So, I'm back. The cast of characters includes Dad (90, depression, Parkinson's, no driver's license, some memory issues) and Stepmom (87, cancer, introverted, some memory issues--but better than Dad). I'm in Michigan, they're on Cape Cod--and other kids involved are in LA, Baltimore, Seattle, and Princeton.
Stepmom called last night--"I can't take it anymore". Latest issue was them going to dinner the night before for ~$100, and him wanting to go out again that night (despite the fact she had prepared dinner) so he could be among people. Bigger picture is that he wakes up ~2pm and goes to bed ~9pm and doesn't do much besides walk the dog; she wakes up ~6am and is exhausted by 6pm and wants to do it all (despite having a great woman come in a couple of days a week). She claims he gets angry and calls her names when he doesn't get his way (but neither my brother nor I have ever witnessed this, even when we stayed there for a week this summer). I had called one of her sons a couple of weeks ago to discuss the situation but never heard back--until he wrote me back this morning, likely spurred by the latest development.
So, I lectured Dad on the 'obvious' stuff--take your meds to help avoid depression, put Stepmom's needs above yours (she's exhausted), get up earlier and use other resources if you want to be 'around people' (eg, friends, or the local seniors network). He didn't argue, fortunately, and didn't even mention trying to get his driver's license back (which he does during almost every phone call), but not sure it will 'stick'.
Some thoughts/ideas I had (and shared with her son):
1. She seems reluctant to get help--even letting the woman helper do basic chores or meal planning.
2. Both my brother and I think she needs to speak to a professional therapist of some sorts--I can act as a sounding board and try to advise long distance, but I'm not exactly trained in this.
3. Yes, assisted living would work (especially for Dad's socialization) but he doesn't want to leave the house he built and she apparently isn't good socializing among larger groups of strangers (per her son, which was news to me). Both have longterm care insurance which would help out here.
Any other advice for me or for them? Other resources I haven't thought about? And, yes, I told her about this particular site, which has been very helpful thus far--kudos to you all. Feeling frustrated and powerless about this point, and with no idea how this is going to play out.