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We had to move my dad to a memory care type of assisted living facility 11 months ago. The facility is about 10 minutes from home. My mom does not live with me but does live in my subdivision. She has begun picking up my dad from the facility 3 days a week, and she plops him down in the living room of their home. I think this is a terrible idea but I can't get her to stop doing it. What is everyone else's thoughts about this? To be clear, she wanted him OUT of their house, and I had to move him from the house to the facility, 100% on my own, and under duress. She takes him out of the facility because she hates the place, mostly because she finds the other residents to be creepy. She says she takes him home because she "doesn't know what else to do with him." When home, they sit in the living room with no TV or music, no food...just silence and sometimes discussion about end-of-life stuff, or bickering. It's by no means a lovey-dovey situation while he is home. Sometimes she is downright verbally cruel to him. My parents are still in their 70s and their health is such they are both likely to be around for another decade. This is going to drive me nuts.

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BarbBrooklyn, You hit the nail on the head: I can't make them young and healthy again". That's really the frustrating part, right? There is not one darn thing I can do to truly resolve the root of the problem.

My parents housed my mom's mom part-time, sharing with her brother, but became frustrated with the situation and then grandma went to live permanently with brother in another state and my parents really didn't see her but a few times in her final years. Otherwise, not really any interaction with the aging parents. My parents moved me across the country when I was 3 and so we had really no contact with aging relatives, we just simply received the news that so-and-so had died.
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So, Upstream, your mom CLEARLY is having cognitive issues. I remember when that became clear to me with my mom (the most CONSIDERATE person on earth) when I told her that I had nearly gotten killed on an icy road getting to her. It made NO impression on her. I knew that something in my mom's brain was really "gone".

No sane, mentally balanced parent wants their child to suffer because of their needs. I take that as a given. So if your parents' needs have outrun your capacity, you need to have help come in, or you need to turn their care over to authorities who can force care for them. (yes mom, running marathons, but not dealing with an unreasonable elder. I could run a marathon; I can't do what you want me to do, which is to make you and dad young and healthy again. And by the way, I'm not you. I'm me. I may have more limitations than you did". (OBTW, did your parents take good care of their parents, hands on?)
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Thanks all. Yes I have POA for financial and medical for my parents. Mom seems to understand that I am stretched thin but whenever I indicate that I, too, have limitations she just says "but you are young and we are old" (I heard that one today), or "when I was your age I was still running marathons", etc. etc.

Honestly the suicide talk goes back about 5 years (at least) so I stopped taking it seriously a while back. That was how she let me know she wanted my dad out of the house: she said she would either kill herself or move out to a hotel and leave him there alone if I did not move him, pronto. So that's what I did.
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jeannegibbs Feb 25, 2018
Even if you don't take the suicide threats seriously, you could use that as a way to have her evaluated.
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Absolutely, Barb

Time to deal with mum's issues. She is, to me, showing a pattern of decline typical of dementia.

'Incidentally - do you have POA financial and health for both your parents?

Your mum is a disaster waiting to happen and that includes your dad when he is with her. Would a visit by APS identify that your mum needs help? Can you discuss this with the staff/social worker at the facility and see if they have any ideas about keeping dad there? What is his doctor's view of these visits? (including the verbal cruelty). Is he noticeably distressed/disoriented after them?

I completely agree that a threat of suicide has to be taken seriously, and followed up.

Let us know how things pan out,
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Upstream; I don't know what mom's cognitive state is right now. But understand that she can "demand" all she wants but YOU don't have to do what she "demands".

If she doesn't have dementia, I'd tell her that; that you are prepared to walk away from her threats and let "the State" take over her care. This of course is the nuclear option, but it's the one to keep in mind when you have the following conversation. Just remember that you are NOT negotiating and not wheedling.

"Mom, I can't do this any more. Your care, dad's care, the care of your property needs to be handled by professionals. I can hire help for you. But I'm going to die if I keep trying to do this all myself. I"m not so young anymore and I have other responsibilities."

Mom: "Oh, you're so full of it, I'll just kill myself".

You "Mom, since you've threatened self harm, I'm going to have to call 911 right now. You need to be evaluated by professionals"

Mom: "Oh, so you're so important, you can't take care of your mom and dad; forget about it, I'll be fine".

You: "No mom; I've called the EMTs. If THEY decide not to transport you, the Area Agency on Aging will be here in a few days to assess the level of care you need. A geriatric care manager will help find you that care. I'm sorry, but since you won't cooperate with me, your loving daughter, I've got to leave your care in professional hands."
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SnoopyLove: Mom is a safe driver other than driving below the speed limit, LOL. We've lived in the same town for 40 years and it's still a pretty small town with the same routes. She mostly ventures out early and never drives in the dark. Good grief if I had to take her keys away I will have to drive her everywhere because, of course, she will refuse to call a cab or Uber and she will refuse to move to an adult community where they provide shuttles for shopping and such.
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Sendhelp, Thank you! Fortunately parents bought "Cadillac" long-term care policies many years ago. So dad's care is being funded by that. I am right now in the process of lining up a yard care service to maintain the lawn and landscape. The lot is nearly an acre with lots of trees and shrubs so there is no way my husband and I can add that to our list of things to-do. Mom is refusing any sort of cleaning help on the inside (unless of course I go there and do it myself) so, for now, we will have to live with the little bit of interior upkeep she is doing.

Where does one find a Geriatric Coordinator? Of course, mom will refuse any outside help.
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So sorry about this situation, Upstream. What a tragic decline from what they were before.

Is your mom driving your dad back and forth? I wonder if she is a safe driver and should be out on the roads at this point. Maybe this is one way to address this situation?
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Upstream,
This must be breaking your heart.
Ideally, both Mom and Dad could be together in a very nice assisted living, even separate rooms/apartment. I have seen this when the wife just gets so overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry that she moves the hubs out. Neither do very well apart for long. She must have got burned out. There is no shame (or shouldn't' t be) in getting burned out, or having a mental illness. Any type of cognitive decline requires assistance imo.
1) Mom at home cannot maintain the home and must have help. Call in professionals to keep the home up, because this time goes by fast before a crisis makes it impossible to live there. You can, move her to senior housing temporarily to fix up the house. They will need the money from the home for housing later.
2) Dad at AL is entitled to leave on outings. If they are drinking still, he would want to go with her, and that would be destructive to his memory, imo. Even if they are not drinking, they might just miss each other and are negatively bonded in their marriage.
It is all very sad, but for the health of Dad (memory care), something has to change, you are right. Keep alcohol away from him because of the meds.
3) You are sounding understandably burnt out, so call in a Geriatric Coordinator for both parents. It is not for you to have to take this all on yourself. Send care, oversee this from the distance of your own home. If you don't have a home, move out and get one so you can survive this. Imo.

Sorry, but that is the best I've got for you. My heart goes out to you in this difficult situation. Please try not to take sides, both parents are needing more help.
I understand that the logistics seem impossible, especially financially and with resistance from your Mom. There was already a crisis when you had to move dad (abruptly). Someone needs to take action quickly, imo, to intervene. You were there, but that must have taken a lot out of you. So sorry it has come to this in your lives. If you could look at it from a Geriatric Coordinator' s perspective, it may seem complex but with some simpler solutions.
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Upstream, I'm so sorry for this train wreck! Can you get her seen by a mental health professional?

Her suicide threats would seem to make that something to be seriously considered. Perhaps even an inpatient stay....
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HolidayEnd I love your little cat butt logo!
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HolidayEnd, Wow! That is horrible. Oh yes, you are correct, she is 100% only concerned about how this affects her. I have said for years that if a man had treated his wife the way my mom has treated my dad, it would be called abuse. Because it's a little old lady being nasty, nobody calls it for what it is. She's said cruel and nasty things to him at doctor's offices, restaurants, in front of home health care staff, etc. and I have been waiting for several years for someone to step up and call her out.

Isn't it horrible to watch your parents devolve into this? And then not even have a sibling to go through it with?
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Thanks to all for your responses. Being an only child and having no other family nearby, I have no one to run this stuff by. My husband has his own issues with his 80-year old dad (who is an angel compared to my parents) and frankly, I am trying to keep my parents situation from souring my own marriage. I have friends but is it really fair to dump on them about my psycho parents on a regular basis? Who wants to hear that? Most of my friends talk about their kids and grandkids, their vacations, jobs, etc. I seem to be the only one in my circle dealing with this sort of an issue.

So, I come here to find out if the things I am feeling or thoughts I am having are correct. And of course to vent. This forum is the only place I have to discuss these horrible issues that are taking over my life.

My parents are educated, world traveled, and were very kind and compassionate people. They used to do things like volunteer at animal shelters, thrift stores and the library. They were marathon runners that traveled around the southeast United States and competed for many years while I was growing up. I am baffled every day as to how we ended up at this point.
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I hate to pull the narcissist label but it seems to be that your mom is completely wrapped up in how the situation affects HER, and doesn’t care about him.

I’m an only child too except my dad acts like your mom and my mom is the one suffering from dementia. My dad had allowed my mom to go hungry rather than bother to feed her. She had lost a lot of weight. She couldn’t manage her self care, was not bathing or changing clothes and my dad complained that mother didn’t DO HIS LAUNDRY! Just my dad’s narcissist personality, just like when I was growing up. If dad went to the store he’d just buy crap and she couldn’t live on crullers and chips! There’s no way I’ll ever trust my dad to care for her again! That’s why mother is in ALF where she’s safe and well fed and has company and friends and laundry services and they shower her! If I hear he’s been taking her home there’ll be a report to elderly abuse!

I am disabled and live 3-4 hours away from my parents but now I’m not being fooled by my dad anymore. He’ll pay her bills too! Because I’ve not seen her so happy in years.

Don’t just take your parents word that things are fine. My dad was eavesdropping when I’d talk to mother on the phone! Finally the sheriff called me and alerted me to what was going on.

Verbally abused mother and physically if you count starving her! Never in all my days would I think this could happen! I was fooled!
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Hmmm, well Countrymouse, I suppose she has been depressed for years if not decades. This has involved alcohol abuse. Both my parents have a history of alcohol abuse which started in middle age (after I had moved out), then stopped, and then started again around the time they turned 70. They were both very depressed and angry about turning 70, particularly her.
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Oh *dear.*

She is struggling, isn't she? - and very blue. And apparently either not seeing or not caring about (or both, I guess?) the impact it has on you.

Does she have any other known health issues besides her desperately low mood?
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All along this journey my mom has refused to listed to what the doctor's say regarding how to deal with a dementia person. She grills him a lot..."remember this? remember that?" and then she gets furious when he does not remember. Part of the reason we are here is that she ran off the home health care that was lined up to care for him at home. That was our last hope at managing his care at home. She refused to help with things such as helping him get dressed, or helping him put in hearing aids, etc. She also refused to cook or even shop for food regularly. As she put it...she wasn't hungry, so why should she cook for him? Needless to say, when he was admitted to the facility he was way under weight at like 125 pounds.

Dad pretty much refuses to participate in anything. I am only 50 and work 6 days a week so I can only do so much. I have asked my mom to try to attend some things there, like maybe Bingo or something and participate with him to get him involved, but she refuses. Mom has been pretty snippy with the staff and has dropped the F-bomb there a few times to both staff and residents. It's quite lovely.

She is not adjusting well at all. The whole move initially was sort of "respite care". She was supposed to take a few months to get herself stronger and get organized and get the house in order. What she has done is given up. She's just turned 76, is rapidly becoming very weak and wobbily, and the house is going downhill quickly. I'm trying to get her to move out but she refuses. She hates the house and says there's bad memories there but she says she won't move. She says no apartment living because she doesn't want to talk to other people. She says she will commit suicide if I try to move her to any type of assisted living facility.

It's like this bizarre dementia version of the movie Groundhog Day with my two parents.

Yes, dad comes home happily but he is very confused about - why he can't move back home?  Then she gets mad at him.  She takes him home around 9:30 AM, then he begs not to be dropped back off until after lunch, and then she gets made because she is responsible for providing him lunch, and then he is sad when he gets dropped off again.
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You said Dad comes home happily.
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jeannegibbs Feb 25, 2018
My husband would have very happily driven his car. But it certainly wouldn't be a good choice for him. A person with dementia isn't always in the best position to judge what is in their best interest.
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Is she feeling guilty about "dumping" him and trying to make up for it?

I should try having a word with her, or better yet getting someone she'll listen to to have a word with her, about its being much better for your father not to have his routine disrupted or his environment changed. Remind her that she was forced to accept this decision, it wasn't the choice she'd have made if she'd had one but she didn't. Now we all have to make the best of it. That kind of thing.

Try to get your Dad signed up to activities and therapies - as many as they have - so that he's always booked.

Meanwhile, hugs and more hugs to your mother. *Apart* from the dad aspect (yes, I do realise it's a biggie), how is she adjusting to being on her own?
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I absolutely have no doubt there is mental illness involved with my mother. There is not much I can do. I am an only child and my parents have no other family and no friends. My mom is a train wreck waiting to happen. She seems to think it's fine bringing him home and of course he comes home happily. I am the odd-man out when it comes to thinking this is not a good idea. There are three of us: me, dementia dad and train-wreck mom. I am outnumbered!
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Upstream, has your mom been seen by a psychiatrist?

I'm wondering if there is perhaps some cognitive decline and/or mental illness involved here.

Her treatment of dad may be abusive; I would consult with dad's doctors on this and then cross the difficult decision of trying to figure out how to prevent her from taking him out.
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