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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...

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Tag... he left you at age 4.. why did he come back to you? Do you have other siblings? Being able to forgive him is life turning. The Lords Prayer. Forgive us our Trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
You forgave him... That is all you needed to do. You did good.
If you are concerned for your stepmom, does she have relatives outside of you and dad? If so, contact them. She may have living siblings or someone. Invite them into your dilemma. You do not need disclose anything. But you may want someone else to observe this situation. If they think something is a bit off, they will mention it to you.
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Reply to MAYDAY
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seems like nursing homes may be better than they were 40 years ago... I hope so with all the regulations etc... but the thing is... visiting... That makes a difference, I think..
You can or he can do the What If's all day long...
what if you run out of cash, get sick, etc.... if he doesn't want... or if this occurs...

Gosh I was walking with my friend in a park last week... This homeless man figured out part of his issue...... He acquired 2 solar panels to charge his things...
Ingenius... Free camping, electricity, and whatever else that was going on...
a few steps away... trash, trash, and more....
I told spouse we should go camping... It's real close and close by... do a stay-cation,
Yup, and downtown is really bad.. haven't been there in years 25 .. and it is sad.. corner to corner homeless..It was supposed to be a fun daytrip... turns out to be a real eyeopener... corner to corner homeless tents... people just surviving..some guy asked for cash for drugs I can assume... someone else digging through trash for whatever,.... outhouses.. yuk,,,, and others.. piles n piles of trash next to a "tent"...
Dad.... Do you want to Live in a Nursing Home, or on the streets?...
Considering the other options... Nursing homes seem a bit more safer..
VISIT YOUR LOVED ONES - FAMILY - MORE OFTEN is the best choice..
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Reply to MAYDAY
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Could you move Stepmom into AL/IL and leave Dad to rot? He seems like the problem and could be dangerous to her. Murder-suicides are not terribly uncommon, even among the elderly...
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Reply to ZippyZee
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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.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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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.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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YES I think he's try to get attention...not just to get what he wants from others, but because he needs help. A suicide attempt (or threat) is really a cry for help. Don't ignore it.
And the threat against your stepmom should be taken seriously. Yes, remove guns (or any other object you notice that could be used against a person) from the house or car.

Tell his doctor and do whatever he recommends.
But If he seems agitated and threatens, tell him you are going to call 911. And if he continues, DO it. That will make him mad, but they will respond and take control, probably have him admitted to a psych facility for a 3 day hold. (If that is still a legal option, I'm not up to date.) They will evaluate him and some suggestions will be made for you to follow.
These seem like drastic measures, I know. But explain to him that you feel you MUST insure his safety and his wife's. No matter his denials, explanations, accusations, assurances that he "didn't really mean it", repeat this to him. Don't back down. (If he really was just "bluffing" this will end it, I guarantee.)
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Reply to Dosmo13
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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.
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Reply to MJ1929
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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.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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My friend's parents have been married for 50 years and completely co-dependent in their own little world. If you asked each of them a question when they're together, you get one answer, and if they're apart you get a different answer. I learned from an embarrassing moment of "But you told me..." to not give much credence to what either of them said. They too are pretending to be independent and not in need of a nursing home. The dad also is prone to drama.

You put your stepmom on the spot asking her if she really wants her husband to "kill her first". What was she going to say to you "Yes, I think that sounds swell"? You don't know what they talk about in private. My friend doesn't believe half of what her parents say because, ultimately, she knows that what they decide in private is between them and they're never going to change.

Your dad couldn't even deal with his dog. Do you believe he's capable of killing her? If so, investigate his plan. Is his plan actionable? The more facts you get the more information you will have for the authorities should you need to get them involved. At this point, however, it sounds premature to me.

And stop mentioning nursing homes. If either lands in the hospital, tell the case manager they cannot discharge to home and placement must be made.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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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.
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Reply to AnnReid
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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.

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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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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.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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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.
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Reply to golden23
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Ss, I trust that you are still planning on going back to your home state next week.

I understand that you are having difficulty getting social services on board. I would call his current doctor and report the suicidal/homicidal threats. He needs to be in a psychiatric facility.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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AlvaDeer Nov 24, 2020
If I recall correctly the OP already moved her parents from either MO or AK to live in a condo next to her? I remember stories of a German Shepherd that Dad would not give up, stories of the parents living in a bit of a "hovel" at the time she felt she had to move them. That's my memory of this, but of course at my age memory not the strong point, and I could be thinking of someone else altogether.
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Unfortunately, I too have personal knowledge of a murder, suicide. I also know of a suicide after the partner died a natural death.
Having said that, isn’t this the same dad who couldn’t live without his large dog he was allowing to soil the floors and your poor step mom was having to deal with? Is the dog gone, how did that work out? Did you dad adjust?
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 24, 2020
Same poster.
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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.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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In fact, this is much more common than you can possibly know.
It happened last year to a friend's brother. Wife had cared for him devotedly through early Alzheimer's diagnosis he got in his 60s. For decades I had know stories about all she went through. In the last years she would allow little help and he no longer recognized his sister, even his wife. They were found together in bed in an embrace; she had administered medication to him, then took it herself.
For his sister. my friend this was, in fact, almost a relief, after all she had witnessed. If not "relief" as the right word, then inevitable, their own wishes, etc. No actions were taken. The couple's daughter, and the Sister who is a friend, were told of the tox screens. No one but those closest to them were told.
Now you have a case where one member does wish to go anywhere. I can only tell you that the obsession with speaking of this means that your father is honestly considering this.
What SHOULD be done and what CAN be done about this is less cut in stone. Someone may come to speak with your Dad. He isn't stupid I imagine, and can say he was just "frustrated and feeling helpless when he said that", and "would never do such a thing" etc.
I believe the numbers of people contemplating this may be much more common that we can guess. Has anyone read Joyce Carol Oates short story, Au Sable?
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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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.

https://www.startribune.com/medical-examiner-confirms-jacobs-deaths-are-murder-suicide/508491092

https://upnorthlive.com/news/local/man-with-early-dementia-shots-wife-and-daughter-kills-daughter

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/29/nyregion/alzheimers-murder-suicide.html
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