the agency, I could tell they had a file on my FIL. She mentioned things that I didn't tell her, like his age, and asked me to confirm his address. I asked her if she had a file on him and she hesitated, and I said "you're not allowed to tell me, right?" and she said "yes". I said "well if you have a file on him make sure to note that I called for information to help him with food". I plan on getting that information to his caregiver when I receive it in the mail and then we're done. I'm not going to be put in the position of having to feed him because he chooses to spend his money on beer, cigarettes and gambling. He can somehow take the bus to his "clubs" to drink every day, but can't take it to go to the store? We know seniors can ride for free.

I felt like the agency person was pushing us to make sure he has food. She even said that we could call him when we know he gets his check and offer to take him to the store so he could buy himself groceries. We can't do that with a person who is practically a stranger. And a stranger who is very selfish and destructive to boot! I know that their priority is to make sure the elderly person is taken care of, but some situations are complicated, like ours.
Helpful Answer (5)

I had alcoholic parents so I feel for you. They can be very manipulative and often will "confuse" the situation to make it better for themselves.

It is a struggle to tear away from their unhealthy lifestyle. Your husband is to be commended on staying away to keep himself and his family mentally healthy. Why start up now?

Do what you can by calling Meals on Wheels and give the options above (that Veronica mentioned) to his dad and sister.
Then BOW OUT. Do not answer the phone or e-mails. Don't feel guilty. You've got more than enough on your plate. If any agency contacts you (and you unfortunately pick up the phone), tell them you are taking care of YOUR elderly parents, have a chronic illness, are going for surgery, you have 3 children and your doctor has warned you not take on any more responsibility.
Ask them to remove your names from any list with your FIL's name on it. Yes, the Aging Adult Services will take ANY opportunity to NOT have to get government services involved.

Free yourselves from this trap 'early' (now) in the game. You are overtaxed and can't do any more. Keep you and your husband's promise on how to raise your family.

Your FIL is making his own choices. That's his business, not yours.

Good luck with your surgery. Rest a lot afterwards and don't be too quick to get back into your regular routine.
Helpful Answer (5)

Thank you all for the information, insight and support! We had no idea how the social services agency works and we will not be answering their calls if they do try to contact us.
I wish I would've known how they operate before I called them because I never would have. But now I'm understanding why she was telling me to start a relationship with him and I'm feeling better about going back to the "no contact" position.

DH has said he is going to contact his aunts and tell them that we are out of the picture and don't want to hear anything about his father and not to contact us to get him anything. We are even considering changing our phone number.

My DH's brother has now started sticking his nose in. He contacted one of my children (shes an adult) on facebook and told her to have my DH call him. We told her to delete the message (after she screen shot it) and block him. There is no need to reply to him. This shows the level of dysfunction, that they would try to get to us through our children. They would not know any of my kids if they passed them on the street but they feel they have the right to contact them and demand they share a message with us?!
Helpful Answer (5)

You have some great reply's here :)
Take note of SueC and bow out. Change your number if you have to.
My dad was an alcoholic and it was not good. I left home at 15. Lonely but the safest and best move I could have made at the time. Just to leave you with a smile. Dad did (once) give me a birthday present - a fork

Good Luck
Helpful Answer (5)

MACinCT dad may be telling the truth about his Soc Sec check. Mine is deposited in my bank the third Wednesday of the month.

I agree with everyone else - run! Protect yourselves and go back to no contact. {Hugs}
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