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Hi, need ideas from anyone with experience with this situation. Long story short - my father is 80 with dementia and Parkinsons. I am the only child of three who lives in the same area; my brother and sister are out west. We are all in our fifties. My father's wife is his only caregiver, and in my estimation she herself has become increasingly mentally ill. The three of us are subject to passive-aggressive attacks and emails, verbal abuse, etc. We have offered to help take care of my father, but if you cannot do it on her terms you are being uncooperative and ungrateful.

His wife has done all she can to basically cut us out from any interaction with our father. It is very difficult to get them to answer the phone, or respond to email. I have gone to their house at nite more than once in order to see if they were ok. If you're familiar with the Kasey Kasem situation, it's very similar to that.

My brother and sister would like to see their father before it is too late. My brother plans to fly here with his wife from California unannounced and just show up at their door. My sister may come down unannounced at Thanksgiving. The reason being if you try to set anything up through his wife, she refuses to cooperate and blocks us from seeing him.

My phone calls to my father have dwindled, as have my emails, since he rarely responds to either.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions re: how to handle this? We have tried to work with her, to no avail. As I mentioned, she is generally rude, vicious, and uncooperative. Thanks for your help.

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Sorry, also - I have no intention of following up to see if there is any possible inheritance. In our state, those who die intestate have their estates divided between the spouse and children. Since they have taken no responsibility for their end of life affairs, I'm unable to help them with their wishes. As far as I'm concerned, my stepmother will be on her own. I don't expect to receive a dime, and that is not my primary wish. My main concern is I'd like to see my father.
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Sorry to be slow answering here - I have a weird work schedule. They have been married over 30 years. She is from another country, so there have always been cultural issues as well. My father did not have dementia at the time. She has pretty much always resented my presence here and has acted accordingly, however her treatment of me has pretty much escalated in to emotional and verbal abuse. Her abuse not only to me, but to all of us has increased dramatically since my father's illness was diagnosed. We are all "ungrateful, unhelpful, selfish" whatevers, since we're unable to bow to her demands. She asked one time last year if one of us would leave our jobs for 2 weeks to stay with our father while she went on vacation. I explained to her that if I were to do that I would have to quit my job. My brother and sister are both employed full time also and live on the other side of the country. I suggested some day care help, that was rejected, as is any form of outside help. We tried to get her to change her plans to coincide with a holiday so it would be more convenient for us to stay with him, to no avail. I am the only one in the state, and currently I am formally unemployed, looking for work but working 100 hours per week in exchange for room and board at a dog kennel. I have offered to spend time with my father on Tues or Thurs, to relieve her of her duties, but that offer has been rejected. She prefers to play the victim/martyr role. Of course I'm not there so I don't know, but I find it hard to believe that her life is all that difficult since she is able to go shopping and attend classes at a local senior center. My father sleeps most of the time so he's not that hard to keep up with. As I mentioned, they have rejected all outside help.

What has been frustrating for me in particular, is I'd hoped to be of some help to my father in his old age, as he's always been of great help to me. I had to come to the realization that that was not going to be allowed. Not to sound uncaring, but I also have my own issues - I am single, broke, and unemployed, and need to find work to support myself. Taking care of me has to be my first priority, and given that I'm already working 100 hrs/week, I don't have much time or energy left to really deal with this. So in a lot of ways I have just been leaving it alone. I talk to my dad far less, but try to call occasionally. I like the idea of sending cards or letters. He doesn't respond b/c he cant remember to. I can pray for him also. Other than that I am at a loss about what to do.

Thanks for listening, and for any ideas. I really appreciate it.
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I am NOT a lawyer, but I think you are right that in the absence of any formal arrangements to the contrary, the spouse has control. She would be the one to decide whether to install a feeding tube, for example, and to handle finances.

How long ago were they married? I assume that your father did not have dementia at that time? It sounds like your father made a decision (perhaps by default) to do nothing to protect his children's interest.in his estate or to ensure ongoing contact with them. It is not just the wicked stepmother standing in your way, but the actions or lack of actions by both of them. That doesn't make it any easier to take (I suspect it makes it worse), but it might help to recognize that reality rather than treat SM as the enemy.

Can you appeal to both of them? Write a letter addressed to both of them, asking how they each are, thanking SM for taking care of Dad, etc. Send Dad a cheery "Thinking of you" card, and also one to SM? They both are facing difficult times.
Send flowers addressed to both of them. Recognize that your father chose to put her first in his life.

If all you want is to visit him and have contact with him, these measures and unannounced visits MIGHT help along those lines.

If you are hoping to share in the "good bit of money" they have, that doesn't seem as likely to me.

Hugs to you and your siblings. This has good to be very difficult!
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Was she rude, vicious, and uncooperative before your father got sick? Is this just more of same behavior or new behavior? You mention that you think she possibly has a mental illness -- when do you think that started?

What you describe is very, very sad, for all of you. My heart goes out to you!

Your father's lack of response may be due to the dementia. He could perhaps talk with you on the phone or dictate answers to emails if he had his wife's support. Evidently that isn't happening. Don't assume your father has lost interest in you. I think unannounced visits are worth trying.

You've offered to help take care of Father, but step-mother will only accept it on her terms. What are her terms? Is there any way you can meet her terms? Obviously that is not fair or right, but if it helps achieve your objective of interacting with Father, it might something to consider.
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There is no POA - this set of parents refused to do any of their paperwork or preparation for end of life issues, so they have done nothing. They have a good bit of money, but no wills to our knowledge. My understanding is since she is the spouse, she has all control. Correct me if I'm wrong - (we're in GA)
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Who has the power of attorney?
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