Hello everyone,

I posted a few months back (you can read my previous post for reference) regarding my mom and her mental state, and how my dad is not doing anything about it.

I decided for my own sanity that I needed to step away from the situation as there was nothing I could do. I haven't seen or spoken to my mom in months, and I quit speaking to my dad until just recently. I got fed up with offering suggestions to help only to be told "That won't work", or "That's just cruel, we can't put your mom in a home just because she's quirky".

Mom's behavior is is so beyond "quirky ". She still does the "birdbath" at the kitchen sink for as long as she can stand up, sometimes for hours on end. She hasn't eaten food in probably over a month according to my dad, and lives solely off Ensure Plus. Her weight has plummeted to 73lbs as of her most recent trip to the emergency room this past week. The only reason I took dad's call is because I thought he finally had enough and was going to demand an unsafe discharge, basically that he can no longer care for her and try to do an e.r. dump.

Dad took her to urgent care earlier that afternoon, and her dr said to drive her by car to the e.r and that the dr would provide notes to the e.r. staff about her "malnutrition ". Mom got frustrated after about an hour, and made my dad take her back home before she could be seen by the dr. Dad called me to vent his frustration that nobody will help him and nobody cares.

I should also preface this latest entry with a new "behavior" that mom has been doing since my original post earlier this year. In addition to her having bladder accidents on her sofa and carpet, now she has a new one: she stopped using the bathroom entirely. Yes, you read correctly, she no longer uses any toilet at all. What does she do?? She has what I believe is another "ritual", where my dad told me that he's walked in on her in the kitchen, and he says she has been going to the bathroom into those small styrofoam cups, like the ones you get at the dollar store in a big package. She takes layers of paper towels (Dad told me he goes they a case of Costco paper towels every week), then the somehow manages to "hover" over the little cup while she pees and poops. That's not all. She also has opioid induced constipation per her dr, and she is using her hands to manually remove poop from herself and she packs it into the little cups. While she is doing this, she is getting urine and feces all over herself and the floor, even though she puts down the paper towels. So, my question is, is this dementia, because she was tested supposedly and no dementia. She told dad she had an accident and couldn't make it to the toilet, but the bathroom is only a few feet from where she was. If this were a legitimate accident, she wouldn't be getting the paper towels, cups, and trash bags ahead of time, I believe. Dad sent me pictures on his phone of her bag of poop in a cup, and I lost it. He still says there's nothing he can do, nobody will help him, etc., etc.

I do not have the finances nor the desire to obtain guardianship. My mom was extremely abusive to me my whole life and still is, so I have nothing to do with her anymore. I do worry about my dad's mental state as nobody in their right mind would have put up with her for 56 plus years. Any other person would have left decades ago. I have offered many times to accompany him to the dr appointments, but he won't allow me to. He does not want the state involved, because he owns a home (not paid for yet) and he cannot afford private pay, she he'd have to sell his house just to place her, from my understanding.

I have thought many, many times about calling anonymously to report what's going on over there, but I always stop myself; I've even thought about sending an email to her dr, just to give her my perspective, since mom and dad aren't honest and lie/omit important details, which is preventing her from getting the care she needs. What do I do now?

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You need to call APS. If Dad had stayed at the ER, the powers that be would probably not discharged Mom. Make APS aware that you are not in the position to care foe either of them. That there is a past of abuse and still is. That Dad is beyond what he is capable of doing. Allow the State to take over Moms care and Dads if ur not willing to take on care for him too. The State has the means of getting Mom placed quicker than you can. Getting Medicaid set up quicker. Be assertive and do not let them talk you into anything. Keep saying I can't afford guardianship and she is passed getting POA. Just keep saying NO!
Helpful Answer (12)
Reply to JoAnn29

Your father is misinformed about what would happen if your mother had to be institutionalized. The "community spouse" is protected from impverishment by Medicaid regs.

But dad won't believe that, not coming from you.

I would call APS and report your parents' as vulnerable elders who are not able to care for themselves.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
Kas810 Oct 30, 2020
Thank you, Barb, I wasn't sure with him owning his home and the fact there's still a mortgage on it, that he had any recourse other than to spend it down and sell the property. He keeps saying he wants me to have the house, but I'm not in a position to take over his property at the moment, and as long as she's living, she'd never allow it to happen anyhow.
Your post just broke my heart.

Mom is WAAAAAY beyond what should be considered 'ok'....she has the ability to mentally function enough to gather her toileting equipment, but won't just walk to the toilet and use it?? That only would get her put in an NH.

As was explained to DH and me as we went over our financials, prior to reitring next year, if DH were to go into a NH, I would not be left w/o sufficient funds to maintain my lifestyle (not a lavish one, but normal, kind of frugal ones. In short, I won't be destitute).

If you can bear it--talk to dad or better yet, call APS and report to them everything you've told us.

Feces all over, not being able to bathe, living on Ensure--it won't take a rocket scientist to figure this out!

If you don't get along with your folks, best to have a 3rd party step in.

With COVID, most drs are not seeing the 'whole person' when they have visits. Looking at someone in a car--that's only slightly better than doing a virtual visit.

No, she's NOT quirky. She's sick. Call TODAY and follow through.

Hugs to you---I am gagging at the visual of what their place must be like.
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Reply to Midkid58
Kas810 Oct 30, 2020
Thank you for your response Midkid. Yes, mom is perfectly capable of going to the actual restroom, but she chooses not to. I noticed a very strong urine smell a year ago during my last visit inside their house. It about knocked me over, and at that time, dad had to cut out another huge section of their living room carpet since she had saturated it. When my dad walks in on her doing this, she gets defensive and says "get the eff outta here!!", and "I'm having an accident, I couldn't make it", yet there she is in her full glory, hovering over a cup with paper towels in her other hand, thinking she can somehow "contain" the mess. Mom refuses to wear underwear, and depends are not an option, it's her way or the highway, and dad's scared to death of her. Sorry this is long, I didn't have enough space in my previous posting.
Wow, just wow! I’m so sorry for it all. First off, your dad would not lose his home if your mom goes into care at a nursing home. If they can’t afford to pay for it, she’d be placed on Medicaid and your dad would be protected to keep his home and a decent standard of living. And since you know that your dad is hugely mistaken in not getting your mom properly diagnosed and treated, what do you have to lose by reporting the situation? It’s already a strained relationship, sadly, so you’d be looking out for them and hoping to provide the rescue they so desperately need
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Reply to Daughterof1930

Your question was should you go over your dads head and talk to your moms doctor. Legally the doctor isn’t supposed to talk to you unless your mom has given permission due to HIPPA laws. However. That doesn’t prevent you from talking to the doctor. He/she just may not answer your questions. Some folks write a note or fax information for the doctor.
I will say that on more than one occasion when I have called a doctor to give information, the doctor was very grateful for my call and talked freely as they were worried about the patient.
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Reply to 97yroldmom

Mom needs to be in a facility. This is way over dad's head and it may be that hanging on to his house is really the only thing making him continue w/this weird behavior. Since dad sent you pictures, maybe he's finally coming around.

No, they do not have to sell the house. Make that very clear to him. Even if you have to pay yourself, take him to an elder attorney to assure him about this. If they are at or under the income limit for state assistance of Medicaid (instead of self pay at a facility), they also consider the fact that one might move to facility and the other stays at home - it's called spousal impoverishment. It's designed to leave some income with the person at home so they are not 'impoverished'. Your local medicaid office worker can discuss this with you, too, and give you a list of things you would need to apply.

Then sit down with dad and commend him for trying as much as he has, but list the things that have grown out of his control. Don't blame him - point the finger at mom. SHE refuses to eat - you know he has tried to change it but at 73 lbs she is too close to just dying under his watch. If that happens, he might be questioned as to why he let her wither away. SHE is now peeing and pooping in cups and he can not do anything about it. You may not have a dementia diagnosis, but there is definitely something wrong in the brain. After this conversation, it's time for an appointment with the dr. Have it set up prior to conversation so there's not much time for him to 'think' himself out of it.

As for the doctor, if they refuse to let you visit - send dr a letter to let him knw what is really going on in the house. In fact, what you've written here is a pretty good start. Tell him that your preference is for mom to be admitted to hospital to get a thorough exam and on an eating program, then release to a facility. Be specific that dad is only keeping her because he's afraid he'll lose his home and has gone as far as he can in trying to keep her in the home. Request that dr be very frank with dad that what he is doing is no longer working. Yes, he's keeping her in the home, but she needs more medical oversight than he can give.

Good luck. I hope dad is really ready to get her help that he can no longer manage on his own. And, by the way, get your name on any document at any facility that will allow you to talk to dr, hosp, etc about mom's health care.
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Reply to my2cents

I had a similar situation with my mom. Dad was just beyond his ability to care for mom who I am convinced had early stage dementia. I ended up talking to dads home health aide who was so very worried about the situation that she called me. I told her to call APS as my parents would not listen to me at all. It helped a little, their situation was not as bad as yours. But, that call at least convinced my parents to get help cleaning the house. Take care of your dad, my dad loved my mom even through her abuse. He ended up basically drinking himself to death to escape her. Everyone was shocked that he passed away before her as she was the fragile one, I wasn’t shocked. Your dad doesn’t really see the situation for what it is because he is stuck in it and loves her. Get APS involved and be clear that you are not an option. By the way, I called her doctors several times and they just ignored me.
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Reply to Beaglebabe

You MUST and I mean MUST call APS. Once you do that, stand back and let them take care of the situation. They know what to do and can get everything done for you. This is not just a mental problem, it is also a health issue for your father. Breathing in the urine smell can affect so many parts of his respiratory system. Someone who is not emotionally involved needs to deal with the situation and that is what APS is for. Make the call. If APS doesnt come by, call again. No, the will not take your father's home nor will they expect you to cover the costs.
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Reply to Twithdogs

On Oct 5th, this year, I thought I had an answer to the following question:

12 different caregivers have quit on my parents because of their attitudes. Can anyone offer advice?

I'm going I'm going to repost my answer here, because it appears to apply:

Seems that it's time for YOU to level with THEM about how you perceive YOUR responsibility. Let them know that on-looking authorities are WATCHING YOU to see whether you have the ability to help your parents - - that if they keep doing what they're doing, even though they want YOU to help them, the State WILL step in, without THEIR consent, or YOURS, and take over their care, and strip THEM of their rights, and strip YOU, of making any choices on their behalf.

So explain, if THAT'S want they want, then keep doing what they're doing, because that is the eventuality of what will happen.

IF you try to reason with them, in all sincerity, and they're not able to "get it", then it's time to realize that they are incapable of making decisions in their own best interest, and you must do what you must do, sooner rather than later - - that is, NOW...
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to CarolLynn

You can contact her doctor.
The doctor may not be able to reply to you but you can inform them of the situation.
You can also contact APS and report her as a vulnerable senior.
Both of these are options and you should follow through with both.
If you get a call from the hospital again if you get there before they leave I urge you to also ask to talk to a Social Worker and tell them that they can not discharge mom to home as it is unsafe.
these are beyond "quirks" and just the malnutrition is dangerous. as well as her "bathroom" habit is dangerous as well as unsanitary.
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Reply to Grandma1954

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