My father is 79 and has health issues (heart, limited walking, congestive heart failure). My mother is 69 and has given up on taking care of my dad. He's still fairly independent, but has become incontinent. He makes a mess in the bathroom, his pants are always wet or smells like urine. My Mom says she tried to get him into adult undergartments but he refuses. He says he doesn't have a problem. He is getting hard of hearing, and I think his mind is starting to slowly go. He frequently forgets to shut the bathroom door, or the bedroom door when he's changing. He has been caught walking around the house with his pants unzipped and "hanging" out. My kids go to their house after school, so this is becoming an big issue. My mother has gotten fed up with his uncleanlines, and his forgetfulness and it comes out in her demeanor towards him and how she talks to him. I think my dad has decided he can't make her happy so why try and even goes out of his way to ignore her requests such as changing urine smelling clothes. He even told me that he doesnt' care what people think anymore and shouldn't have to at his age. My mother informed me that since he won't listen to her anymore and she's tired of trying (she thinks he's just lazy and a bum and believes he can control his bladder if he wants to), and that it's up to me and my brother to handle him now. I don't know what to do. I know my brother (who lives with them) won't do anything. He just complains about dad behind his back. I feel bad for my dad but don't know what I can do to help him or my Mom. He won't listen to me either, and will just accuse me of being controlling like my mother. I feel bad for him because of how my mother talks to him. But I know he brings some of it on himself. And even if I tried to step in, I know my Mom would have her own agenda on how I should handle things despite the fact she says she doesn't want to deal with him anymore. I just feel that i'm stuck between an rock and a hard place at the moment. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Here's an objective observation of your family situation:
• Your mom has a demented, incontinent, uncooperative spouse, an adult son living with her as a child (I assume, since he's not participating in caring for your dad), and grandchildren she babysits 5 days a week. She is more than overwhelmed and sounds like she's about ready to throw in the towel. Keep in mind that often it's the caregiver who dies first in an elderly couple. It's just too much.
• You work full time, have a sibling who is not willing/able to partner with you in addressing your father's need for care and your mother's need for help.

Unless your dad was always inconsiderate of others and lacking in normal hygiene habits, he is almost certainly suffering from dementia. His care is too much for your mom, your brother will unlikely be willing to be pressed into service, and unless you're wealthy enough to quit your job, you are unavailable to step in.

Sit down with your mom and take a look at their finances. Can they afford assisted living? Whether she moves in with him or he moves alone, it would be pretty much solve all their problems. Dad is unlikely willing to go, but if they can afford it and you and mom are on board, "it's all over but the shouting." If they can't afford it, then it's time to consider a home health aide to at least take away some of the burden for care. Usually there are county programs that fund home care for seniors.

Also, get mom and dad to an elder care attorney. If dad is in good physical health and is already requiring pretty extensive care, there's a good possibility that he'll need a nursing him at some point and your mom will need to be protected if they don't have enough money for private pay and your dad needs Medicaid.
Helpful Answer (11)

You ARE between a rock and a hard place, and unfortunately, I think there's a big shovel pushing you in harder.

I would avoid getting caught in the middle. It's really not your responsibility to care for your uncooperative father.

Look at the facts: Moms has given up on taking care of him and wants to push it off onto her daughter. Your brother doesn't seem to be of any help. Your father seems to be going out of his way to be uncooperative and offensive.

Why, why, why would you want to step into such a situation?

I would counter with a proposal that Dad find someplace else to live if he can't abide by the terms of Mom's home. Unfortunately, these are costly, but it seems he's ruining your mother's life and is determined to be obnoxious and unclean.

You could consider calling APS to help get him out of the house, and for your mother's protection, but they may not intervene.

This must be very painful for you since this is your family, but I don't see any way that stepping in to be the surrogate dart board would in any help you or the situation. In fact, it will likely ruin your life - you'll be caught between 3 people who thus far haven't been able to solve the situation. Do they think you have magic wand?

If you feel comfortable saying this, tell your mother that you just can't accept any responsibility for caring for him under the circumstances and that you feel he needs professional help.

If you make suggestions on alternative living arrangements, either your mother, father or brother could then verbally attack you for being an uncooperative daughter. If that happens, walk out, hang up the phone and stay away.

You do have to protect yourself against what has become a very bad situation.
Helpful Answer (10)

One person who answered your question suggested assisted living. After having worked in one for 10 years, it wouldn't work for your dad with his incontinence. Especially if he refuses to wear incontinence briefs. Mom is frustrated and says he is doing this on purpose. She is in denial. She is watching the man she loves slip away. She has too much on her hands to watch the children. You need to make other arrangements. Dad needs to be screened for dementia. Call the doctor NOW about your concerns. And as for your brother, I could write a book, I'll just say this. He needs a healthy dose of stepping up to the plate and being a man. He is living there and not helping your mom. It would be either or at my house. He needs to pitch in or be shown the door. This is way too much for you to take on. Call the doc and the health dept in your area. A case manager needs to screen him. Get going. You can do this
Helpful Answer (8)

Your mother does need back up, fair enough. But not from you: that would not be fair.

It also wouldn't work. Self neglect, giving up on his normal habits, apathy and indifference: these are all pretty major symptoms that want reporting to his doctor. At 79 he is a candidate for a number of conditions that could be contributing to his declining mental state, and I'm not even going to have a go at guessing. What your mother, brother, you and any other family members you can get on board need to do is present a united front and get him to a geriatrician for a thorough overhaul. Everybody is suffering, nobody is to blame - what have you got to lose by trying?

I expect he'll refuse to go, right? At that point you call the geriatrician yourself and explain the family's concerns. The geriatrician will then be able to advise you on possible ways forward, and you can take it from there.

But don't get sucked in to trying to solve this yourself. You can't.

Best of luck, please keep us posted.
Helpful Answer (7)

The one thing you can so immediately, find alternative after school care for your children. They should not be exposed to this, and it would take a stressor off mom
Helpful Answer (7)

It's time for the professionals to take over. Don't put yourself in a VERY bad situation it will only make things worse. Trust me, I know. Best of Luck....
Helpful Answer (6)

Reading over the answers after I posted, I realized I missed a critical point, that your mother is apparently taking care of your children after school.

I agree with others that this needs to change. She's already under enough stress without being a child sitter as well.

And it wouldn't be appropriate to deny care for your father and help out your mother if you still expect herto babysit for your kids. No wonder she's at her wit's end.
Helpful Answer (5)

My Dad has issues with being incontinent every now and then. He says that items like Depends are for old people, thus that tells me he is in denial about his age. Whenever he does have a mishap, my Mother makes sure he helps her clean it up. I think some men are so use to their wife, or another female in the household, cleaning everything up they just walk away from their own messes. Give him a roll of paper towels and some cleaner. Then he might find doing all that cleaning is more work then wearing Depends.

As for shutting the bathroom door, oh gosh, my parents have been doing that for as long as I can remember, probably since I had left home 40 years ago. It's just a bad habit.

Maybe your Dad is acting out because he feels that no one is listening to him. Maybe it is time to say "hey Dad, what do YOU want to do?".
Helpful Answer (4)

Your Mother does need help but you may not be the best person to give it to her. Your life would never be the same if you step in and once you are in those shoes they are very hard to take off. You can make some phone calls and internet studies of elder care. Your Father should be seen by a neurologist for dementia but that is easier said than done if he is not cooperative. Just a thought - if she is taking care of children and he is exposing himself (intentionally or not) the police may become involved also. Do what you can but protect yourself or they will eat you whole.
Helpful Answer (4)

This question should be asked.Would you allow your children to go to an after school caregiver who had an elderly man in the house who walked around "with it all hanging out" Somewhere in there sexual abuse would come into the picture.. job1 is find alternate care for the kids. job 2 is get mom to the Dr and find out what is behind her disgust for her husband, hubby may be demented but some aspects of his careless behavoiur are manipulative. After all that Grpa can be evaluated and if necessary placed in residential care if Gma is still not prepared to give him the care he needs. These two have been married for many years and this may be the final straw in a difficult relationship. Gma is only 69 and as long as she is menally alert she should be taking care of their affairs even if she is currently under stress and needs support. Get the kids out of the equation and then help Gma deal withe rest
Helpful Answer (4)

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