A few months ago, my relatives told me they thought my father might be verbally abusing my mother. I talked to her about it. She says he is not. But, in the last month or so, his behavior has gotten progressively more troubling. He believes that my mother and I have hired people to spy on him. He believes (is terrified) that someone is going to wipe out his bank account. He has called people (relatives, doctors, attorneys) to have my mother declared mentally incompetent. I have been told (believably) that he has a loaded gun between the mattress and box spring.

My mother is not mentally incompetent. Sometimes she forgets things, and somethings she shows signs of cognitive decline, but for the most part, she is a competent adult.

She admitted today that he is "getting ugly" (a Southern term that means anything from rude or mean to physically abusive). Yet, she doesn't want me to take any action.

I have talked to adult protective services, but not filed a claim. (I don't trust their competency!)

I care about both my father and mother! What should I do?

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Could you bring mom to your place for a few days and call it a Mother-Daughter weekend? Get some real answers from her and move forward from there?
Paranoia is not normal as you know. It could be something as simple as a UTI with your Dad. They cause such bizarre neurological symptoms.
Even if you don’t have a HIPPA form that your Dad signed, his doctor will most definitely want to hear from you. Perhaps they could even call your Dad and say it’s time for a checkup.
Good luck with this! I know your must be very frightened.
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Whether you trust APS or not, something must be done ASAP. This is a potentially dangerous and could be a tragic situation. What if your father hallucinates that your mother is trying to rob him and gets his gun? It’s probably loaded, you know.

How much contact do you have with your parents? Do you live close to them? Are relatives caring for them? Do you have POA or does a relative have guardianship? Somehow you need to get Dad out of the house and have someone clear it of weapons. Then start exploring alternate living arrangements (separate) for both of them.
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Have you talked to your dad's doctor about his paranoia? Taken him in for an evaluation?

Send the doctor a fax, outlining your concerns. Tell the doc about the loaded gun. Perhaps while you have dad at the doc appointme t, a friend or relative could take the gun and get it to a gunsmith to disable it.
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