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We used to call him our "prodigal" son because he always returned home when he couldn't make it on his own. Psychologists labeled his problem, "personality disorder". This is featured with refusal to take advice, inability to follow thru on simple tasks and various anti-social behavior. After we (his parents) moved to an independent retirement community, we bought some land for him to live in and build his own shelter. He has done little of that and lives in a 2nd hand trailer. He can't (won't?) keep up maintenance on it or a truck we bought him. He failed to get it properly licensed and now (3 years later) wants me to unravel his title and registration problems. I can't do it because it requires personal appearance and he is 500 miles away. His mother has moved into our nursing facility with alzheimer's disease and I need to stay close. Is my only option hiring a lawyer to help my son or is there some advocacy organization that might help him?

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Your wife is ill and does need you there. This is understandably very hard on you.
Don't know where your son lives, but contact the social services department in his area to turn his case over to them. They may direct you to something that is called a regional center. They assist with finding the supported housing and supported employment.
Hard to do anything at all helpful from 500 miles away, even if your wife was well, even if you both were younger than retirement age, this is such a sad and difficult time for you and your family. Keeping in touch with a parent by phone may be all your son needs to figure things out, to go on his own for help. Keep your instructions to him simple, provide the phone numbers. No guilt please.
You were right to ask for help.
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Regardless of what you decide to with your treatment of your son, I'd get legal advice on your liability on anything that he is using. For example, if he is driving an unlicensed/uninsured vehicle that is titled to you, he could have a collision. You would be listed as the owner and thus the injured parties may go after you for their damages. So, I would make certain that is cleared up pronto to protect yourself.

Also, I'd make sure that your Durable Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, etc. is in place, so that if your health fails, your son can't show up, take control and then not do the job well. I'd make sure my attorney had copies and that someone who is responsible has the originals just in case they are needed.
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Refusal to take advice.
Inabilty to follow through on simple tasks.

These are also symptoms of an Autism Spectrum Disorder/Aspergers Syndrome.

You asked for help for your son. I have heard your story before, things got better after a proper diagnosis, supportive employment, supportive housing, and like Babalou said, a Special Needs trust.

How old is your son? He may have already been an adult when an Asperger's
diagnosis could have identified him needing help.

If you know your son is an addict or an alcoholic, even then he may be self-medicating his condition. That is one reason why giving him money may disable him more at this time. Wouldn't it be a good idea to find out?
Can you recall a time if he was more cooperative for a time, did well, became employed? At what age, and for how long a period of time?

In order to assist someone with these issues, do not enable someone incompetent to drive and own a truck.( Unless there is employment and no drugs).
Do not send more money at this time for the truck, stating the consequences for not taking care of one's belongings is having to use public transportation.

I understand your frustration and concerns, especially the part about trying to disassociate from him and your wife's moral obligations, and love for him.
As seniors, retired, you may not be able to resource the helps he needs. And if he won't take advice, a strong advocate for him is needed.
Has he ever been arrested or in jail?
Do you still have any hopes for his independence and a better life?
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Thank you Vegas lady. I have a similar problem with my brother though not quite as bad as what John is going through. I empathize with you John. That is a really horrible situation to be in. I'm hoping NAMI will be able to point both of us in the right direction. Best of luck John.
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JohnDe - you've got enough on your plate dealing with your wife and her illness. Your son is an adult - the plain truth of it is - you're not always going to be around to fix things for your son. He is going to have to figure things out on his own at some point - now might be as good of time as any. Please, for your sake and for his mothers - tell him you love him but that you need to stay where you are to be with your wife, his mother. I'm not saying cut him off and out of your life, if you can afford to send him the money that you do - than continue if you believe it's what his mother would want - but time to tell him that's all you're able to do at this point in time.
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Sorry to hear that he has a personality disorder. There are psychiatric treatments and medications that may help him, depending on what cluster of symptoms that he has. He may qualify for disability benefits if he is unable to work. You could look into hiring a care manager to help him navigate the welfare system to apply for food stamps, Medicaid, and to apply for SSI or SSDI thtough Social Security if you or others friends or relatives cannot help him. A social worker would do. For legal help locate a legal aid group for low income persons in his area. Contact NAMI, National Association for Mental Illness for information and support groups. He may be living a messed up life but he has an illness which impares his ability to function. Think of it like his mom's illness....he can't help it either, but there ard things that can be done to handle it better.
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Wow typos....
Both not bother
Criteria not criteris

Angel
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Is the personality disorder named "sociopathic personality disorder"? Or is it perhaps "borderline personality disorder"?. Bother have diagnoistic criteris in the current DSM. They do qualify for SS Disability if the patient follows the right channels to get the support.

The biggest problem with a personality disorder (unlike a mental illness) is that they are nearly resistant to treatment. The patient must first acknowledge the personality disorder, agree that it is a problem,and spend YEARS and YEARS in therapy and on combinations of medications to overcome it. This is why most don't change or recover. This is also why those around the patient are dreadfully hurt and even destroyed (mentally, emotionally, financially). No matter how much you do to help him, if he doesn't go through this treatment plan he will never ever change. Like an addict, you may be best served cutting or minimizing contact with him. Buying him things and trying to "make" him be a normal member of society won't do anything for him, all it will do is make you more and more upset.

You need to change the way you react to him, change the way you deal with him. and change the way you feel about his actions. You can love him, care for him, speak to him, but don't enable him. Please read up on the different types of personality disorders and ways you can cope with a person with a personality disorder in your life.

Angel
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I tried to "dis-associate" us from him years ago, but faced my wife's stern admonition that you don't "turn your back on your children". Yes, I've been "enabling" him for years; When we still had a house, he built a shack in our back yard to live in. We bought the lot he now lives on. I send him $300/month to "live on". Yes, I'm stuck in that rut, but I'm running out of options.
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How is your personal appearance going to help his licence and registration issue?

I take it your son is no youngster. You have been generous with him, but it does not sem that he is capabable of handling his own affairs. Have you spoken to a lawyer about establishing a conservator/guardian for him, funded by a special needs trust?

I think there is line somewhere between "helping" and "enabling", but there is also a line betwen competent and incompetent than needs to be determined first.

If he meets the criteria for not being to handle his own affairs, i would get a lawyer involved, but not just for this issue.
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I sympathize with your dilemma, JohnDe. I have a few family members with similar issues.

I'm sure you feel some sense of obligation as his parent to help him get his life straightened out, but I think the best thing you can do for yourself and his mother is to step back and let him handle his own problems. People like this will use you for everything you've got and eventually take you down with them.

I don't know of any advocacy groups that help people with personality disorders. I'm not sure what a lawyer could do for him either. I'm afraid that if you seem willing to make his problems your problems, you will be dragged into more problems than you ever dreamed of. He's a grown man. He needs to solve his problems on his own and let you attend to your needs and your wife's.
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Did the professionals tell you directly what his disorder is? I mean besides personality. Does it have a more diagnostic code? Did your son tell you this about himself?

I think I would obtain an attorney to ensure that my name was in no way associated with the vehicle, to ensure that I would not be liable for any accident/damages/taxes, etc., associated with the vehicle.

Some people just don't do what they need to do in life and I've never heard it described as a personality disorder before. Your son has been very fortunate. Maybe, he likes the way things are.
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