My parents are 19 years apart. My dad is 90 and mom is 71. He is and has always been very stubborn and secretive and makes most decisions. I always thought that he would experience health issues first, but my mom is suffering from memory issues and depression. I recently moved them closer to me which was a huge undertaking and exhausted all of my patience so it is now hard for me to deal with them without becoming angry (not to mention I work and have my own family). My dad will not listen and accept help or understand that people take advantage of elderly (like trying to sell him a new car or AC). Not to mention, he does things without telling me or asking for help and tries to keep it a secret or lies about it. I can't get him to let me handle finances (I am an accountant), services for their home or anything else. I am afraid that they are going to die in the car since he is 90 and still driving all over the place and won't tell me where they are going. My mom has forgotten how to use the internet and her cell phone, so if something happens while they are on the road I don't know what they'll do. I am also beginning to fear either her dying first and having to deal with him or when something happens to him having to put her in an assisted living and going through all of their hard earned money for her care because they won't listen to my advice on how to set up their finances now to protect them in the future. Anybody got advice on where I can go for help?

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I understand your wrath, but you need to put yourself in your father's shoes. My Mom is 92 and still drives. She is starting to have some memory issues but not enough so that I need to take the car away. My Mom only drives to the senior center and back home every day. I would first let your Dad know that you understand and that you are there for him and your Mom if he needs you. He is just not ready to give up all of his freedoms and he fears you will do that. Talk to him as though you were asking for his advice instead of telling him what you think. It will engage him in an adult conversation with you so that you might be able to get him to let you help with the finances. If your Dad is in good health let him drive if he is not a danger on the road. Just because someone is old doesn't mean they can't do some things for themselves still. I took over my Mom's finances several years ago when I moved her up closer to me. She was fine with that since she had asked me for help the year before. I would help balance her checkbook and before long she just had me do all her finances. She didn't want to have to think about them anymore. Also if your Mom is depressed that will bring on memory loss. I have found that as you age your brain requires water. I got my Mom to drink water every day all day long to keep her from dehydrating. Older people don't realize they need to drink water because their brain no longer tells them too. When my Mom is getting forgetful I just remind her to drink water through out the day. It truly helps. Also see if your Mom and Dad would like to be part of a senior center near them. My Mom loves going to the one close to her. They have daily activities plus this one even serves lunches made by the nearby hospital for $2.50 every day. My Mom plays cards and has the opportunity to go on day trips that cost anywhere from $10 to $100. It keeps her engaged during the day with people close to her age. They have many activities like line dancing, exercising, crafts, etc. Check into the one near your parents. Take them there and see if they would like it. You might be surprised that your parents would like it. The best thing for anyone suffering from depression/memory loss is engagement and exercise. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (7)

Who DOES your dad trust? Pastor? Doctor? Lawyer?

It's difficult to get "set in their ways" elders to see that their children might be loving and caring and not trying to cheat them out of their money. Daytime TV and sensationalist newspapers are full of stuff like that, as well as the Reverse Mortgage ads "stay in your own home until you die"!!

Does someone have POA? Does he have a will?

Can you set up an appointment with a local eldercare attorney to get those documents in place?

Are you thinking that setting up a trust might avoid probate?
Helpful Answer (5)

What about calling Adult Protective Services? From what you've written, trying to deal with your parents yourself isn't going to work. Do you have any brothers or sisters? Sounds like a battle of wills between you and your dad. He may be suffering from mental issues as well, and trying to make sense with someone like that is darned near impossible. Also, his car keys should be taken away. He is not only endangering himself and your mom but everyone else on the road. Prepare for a firestorm when you do it, but it needs to be done. If you can at some point sit down with him and calmly explain that you love your mom and him and want what's best for them. Mention that you've noticed Mom is having some issues and that you know he wants what's best for HER as well. Tell him it might be a good idea to save his money for her care and well-being. Keep the conversation about Mom and her care. If at any point the discussion becomes heated, stop and try again in a week or so. You may also want to enlist the help of their doctors. Sometimes people will listen to a non-family member.
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We learned to say that we are available to help IF they ask for it. And of course they didn't at first. Well, I take that back....the help they asked for was getting everything down from the packed and never-gone-into attic and other things that really didn't impact their daily lives.

So we sat back & waited, keeping a very close eye on them. Just now, 3 years later!, they are open to help. But not on everything -- we have to ensure their "independence" and dignity are intact.

This forum has been very instrumental in helping hubby & I realize what we can & can't do, setting boundaries for them & ourselves, accept that nature will take its course no matter how much we want to stop it, and so many other things on this journey.
Helpful Answer (5)

Hi, I can feel your concern through your post. If your dad is still competent, there isn't a lot you can do other then reason with him. However, him being stubborn isn't sounding like that would be an easy feat. I used a strategy when at wits end that got my dad to at least listen to concerns for important decisions like driving, finances, looking into other living arrangements, etc. as my mom's health declined and his appeared to be on the way down as well. It took all I had to do this, especially when I was at the receiving end of a lot of resentment for, "trying to take over their lives". Anyway, I went up to each parent separately and just hugged them saying, " I know this is scary for you, but please know I love you and am really concerned about your safety. I'm not trying to take over your life. I want you to realize, I really would rather not be worried about you so I could live my own life, but I am concerned about you. I'm not working against you, I'm trying to help you. I love you". I just stood there and hugged each one as I said it. Each one broke down crying and hugged back saying, thank you. That opened the door to then taking them to an elder lawyer who said the same things about tough decisions that need to be made and having a plan in place for when those times came. It was and is a long, difficult road with lots of bumps. If nothing else works for them listening, I suppose you could put a GPS tracker on their car and at least be able to see where the car is at any given time for your own peace of mind and sanity. BtW, if your dad still is a safe driver, it really doesn't matter how old he is. However, if you have concerns about his driving due to judgement issues, road rage issues, quick decision making and or reaction time, you can notify the DMV of your concerns and they will request your dad come in to be evaluated and take a driver's test by a certain date or his driver's license will be suspended. ( you can do this as a concerned citizen for any person you feel is a danger on the road) Good luck to you. None of what is ahead is going to be easy and nobody's journey is the same. Just know you have lots of others through this forum and there are support groups available for you to contact through your local Alzheimer's association. You are not alone....,
Helpful Answer (5)

There clearly are two trains of thought in the responses on intervening or not. We've tried both; there were times when my sister and I tried in vane to extend protection but were thwarted. Eventually the trend began to change; now I'm relied on for more than I can possibly provide.

I think one important issue is that the OP's father is by her description stubborn, secretive and makes most of the decisions, for him and his wife. I would say this is domineering and controlling.

She's also raised concern for his ability to identify attempted financial pressure as well as the fact that he is not honest about destinations when they are traveling.

I think she has valid concerns, and to just back off and "stop interfering" would be inappropriate. (I've been through the frustrating attempts to try to add protections to daily activities.) There's a middle ground, and that could be the way to go forward, being prepared for an eventual negative event.

Only child, I think you're wise to be concerned, to look ahead and to try to plan now. Perhaps that's the best you can accomplish when your father resists you. It might even be the "lull before the storm."

I've been through incidents similar to those you describe, and they are distressing. I do think that, unfortunately, something will happen, especially from the little trips and refusal to tell you where your father is taking your mother. Whether it's an accident or getting'll still be an issue.

One of the posters here has installed a GPS device on his father's car so he can monitor its journeys. That's something to consider; at least you'd know where your parents are going. You might offer to take his car for an oil change or tuneup, and secretly have a GPS device installed.

It would also help to get your mother a medic alert pendant, but she might forget to keep it with her and your father may think it's unnecessary.

I think his attitude and resistance is also about loss of control, over his own faculties and over your wife. So he's resisting, being more stubborn, and not allowing your involvement. A man who's been dominant all his life isn't going to give that up easily.

I wouldn't "back off", but I would approach the situation differently by focusing more on activities and subjects that don't threaten his manhood. I'm not suggesting you are, but controllers sometimes feel that women are when they try to intervene.

Gradually refocus your interactions on pleasant social activities, all the while making mental notes to add to your secret plan of action for each of the concerns you have. Even if you can't implement them now, you'll have a backup plan developed and waiting to be acted on when necessary.

Just start with your major concern - if it's disappearing when driving, investigate ways to secretly get a GPS monitoring system on the car. If it's being vulnerable to financial scams, that's a harder issue. But you could put 90 day fraud alerts on his credit file, and try to get him to let you explain the purpose and entries, i.e., it's not that you don't trust HIM to manage his finances, it's rather that there are so many scammers and hackers that everyone is far more vulnerable to ID and financial theft than we were before Internet use became widespread. Shift the blame to the criminals.

Are you signatory on any of their financial accounts?

I realize I'm not offering helpful solutions, but I think you're in a position of walking carefully so as not to convey the impression of wanting to take over. And right now, that might be all you can do, but do follow suggestions to get an attorney involved to draft a DPOA when you can get your parents to see one. Start researching local law firms to find potential attorneys, call them and get rate quotes, and eliminate any that are too cold or insensitive.

You might even comment periodically, to your father, not your mother, when tragic accidents occur and mention that you really hope the parents had DPOAs to care for their spouses and children, AND to protect their financial assets. Maybe the hint will settle in.
Helpful Answer (5)

Insane, I hope you're still out there and reading some good advice here.

This is so common for our generation: Dealing with parents who are legally competent but for all practical purposes incompetent and stubborn. Your dad sounds like a tough nut to crack and I doubt that you will till something happens to force the issue.

In the meantime, do what you can. As others have suggested let them know you'll help when they need it. I nagged my folks for years but gave up. I would get mad, mom would cry. Now I let them know that I'm worried , I can get them help anytime they need it but I've also told them it makes me a little angry that they'll allow absolutely no help. Compassion with a little pressure.

I'm the poster with the GPS on my dads car. It's been there for over a year, he has no idea, and I check on him several times a day. It takes no skills to plug it into the car under the dash. This will allow me to swoop in and end the driving when it's time. We're close to that now.

After dealing with my folks on my own and from 3 states away for 5 years Ive become kind of a glass half full guy.  I've tried the bad cop and I've tried the good cop.  So far, no dice with either.

 Your folks, my folks, and about 90% of elderly parents are going to do nothing to make the kids lives easier. So we have to do what Must be done at some point whether the old folks like it our not.  Old age and stubborness cannot be allowed to rule our lives as caregivers.  

Had I not been a little sneaky, told a few fibs (and a few whoppers ) my folks would be in some county poor house nursing home right now.  Do as much as you can via any means at your disposal.
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First, if they're competent, leave them alone and stop smothering them. They're probably running from you and others because they don't want no one meddling into their business and they don't want to always be looking over their shoulder. You may mean well, but back off! If your parents are competent enough to make their own decisions and no one's taking advantage of them and they're not being scammed, leave them be. Everyone wants their freedom and wants to die free when it's their time. They're probably thinking more of their freedom and they're probably just trying to enjoy what time they have left together, they have that right. You don't always have to be breathing down their neck unless you want to drive a wedge between you and them, and if this happens, you can blame yourself. They probably know they won't live forever and they're probably just trying to do as much as they can in the time they have left. If they don't want help, that's their choice and their right as long as they're competent to make those decisions. Back in history before modern services existed, elders cared for themselves or stayed busy on the farm if they lived with family. Don't take their freedom away, but yes, definitely be concerned about the money in case they need senior care or medical equipment insurance won't cover. It's always wise to build a savings and all you can do is just warn them. Express your concerns, but just stay out of it if they don't want your help. No one wants to be treated like a child, and this is exactly what they're trying to protect themselves from and just from your description, it sounds like you're doing a certain level of meddling, so keep your nose out of where it don't belong. They already said no to excepting help, now back off and let it be. There's even a song titled, "let it be", maybe you should listen to it very carefully, especially where it says "let it be". Even when my elderly friend who is 94 was living, everyone knew not to cross his boundaries, we all just knew better and that's that. There comes a time when you must let go and step back, and this is one of those times. I also had to do it with my foster dad because there was really not much I could do about him until the right help stepped in and intervened 
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I am an only child, so it is all on me. Unfortunately, he trusts nobody and actually trusts me more than anyone else which isn't saying much. He completely understands that I don't want or need his money, but does seem to have become paranoid about it. They have very good wills, but no POA. I am going to work on that with an attorney. Thank you for your thoughts!
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My MIL lived in Fla. Her sons live in NJ, MS and Ga. 16,12 and 8hrs away. My DH retired in 2009. My FIL had pasted before that. My MIL was constantly asking him to move down even to the point telling us what houses were for sale. Because of my Mom and my grandchildren I didn't want to move. Plus, my MIL likes things her way. She was a stubborn woman to the point she willed herself to die at 91 because she could no longer live alone. My husband and I discussed what we would have done if she hadn't passed but refused to live with any of her sons. He said he would just let her do what she wanted. If she died, that was what she wanted.
This sounds harsh but my husband understood her because he also is stubborn. I agree with the other posts. The next time Dad renews his license call ahead and ask if they can test him. In some states this is done after a certain age. Eye appts every year is a must. Then therevis Mom. Maybe an appointment with her primary where the doctor can explain Moms limitations and care she will need. I know an 93 yr old man who took care of his wife. But, he had a daughter near by. Sometimes explainations from an impartial person are better. While Mom was in an AL, she kept looking for a baby. I told her there were no babies in the facility. She looked at the aide standing by and told her if she told her there were no babies she would believe her. Not me though. Again, this may sound harsh, but you may have to let something happen before Dad realizes h has limits.
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