My parents live at home together and fight constantly. Is there some support services for this situation? - AgingCare.com

My parents live at home together and fight constantly. Is there some support services for this situation?

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The fighting is getting worse and me and my siblings are worried. We are worried they may harm each other or themselves. Didn't know if we could find some support services for this situation.

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Please post about what happens.

I might inquire if a budget would help them. If the spending problem was resolved, maybe things could calm down.
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Thank you again for your responses. My parents have always had a great group of friends. We are talking to them to get other perspectives. I tend to understand my father because I have been on the receiving end of her behavior, but I know her ways are less destructive than his, and I need to put my bias aside. My sister has the opposite opinion, so it's good we are doing this together. We are going to their home Wednesday night to help around the house and sit down and have a frank discussion about what is going on, as well as looking at their medications.
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Well there are two very big red flags in your additional posts.

One is that stopping an anti depressant should NEVER be done without a doctor's supervision. Stopping cold turkey can cause major issues such as aggressive behavior and violence (just two name two). It can also cause a dramatic increase in depression and anxiety, as well as headaches and flu like symptoms.

Major surgeries like your dad had can be the trigger for depression, anxiety and paranoia. Any MD worth their salt would have recommended psychological care for your dad along with the extensive physical medical care he had gotten. Of course if your dad just decided to stop the meds, that's really a problem.

I would sit them down and have a family meeting discussion the recent events and recommend they return to their doctors and resume anti anxiety and depression meds asap. Also set up some boundaries. He is not to intimidate her (physical intimidation, even without touching, will cause anyone to defend themselves which is why your mom pushed him first). Your mom could have had a very serious head injury for even a small push. She could have had a stroke or hemorrhage. They are not to put their hands on each other in anger. If they can't follow these simple things they need to be physically separated. No matter how long they have been together, abuse is not acceptable.

Angel
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Domestic violence often escalates if the situation stays the same. Still, I'm wondering just what you can do at this point. I'll list a few things to consider.

As long as they are both competent to make their own decisions, I'm not aware of any way to insist on any measures. Getting their medication adjusted and taken properly might help. But, can that be accomplished with your sisters helping. They are both nurses, right? This is just a suggestion, but I might check on other things in their home to see if either one of them is having mental decline. I say this, due to the aggressive behavior that I observed with my cousin when her dementia first started. She might have fought with with, if I had given her the chance. This was not characteristic of her. I'd confirm if there is a physical or mental reason for the behavior.

Not all aggression stems from dementia, but if someone who is not normally violent gets that way....I'd look for other symptoms. Are they paying their bills, discarding spoiled food, taking care of hygiene, making foolish purchases, lying, etc. I'd watch for these things.

Also, if the bad behavior stems from financial stress, then what if you or your sisters volunteer to take over the finances, pay bills, manage affairs. Make sure you have Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare POA, etc. first. Or hire someone to take over the finances. That might lesson their stress, even if they are capable of doing it, maybe their patience is just worn thin and they no longer have the coping skills to handle it.
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Both of them are on many medications, to the point that my sisters(both nurses) go over to help them organize their pill boxes and make a paper chart. We think that they both are/were on antidepressants, maybe Xanax? Zoloft? Recently, they both went off their antidepressants without telling their doctors. My one sister called my fathers doctor to let them know what's going on. With hippa, the doctor could only listen, but we hope this helps. One thing they fight about is finances. He is controlling and she is a spender....I could go on and on
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Thank you so much for the prompt response. You really hit on many familiar subjects. When we were growing up, they got along well enough that I do not have any bad recollections of fighting or abuse. Once my siblings and I were out of the house, on our
own, the relationship has gone downhill. I would guess the last 10 years it has really become a worry. My parents are 77(Dad) and 75. My Dad had Open heart surgery over a year ago and my mom has been his caregiver. My Dad tends to have a short temper and can be aggressive and domineering, but my Mom is a chronic nagger and rolls her eyes at things he says or does...really a bad combination. It never escalated to a physical confrontation until last week. My Dad screamed at my mom and she said she was scared so she pushed him. He pushed her back and she fell and hit her head. She is okay but we are scared. Also, his health is not good and you are right, I think he is hopeless about his health. My Dad told me he would have been better off if he died last year when he was sick.
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I agree. It would be helpful if you provide more details, like how old are they, what if any medical conditions, dementia, mental illness, are they mobile, who else lives there, are they on medications, any history of domestic violence, do they have firearms, etc.
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Unfortunately we hear this scenario A LOT...in all kinds of families.

Have they always been like this even before they started to age? I ask this first because if its how its always been, you may not be able to spur them to change. They may be accustomed to such treatment and stuck in the cycle of abuse for many many years. In this case it may be hard to figure out who is the abuser (they both may be) and extremely hard to get them to seek help or treatment (or ultimately separation if violence is a problem). NO ONE deserves to be abused and if at all possible the victim needs to be protected, even if the police need to step in. If there are weapons in the house, please remove them immediately.

If it's a new behavior, can you identify which parent is the instigator/abuser and which is the victim? Or are they both at each other? Have either of them been diagnosed with MCI, dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons or other conditions? Many of these diseases include a symptom of delusional behavior, paranoia or other psychosis that leads them to believe the other is out to get them, cheating, stealing, etc. These symptoms are often a manifestation of anxiety or depression and can be treated. These symptoms, especially if they suddenly onset, could be symptoms of a UTI. In either case, getting the abuser to a doctor for anti anxiety or anti depression medication, or in the worst case scenario anti psychotic medication.

Finally, this anger could be projection. The abuser may be angry that they are getting old, are not able to do what they used to do, and a fear of sickness or death. They project this anger on their partner as a way to deal with the feelings.

Bottom line, they (one or both) need to see a doctor for treatment.

This has been a very vague post but maybe if you share more details we can be of more specific help.

Angel
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