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Father in law is 90 and living alone in very dirty dangerous condition but refuses help.

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This is so sad to watch, Rosie. As the others have said, people don't give up their rights just because they are old. But sometimes people from outside can convince them to make changes.

If you go up to the top to the senior living section and then click on home care you can enter your zip code and find home care options in your local area. See what is offered and you will be contacted by a careadvisor to guide you in the right direction. Let the contact know of the situation and they can connect you with the right person.

Sadly, sometimes we have to wait it out until something dire happens. One bright side is that he's lived until 90 and done it his own way. That isn't all bad. Good luck finding assistance, don't hesitate to talk to someone no matter what at least you will know you have tried.
Take care,
Carol
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Think beyond "force." Is there someone he likes and trusts? My father's home health care nurse, a sweet pretty woman who discussed with him how to can vegetables (an interest they shared) on several visits, actually got down on her knees in front of him, looked up at him with her big blue eyes and blond ringlets, and said "PLEASE Joe, let me send in the home health aide! (for his personal care). That actually worked with this extremely private,dignified and stubborn man.... Something I thought would never happen! Another strategy is to say you're coming over to clean (cook, do some household repairs, whatever) and let him know you're bringing a "friend" with you to help. Present that as "great news!" And focus on something he really wants to have done or something that he'll recognize as being very convenient for him. Tell the "friend" that her job is to interact with him as much as possible and make him comfortable with her/him. Perhaps you'll have to leave the house briefly to "get something" and they can have some alone time, not too long. In this way, he might learn to trust someone who can help. With my mom, I stayed in the house the first few times a new caregiver started. That was reassuring for both of us. They are vulnerable and the know it.
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I wonder if when they reach the stage of intensely declining health, loss of independence and other ravages of age, if they just don't care any more ... because a clean house doesn't provide the pleasure that, say, getting into a car and driving somewhere by oneself, or being able to walk without assistance, and other old age sacrifices can offer.

I haven't been sick very often, but when I am, the last thing on my mind is cleaning. When I feel better, it's different. But for those who aren't going to get better, what would it really be like to face so much physical and often mental limitation? What does a clean house have to offer at their stage of deteriorating life?

I'm not justifying it, just trying to understand it....and keeping notes for myself to read in 10 to 20 years, if I last that long.
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I like renee's approach. It sounds like something that would be helpful to several members of my alz support group.

Carol: I couldn't find the website you mentioned. Is there more to it, or could you post the complete link?
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I think this is one of the thorny and sometimes unsolvable issues of caregiving, when the elder's house needs attention, the elder either doesn't think it does or can't do it him or herself and doesn't want to bring some one in.

A neighbor who cared for her now deceased husband mentioned she once had to tell her husband "there are two of us in this situation." I thought that was so enlightening, so simple, yet so profound.

Our relative expects care and can be very demanding at times. Yet there is often a lack of cooperation and recognition of the difficulties or providing that care, as well as the health consequences to the caregiver.

I feel strongly that if someone expects care, then that someone needs to be willing to acknowledge that the caregiver has the right to establish terms and conditions as well. And one of those is that the environment needs to be safe for both parties.

Sometimes it takes a bit of bluntness to get the message across...unfortunately.
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I hired a caregiver for my Dad and he promptly fired her. I admit I used a little guilt. I told him I have to take care of my own kids and I am stretched too thin taking care of him too. He finally hired a cleaning service on his own. He is stubborn about many things. I am the only family member nearby. It's hard. I try to accept that I do my best and cannot force my Dad to do anything.
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That's the age old question...how to get an elder who desperately needs help the help they need. I'd suggest you look into what the state you live in has to offer seniors, like an area agency on aging. They have resources you might be able to use, and if you report that they are living in a dirty dangerous situation, they might be willing to check it out. If it's that bad, maybe getting the fire department involved or whoever in charge of maintaining city ordinances.

If the senior is able to talk and think for themselves, even if you think they might not be able to think soundly, then it's very difficult to force them to do anything. At no time do we give up our rights as free peoples to anyone, unless the courts force us to, or unless we are willing...even when we're 90 years old. But sometimes someone from the outside can push the issue to the point that they then realize that it might be time for a change... or not. You have to try something though..for your own piece of mind. At least then you can say you did your best...
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(SIgh) My FIL was a very messy, yet very proud man. His house was disgusting. He ate out all of his meals, so as not to have to do dishes. BUT he never (to my knowledge) cleaned the bathroom or kitchen, nor did he dust or run a vacuum. Divorced after 42 years from the fussiest housekeeper on the planet--he rebelled and went his own way.
My SIL and I took turn once a month or so, going to "visit" and while we were there, doing some light cleaning. He never objected, but he also never "noticed". He pretty much stayed in the LR and watched TV when he was home. He had leukemia and spent MANY nights in the hospital. On those occasions, one of us (usually me) would go and try to deep clean. Again, he never noticed. Finally during his end-stage (the last 4-5 months) when he was so weak he really could barely walk, he did finally allow a home heath agency in. He was NOT happy about it, and half the time when they'd come he would have already found a buddy to take him to his favorite coffee shop and he wouldn't be home. He had meals on wheels, too, but was the same. He'd skip out. Made us so mad, because MOW people are volunteers!! We never forced him to get help, it was his dr who planted the seed of thought in his mind, and eventually he'd see the light. After he died, I took the initiative to get his condo ready to sell. It took me 2 months of 40+ hrs per week to de-junk, clean and re-do the place to be sold. I threw out 3 dumpsters full of garbage. He had stashed over 20,000 gold balls all over the house (he lived next door to a golf course)..and the DUST. Burned out the vacuum the first day. 2" deep dust on every flat surface. In retrospect, I wish I had just said on a weekly basis, "Hey, dad, I'm bringing you lunch and I'm going to hang around and chat with you and clean a little". I know he would have been fine with that--cleaning 15 years worth of junk at once was daunting.
Now I am in the same place with my mother. I will go up once a month and clean up after her filthy birds (for her health's sake!!) and dust up high and wipe down what I can. She's a little hoarder and I can't change that, but I can make sure her counters are clean and she can move around as much as she needs to. No, she would NEVER allow just anyone in to clean. Many elders are very aware they are not living in clean environments, but to hire someone to do what they cannot/will not do is beyond their scope.
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Rosie, you can use aging.gov or eldercare.gov to find your local area agency on aging. They will almost certainly tell you to call Adult Protective Services (APS).

In my own experience, APS is usually interested in two issues. One is whether your father is managing his needs for safety, shelter, food, housing, and medical care adequately. The other is whether he has the mental capacity to assess his situation and accept risks.

Even if he's found to be lacking mental capacity (meaning, he has dementia), it is quite hard to "force" an older person to do something; much better to try to coax or persuade. Among other things, I see older people get cognitively worse when they are forced, because the stress and distress makes their dementia symptoms worse.

Sometimes an older person accepts help once it's framed as the main way we can enable them to keep living in their own home. It's tricky if they have dementia however.

Good luck!
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Elders don't have the mindset to know what they need. ..that and stubbornness and the loss of independence that we all will face at some point. I had to leave my Maryland home and move in with my mother in Massachusetts. I would have to listen to the "you wait and see" story 1, 001 times over! My response="yes, I'll be handing my car keys over to my daughter. " But who knows, I might become the same belligerent woman. In that case, I told my daughter to kick me in the butt!
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