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My husband has asked to see the affected area, but his dad refuses, gets angry and they end up in a huge argument over it. We suspect it to be gangrene and are worried it may get so bad, they’ll need to amputate. We can’t force him to get treatment, but he desperately needs it. How do we get him to seek treatment?

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If it is gangrene, your FIL is very ill and you should call for emergency medical help. The worst that can happen is that the paramedics will enter the house and record their findings (including "aroma," which will be even more obvious to them as newcomers than it is to you), and then at least you and your husband will be in the clear (I know that's not the point, but it is important as well). With any luck, they will be successful in persuading him to go to hospital.

Do not argue with him, do not try to investigate the problem. Your FIL is likely in pain, scared rigid, and too ill to think straight.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
Thank you! He still walks around with his walker and doesn’t seem any different. He has had issues with his feet for many years, but refuses to let anyone see. The odor, however, has gotten so bad that it smells of decay. Our son has autism and when he makes a “Papa delivery” to bring him anything, he often comments about the odor once he opens his bedroom door. My FIL, just ignores it.

Yes, we also worry about being accused of neglect. Let’s just hope that if it comes to that, that he’ll vouch for us.
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Ive read several accounts of trials for neglect where the caregiver adult child says " oh, my mother/father/granny wouldn't let us call 911.

That is NOT an acceptable excuse. Neither is housing your ? minor son in an environment replete with infection.

Call 911. Now. Those paramedics can be very persuasive. And they can officially document that you TRIED to get him care.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
Thank you! My husband and I will call paramedics. We’re worried that he will not open his door when he finds out it’s them. But yes, we need to have it documented that we’ve been trying. My husband even called his aunt (dad’s sister) to let her know the situation.
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Mom's hubby, L, had a cyst on the bottom of a foot for many years, even when he was working. He never came home with dry socks, the darn thing oozed on a daily basis. He thought no biggie but finally agreed to have it surgically removed. Wound care came to the house when it became infected to clean it and change bandages several times each week. The infection would not clear up and it got very smelly. One day, so smelly, nurse that was cleaning it wanted him to see the doctor.

It turned out to be MRSA. They performed tests, the infection had spread to the bones in his foot and had started to spread into his ankle. Two weeks in the hospital following the amputation of one of his toes. Medical staff were able to stop the infection from spreading with IV antibiotics. Then it was to rehab for a couple more weeks to regain his strength.

L was very lucky that the infection was able to be controlled. He wished he had had that cyst removed years before, it was much smaller, it would have been easier to treat. It was very difficult to treat because it had gotten probably the size of a dollar size pancake.

This could be a similar infection and he needs to be seen by the doctor. If it is MRSA do not touch it, it is extremely contagious and dangerous.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
Thank you for sharing that! I’m so sorry he had to experience that. Sounds awful.

We are hoping it isn’t. We can’t find out as he would not show us or paramedics. Maybe we can share this information with him in hopes that he could have it looked at to eliminate the possibility. 🤞
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I would suggest calling Adult Protection Services ( APS). For no other reason to have it on file that you have tried to help but FIL is refusing help. Maybe even the Health Dept. This is not good for anyone. And if 70 is the correct age then he has some years ahead of him. He could die from gangrene poisoning and you don't want to be brought up on charges od neglect.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
Thank you, JoAnne29! I’m so glad to know there is someone else to call as well.
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You should be concerned and get him help, especially if the issue is/has already attracted flies and/or maggots.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
We are absolutely concerned and have been trying to convince him to see someone. We are taking everyone’s advice and getting the paramedics since he does not want to leave. Thank you!
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Thank you, everyone for your help! We called paramedics, and they came in no time. My husband told his dad that he didn’t know who called them, but in actuality, prepped and asked them, outside, to be discreet with who called. They agreed and just told him that someone else called them. If my FIL knew it was us, he’d be angry with and refuse help from us as well. So we had to cover our tracks and called his sister (our aunt), who lives far away, to see if we could use her name. She gladly agreed, as she was just as concerned.

Well, he told paramedics that there was nothing wrong with him and he was okay. They could obviously smell that he wasn’t, but could not do anything as he was of sound mind and could not force treatment. My husband pleaded with him to at least show them his feet. He said, “NO! I’m alright!” They asked if they could at least check his bp. He also refused. Not even his temperature. He promised that if it gets worse, he’d tell my husband to call them back. How much worse can it get?! When they can’t save his feet anymore and have to amputate? We are at a loss and would be very sad for him if they did have to. Anyway, when they left, he was irate and said he’d call his sister to give her a piece of his mind. We called her and warned her, but he’s also the kind of person that does not like to talk to other people, so he probably won’t and she knows it. She’s also ok with it as she’s been trying to get a hold of him for months to speak with him, but wouldn’t answer her calls.

Well, I guess we’ll just have to deal with the stench or hang lots of pine tree air fresheners around the house. Any other ideas?

Thanks again folks! We truly appreciate your help.
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Anonymous1256 Jun 16, 2019
Baking soda is a great deodorizer and it's cheap, too. Pour in a bowl and place them all around the apartment/house or you can leave it in the box. I would leave the windows open to get the smell out too.
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You could play hard ball and tell him that you can not have him living with you and your family because the odor is making you sick, so deal with it or move.

Sometimes you have to forget about hurting their feelings or making them mad. It's not okay that he is willing to make you guys live with the foul odor because he's stubborn. That is childish behavior and should be handled as such. Your house, your rules.
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Islandr Jun 15, 2019
Thanks! I know what you mean, but I don’t think I have the heart or guts to hurt his feelings.

What’s worse is that he lives in the space downstairs, sort of like a MIL. There is nothing, but a curtain that separates our kitchen to the stairs that lead directly to his bedroom door. So once he opens his door, we get the breeze that comes from outside his window, that pushes up the odor into our kitchen. Not something you’d love to inhale when you’re cooking or eating. I’ve already put odor absorbers around the curtain, not enough so he could see, but does nothing.

My husband voiced that our kids are being affected by this as well when they bring him food. He just told him to have them leave it on the table in his kitchen and he’d come get it to bring back into his room. Needless to say, he will not even do his grandchildren a favor to have it taken care of.
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I would tell your FIL straight and to the point that you think something is wrong and you all need to take a look. You are concerned it's something that could cause amputation of his feet. I would ask him, "you don't want your feet cut off, do you"? I have to be straight and firm with my mom sometimes like this with her situation but she gets the point and listens.
If it's gangrene, that's nothing to mess with and can quickly spread to the blood.
I pray that you get through to him and he'll agree to get treatment!
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
Thank you for your prayers! My husband mentioned that they may need to amputate if he doesn’t get it looked at and it gets worse. FIL insists that he’s fine.
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Take him to an urgent care center
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
Thanks! We’d love to. We just can’t force him into the car.
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The paramedics will probably call this into Adult Protective Services which will trigger a visit based on his lack of self care.

Perhaps the state will seek emergency guardianship. If I were in his shoes, I'd rather let medics or a doctor examine than lose ALL my rights which is what will happen when the state takes over.
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
Thanks! I didn’t realize they could do that. It’s definitely worth mentioning so he can have that choice.
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Call abulance and have them take him to ER!
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worriedinCali Jun 15, 2019
He can refuse to go......don’t you think she would have called 911 if it was really that easy?
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Think i would place a call to APS myself....comes a point in time that we have done all we can do and if the LO refuses any and all care, what are you supposed to do?? He is definitely got something very wrong going on....prayers for you that you can get some help and fast in this terrible situation....
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
Thank you for your prayers. I will look into APS and see what they’d be able to do. I just don’t want him to feel betrayed and feel like he can’t trust us.
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If your father in law was in his right mind, do you think he'd want to endanger the health of his children or grandchildren? Or cause his grandchildren to be taken into foster care, because the state deemed them to be living in an unsafe environment?

In situations like these, sometimes a "forced choice" can work. "Would you like to go to the ER for treatment or would you like us to start eviction proceedings?"

Sometimes, you have to be the adult in the room.
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
Thanks! I do believe in choosing between the “lesser of the two evils” 😊 But knowing him, he will choose neither. He’s one who does not take change lightly.
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Does he take any prescription drugs? If so, he will eventually have to see a doctor to have them refilled. You could call and talk to the prescribing doctor (as shown on the) medicine bottles to ensure he gets a complete physical when possible.
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Islandr Jun 16, 2019
He did before he moved in with us (last April). We tried to get them refilled, but he needed to be seen by the doctor, so he said he didn’t need them anymore.
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Islander, I feel for your predicament. I understand that you dont want your FIL to feel betrayed.

Is he trying to commit suicide? In better years, when he was younger, would his current behavior have been acceptable to him?

It's very very VERY hard to reverse roles with revered elders and force a change in their living conditions, treatment and the like. You need to balance what the elder says they want, what they need, your own legal and moral obligation to get them care and your primary obligation, which is to your children, who have no alternative but to live with you. It is their health and safety which I feel very concerned about.
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Amother thought (my grandmother died of gangrene in the 1970s).

You can request a hospice evaluation. In general, they will send someone to evaluate FIL for hospice; his would won't be treated, but he will get comfort care, including pain medication, which will become important as this progresses.

"Well dad, seeing as how you don't want treatment, the thing we need to do is call Hospice. They won't treat your wound; they'll help you with comfort care and good pain meds. Better than getting dragged to the hospital, right?".
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It sounds like you have done all you can until he chooses to go to a doctor again.

Maybe your family could do some father-son activity that requires him to wear a swim suit. (Beach? Pool?)

This is your husband’s Dad, Maybe he can discuss the odor in a non-threatening way.
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Did the paramedics give you an opinion on what is likely to happen now that your FIL has refused treatment?

Never mind amputation, for the moment. Is he ready to die? He insists he's fine - odd use of the word 'fine' but let's not quibble over words, it's just an obvious lie. It is nonsense. Baldly, what your DH needs to say to FIL is "Your lower limbs are rotting. We don't need to see it, we can smell it throughout the house. If you refuse treatment, you will die. Is that in fact the choice you want to make?"

It may be so. If it is so, then suggest the hospice evaluation. He does have the right to make that choice, but even so he doesn't have to die horribly and to his family's lasting distress.

Another reason it is important to have that conversation, preferably in front of a social worker or other qualified professional, is that if he becomes so sick that he can't refuse treatment - because he is delirious or unconscious, for example - you will be able to have him transferred to hospital, and it may be possible to save his life. But would that be the right thing to do for him? If he hasn't definitively said no, you may be forced to go ahead and keep him alive in total opposition to his real wishes.

So - demand a straight answer to a straight question.
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Is it covered or uncovered?
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