Follow
Share

My father mid 80s is emailing a few people from his past, but also people we currently know and some professionals that look after him financially and medically. He lives with my mother, who has never been very nice to anyway but she is tolerant. He leaves the email open and she sees these contacts and one day and she asked me to click on them as she was concerned to read the content. Plus she wanted me to check for scams, as he fell for one before. He is complaining about myself and my mother, telling tall stories about how is being treated badly (no specifics) and is unhappy and telling these contacts he will visit them soon (which he cannot do, as most are abroad).


When I saw these emails, I felt sick inside and embarrassed, as I know and knew some of these people. They have not been bombarded by emails (yet) it's once in a while so far and they reply and answer his questions. I am worried they might believe the content and think badly of us all.


I discussed with my mother, but we do not know how to handle it. Should we contact these people and tell them not to reply? I think it will get worse, he is not losing his mind per se, he can have a normal conversation with you, but his poor character traits that he always had are becoming more pronounced and irrational. He is so ungrateful, as he is well looked after and could never get this quality of care anywhere else without paying a fortune. What I really want to do is take the computer away, but I do not feel I can, without a huge fuss and I do not even know if that is rational of me at this point!


I need some advice about what you would do in my position.

Find Care & Housing
No I do not mean social visitors, my father keeps saying he wants to leave and someone else will take him on. He will not get and has not had any genuine visitors at all, the ones who are nice or honest, are not interested in visiting him, they just had the misfortune of him having their emails, in fact, he was asking for their phone numbers too on some of the messages, so let us hope they do not give them out or they will get calls next. What I worry about is the moochers from his past, now they could smell an $ offer and let him stay with them, I guess they would have to come and pick him up though and go through my mother's barrier in order to do it . I think he really really wants to prove to her that he has people who idolize him...

He basically says he hates living there, but if she goes out for too long, then why is she not home watching out for him in case he falls, and those friends of hers are garbage people etc....which is it, you want her around or you don't?

When I say he cannot travel, I mean abroad, I guess he could, with help, he would need a chaperone, eg. in a wheelchair, but I do not think he can get insurance for his ailments, I did check and could not find anything that covered up to his age-group to travel abroad, couple of countries that he has friends at, which is where he says he wants to go to.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to itsjustme123
Report

I would reply to each of them without telling him and explain his situation. Welcome any responses that they send to his emails because he is still actively writing and trying to communicate with others. Once they understand the situation, perhaps their responses can show empathy while knowing the real situation as well. And be sure to let them know, whatever his condition is prevents him from traveling even though he indicates he intends to do so. So far, none of these people have paid a welfare visit to check out his claims of being treated badly, so perhaps they already doubt what he is saying. In your email, welcome any of them to come for a visit. Will allow them to look around and observe AND pay him a visit.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to my2cents
Report

say my father was to somehow entice somebody to come and pick him up and take him away, one of these email contacts, what would the best thing be to do? nobody will take him without being paid handsomely, but there are people out there or maybe their children that could see an opportunity to make some money, that he is waving about? I did not look at all the emails, but I do know he had some people work for him many years ago, he mentions that liked him sooo much (they always were asking for loans) and has their phone or email possibly, they would be that type of candidate for sure. In one way he would not be our problem anymore, but in another he would get exploited perhaps and then passed back to us when the cash runs out.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to itsjustme123
Report
my2cents Apr 25, 2019
if someone offers to come to take him out for a ride/lunch - just be very appreciative of how nice they are to do so. Just don't offer any kind of payment. You might even say it is so nice for someone to get him out of the house for a while because it's good for him....and there are so many people who have offered thinking there was $$ in it for them. --I promise you they will say they could never do anything like that to another person....which puts them on notice. If it was for the $$, you won't see them again!
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I'm not including the name because AC has rules about things like that, but this is the web profile of a young lady practitioner in your area which I found through a reputable source in less than five minutes. The idea is to give you an example of the kind of help you and/or your mother can access without any need to make your Dad lift a finger if he doesn't want to.

******

Late life is often a dynamic time and one of transition. For many older adults, it is fraught with illness, loss and emotional and physical challenge. But it can also be a time of enormous potential. With fewer obligations, long time personal goals can finally be realized and difficult family relationships repaired and healed. Evidence suggests that it's possible to make change at any stage of life. Together through the collaborative process of psychotherapy, we will work towards your goals using an integrated approach that includes psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, and solution focused strategies.

My practice also includes end of life psychotherapy & psychosocial support and therapy for those living with serious or chronic illness. I also offer consultation & psychotherapy to well spouses & family caregivers, as well as mediation assistance to families in conflict over treatment or end of life decision-making or caregiving responsibilities.
As an Advanced Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Social Worker (ACHP-SW) & former VA Palliative Care Fellow, I appreciate that many frail clients, especially those in need of end of life support, can't travel to a psychotherapist. I'll consider home visits for very ill or end of life clients.

******

She even throws in a free initial telephone consultation. How can it possibly hurt to ask?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 25, 2019
sigh - if it was me, I would not give him his meds if he does not want them.
He has plenty of access to medical care, he gets a 3 montly routine visit at home to check blood pressure and general checkup. The drs prescribe the meds, it is up to him if he takes them in my opinion. He may or may not have parkinsons, again it is up to the dr and him to discuss it, if he is lucid, which I think he is, and if he is not lucid, that should be up to the dr to pick up. I will tell my mother to inform the dr to assess him for lucidity, but I cannot see how anything other that old age slowness will be picked up, as he does not holler or show irrational thoughts in front of the dr of course...
(0)
Report
If your father has no diagnosis of mental illness and/or dementia, and your mother is feeding him his medication without his knowledge or consent, that is assault.

She can report non-compliance to his doctor.
She can remind and encourage your father to take his medication as prescribed.
But she cannot give it to him covertly. She must stop doing that.

You and your mother are coping with a very difficult situation. I don't for a second suppose that you have anything but the best intentions. But with those best intentions, you are between you engaging in activities which *are* abusive.

Even when abuse is unintentional, it is still abuse.

That tremor - do you know that your father does *not* have Parkinson's Disease? Or that he has not been taking antipsychotic medication long-term?

Are you confident that your mother has told you everything she knows about his medical history?
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

Your father is afraid, as in living in fear, and your mother is miserable.

His fear is not rational, and his response to it is counterproductive, but that's not the point. He is not able to analyse the situation as you have done and think "heck, I'd better calm down and be nice or she really will leave!"

They can't go to counselling as a couple because he's obviously not going to wear that idea for a nanosecond.

The question to be answered is whether his mental and emotional state is deteriorating to the point where he is manifestly ill. The marriage has long been strained, okay; but at this point the impact on their quality of life seems to have crossed a line. Has it?

When you say "put him in a care home" what exactly have you in mind? I'd agree with you that your father does need to be examined and might actually be better off in residential care, but on what basis could he be admitted?

Your mother feels defeated and helpless, and who can blame her. It is very difficult to see your way out of a situation when you feel trapped in it. But you do not need her permission to seek professional advice, and once you have had that consultation you then take your mother to see the same person and have it repeated. As things are, she doesn't know what to do so she's not doing anything. But if that continues, the only way that anything will change is if one of them dies or somebody gets hurt.

For an example of what you can discuss: your mother isn't engaging with psychological services because your father wouldn't agree to see them. Well. Mentally ill people rarely do agree that they're mentally ill! There are ways round that, which professionals will be able to explain.

Try not to be so pissed off with your dad. When your mother seems so oppressed by his behaviour I know it's hard to feel warmly towards him, but detach from that and look on him as just an old man who is very unhappy and needs help.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

You said Mom is his caregiver and you say he doesn't have the ability to travel. What is medically wrong with him? If u can answer that, we may have different answers.

My opinion, you leave ur email open and someone is going to read it. I think Mom had a good reason wanting to know what was going on. Her future is at stake her too.

It looks to me like Dad has always had some type of Personality disorder. He may be a narcissist. He may also be in early stages of Dementia and this just heightens a problem like this. They lose the abilitity to filter.
Dad really needs a full evaluation. Psychological and labs. If found Dad has Dementia and no one has POA, then guardianship is the only way to go and its expensive. I doubt if Mom is going to be able to deal with him then. If Dementia is a diagnosis, Mom needs to protect herself. She will need to see a lawyer. One who knows Medicaid.

There is something wrong with someone who feels its OK to put his financial info out there. You r lucky that the person was honest and told you what is going on. Falling for scams shows not thinking right.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 25, 2019
He gave out his financial details, to someone I know did not ask for it, he is looking for a backup plan, he thinks someone who barely knows him would see he has such and such in bank and take him on to stay with him, this is the delusion, and his way of control, this stay would need to be on his own terms and the host would have to think he was a great person and really like him. There is no such person that he knows who would take him on, but he threatens it often, my brother will take me, my old friend will take me. No they would not. I said to him, go then! of course he didnt. Then he will settle down another day and be good as gold. It takes a trigger, she says the wrong thing or sees a friend for too long, or any outside trigger is taken out on her, eg. she chose a service, it went wrong, shes to blame. I think he is afraid he will get put in a care home once she cannot cope, the irony is, his behaviour is wearing her down to make that more likely. If he were to stay quiet and curb his threats, she would be much more relaxed and able to cope. I really beleive he does not see that irony. She is passive and is broken, she is older herself of course, she is not the strong woman she used to be. She does not deserve this. My suggestions fall on deaf ears. I say come live with me and put him in a carehome (he would shout blue murder). Get a live in carer, no he would not want that and neither does she etc etc. I feel sorry for her, she had a life of being insulted and she could have done better. So no, she has her own ideas, if it was down to me I would do all the med assessments and get this in order - but she is his official carer and is stubborn in her own way too. She is like a caged animal for too long, her mindset is not objective in the way mine is. There is no way she will consult an attorney or any of your other kind suggestions....

He financially threatens her, but she has her own funds, so could never be made homeless or not have funds, and I would never let that happen anyway, but of course she would not want him giving his funds away, getting scammed or other threats of leaving to stay with someone and paying them through the nose. My belief is he does not actually want to live elsewhere, but what he wants is complete submission to all and every demand, and he only has money and shouting so the neighbours will hear as a weapon

Someone asked what is medically wrong, mobility walks short distances with a stick, arthritis and heart and what looks like a tremor.

Regarding the meds, she told the dr he was not taking them and he spoke to my father telling him he must, still ignored, my mother is crushing them in to his drinks. Do you know what? I had to bite my tongue, as what I wanted to say was, let him go without them and let him see what happens to his health...........

anyway, thanks all for letting me vent. I will be now reading these forums with interest.
(1)
Report
He left the emails open for the world to see. You and your mother did not go snooping. In my opinion, there's a difference. It's like when you hand someone your phone to show them a picture and they accidentally swipe left or right and see another picture that may not be for public consumption. It's the risk he took by leaving his emails open on the screen.

That said, print out the one where he gave away sensitive financial information. Keep it in a safe place, along with other important documentation.

It's time to start documenting. Your mother needs to keep a journal. For example, document the date, time and medication he refused to take. Write exactly what he says e.g. "I don't need this pill" or whatever. Write objective statements only e.g. "He flushed the pill down the toilet" or "He spat the pill on the floor".

Get your mother a consult with an elder law attorney as soon as possible. That consult needs to be between her and her attorney. Do not involve yourself or your father. You can help your mother protect herself financially and psychosocially for her future.

Focus less on your father because he refuses help. Focus more on your mother because she is vulnerable to your father whose unpredictable and uncooperative.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
Report

I don't mean this unkindly, but are you guessing or do you actually know what medical and/or psychiatric investigations and/or treatment he has had so far?

Is this bitterness or mental illness ... we will never find out.

Well, you'd *better* find out. And this is what you explain to whoever you're asking:

He is sending sensitive financial information to people who clearly have not asked for it and are not expecting it. He is not involving your mother in standard household finances because he fears that she will steal from him. He is increasingly detached from reality in his communications. He is acting against medical advice: tell the doctors that he only complies with treatment or respects their opinion when he agrees with it, and they'll tell you his ideas are grandiose. He is increasingly intolerant of any challenge to his judgement, even when it is demonstrably risky.

He's not just having a bit of a grump, is he.

You can sit tight and blame him for the trainwreck when it happens, or you can start setting off alarms. And unless your mother wants a horrible mess on her hands, she needs not to be passive about it. I know it can be frightening to feel that you've started something when you're not sure where it's going to end, but if she does nothing she won't even have professional back-up.

What sort of medical professionals have been treating him? One of these might be a good place to start looking for advice.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

Does anyone in his Circle of Trust, or do any of the medical professionals you haven't yet specified, think that your father is mentally ill?

By mentally ill, I mean in any way - chronic longstanding mental illness or recently emerging symptoms, anything at all.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 24, 2019
He has no real circle of trust. He respects doctors but not if they were to say something he does not agree with. Any doctor that has seen him for ailments, he says is in cohoots with my mother. Cohoots just for the fact she is the only one who is able to summon them or organise a visit for him. Everything, no matter how silly it sounds, is turned around as a dig to my mother. Whereas any of his own non shared friends, however remote, or his distant family are saints. He has already gone against medical advice on a couple of ailments already, eg. not taking his pills, due to not needing them or not being good or right ones.

He has not been assessed by a doctor for mental illness.

His behaviour is more or less hidden, he sometimes shows it in front of visitors, but he can act normally and nicely to outsiders.

So, is this bitterness or mental illness. I do not think we will ever find out.
(0)
Report
Um... I would be very concerned. One of his contacts may contact Adult Protective Services. I would make sure... don't mention the emails... but make sure he knows that if someone takes him seriously APS has the power to remove him from the home and place him in what they consider "protective custody".
Example: My father was telling people on the phone that his house was falling apart (it was under construction and obviously during the weekends the construction people would not be working). I repeatedly told him that if he told people this on the phone they might call the police and he might be taken away from me or me away from him. He finally stopped and now I forbid him to answer the landline. I got him a "special phone" that only his friends and family can call it no solicitors.
blessings
hgnhgn
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to hgnhgn
Report
Rabanette Apr 26, 2019
Maybe they can contact Adult Protective Services preemptively, and maybe APS might have some suggestions about how to keep everyone safe in this situation, going forward?
(0)
Report
I'm sorry to say it, but yes you are going to need a thick skin; and not to just to cope with personal remarks.

When the person very responsibly contacted your mother to say your father had sent over unsolicited sensitive financial information - which was very nice of him or her - what did your mother do about it? Apart from ask you to look at the computer, I mean.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 23, 2019
We said to him about what the contact told us, he put up a wall of silence. Did not admit to it and I am pretty sure thought, I will cross that person off my trust list......I do not know if he is playing a fantasy game that he thinks is harmless, eg through boredom or whatever, delusional or losing his mind a little. He always had a character even when younger of if you comply with me, say I am right and do as I want, I trust you and you are the enemy if you do not. He wants to be the boss but we dared to answer back sometimes.
(2)
Report
Okay, again.

Look. It is *possible* that increasing anxiety verging on paranoia, fantasy escape plans, a complete and disproportionate breakdown in trust - combined with being so cavalier about security as to leave his email unprotected - could be a sign of treatable or manageable mental health problems, and investigating your father's wellbeing could lead ultimately to an improvement in your parents' quality of life all round.

Is there any history of mental ill health? You say you burned out when it came to listening to him, which is fair enough; but how long a period of time are we talking about, here?

It is also certainly true that your mother should be looking ahead to her own future needs, and making sure that her finances are organised. In 2019, it is just not the norm for her to be so dependent on her husband that she wouldn't even know how to cope if she had to, not even if she too is in her mid-eighties. The Equal Pay Act has been with us since 1973.

But somebody he trusts needs to talk to him before you can do anything much. He doesn't trust your mother, whether or not there is even a grain of reason to his suspicions, and you've shut him down. Can you reopen communication and restore his confidence in you?

Are you or is your mother in touch with the medical professionals you mention? - what sort, by the way?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

My grandfather was like that all his life, yet he could also be loving, so grandma stayed.  People he spoke with about how bad his life was didn't believe him, so don't worry unless one of them notifies a local official to come investigate. If your mother chooses to stay, there is nothing you can do.

Several times my grandmother told dad that if she died first, never take in his father to live with him.  He was often angry and she walked on eggshells with him.  Has your father been this bad?  If not, maybe you can ignore the emails completely.  It sounds like the person who spoke to your mother did, and just wanted her to know.  The few times I visited and he was home, I was so frustrated that I left in tears (I was still in school then), and my mom told me not to visit him if that is what happens.

You could also get some counseling about what is 'normal' and what is abusive, or at least dysfunctional.  Grandpa, it seems, had mental illness, and since he was being treated by the VA, he finally got the right meds and became calm and easy to visit.  This may have nothing to do with your father, but checking it out may be helpful for you to know.   Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to GrannieAnnie
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 23, 2019
Thanks for the reassurance, I was starting to feel like a bit of a criminal from some of the answers, because I snooped but I know my heart is in the right place and I know email and social etiquette is surely not these types of unsolicited email complaints to people (particularly people he has not even seen in decades!).

Your story is very similar to my father. He became bitter when she tried to leave him when they were younger, he seemed to forgive her in order to get her back, begged and promised just to get her back, but once he knew she had given up her chance on leaving, never forgave her. Yes, he is fine sometimes, it is not all bad obviously, but it is eggshells on issues like blame or money. So yes my family is/was dysfunctional. Yes that sometimes clouds my feelings, as it is not just an email airing dirty laundry, it is piled on top of many other hurtful years.

As for meds, I do feel he is dysfunctional, his mind goes in circles thinking of same old issues, but not being an expert, I do not know if it is mental illness. In which case, as my mother says, the dr would not prescribe without his knowledge, and with his knowledge, there would be no way - that would be us colluding to harm or subdue him....
(1)
Report
Caregivers need a thick skin, sticks and stones...

Do not contact the people that dad is contacting. This would only show that you are intruding on dad's rights to his own communication and friends. I suspect that many of these people would be doubting of dad's stories.

Give your dad space and leave his email alone. What you do not know will not hurt you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to gladimhere
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 23, 2019
Ok I will take the advice not to check emails. We were genuinely worried as we were told that he had emailed some financial details to this person (not to the other contacts), and they were concerned and told us. I live quite far away, and was on a visit and my mother confided with me, we thought it was better to know what was going on.

I will try and get a thicker skin!
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Okay.

Why specifically was your mother concerned to see the content of these emails? Had something happened that led her to believe there was a particular problem? - e.g. questions or remarks from a concerned outsider.

You say he doesn't give any specifics, but you also say he is telling tall stories. How can they be inaccurate if they're not giving any details?

As a complete outsider, all I know about how you and your mother are treating him is that you've read his private emails and consider him an ingrate and would dearly like to prevent him from expressing himself, when you yourself have told him you don't want to hear his complaints, and would like others to dismiss him as well.

It's not like he's imagining it altogether, then, is it, really?

What do you think your mother would like to do about all of this, her whole marriage and future, in an ideal world?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report
itsjustme123 Apr 23, 2019
I meant tall stories about how he will be visiting these contacts (he is unable to) and on other subjects, which I know not to be true.

When you say expressing oneself, ok fine, but it still embarasses me. I do not think this is the right thing to do, contacting people, with what I know to be untruths and mentioning myself and my mother in this fashion. They also mention visiting these people - the subtext if you read them is I need to escape to you, it could be worrying for them. Maybe I am overthinking it.

Yes, someone they both know told my mother they got an email, and what he said, this particular person knows it is untrue info. But most contacts have no way to contact my mother or are just his own friends.

As far as me not listening to his complaints, I stopped listening for my own sanity. I tried to console and reason and all the other tactics for years. To him it is more important to be right and angry, then to let any of it go.

In terms of my mother, she thinks it is too late to change anything in terms of her marriage, she made a committment and she is just gritting her teeth through the bad bits.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
You asked does he have dementia - I do not know. I do not think so, or if he does it is not advanced.

My mother is very reluctant to get an assessment and she is his carer. I can just make suggestions. I do not think she will, and I do not think he would oblige.

And no he has control of his own bank, and refuses to put it in joint names or any POA or any other control. This is one of the reasons he is angry with us for telling him to, he thinks we want to take his money. However there are other grievances he has, to do with their marriage, stuff from years ago, which he will not let go of now. He used to email me long rants, but stopped when I told him I was not interested in the same stories and I could not do anything about it anyway. He has now switched to other people, but he does not detail his grievances as much, he just says he is unhappy and we are not trustworthy.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to itsjustme123
Report

I think that you and your mother had better pretend that you did not access your father's private emails without his consent, and do your best to put his complaints to his contacts out of your minds.

Eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves, is the saying.

This advice might change radically if your father develops dementia, but so far you make no suggestion that that is the case?

Since he was caught by a scam before, and you do not have to be demented to be caught out by those utter bustards, has your mother taken steps to ensure that her and any joint bank accounts are now secure? Has your father also done that? - did he learn his lesson?
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

I would do nothing obvious. Clearly if these people are getting "ranting" emails they are soon going to see them for what they are, so any concern you have that they will think badly of you is likely to be unfounded. You could write to them personally from your email account - asking the fact you have done so to be kept private between you - and just check that they are not finding these a nuisance, and if they are stop him contacting them - delete them from his address book, or block them as senders. On the plus side the medical addressed ones provided information for his records which show behaviour pattern and assist medics in monitoring deterioration in his cognitive ability.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TaylorUK
Report

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter