My step-father shares a house with my spouse, me and two children. We are his primary caregivers and have seen him through three heart procedures and three strokes in the last five years. He has no interest in taking care of his personal finances or shared household finances...until out of the blue, he will start accusing me of spending “his” money. We have a joint household account. He has a separate personal account as do we. Bills are paid as my mother wrote out prior to her death five years ago.
My problem is his biological daughter who lives seven hours away. My step-dad is 85 and had a stroke a little over six weeks ago. The doctors, the Nurse Practitioner, the OT, and the PT asked if he was driving...which he was prior to the stroke. I could tell they were astounded, but my step-father often claims to my step-sister we are taking his car, spending his money, not feeding him, keeping him from working...you name it. I made sure each person communicated to my step-father their honest medical opinion. I even had them tell him when I was not there. They all told him he could not drive, and this was based on their medical observation of his motor skills compounded by the fact he was a stroke risk. He was the one who told me what each person said.
Tonight, he was overheard by my daughter telling her we had told the doctors to tell him he couldn’t drive, so we could use his car. He did this same kind of twisting what happened and who initiated it four years ago when he decided to retire after his second stroke. (He’s a physician.) His office staff all took other jobs. Two days before the office was to close, his daughter came up from her residence and hired a new office secretary “because Daddy is just so sad that he can’t go into work,” (As reported to me...I was actually intentionally out of the country as I did not want to be accused of manipulating the end of his career.) I came home where he kept office hours for a week...but long enough to have a complaint filed with the Board of Healing Arts and a lawsuit filed against him. My step-father was mortified, but I got to deal with the investigators and lawyers. In the end, he declared his license inactive, the lawsuit was dropped after three years of legal maneuvers, and we closed the office. But revisionist history comes into play, and my step-sister feeds into it.
The icing on the cake was Christmas when my step-father drove back with my step-sister to her residence and gave her his truck to keep. He had a cardiac event which they both believed to be a heart attack. She put him on a plane to fly back home where he truly had a heart attack on the plane! He was taken off the plane, taken by ambulance to a hospital, and had two stents. My step-sister did not fly up to assist with his care...or even just be with her father.
We have suggested selling the house and dividing the sale to allow him to move in with his daughter or go to an assisted living facility. We could just walk away, but he’s truly not able to live independently. Financially, we would be walking away from our own equity in the home. We’ve offered to buy his half out, but that has been a no go.
I'm really tired of not only the caretaking, but also this feeling I have to be accountable to my step-sister for finances. She kind of waltzes in and stirs the pot, then waltzes out. My kids are the ones who make sure someone’s always available to stay in the house. His daughter didn’t even stay more than two hours after his second stroke...she’d just gotten back from a cruise followed by a trip to Punta Cana and was just “so tired.” I was coming off my mother’s funeral the week before.
I’m venting, I’m rambling, I’m tired, I’m frustrated. Thanks for listening if you made it this far! But I just feel so manipulated.