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I’m 1000 miles away. No way I am moving back home. My Dad will not come live with me and I have plenty of space & work from home. I was in vehicle accident almost 3 years ago and injuries kept me from going home 7 or so times a year and cleaning his house. I visited for his birthday two weeks ago. What started as a leak in the basement, which he said he had fixed has now grown into full blown mold growing up into the only bathroom and into the kitchen sink. He can’t shower, cook food, or wash his clothes in basement. I couldn’t stay in the house longer than 15 minutes from sneezing and itching. My teenage son stayed in the house an hour and smelled of mold for 6 hours of an 12 hour drive home. He is driving around in a car of which a neighbor duck taped the fuel tank up because he won’t get it fixed or buy a new car. Some other piece of metal hanging from under the car as well. The AC in the house and car no longer works and it’s getting to 90 degree days which grows the mold more. I talk to him on the phone every other day if not everyday and he seems of his age but dementia? Does making a decision to live in mold mean dementia? He can more than afford to move and buy a brand new car. There is also mold covering the back door, seat and floor of his car. I asked him to move he said give him two weeks. It’s been 2 weeks. I told him I love him and it’s wrong for me to allow him to live in an unhealthy environment and drive an unsafe vehicle. He said he is sorry but give him time. I busted out crying today. I do not understand why he seems okay on the phone but will not take care of himself. I’m a Realtor. At this point the mold hazmat crew would have to come in to gut the Entire house for repairs. I contacted an attorney they said to call the city to have house deemed uninhabitable “if he will let them in to see it” I already have a few pictures. My Daddy was a good hard working man all his life, worked everyday at automobile factory for 38 years. I want my Daddy to live out his life with the dignity he deserves. Why doesn’t he want the same for himself? I told him this is hurting me and his grandchildren. He is not doing his hygiene either. It’s embarrassing plus we can’t visit him at his house. We do but we are exposing ourselves to the mold. I have to rent hotel and if I’m at his house the girls have to go to cousins place to use the restroom. He has more money than me in the bank. He has no bills but basics doesn’t have any debt at all. I live very well but I have bills and still one child to go to college next year. I called the city. I got advice from attorney. I just wish I didn’t have to do it this way. I begged him to let’s do this transition in a positive, organized way. He says 2 more weeks. I know he will not. I have been asking him for 5 years to fix the house or get senior apartment. It’s exhausting. My Aunts and Uncles live there I asked them to help they only call him for money, favors or invites for major holiday dinners. He has no Will he said. I also am concerned of protecting my siblings & I Inheritance from his siblings And the state. He is a Air Force Veteran as well. My half siblings lived all their lives in Canada. Not close with my Dad but he always said we are to split everything 3 ways except for the house I grew up in is mine but at this point it’s worthless. Not that any of that is important more than my Daddy. I was raised in an abusive environment as a child by his hand and his Sisters but as an adult I have forgiven him & them long ago and understand how ones life can make them not make the best choices. Sometimes the way he talks to me causes like triggers or anxiety or something weird. Still I know right from wrong and it’s wrong to not try and help him help himself. I’m so worried on so many different fronts. I don’t want anything to happen to him. He is like my best friend late in life after I forgave him. I do not want to lose him to death or by his being mad at me for calling the city.

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Beatty, thank you for your kind words. It finally sunk in with me a couple weeks ago. I mean really sunk into my core being that my mothers mental illness is not my fault. I was listening to a celebrity talk about his producer Gary. Gary’s mother had mental illness. The celebrity asked Gary why he was such a well adjusted all around great guy? Gary’s reply was that Gary’s father sat him down when he was 5 and told him his mothers brain was sick. She was going to a psychiatric hospital. His father told Gary they her mental illness was NOT HIS FAULT!! His father also made sure to tell Gary that it wasn’t his fathers fault either. How wonderful he said that to him. He also told him that many times growing up! I wish we all could have had someone tell us at 5 years old that it WASNT our fault and it never was!!! Say it loud enough for the people in the back to hear. “It is not your fault, and it never was!!!”
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I know that people , such as the lawyer you mentioned are going to come down on you and want to know why you aren’t doing something to help your father. Why are you letting him live this way. Believe me, you have to believe me when I have been where you have been. My mother is a hoarder. The firefighters called me and wanted to know why my mother is living in that shithole of a house. Ok they didn’t say shithole, I said that. Why can’t you clean up her house. She’s 96 years old. Why can’t you help her the firefighters said to me over the phone. I told them it’s her house not mine.I can’t get her to do anything. He said aren’t you going to come over and be with your mother? I said no. I have to go to work, and hung up. I did what I did because she was calling 911 twice a week to go to the hospital for anxiety attacks. That’s it. Anxiety!! People will make you feel guilty, friends, strangers, doctors, lawyers, everyone will make you feel guilty. You have nothing to feel guilty for. You are not your dads responsibility. It took me a whole year to get to a better place. Not wake up crying, worrying, and wondering. I’m finally out of that hell. I am seeing a therapist to help me. Keep coming back to aging care. The people on here are wonderful and have great advice!! Keep coming back, even if you don’t want to. Keep coming back!
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Call APS for your father's locality and ask their advice. Tell them what your main concerns about his welfare are. They will probably arrange to visit him to carry out a risk assessment.

But be prepared, because whether or not they're able to intervene will depend on your father's wishes and on his mental state. If he is in fact mentally well - not apparently affected by dementia, for example - they can't do anything contrary to his wishes.

Neglect of self and surroundings is not diagnostic of dementia, no, although it can be part of the pattern.
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I agree with Margaret that Countrymouse has this. Both of them are correct and give you good advice.
You start this thread with how debilitated you are since your accident. The fact is that you may not be able to give Dad the care he clearly needs when he arrives by you, and his history of one of not being consistently cooperative. That would not be good for you or for his kids and would lead to an environment of constant argument.
Dad is being irresponsible at best. The fact is that he needs assessments that you cannot do and that is the reason APS needs to do a wellness check on him. As to your seeing an attorney? Well, do know that seeking guardianship of an elder is no easy thing and that it can be very costly. If you do not win you will be responsible for the costs. If you do win you are in for a world of woe, keeping track of Dad, fighting Dad about placements, and managing Dad's estate with meticulous care and record keeping. I wouldn't touch the job with a ten foot pole.
We often say what we would do were it us. First of all, if dad dies without a will the court will appoint an executor from his children, whomever is most willing and best able to handle everything. Good luck to them. Secondly, while Dad is alive he will be protected by the law to make his own decisions. They can condemn the house, but that doesn't make it likely Dad will move with you. Rather he will hire his OWN lawyers, and there goes any inheritance that anyone has a chance of. That money would be my LAST concern, or rather no concern whatsoever; it will be gone one way or another. So for me I would put Dad literally in the hands of the State. I would call APS to do wellness. I would let them handle it. If they judge him to need medical or mental assessment I would let them arrange it. And if he needs guardianship I would put it in the hands of the State, mold and all, and wish them good luck.
Your question indicates you already know that you have no say in this, and really you do not. I wish good luck to all. I hope you'll update us. Concentrate on yourself, your family, and your continued healing. Hugs out to you.
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R2PW2B88 Aug 4, 2020
thank you, I am better now from accident which is why I am just now able to handle the situation. Mentally and physically. I understand it’s a costly situation and that I will still maybe not get him the help he needs but I just have to try. I could not live with the guilt of doing nothing upon his hurting himself or anything else people say on here eventually or soon happens. A lot of advise on here seems to sound like my Dad. Like I am the one that needs help? My question posed means that He is telling me to just let him do it, he knows it’s not healthy, just let him handle it, he knows it’s not safe, just let him take care of it. He has been saying that for 5 years now. Even one of the attorneys asked me why I waited so long to try and help him do better if it’s been going on now for so long. Again, like something is wrong with me. A few thousand dollars is nothing for me to loose if the state ends up allowing him to live in black mold. I will do what’s right for my own conscience and what I know is best for him. I was researching on the Internet this morning and a lot of websites are saying that mold can cause early onset of dementia but once rectified can get better. I will seek temporary guardianship until he can get out the mold and make better decisions. The stress of doing nothing is greater for me than the time it would take for me to help him. It’s not the governments responsibility, in my opinion to take care of my Parent. I’m waiting on a date of home inspection by the city I will update on my progress.
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Oh my, I feel for you.

We visited my mom and stepdad in October last year, I was sick from being in the house forc5 minutes. I had no idea what was really going on, I don't stay in her hoarded filth, but the kitchen lights didn't work. Red flag, how do you cook with no light?

Long story short, we went back in December to do some honey do maintenance and we found that they had a water leak in the wall that had mold an inch thick under the kitchen sink and cabinets and who knows where else that we could not get to. We spent a week getting it cleaned up and getting the water leak fixed. I was informed that they have the right to live any way they choose, so be prepared for zero help.

I would encourage you to get the water leak fixed, because mold can not grow without moisture. That would be my 1st step, stop what is causing the problem. Then you can see about mold remediation. Even bleach can help after the water dries.

If your dad is competent, you will never be able to force any change. The bar is so high because of past abuses to vulnerable people.

I had to come to the realization that not everyone wants to be rescued from their poor choices and my standards are not universal, or even familial.

I know how hard it is to see your parent(s) living in a position that turns your heart and stomach. But you have to let go sometimes and let them make decisions, good bad or indifferent.

I hope that you can find someone that can get the leaking water stopped.

I wanted to say that forcing a man from his home can be hugely degrading and take away his dignity, tread carefully with that.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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R2PW, I feel for you. I am so sorry. I went through this with my 96 year old mother. If you dad has dementia, you can get guardianship, and then you have control of what he does. But they set the bar low for competency test. The questions are what is your name? What are your kids names? Who is president currently?If he can pass the test, bingo!!! He’s competent!! Just because someone makes bad decisions doesn’t make them incompetent. I was told this by an elder lawyer. My 95 year old mother lives in the house my mom and dad bought in 1964. The house Is a wreck. She’s a hoarder. It needs a new roof, new windows, and needs to be sided. She can’t go upstairs anymore so she sleeps in the bathroom in a folding chair. I’ve talked to doctors, APS, Social Services, Police Men, firefighters. They all say there is aNOTHING I can do because she is COMPETENT!!! Nothing I can do. She gambled all my fathers money away. Hundreds of thousands of dollars she gambled when he was living and when he died. He made a boat load of money. He was a senior Vice President of a bank. Now she is destitute and looks worse than a homeless person. Why? Because she is mentally ill. Just because you have mental illness doesn’t mean you can declare them incompetent. What do I do??? I stopped doing things for her. I don’t clean her house. She wouldn’t let he anyway. I don’t see or talk to her except once a week. She does her own bills, orders and takes her own medicine, takes call a bus to the grocery store. She doesn’t want my help anyway. When I interfere she would scream at me. She has extreme OCD. Don’t touch her stuff. She won’t bathe, wash her hair, or change her clothes. I don’t talk about it with her anymore. I’m not her boss, her caregiver, I don’t tell her what she can and can’t do, I don’t pick up the pieces for her anymore. I am her daughter only!!! You do the same!!! Talk with a therapist. Do teleheath!! Don’t drive yourself crazy with this anymore. You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves. I was where you were a year ago. I am in a better place now due to this aging care site and all the wonderful help they give. My therapist has helped me too. I had the best conversation with my mother on Sunday night. I went home and she called me at midnight and we talked and laughed some mire till 3 am!!! That hasn’t happened in ages. I’m her daughter, that is it.
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Beatty Aug 5, 2020
Your story is so important to hear. So many of us have been trying to *fix* a family member/friend. Even when we learn we can't, when we even say ' I don't want to fix them' there is often a BUT.

When I sought therapy I was at that stage. I thought I knew I couldn't change her / fix her... & yet, not too far deep down I did.

I told the therapist I wanted to be able to float along. In peace. To accept what is.

It took a year too. My sister lives how she wants to live. It's not how I wish to live. But she does.

Thankyou for sharing. That was a beautiful moment you had, that phone call with your Mom. That is acceptance.
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Please call Adult Protective Services, he is not living in a safe place and he can not take care of himself. He will either need to live in a residential facility or with a family member who can take care of him. He obviously can not continue in this living situation.
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Reply to Taarna
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I think you already know what you have to do. It's hard to quit being the child and be the adult. Role reversal. Would he have allowed you to live like that? It is his right to do what he wants - as long as he knows what he is doing. He doesnt. It's dangerous. If you call a cleaning service or caretaker to come in - they will contact APS. If you just cant make the call - call a one time cleaning service (give them heads up). Have them come out. Leave because of the conditions. Then tell Dad cleaning service called APS. Either way - yes it is time.
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Country Mouse is quite right, naturally, she so often is. However your question was “How do I overcome the feeling of ‘I have to do what my father says?’ ”. (Challenging punctuation here, if that interests you)

That’s a different issue, one for you to work on irrespective of whether you have any control in the problem. You ‘ought’ to show respect for your father and his wishes, but you certainly don’t have any obligation to ‘do what he says’, no matter what it is. What if he told you to ignore the whole ‘best practice’ recommendations about Covid? What if he told you to do something illegal, eg murder? If you feel strongly that you are controlled by what your father says, you need to get help for yourself, as an independent adult. You may not mean what you said, but think about why you said it. Yours, Margaret
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It is best to contact the local authorities.

This is a dangerous situation for him.

He may not forgive you but doing the right thing can be pretty hard sometimes.
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