My father is soon to be 94, in Sept. He came to live with my husband and I in May of 2012. He has progressively been getting more demanding and mean spirited. I can’t do anything right according to him.
He orders breakfast every morning and wants it exactly so, I have been told by many people, my 6 kids my husband and friends, that I am a good cook, but my dad is angry every day that I can’t get anything perfect. I know that I am in burnout right now, because all I want to do is cry and wish I could run away. My daughters tell me to stand up to him. But when I try, he can turn it around on me and make me cry.
Now he wants to move south and go gold mining in the hills of Lake Havasu???
He can’t even walk around the block. He can’t drive. We took that away from him about 5 years ago because he was a danger to himself and others.
He can’t cook or even keep track of his meds. He says, well I just won’t take meds!
I am at wits end, and my poor dear husband, who is dealing with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia himself, is stressed out trying to smooth things over. I just don’t know what to do or where to turn.
My question is, is there a legal way to stop my dad from leaving and going off on his own?
Though to tell the truth it would be nice!
Thank you for listening.

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Your father is obviously suffering from dementia and has no way of 'going gold mining in the hills of Lake Havasu', let's face it. Therefore, since it's literally impossible for your dad to leave, I wouldn't be worried about 'legally' stopping him from doing something he can't do to begin with.

I would, however, get him placed in a Skilled Nursing Facility immediately. You need to take your HUSBAND'S serious health issues into consideration and realize that the stress your father is creating in your household is hurting him.

Caring for your father for 8+ years at home is ENOUGH. He can go into a SNF or an Assisted Living Facility and 'order' his meals precisely the way he wants them THERE. And let's see how that works out for him.

I was a care giver to an elderly man who suffered from Alzheimer's many years ago. He too would bark out orders about how he wanted his eggs and bacon prepared each morning. And naturally, my eggs & bacon were never perfect, the way they were when he was on the QE2, years ago. I would remind him that this was NOT the QE2 but his kitchen, and my eggs and bacon were perfectly wonderful, thank you very much. After cooking for a family for 30 years, I knew how to make eggs. I wound up taking WAY too much crap from old Gene and quit that job after working for him for about 2 months. He wound up living for 10 more years, believe it or not. He'd also treat me like a slave and a second class citizen, coming after me with his walker raised over his head. Not okay; not from an employer OR from a family member.

Tell your father he will be moving out soon, and then make arrangements to have him do exactly that.

It's time to take care of your immediate family and yourself now. Dad will be in very good hands in residential care and you can go see him every day if you'd like.

Good luck and all the best moving forward
Helpful Answer (15)
Sondra27 Jun 2020
Dearest Lealonnie,
Thank you,
I have been at my wits end, and just to have the support, is truly a blessing. Thank you for all the good advice.
I will look into a skilled nursing facility. I know they are expensive and there’s a waiting list. I don’t know if the VA would pay for it or not.
I need to shake the guilt. I know I’ve done nothing wrong, but it’s been drilled into me by him of course that I had to take care of him. Every time he doesn’t get his way he tells us to get him a plane ticket! And he’s out of here and we’ll never hear from him again!
i will do some calling around tomorrow and see what I can find out. Thank you with all my heart for your support!
Why do you want to stop him?

He sounds beastly and your husband doesn't need the stress.

I would give him a bowl of bran flakes for breakfast and tell him that is what he gets until he can appreciate the effort you make to feed him.
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Llamalover47 Jul 2020
Isthisrealyreal: Genuis response on the bran flakes!
1) what do you want as an outcome?
2) what are you legally able to do?

For your poor husband's sake I would rehome your father into a nice care facility whether he wants to go there or not. Your first obligation is to your husband and children, not your father. No where in your profile or post do you mention the word "dementia". Yet, he has the hallmarks of it.

Are you his only child? If you have siblings you need to have a family conference about when and how to get him placed in a NH. Does anyone have Power of Attorney for him? If no, and if he won't assign it and if he already has enough cognitive decline that he won't know what Power of Attorney is, then your only recourse will be to pursue guardianship of him through the courts. If you/some one in your family doesn't pursue it, the county eventually will and you/your family will have no power, no say in where he goes and what care he his given.

You also need to bring yourself up to speed on his mental decline. Teepa Snow has some very informative videos on YouTube. I suggest you watch them, as I think you are somewhat in denial since you can't seem to interact with him as a person with a broken mind, as opposed to who he used to be (your pre-dementia father).

Start with getting durable PoA if you can. Who is paying his bills or managing his financial affairs? You will need to know what assets he has so you know whether to apply for Medicaid for him or not. Does anyone go to the doctor with him? Take him for a medical exam and have the doctor give him a cognitive assessment so that you know what you're dealing with. Start researching local facilities. Don't tell him anything about moving, don't react to his mistreatment of you (he can't help it). Walk out of the room, or just don't respond. Don't respond to any talk about him leaving or goldmining. Save your energies for creating a transition plan and all that needs to go into. In a care community he will have much more socialization and activities and get all the medical care he needs, while you can go visit him as often as you want, and your home can come out of the chaos and your husband gets his wife back. I wish you all the best...let us know how it goes and come back with more questions as they come up.
Helpful Answer (12)

Sondra, it sounds like you have been groomed for a very long time to do Dad's bidding. It can be very hard to change and yes, there will be push back.

If you have not had therapy, now is the time for it. You have two major events going on in your life, a husband with Cancer and a father who is causing no end of problems.

First, not more cooking any meals to order. You are not running a restaurant. Dad will not like it, but tough beans. Just because he is ranting and raving, does not mean you have to feel any guilt.

How do you make this change? "Dad I am sorry but as you are never happy with what I prepare, I will give you what I am eating." He will rant and rave and complain, you go for a walk, get out of hearing range. If he does not eat the food in front of him he will go hungry, so be it.

Sondra, you do know that you can still stand up to him and cry? Starting to cry does not mean you have to back down from your stance. "Dad I can see you are upset, so am I, but no, I will not prepare what you want for breakfast. Here is a bowl of cereal and fruit."

As far as the statements that he is going to leave, you know deep down that they are empty threats. He is physically incapable of going gold mining.

I agree 100% with others, your focus needs to be your husband. Dad needs to be in a care facility, check with the VA for options.
Helpful Answer (12)
DrBenshir Jul 2020
The VA will have affordable placement, but it may not be close. They have also been hit with staff shortages and COVID, like all senior care facilities. Dad has had a long, good run. You have done an amazing job taking care of him, but now your famiy must come first. You don't really have a choice: contact the VA ASAP and move Dad out. Accept whatever they can find that is clean and safe. You can always move him if you find someplace better.
"He wants to move south and go gold mining in the hills of Lake Havasu"? Sounds pretty good to me. Buy him a bus ticket, and give it to him. He can choose.
Helpful Answer (11)


Are you for real? It sounds like you have spoiled your father rotten. And you’ve already had seven family members telling you that would be my guess. What could we possibly say that will wake you?

Let him plan his trip without interference. Maybe it will keep him occupied. If he is not incompetent to make his own decisions then he can. Age alone is not a reason to hold someone against their will.

It sounds like he has been propped up so much he is delusional but couid he pass a competency test?

If he is deemed competent, you would need guardianship to stop him and then it could be hard. Who controls his finances?
I suspect once you let go of your end of the rope, he will forget about it.

The first rule of the game is if you quit playing, game over. His game seems to be called “How quick can I bring daughter to tears.”

Do not cook him another bite would be my advise. Hand him a protein drink if you must and say “Enjoy” and walk away. You don’t need to engage in conversation. You already know what he has to say. Quit trying to argue with someone who has dementia. Plenty of old people live on their own and don’t cook and don’t take their meds correctly if at all. He doesn’t sound like the sort who will miss out on too many creature comforts.

While he’s planning his trip, you start researching alternate housing for him.

No one can stop this madness but you. Go to therapy. Post often here. Do something for yourself BEFORE you do another thing for him. Let me amend that. Do something for yourself and your dear husband before you do another thing for him. You are giving him all your power and all your emotional energy.

And it’s not making anyone happy is it?

Start with the basics. Please and thank you. Respectful tone. Genuine appreciation. And in case you don’t understand, that would be coming from him to you. Otherwise ignore him.

You are not his servant. Quit acting like you are and you are afraid you’ll be kicked out of the house and won’t be able to feed your six grown children if you lose your job.

Its the old proverbial “tail wagging the dog”. He needs you, not the other way around.

Sondra, what are you afraid of after all?

I hope someone answers this post with words that will bring you out of the trance. I know it’s hard to turn your back but not as hard as what you’ve been doing.
Good luck.
Helpful Answer (10)
Buffytwmo49 Jun 2020
I would arrange ew living arrangements for him and the next time he yelled at me would be his last. Give him fair warning and then load the car and out he goes. He will learn to be respectful one way or other. I know I sound mean but have taken care of my mother and her way or highway. Learned really quick.
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Your husband has CLL and you are subjecting him to this stress?

What meds is dad now NOT taking? I'm hoping that that will create a medical crisis, and when that happens, or when he falls, you call 911.

And you refuse to let him back in the house. It is FAR past the time for him to be placed someplace where he can order breakfast to his liking and chew the fat with other older guys. He'll have a ball.
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Put him to work trying to get mining permits.    I don't even know if they're possible for an individual these days.     And don't volunteer to do it for him.  

AZ is experiencing what could be considered a medical crisis b/c of Covid 19; I doubt if they'd even issue permits to mine for gold, if the rights aren't already tied up.  
Helpful Answer (7)
Isthisrealyreal Jul 2020
That's not how it works in AZ. He is talking about prospecting and it is done all over the state, all the time. You would only need a permit to actually do a mine, which isn't likely to happen for an individual.
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If he doesn't have access to money or transportation, he can't leave. Just let him talk about this "dream" and don't let it rattle you.

It seems you let him rattle you since you care so much. Start valuing yourself and your relationship with others. Your relationship with your dad is going to be flawed because of the dementia. Stop letting his disease tear down your self-esteem. Right now you have the equivalent of a toddler throwing tantrums and mommie trying to soothe him at any cost - regardless of the cost. Start by talking with your husband about what are reasonable limits and what to do when those boundaries are stepped over. Please read any of the Boundaries books by Townsend and Cloud to help with dealing with difficult behavior. You may also benefit from seeing a counsellor to talk through creating a new lifestyle at home.
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Consult a medical professional and your local agency on aging. It’s time to move him probably.
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