My father insists that he wants to die at home and will not go into a care facility, however his household conditions are not good. What are my options?

Asked by

He has basically hijacked my entire life and is insisting that I take care of him until he dies. He lives in an old mobile home next door to me and it is falling apart. He will do nothing to help care for himself, threatens to "blow his brains out" if I try to put him in a home. I have absolutely no help and I work a full time job. What he is expecting of me is far beyond what I am capable of. His house is in very poor condition, when he was well he did not take care of it and lived in filth...now that he is unwell, it is far worse. Beyond anything I can do. Honestly, it should probably be condemned. I cannot have him live with me, we do not get along that well and it would be a far worse situation than I am dealing with now. My doctor told me my blood pressure is very high (I have never had high blood pressure in my life). My father needs nursing care. He does not bathe himself even though he lies to me and says he does. He smells horrible. I do his laundry, however, he rarely changes his clothes. I am really at my wits end and do not know how much longer I can continue living this way. I definitely cannot take care of him for another winter, this is definitely the last. He has very little money. He is a Veteran of Korean war. I do not know what resources are available to him. I really need to talk to someone about options so I can get control of my life back. Someone recently suggested to me that if I don't do more for him I could get in trouble for elder neglect because of his living conditions....which scared me, however I cannot do more for him. I am not a nurse, I have to work full time, and I am just not capable of doing more than I already am doing.

Answers 1 to 10 of 10
Top Answer
call Adult Protective SErvices and indicate that he cannot live alone
seniorvet.com

If you get him into a facility that can care for him correctly and he is able to, "blow his brains out" then that is not your fault. Suicide is never someone else's fault. My guess is he is using that to control you and it is working. If you can not get him into a facility I would definitely call Adult Protective Services.
I had the same thought as the others. Call Adult Protective Services and have them come out and evaluate your dad. In the meantime find an assisted living facility and keep them on the back burner just in case your dad has to move. Be prepared.
My Mom threatened the same thing and she had a gun in the house. It was an ugly scene but we called police and an ambulance came because of her high blood pressure. She went to the hospital where they found she had a UTI and re-evaluated her Alzheimer’s level. It was all extremely stressful for all but she did get a social worker who advised us of options. She is currently living with me by choice. Tell the social worker he’s a vet and they can get you started on the path for his care. Take a breath it will work out. God bless
I took care of my father for a while, so he could stay in his home. He refused to go to the doctor or the hospital. He threatened me and my son. I did finally get him to accept hospice care, and that helped a little bit, but from some of the comments I heard, they seemed to assume that I would find a way to hold up despite the threats to my safety and my health, not to mention that I had to spend much of my own money to care for him. After numerous calls to the police, emergency services, and APS, (who all told me there was nothing they could do) and one scary night and morning, I left. I knew hospice would be arriving shortly. In short order, they called APS and their office, and soon had my dad in their facility. I'd been told several times that he had the right to refuse to go, and the police told me that unless he actually did something, or if he went outside the home and did something, there was nothing they could do, so it was doubly interesting that when hospice arrived, they were able to remove him so quickly. I felt awful, and my father was angry with me, but I am more angry at a system that wants to heap guilt on a family member whose available rather than consider the safety and health of that person and the sick person. My advice to you, get the authorities involved, call APS and if it's available, your state's Committee on Aging or its equivalent. As a veteran, he might be eligible for some type of home health care or other benefit. Call the VA rep in your area. Don't sweat the small stuff, either. When hospice came in, they did his laundry, which was a big help, but honestly, clean laundry was the least of our problems. Call in clergy. I was finally able to get my father to go for a scan after he talked to his priest. If you get him to a hospital, see if you can get him admitted. I made the mistake of letting my father come home after his scan, even though he acted so bizarrely during the scan that the hospital was trying to convince him to stay. In the end, my father ended up in a nursing home and he passed away a week ago. He was only there a few months. There was a financial hit to the estate, such as it is, nothing's free. But the way my father ran things, I doubted anything would be left, anyway. Ultimately, my feeling was that he was safe and taken care of by professionals. I was able to visit him as often as I wanted, and he calmed down eventually. I was able to take care of my health. Good luck, and take care.
You could apply for VA Aid and Attendance and use that money to hire in some help for him, bathing, cleaning, and a bit of care. Otherwise I agree with the other's. The future will change. Baby steps and thought out (even though not perfect)plans.
I think contacting the VA immediately, as well as Adult Protective Services, would be best. Others have suggested that the VA will provide home care for him, cleaning and so on, but he would still be next door and you would still be relatively responsible for what becomes of him. He would still be threatening to kill himself, throwing out guilt and manipulation every chance he gets, because it seems to be working. The VA may be the best solution, but whatever happens, there is a solution to get some other entity to take care of him instead of you.

As far as I know, there are VA facilities in which he could live "free," or with whatever income he has being acceptable. My uncle left his wife after many years for another woman, who had been in the Army for four years in the 1940's. Because of her service, they moved into a VA facility (in California, but I imagine they are everywhere). The facility had various levels of care, from independent to bedridden and everything in between. After she died unexpectedly, my uncle stayed on until he died years later, paying for his care with only his social security income. 

I have just looked at the US Government Department of Veterans Affairs website, and there is a section called "Geriatrics and Extended Care."  This discusses nursing homes, assisted living homes, etc., all about various locations where veterans may live.  It's very informative, and there are phone numbers for contacts and help.  

I would do my best to find a new location for your father, whether it's a nursing home through Medicaid or through the VA. You don't deserve this burden. Be strong! Best of luck to you.
Contact the VA. They can help with a variety of services.
Until that is in place if he threatens to "blow his brains out" again call 911 and tell them that this person has threatened suicide. That may get him into the hospital on a hold. During that time you could see what can be done to clean up his home. (If he is a "Hoarder" this may backfire though as that is another psychological problem)
If he has a "life limiting" illness he may qualify for Hospice. That would get help in a few times a week, bating as well as supplies and any equipment needed. You will also have a Social Worker on the team and he or she might be able to help with the living arrangements. Or at least help deal with what is there.
Keep on the VA about services. There is Homemaker, respite, and a variety of other services as well as Aid and Attendance if he qualifies.
Becca, if your dad is a Korean war vet he will definitely qualify for VA services, I agree with others that the threat to kill himself is a sure fire manipulation method of you. Call 911 and report that he is threatening to kill himself, that will put you on the fast track to getting him in an environment that his NEEDS will be met.
Know that most people that  intend to commit suicide NEVER talk about it or throw it out there to get their own way, it is not about controlling others when it is real, so stop responding to his vicious manipulation with catering to him and killing yourself in the process, your high blood pressure is a very real danger to you. Many caregivers die because of the stress and lack of self care while trying to be good daughters, sons, wives, etc. to selfish unreasonable loved ones, please do not allow yourself to become a statistic. It is never easy when the people that raised us start pushing our buttons, they know every one of them, remember they created most of them and the guilt that accompanies our response if it differs from their will. Love him through this by doing everything in your capabilities to make sure he is in a place with professionals where his NEEDS are being met, also expect some ugly words from him, he is used to using them to bend you to his will, smile, say I love you and walk away, it is okay to NOT be his scratching post. My dad told me I didn't need to come see him everyday, which was when he first went into skilled nursing, I said okay, walked out and did not come back for 3 days, he was happy to see me and has stopped being so ugly with me. I see him once a week now and even though he thinks it should be more, it is what I can handle right now, choices and consequences, we all have to live with our own.

I pray you find peace in this hard journey and take care of yourself. Please keep us posted on your progress, cuz you can do it girl!

God bless you in this New Year and give you strength to deal with your unreasonable dad.
If he is admitted to the hospital for a psych hold, DO NOT sign anything that you are responsible for him! You can refuse to participate in his care and allow the state to take over as guardian. They can decide a placement, how to pay, etc, and you can still be his dear daughter and visit him wherever that happens to be. But you will not be in the thick of it or subject to his abuse. You will be able to walk away, a very important tool against abuse.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support