How do we go about intervening with the health and welfare of our parents? - AgingCare.com

How do we go about intervening with the health and welfare of our parents?

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My husbands parents are 89(dad) and 84(mom) and are driving my poor husband crazy. First off they have a bulldog who is in bad health and just ruining the home with urine and poop accidents which the mom tries to clean but doesn't do very good. We have went over and cleaned the room thoroughly that the dog messes in but a week later it was back to being just as bad. The dog belongs to the nephew but has been living with them for 5 years because she can't do steps. The dad is always cold so he won't run the air conditioning and won't let the mom open any windows so you can imagine how bad the house smells and how hot it is. My husband has gotten sick over there many times and so has one of his sisters who now refuses to go back because of it. The oldest sister is an RN and the medical power of attorney but is on disability herself for mental and physical issues and isn't doing anything about it. The father won't keep himself clean and hasn't taken a shower in over a year. He washes out of a bowl of water and can barely use his arms because his rotator cuff is bad on each arm so he doesn't have much range of motion and can barely walk much less stand. My husband just got in a heated discussion with his parents last night because he told his dad that he needed to keep clean and wash at least 1 time a week to which his father replied "Ive never heard of having to do that". Then the mom starts defending the dad and my husband is being yelled at by both of them. He offered to come help and they won't let him. They turned on the air yesterday because the dog was hot and having a hard time and it did help with the smell some but it's still really bad over there. His parents have always been very strong willed but this is ridiculous. Does my husband have any rights to do anything about this? He has talked to the nephew about taking the dog but the parents won't let the dog go. His father has always favored dogs over people and it has become insane at this point. He is very confused all the time but I feel that is due to the fact that there is no fresh air ever in the house and he hardly ever leaves any more so he is just breathing in this toxic air. He doesn't feel good a lot of the time but won't take his prescribed pain meds that I have personally seen do work for him because my husband got him to take one finally one day and within 10 minutes he was talking and with it and actually sitting up at the table instead of his head on the table. My husband is at his wits end at this point. He is not getting the support of his siblings that he needs and he wants to help his parents but feels like his hands are tied. They let him mow the grass and fix stuff that they allow him to but there is a lot that needs done. What is our next step at this point? There is so much more I could tell you but it would be a book!

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Have you considered calling Adult Protective Services and asking them to do a welfare check?
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KathleenB, those of us who have dealt with strong willed parents there isn't a whole lot one can do, especially if the parents are clear minded. What happens is that we sit by the phone and wait for a medical emergency to happen. Sometimes it can take 2 or 3 emergencies before the parent realizes they need to do something about where they live.

Also we, as the grown children, need to stop enabling our parents to keep living in their house. So limit the helping out. Example, Dad needs to hire someone to mow the lawn.

As for the dog, I would just ignore what is going on with the dog, it gives them something to take care of. Have them take the dog outside every hour or so. I rather sit and wait for the dog to do its thing, then have to clean up after it later.
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You are being hit with a bunch of tough situations at once:
-Aging, irritable parents who won't listen.
-The dog, which will continue to use the house as his personal potty b/ he's not trained and now he's marked his spots--to him it makes sense to "go" wherever.
-Seemingly poor communication between son and parents.
-Parents unable to care for themselves.
-Poor hygiene of parents.
-House is probably filthy and unfit for humans.. (I'm guessing)
-Likely also poor nutrition for everyone but that dog.
-Siblings who are MIA for one reason or another.

Time to call APS. Make sure they follow through. Be as complete in your report as possible. Once APS is alerted, they MUST follow through. The dog may well be taken, and while that is sad, then perhaps some order can be restored...although, your inlaws sound like they need a ton of help--and you aren't being allowed to give it.

Once APS steps in, and again, make sure they do, with follow up calls to them, then the interested family members can make some decisions. I have seen people removed from their homes, physically, as they are too ill to see the dangers and problems. A very few returned home.

This isn't just "annoying" it sounds quite serious. Just because there are 2 of them, doesn't mean that they're coping together for their own best interests.

We had to remove mother and daddy from their home, pretty much against their will. The house was falling to pieces, and even with a weekly cleaning and yard work, it was just way too much for them. Sad. I wish they had made the decision to downsize long before we were forced to do it for them.
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Gosh I'm so in agreement with you MidKid. Funny how's its always MidKid. Doing it all?
Can ask what MIA means re siblings.
Why is their inability to join in emotionally and physically so hard for them. It must break many a family up when the parents have gone. It will mine for sure .
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I have my elderly mother living in my home and she too has a dog who has learned over time that inside=bathroom place. I've had to take responsibility for the dog due to my mother's declining health and mobility. There's nothing you can really do to save the carpet once it's been messed on so many times, it's often permanently embedded in the carpet and they'll smell it and continue to go. So either rip out the carpet entirely, and completely retrain the dog which is another long drawn out task, or attempt to curve the inevitable and put puppy pads in the spot they go in the most, but considering it doesn't sound like your parents are physically able to bend over and discard the soiled pads, that too probably wouldn't be much of a solution.

If it were me, I would visit the topic of obtaining Durable & Medical Power of Attorney over your husband's parents, as it seems the current person placed in that position has been absent in their duties. Once you have legal authority over their well-being, will your husband and yourself be able to regain some control and alleviate the anxiety this situation has caused.

I have durable and medical power of attorney on my mother, from then it made my life a lot easier once I had control over the entire situation. In reference to managing her health, she stopped fighting me so hard once I just did what had to be done such as scheduling her appointments for specialists, and just took her there.
Before we got to this point, I would make the mistake on trying to start a discussion on what needs to be done for her health, and when always presented things to her as a choice it would be a constant doting battle. Now it's, 'let's go for a ride...and here we are, let's go!" It works a lot better over telling them ahead of time and having to battle with them for a week prior.

Not sure if any of this is of any help to you, but I would certainly focus on obtaining the legal capacity to do what is needed for their well-being.
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MidKid here---I do all my "office work" for the day sitting in my office chair with ice on my back and waiting for the morning ibuprofen to kick in. There's always some new thing on the boards, and sadly, I have a lot of experience with aging people. Hopefully, it helps sometimes.

Yep, MIA means "Missing in Action" altho "action" implies they actually DO something :) They don't.

It's VERY easy to dispense advice, very hard to take it into your own life and make a change.
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I'm so sorry you are dealing with all you are. In reading about advice to call APS, I think that's a good place to start. My parents are very similar to yours. I don't have an answer for you but will share what happened regarding removing the dog and with APS being involved, not to be a downer, but to prepare you. First of all, APS has "documented " and given advice after 2 separate visits. The "assessment" the case worker did saw that things looked "good" for the brief moment in time she popped in and documented her visit. Same thing happened the next time 8 months later. I realized, I was the safety net being at my parent's beckon call and making things appear normal much to my own frustration not realizing that by running to the rescue of my folks, I have been making their lives better and mine worse. APS finally notified my brother who is POA and they came up with a plan to implement within the next 6 months. In my opinion, way too long to wait. ( I've been their caretaker for the folks for 2.5 years, which is another long story) Regarding the dog, I took the dog away and then had to deal with hearing how upset that made my dad. I swear, there are so many people who are on the outside with advice, but the reality is, UNLESS those people are experiencing your life, they have no idea of all the dynamics and variables involved since no two families are the same. My own health is suffering along with my social life and all around quality of life. People say to take care of myself but NOBODY is stepping up to help remove the folks from their home and folks refuse to leave voluntarily. I hope you get an answer and that your social worker from APS does something to help you. Stay strong. You are not alone. I wish I had an answer for you and for me and for anyone else stuck with their hands tied.
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I'm assuming that MIA = Missing In Action :)
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If the one person in the household is cold, bundle him up and turn on the AC but take him in another room. If no AC, throw open every door and window and get that dog out of there. You may have to condemn the house depending on how long this has been going on with the waste because the smell gets into everything. As for the man not bathing, you'll probably have to get a team intervention and give him a G.I. bath where you all just pick him up and put him in the shower and just wash him down yourselves. Get the dirty clothes away from him and give him clean ones when he's clean. Believe me, you're not going to hurt him giving him a G.I. bath, facilities clean up people who can't or won't bathe and they get the job done. If his rotator cuff's or bad, it's time to step in and start bathing him
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Your husband, or whoever is going to take responsibility, needs to get financial and medical durable power of attorney for each of his parents. It is a bad idea to take responsibility for elders without having the authority to do so. If they refuse, stop going to their house and let them know you have no choice but to call APS.
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