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Currently caring for my father in law. He just started refusing to use his walker or CPAP machine. I don't know how I can make him adhere to using these if he himself refuses to use them. He fell the other day trying to put something into the refrigerator. Which he's not supposed to be doing either. I'm stuck with an obstinate old man and I have no clue on how to make him use these? My wife and I have both told him that he needs to be using these items yet he still refuses. I'm wondering if there would be any legal ramifications if something were to happen to him next time he falls? He stays awake way past our bedtime, but I've had to install motion activated cameras just to keep an eye on him when we're in bed. I've caught him walking around without his walker and that's also how I noticed he fell. Otherwise he would have been on the floor all night. My wife has a sister currently in jail. Very vindictive individual. She is the one I'm worried about suing us. Even though she has only seen her Dad once since he's been ill, then she got arrested. I just don't want anything coming back on us. We're doing our best. He just will not listen. I told my wife maybe we should explore the option of putting him in a nursing home. She's against that of course because she would lose her inheritance. I don't care about the money. I just want my life back.

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Hawkins, your marriage is the first priority. I hope your wife agrees and will chose it over the money. In the end if your FIL's physical or mental condition becomes such that he requires intensive care for an extended time, lots of his money will go towards that -- and that's what he saved it for. I wish you all the best as you try to find the balance in your family.
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Davenport May 2020
Just following your thoughts, Geaton ... my mom didn't save her $$ for 'this'. Born in 1927, she just never ever thought about it, and dad (bless him!) was really responsible and smart about finances, so she's lived past 30 years with no change in income. Most of her life, people generally started dying in their 60s; plus, although she didn't plan it deliberately (so I'd like to think), she did have 3 children (all in our mid-late 60's) who are supporting her in all respects so she can remain at home, sleep in her own cozy bed and bedroom, and gaze out onto the beautiful yard, blooms, and changing seasons. Everything's changed so much. If I knew then ... I'd never have spent any money on anything lovely or enjoyable (traveling, art, things pleasing to the senses). I think we're all 'growing up'. It's a b*tch, but an adventure, and I'm learning to do it with a modicum or more of grace and serenity.
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The elderly fall, it’s just what happens, and using a walker doesn’t make it not happen. You can encourage the use of one but if he won’t use it, then either he doesn’t fear falling or there’s a cognitive issue going on.
My dad hated the CPAP machine. He tried a number of different masks and ways to use it, but it was just uncomfortable for him and disrupting to his sleep. He returned it several years ago and has had no ill effects from doing so. He even told the doctor that it was messing up his plan to die in his sleep. I hope you’ll just let this be. And having someone live in your home and caring for them should be done out of love and concern, not for money or inheritance. That’s a really disturbing motive, dad deserves better than that
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gdaughter May 2020
Exactly. You can be the best most expensive assisted living or nursing home and someone can still fall unless someone is literally at their side 24/7 and even then...falls happen. He's living the life the way he wants to...I don't know about you, but I'd rather do that myself, with the implied risks, than be in an institutional setting. My mother has dementia and has neglected her personal hygiene for years. YEARS. Plural. Her behaviors are anywhere from annoying to unhealthy...but is it reason to place her in a nursing home? Not to me. To what end? No matter how antagonistic our relationship has been over the years, I would not do that if I absolutely didn't have to. If they'd attempt to get her in a shower she'd be stressed and screaming. But I would look into using some of his funds to cover some days off for you and your wife.
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His safety sounds like a much more significant threat to your wife’s inheritance. If she thinks it’s tough to take care of him now, wait until he has a broken bone. At some point soon, you’ll be spending money on at least part time caregivers, a solution that can turn out OK or be very difficult or anything between.
Until you are willing to investigate residential care you’re both pretty much up against it. If he’s able to handle himself in Assisted Living, his care will be a little cheaper than skilled nursing care.
He has taught you that he is not planning to be cooperative, he has some significant physical issues already, and he is likely to have increasingly complicated care issues as he ages.
There are never perfect choices in a situation like yours, and most of the choices you make will fall short of pleasing everyone. At this point though, it sounds as though everyone’s unhappy.
Do some research in your area to see what’s available. At very least, you’ll be prepared if you make that decision in the future.
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well said
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Others have given you great advice, Hawkins. From your profile of him, he is mentally competent, which means his actions--or inactions--are of his choosing. The consequences of such are his.

If you worry about any fallout on you or your wife, get a ledger and document the times each of you have reminded him to use his walker and CPAP machine and his response. Document the times he has fallen and the circumstances. Also, if you both choose, you can install grab bars or install/place railings or handles to help him to keep his balance. Document those installations too.

For the CPAP, by refusing to use it (which is very likely common for many people) he may be jeopardizing financial assistance from health insurance or Medicare for being "noncompliant" with doctor's orders. That happened to my mom when she refused her CPAP and her walker. Document any reminders or discussions about it.

I wish you all happiness, Hawkins, and that it all works out.
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AndreaE May 2020
I agree with the documentation. My mom is of sound mind and I am her paid caregiver. We live together. It's actually just extra income for the both us (the way i use my paychecks). However a couple of years ago my mom decided she was tired of going to doctors appointments and began cancelling the appointments I had scheduled for her. My mom is on medicare and medicaid. In any case, someone reported me to the Department of Aging for elder neglect. They alleged that I was not bringing her tot her appointments i assume out of laziness or neglect. I was angry and devastated. Both myself and my mom went to the scheduled hearing and were interviewed separately. I told them it's her decision if she doesn't want to go, i cant pick her up and carry her to her appointments. I cant FORCE her to do anything she doesnt want to do. My mom went in there and told them the same thing. She said it was her choice to not get follow-up medical care if she chose to. The case worker agreed and closed the case and not founded. I realized after this that I need to document things as I go along just to cover myself. Even if it's just a daily progress note.
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"She's against that because she would lose her inheritance." Statements like that always blow me away. Because, in reality, what cost are you paying NOW for putting up with all of these issues inside of your home?? I would rather be destitute than to ruin these years of my life by dealing with ALL of the endless issues related to stubborn behavior in the elderly. You cannot take your life back as long as your FIL is living there and calling the shots. And as long as your wife is putting money ahead of your quality of life, and ahead of her father's safety & well being.

That's the truth.

My father fell and broke his hip in 2014. As an only child, I was in charge of everything. He had 2 stocks to his name, he and my mother, that was IT. We cashed them out and put the money in my name; to the tune of $400K, believe it or not, by the grace of God Almighty. I was then able to get them into Assisted Living where they were cared for beautifully until dad passed away in 2015.

My mother is now 93 and still living in the ALF, but in the Memory Care section now. There is no way on earth I could possibly care for her, she has more issues than Newsweek. And severe stubbornness is only ONE of them. She has fallen 47x. FORTY SEVEN times that we KNOW of. Because she didn't 'need' her walker. Because she was 'capable' of whatever it was she was doing. Because because because. She's now in a wheelchair and has fallen 10x because she's STILL 'capable' of doing what she's STILL incapable of doing.

I could have brought my parents to live with me and 'kept' the inheritance, as an only child. But the cost would have been WAY way WAY too high for a mere $400K! That money, by the way, will run out by 2021 and I will have to apply for Medicaid to get my mother into a Skilled Nursing Facility, which I will do without hesitation.

It's time for a Come to Jesus meeting with your wife. Things will only go downhill from here, my friend. The falls keep coming. So do the hospitalizations. And the rehabs, and the ambulance rides, and the dementia and the incontinence. And and and. Until there is absolutely NO life left for either you or your wife. And by that time, the inheritance will be of no value at all.

As far as your wife's jailed sister 'suing' you for something, that doesn't seem to hold water in any way, shape or form. What are you doing 'wrong' here, exactly? She'd have to call APS and report you for abuse, and doing that from jail seems a bit ridiculous.

Wishing you the best of luck.
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There are no legal ramifications if he refuses things. Yes you will get your life back when his actions cause him to become hospitalized and you refuse to take him back so that he can go into a nursing home. At that place, several people will be there to assist him. And guess what? He will still be allowed to refuse things, but there will be more watchful eyes to encourage him to use his walker. The CPAP.... well about half of patients are non compliant, so nothing new there. Your wife is stuck in the vortex of living the life of a self centered and possible dementia old man. His life is her life. She is suffering burn out and attempts at micromanagement, which can go on for many years. The greed of inheratance may ruin her health. I suggest you seek out couples therapy. Try to remind her that it is his money that he earned and that it is there to take xare of him during his lifetime. Do not worry about a lawsuit. Sis will need to collect a body of evidence. The fall you describe was an accident caused by dad. Try to limit her visits which should be supervised and recorded.
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Imho, your FIL is not safe in this current dynamic. The inheritance may NOT be worth your health and mental wellness.
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Wow! You are stuck between a vindictive sister in law who might sue if he gets hurt and a wife who is too greedy to prevent the injuries he might sustain while trying to save the money.

Perhaps you should put it in a different perspective for your wife. The money he has evidently saved for his old age needs to be used FIRST for his health and well being. Whatever is left is called the inheritance. If she wants to keep him in the home and he has money to assist with his care (clearly he does), then she needs to hire someone to attend to him when she cannot do so to prevent a horrible accident like falling and laying in a floor for hours.

Your problem is all too common when there is money involved. The children see it as a windfall even though they never earned a dime of it. Let her know you are not playing the game anymore and be a part of letting something bad happen to him in your home.
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Talk to his doctor and get him on Hospice. If you want to get your life back, put him in a nursing home ASAP.
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First, I TOTALLY understand your frustration [I struggled alone with being primary caretaker in my mom's home with her]. I also totally respect your wife's concern about her inheritance. (I'm in the same boat--65, single, [WAY] prematurely retired, living with a 401K that won't even last 6 more years.)

After a few falls and 'calls' (911) at all hours, mom also refused to use a walker (which doc and P.T'st insisted on) for a few years because she 'didn't want to look old'! (Seriously, she's 90 at this point !! : ) A broken leg, broken shoulder, and second (the other side) hip replacement later, she is now using it. But she also stopped going out of the house. God forbid anyone think she's old ... she also never once even tried to continue basic at-kitchen-counter exercises to improve stability/balance. I regret that I now see her as selfish and inconsiderate, and hence, simply not liking her very much.

Once my little family (mom and 2 sibs) all got to 'this point', we've all had to process and ACCEPT that mom has no control over, or choice in, where her assets go. I'm sure she would've preferred to leave each of us a healthy chunk of what my dear dad created, but she's in decent general health. After 5 yrs. of full-time 'watching' and [ahem] 'supporting' mom [basically doing everything without letting her be aware of it, to save her 'dignity'], sisters & I decided to hire caretaker for 4 hours a day, 6 days. I'm just now 65, retired (not from choice), newly single/no kids, knowing my 401K won't see me beyond five more years. Most of us here are in the same situation. Nothing to do but go way deep, and accept the fear and try to work with & through the icky emotions.

Good luck to all of you, Hawkins 72!
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