My elderly parents live alone and are declining and I think they hate us. Any advice?

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My elderly parents live in their own single level condo. They have no real friends. My dad is in his mid-80s and has fallen and been hospitalized a number of times. He is a diabetic, spends a lot of time in a wheelchair and can barely walk with a walker. My mom in her early 80s is his pitbull of a care-giver. But she is starting to show signs of cognitive issues. The latest trip to the rehab hospital after a fall where my dad hit his head ended after 5 weeks. My dad went home and within 2 days he was back in the regular hospital because my mom kept saying he almost fell and she couldn't care for him. He was supposed to go to another rehab place this week for PT to try to get him walking but it is a real hell-hole so my mom took him home. I have one sibling that lives in the same town as they do. He does a lot for them but he has a young family. I actually live in Canada now. I'm within significant driving distance but I also have a young family and my place is with my kids. Today my mom was completely out of it when my aunt visited. This is Day 1 after the hospital. They had no food, she and my dad had only had drank coffee and it was nearly 11AM (and he's diabetic). My aunt gave my dad a couple of granola bars she keeps in her purse and he inhaled them. He clearly was hungry. I am certain my mom is not sleeping because she is afraid my dad will get up in the night and fall again. I phoned after they had a home nursing visit and my mom has dismissed the nurses only for "an as needed basis" - well they need them everyday. My kids and their cousins are afraid of my mother because she is mean and nasty to them. She remembers no one's birthday and shows no interest. My dad only wants to sit in front of Fox News and sports. They sit in their living room and do that all day. Fox News and sports. We will make a huge effort to visit them every few months and for holidays. We have to stay in a hotel (5 of us). We pay to bring in decent food for them for meals for all us. They survive on processed foods from the grocery store - their fridge is filled with cupcakes and ice cream. (When we eat salad they think we are nuts. It's all sugar all the time for them.) Visiting them is hard because we try to keep our visits to their place short as to not upset them and to give our kids a break. So we are constantly running back and forth to the hotel or the mall or to Walmart or wherever. It's exhausting. Thanksgiving is coming up. We usually go down and are planning to go but none of us want to do this. I had planned to order in Thanksgiving dinner but already they are pushing back saying they are not sure "how they will feel." They don't like me too much because I ask questions and push them on things. Not in a bad way. More of a "are you seeing your doctor soon?" and "what did the doctor think about getting more walking in?" I'm at my wits' end. I just ended a phone call with my parents and know that it was one lie after another. There is no food, they are not taking their medication, etc. I can't do much from a foreign country. Is there any advice anyone has? Should I even bother going for Thanksgiving? It will be one battle after another. I can see it now. They don't like our visits. It's clear.

Answers 1 to 6 of 6
Top Answer
This sounds very familiar to me. My folks are in similar shape but not quite as bad. I also am long distance, about 10 to 12 hour drive.

Your folks clearly need to be in care but it sounds like your mom is never going to agree. So it will be a horrible crisis that forces the issue. You may even have to call APS to intervene if  mom is still combative about getting into care.

Whether it’s family or local authorities someone needs to intervene soon.

I wouldn’t do a big thanksgiving trip other than just getting the lay of land. No need to subject your family to this mess, but you’ll need some boots on the ground to sort this out. These are old folks that need help not normal LETS GO TO GRANDMAS FOR THANKSGIVING folks.

Call their local Area Agency on Aging and outline the situation to them. Send a letter with the same information ( no food, no meds) to your parents" doctors, and send it return receipt requested.

It's time for the professionals to step in.
It doesn't sound like a Thanksgiving visit would be a happy event for any of you, parents included. Instead, why don't you go for a few days on your own, not over a holiday. This would give you an uninterrupted chance to observe how your parents are doing, and perhaps what to report to the Area Agency on Aging.
Your parents don't hate you. They are having a dreadful time - I'd say the crisis is already here, and I think I'd ask the sibling who lives locally to call elder services and get advice. Whether they like it or not your parents need support and it sounds as if they're too ill and overwhelmed respectively to know where to start.

And I also agree - enjoy Thanksgiving with your own family, have a lovely time, and use it to recharge your batteries ready for the few weeks ahead!
I would contact APS. These people need to be in a residential care setting.

This is just awful. Mean and nasty or not...knowing their real situation it is upon you and sibling to get Adult Services involved so that they can be placed where they get care every day.

Yes, APS can remove them from their home and put them in a NH. And, honestly, they should be!
Not to call in APS in my opinion would amount to elder abuse. Sorry to say that but you have seen first hand what their living conditions are and their refusal to accept help. Sometimes people have to be forced to accept help if they are a damger to themselves which your parents obviously are.
Either visit them yourself and try to get them to sign POA over to you or take the whole family but let the kids stay with their Dad most of the time while you sort things out
I don't think they hate you, more like they are afraid of you ad wary of what you may make them do.
NO ONE WANT TO BE TOLD TO LEAVE THEIR HOME AND LIVE IN AN INSTITUTION. Even if there is a nice ALS nearby they will still need help and supervision which they will be reluctant to accept.
Time to step in and wield the big stick I am afraid. No discussion set things up as something they can't wriggle out of. They will be mad but with the help of APS it has to be done.

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