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My father fell in January which triggered a series of events lewding to me finding an independent living community for him and my mother. The price per month is high so every penny matters. In order to save money I need for my parents to surrender a storage unit they have been paying monthly for. I have organized everything that was in there and have most of it now in their new home. When it came time to stop the rent on the storage my father told me he would not stop the rent and was keeping the unit. I insisted that it had to go in order to save money and told him it was happening. He proceeded to tell me if I did he would report me for elder abuse. I was shocked and now I am afraid to even go over there as I do not want or need any trouble like that in my life. I dont want his money to wear out living where he does. Any suggestions about how to deal with this?

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Sounds good Mike, Keep going in that direction.
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I will definitely do that. I had a good sign yesterday when the new nurse actually texted me some information about them. This was the first time anyone there had proactively contacted me. I made sure she knew I really appreciated her.
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Chocolate is always appreciated. Have a sit down with the new folks and eat some humble pie;you shouldn't put up with incompetence, of course, but it doesn't sound as though your parents are easy to deal with. Make sure they know you understand that and that you want to be a team player.
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Mike, staff who don't appreciate that family members - especially solo ones like you - can be under severe stress haven't been doing the job very long.

That's not to say they should have to take abuse, obviously; but on the other hand they ought to make reasonable allowances for frayed tempers and high anxiety.

So sit easy. Take them a big box of chocolates or a nice plant, say appreciative words about what they do (there must be something?!) get right, and start again.
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Thank you all for listening to my rant, I'll answer the questions here:

1) I'm sorry if this is insensitive and/or inappropriate- but I gotta know! Was the storage unit delemia ever resolved? Yes, when dad fell for the third time and they moved to AL neither of them was capable of paying the bills so storage unit went away.
2) Loss of bowel and bladder control: what's the diagnosis behind that, do you know? The bowel loss came after dad's second fall. He broke his pelvis and that caused nerve damage. The bladder issue is cause by enlarged protate that he is too old to survive the surgery for.
3) How are you getting on with the staff and managers at the ALF? Any allies there? Well I really messed that one up. The stress has put me on constant edge and my normal, reasoning self has given way to quick bouts of anger. I've fought with everyone at the ALF from the Wellness Director, Head Nurse, Director and an Aide. On the good side, the Head Nurse and the Director both recently quit so I can redeem myself with the new staff hopefully.
4) Do you have POA? Yes thankfully we had POA and MPOA drawn up when this all started. It would be virtually impossible now for the three of us to even make it to an attorney's office to do that.
5) Perhaps you have an eldercare attorney your parents deal with who can advise on the timeline for that. Yes, I hired one at the beginning and she has put some things into motion already.
6) Do the ER docs think that your parents are at the right level of care in the AL? From what you've described, it sounds as though they may need NH care now. I wondered that too so I went to a NH and started the process to have dad evaluated. The results came back that the NH does not want him unless he has chronic illnesses needing full time nursing. The examples given were feeding tubes and IVs. So I went to a second NH and they said the same thing. That was very discouraging since I can tell he is maxing out the abilities of the ALF staff.
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I'm so sorry that you're dealing with such a full plate!

Do you have POA? That will be helpful when you start the Meicaid application process. Perhaps you have an eldercare attorney your parents deal with who can advise on the timeline for that.

Do the ER docs think that your parents are at the right level of care in the AL? From what you've described, it sounds as though they may need NH care now.
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Oo, Mike, I'm so sorry to read of how fast this has accelerated for you and your parents. Loss of bowel and bladder control: what's the diagnosis behind that, do you know?

Then there's how your mother's coping; dementia is always a possibility, true, but don't underestimate what stress can do to a person's reasoning and coping skills.

And you're an only child with a full-time job and a family.

How are you getting on with the staff and managers at the ALF? Any allies there?
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I'm sorry if this is insensitive and/or inappropriate- but I gotta know! Was the storage unit delemia ever resolved?

I am sorry for the swift decline in your parents health. Spins on a dime doesn't it? All it took was one fall to shift my mothers dementia from mild to full throttle.

For now, head up, shoulders back and fasten your safety belt - you're likely in for a bumpy ride. But do remember what they tell you on airplanes - put your own oxygen mask on first before attempting to help others.
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Mike I am sorry your parents are dealing so fast. When their money does finally run out the only prospect will be nursing home on Medicaid so prepare yourself for that. keep all the paperwork so you can satisfy Medicaid where their money went. Try and concentrate on your own family and go to visit the parents when necessary. They are both angry right now because they feel their life has been taken away and you are the closest one to blame.
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Update: As I read back on these replies it seems like a lifetime ago. My parent's situation has gone from bad to worse in the last 9 months. I am at the end of my rope. I now wish that an empty storage unit was the biggest problem I had to deal with. Both mom and dad are shadows of themselves when I wrote this question. Since then dad is now bed/wheelchair bound. He has lost all control of his bowels and also has a permanent catheter. Mom I'm sure has un-diagnosed dementia. I moved them to the assisted living side of the building which they both absolutely hate and never let a chance go by to tell me how horrible their living conditions are. They refuse to take their medications, refuse to eat, refuse to go to the doctor...yet when they do get sick they call 911 and go to the emergency room where they are now known as "frequent fliers". I do their bills, taxes, filing paperwork, banking, reconciling Medicare statements, you name it I do it. All while trying to hold my family together and work a 50 hr a week job. Their money is flying out the door as fast as it can. So do I wish they had that little bit of rent money from the empty storage unit back, you bet I do. That money could now pay for dad's monthly supply of adult undergarments.
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Thank you for all the new replies. Its very hard for me to come to terms with the fact that I dont have to assume responsibilty for my parent's future living expenses. What will become of them when it runs out? It breaks my heart to think of them having to deal with where to live without money. But I will try and not think about it. As far as the abuse assertion, no money has ever been spent on me or solely by me so you are right an investigation would find nothing but my friend here says to protect myself and start distancing away from the situation. Again that will be hard. I just have to hope this will not become a huge mess in the future. The call from my Dad in January about his fall started a horrible journey that continues today. I guess at this point I have done all I can to stabilize the situation and now I must back off.
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Don't worry about the threat of being accused of elder abuse. Most likely it wouldn't happen, and even if it did, nothing would come of an investigation. You're not taking money for your benefit, right? How does the storage unit get paid? Does the place mail a bill? Could that stop and then there is no trigger to write a check. Could you tell the storage pkace they are done being customers and stop sending a bill? Or is it an automatic withdrawal? And I agree that you are not responsible for future rent on the living space. Dad is not operating on all cylinders these days....come to grips with that.
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When we signed the lease on my inlaws' independent living apartment, we had to cosign the lease. Their building very much wanted to know that, if my inlaws ran out of money, that their children would pay their bill. If you did the same thing, then you are very much on the hook.
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Mike, please listen to Jeanne. You are reasoning from a false assumption ( although a loving one) and that will leave you on rocky shoals every time.

You are NOT responsible for your parent's living expenses. Perhaps a third party
( lawyer, mediator, social worker) could help out here.

Let us know how this works out.
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Mike, technically, you trying to control your father's money (if he is competent) IS elder abuse. Of course you mean it in his best interest, or rather in your best interest because you fear needing to pay if/when his money runs out, but your good intentions don't change the facts.

Stop being abusive in your relationship with Dad. Stop assuming his future money needs are your responsibility. Gently guide him to make good decisions. Forcing decisions on him is abuse, pure and simple.
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This is my little story regarding my mother threatening to tell APS that I was abusing her: I can't remember what we were arguing over - mom and I cannargue over whether water is wet, plus I didn't understand dementia and didn't get that trying to reason with her was pretty pointless. Anyhoo - I finally had enough and layed down the law. I can still clearly remember my mother saying she was going to turn me in for elder abuse. After getting over the initial shock I said to her "well, if you do that - that will mean I can no loner come over here and see you. Who is going to take care of things since I will no longer be allowed"? And that was the end of that.
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No. Just no! It is NOT your obligation to pay for their living expenses. Your parents are adults and unless you are their guardians, you help arrange care for them but you are not financially responsible for them.
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Dis he exhibiting any signs of dementia?
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Thank you for all the replies. As for it being Dad's money that is very correct. I am an only child so when the money runs out it will be my obligation to pay the rent. I can't just let them be kicked out to the street. I like the idea of laying out the budget and letting him make out what would be the best choices. I will do that.

As far as the elder abuse accusation, it has me perplexed. I want to remain in their lives but I won't risk any sort of problems an accusation like that could cause.
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Having a few years of dealing with bills in a similar situation, I would quietly go down to the storage unit place, sweep out and clean the unit, return the lock and key if it is theirs and explain the situation. Maybe they will be decent and let him out of the rest of the contract. If you father never receives another bill from them, he will probably forget all about it!
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Does your father have dementia? If so - trying to reason with him is pointless - learning that simple lesson was probably one of the hardest for me. I mean, how could this smart woman - my mother, not see the logic in even the simplest of arguments? But that's just one of dementias cruel lessons. If your father does not have dementia - than clearly this is an issue of him rebelling against you taking control of his life. As others have stated - it's his money to waste as he pleases. I imagine that after some time passes he will relent but I also imagine it's going to need to be his call. If your father is still capable of reason - perhaps let the dust settle, let your dad get use to this new normal. Then - with advanced notice schedule a time with him to lay out the facts of his new financial reality. Write down what money is coming in and what money is going out. Don't have a solution already determined for him. Leave him with the figures and schedule another time to consider solutions. Sounds like your dad is going to need to be the one to come up with a solution in order to buy into it.
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Mike, if your father is in charge of the bills how will you end up paying his rent? You haven't gone and co-signed something you wish you hadn't, have you?

On the face of it, of course I agree with you - paying rent on a unit you don't need and won't use is idiotic.

But to be really blunt, so is this, a bit: "I insisted that it had to go in order to save money and told him it was happening." Were you trying to piss him off?

It's your parents' money. If they want to waste it, who are you to stop them? You can help - you have helped - find them a good living situation; you can work out their budget; you can advise them on how they can match income and outgoings. But if you really want to help them, do not start giving them orders. It goes down very badly, QED, and is counterproductive. Which is a terrible waste of all your hard work, and a poor return for you.

Your second concern, about the precedent. I see what you mean, but you can avoid its being a precedent by not looking on this as an argument that either you or your father wins. Get his way? What, make his own decision? He is entitled, you know.

If you want to nip this in the bud and repair relationships, I'd recommend you apologise for overstepping the line between helping and interfering. I KNOW you did it for good reasons; I have been there too with the frustration of dealing with pig-headedness and I understand how it feels; but the fact is you did overstep. You should apologise.

Then start again, only this time remember you're trying to help them, not take charge of them.
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Thank you both. Yes he is comoetent and yes it is empty. My concerns are 1) I am the one who will end up paying the rent for the independent living but I have no money for that. 2) he might just start using this excuse anytime he doesnt get his way.
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Is the unit now completely empty? If so, I'm wondering if you could talk to the management of the facility about your father's keeping an empty unit. Perhaps they could send him a letter stating that they randomly check on units to ensure safety and preservation of the contents, and noticed that his unit is empty. They could write that there is a demand for units and if he doesn't need it someone else will.

That does run the risk though of having him decide, and possibly hire, someone to move things from his new home back to the storage unit.

An alternative is just drop the issue. He might be reeling from the shock of falling, moving, and is sensitive to and threatened by what he perceives as an attempt to take control of management of his life. This would be the approach I would take. Wait until he's adjusted to his new home and in a less threatened mood, then gradually segue into the issue sometime in the future.

I understand and applaud your concern for conserving his money, but I think his self esteem as a man, husband, parent, and other similar issues might be the more governing factors now. On that issue, he might be feeling less of the provider he was since you've become active in finding a new home, moving the furniture, etc.

Unfortunately, there's only so much you can do to protect a parent against wasteful spending. That's a hard lesson many of us have learned.

I do think your father is blustering and defensive though, so unless he does have legitimate grounds for claiming elder abuse, I'd let it pass, but protect yourself by staying away for awhile - let him get used to his new surroundings.
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Is he competent? If he is, he can decide to keep the storage unit. If he has dementia, pursue Guardianship. Sit down with an attorney now, rather than later when Dad has criminal charges brought against you.
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