My biological father and stepmom are burning through their money super fast. My father has a lot of health issues, and my stepmom's mind is fading. However, my stepmom is sweet, docile and pretty easy to care for. She's a lovely person and I would never be on this forum if I only had to care for her.

Today, I warned my father that they're running out of money. I said, "When you do, if you get sick, you'll have to go into a nursing home...." He went berserk! He told me that he wouldn't EVER let his wife go into a nursing home (note he didn't mention it for himself, even though he's the major spendthrift!) and that he'd kill her first, because that's what she would want.

Actually, no it isn't. I asked her in front of him. She said she loves her life, and loves me, and loves the new place I got for them to live in.

I don't know if he'd really do it or not. At heart, I suspect he's a softie because he couldn't even say goodbye to his dog who had to be removed from their home. But he easily abandoned me when I was 4 and still has crocodile tears over it now that I'm back in his life. But, well, he had a long time to live child-free when he was young. He tells me that he was living a glorified gangster's life, which is probably an exaggeration, but I don't know.

I have no idea how to tell if this man will be a real threat to my stepmom in the future. I know he's unhappy, miserable even, in the new place. Do any of you have elders who talk about suicide every single day, and threaten homicide of their spouse?!?! I think he's like a 14 year old trying to get attention. But then again...

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I have a different take on the threats, and it relates to when he makes them and if you can correlate comments you've made about going into a nursing home.

I can't imagine that many elders would choose this option, and it can be threatening, unsettling and in their mind, insulting that a family member considers this.   So he might then threaten suicide to make you back off any consideration of a nursing home placement.

Try a different approach and don't even mention nursing homes.
Helpful Answer (7)

A substantial number of what used to be called ‘domestic tragedies’ involve men murdering their wives and children, then suiciding. It’s an ultimate self-centred control – ‘if I don’t want to live, she and the children shouldn’t or wouldn’t be able to live without me’. Your father sounds the type – self centered, controlling, no-one else’s life matters, it’s all about me. This is not a ‘cry for help’. He may very well be capable of spending all their money and then putting Plan B into action. Watch carefully.
Helpful Answer (7)

I would see if you can get him evaluated. Tell his doctor and ask him to follow through. This is what happened when my mother threatened suicide. You don't know if he would do it or not.
Helpful Answer (5)

How could anyone else tell you how this man thinks? Or if he is mentally well? He needs a professional to get a diagnosis.

Suicide threats can be real. They must be taken seriously.

My youngest daughter ended a relationship with a young man in college and he threatened suicide. He would threaten to hurt my daughter. He would apologize, then lose it again. He was very unstable.

He became aggressive. He abused her dog and that was the last straw. That is when she completely broke it off with him.

He tried to buy a gun at Academy.

My daughter’s friend happened to be working at Academy and refused to sell him a gun, then he texted my daughter to warn her that her ex boyfriend was attempting to purchase a gun.

He ended up dropping off a note at my daughter’s work saying he was going to kill himself because she wouldn’t take him back.

She called his father who was a policeman and he tracked him through his cell phone. He was getting ready to jump in the river.

The police arrived and tazed him and took him to a mental hospital where he stayed for awhile.

My daughter got a restraining order on him.

No one can predict what others will do if they aren’t stable.

If you are concerned speak to his doctor about being assessed.
Helpful Answer (5)

Clearly you and your stepmother need to make sure there are no guns in the house.

I had a friend who husband was a disabled veteran, and he threatened many times to take her out with him. He was in a wheelchair, so she just put his guns up high on a shelf where he could never get them, but eventually he was enlisting friends to get them down for him if he called. She was able to get him placed in a VA nursing home before anything bad happened, but it could have turned out very different.
Helpful Answer (5)

If I were you, I'd take a step back. Your father was able to take a big step back from you most of your life. If he does not have dementia, then he can spend his money any way he wants. You're not responsible for providing or paying for his care or his wife's should the time come when they will have need of it. You have a warm relationship with your stepmom from what you're saying. If she had fear that your father is serious about killing her at some point and will make good on that threat, then you would be aware of her living in fear of him. So, I would tell you to take a step back. Let them spend their money and don't worry and hold yourself responsible when they're broke and need care that neither of them will be able to pay for. Then both of them end up in the nursing home together.
Helpful Answer (5)

This first murder/suicide I linked happened this year about 2 miles from my home. This man was a multi-millionaire and could afford the best of the best when it came to care for his wife. IMO I think the man kills their LO because the man can't cope with it, not really that they're doing a favor for their partner. It's a real thing that happens all the time. Should you take his threats seriously? Probably. If fact, maybe you should consider calling 911 the next time he makes this threat. Then it may be easier to get him into a facility and get help. A tough call. I wish you much wisdom as you move through this.
Helpful Answer (4)

You need to warn him that you will not be caring for him physically or financially. You do not owe him that.

I may take it seriously. Even if he doesn't have mental problems as such someone saying this as a bluff is a little discerning.

I woman I know in her 50s was dying from Cancer. She had been taking care of her Mom with ALZ. A few weeks back she gave her Mom an overdose and then herself. A couple living in my inlaws old home, she died and he committed suicide the same day. To everyone who knew these people, they never thought they would do something like this.
Helpful Answer (4)

I think it’s time for you to segue from suggestion- command-DEMAND- to TAKE OVER AND MANAGE.

If he hasn’t had a physical recently (sounds like he hasn’t) it’s definitely time, and if you can get him into a practice specializing in geriatrics, I’d do that.

He needs a cognitive assessment done by a psychiatrist or psychologist specializing in geriatrics, because my guess is that medical management may be the best bet. I think anything like a threat of self harm or worse, self and spouse harm needs to be taken ABSOLUTELY SERIOUSLY, because he clearly no longer has the filters or insight to reason with himself, but clearly has the means to do harm. When you’re looking for an appointment, call this an emergency, because it’s much better to call it as such than regret that you didn’t.

For your comfort and his, as well as your safety and his, give up attempts at confrontation. It’s pretty pointless and also irritating, because he really is not into realities. If you have to use open ended “alternative truths” and he’ll accept them, do that.

Not fun by a long shot, but you’re a good person to take it on, especially in light of your history. Hopefully a good psychiatrist will come up with some behavior management medications that an treat his depression also. Worked wonders for my LO.
Helpful Answer (4)

This is from Nov 4:

I'm not sure how this forum works technically - I think I answered this publicly, but perhaps not.

1. Thanks to all who have given me advice. The dog is gone. The social services came in, did an assessment and went AWOL. I call 2x/wk, keep getting told they're backed up due to covid. Oh well.

2. I have MPOA and POA and I'm therefore handling ALL their financial stuff, selling house, closing accounts, stopping bad checks, etc., etc.

3. I spent hours today moving things to their storage, helping my dad get the dolly back from my garage to his place so he (cannot) can move a cheap, crappy, filthy old dresser he bought into his formerly lovely, clean, perfect condo; helping him find the backyard in which to buy the dresser; returning the leftover tiles from the bathroom remodel they asked me to do, I did, and then they changed their mind about (all on their dime); and teaching her again how to turn on her computer (she couldn't find the on button!) and him how to print (he had no ink in the printer) and listened to him announce he's going to buy a "new" 1993 Buick he found online to add to/replace the truck that he cannot drive unless I go to the parking lot, drive it to his front door, hold the door open and help him get into it. He's allegedly driving from IL to SC to go pick it up. (I have his money, so he isn't actually going to do that at all!) OMG! And that's 1/10 of just one day's slavery!

I fully and completely intend to get them 100% situated within the next 3 weeks because I am leaving, going back to my home state to see the people I love and relax on the beach for the entire month of December.

Thanks again for the advice here, everyone.

Helpful Answer (1)

Reply to SeniorStruggles
Helpful Answer (3)

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter