My mom and step-dad have been together for 34 years, and my dad is 97. He cannot walk anymore because his legs are weak and he falls a lot, and my mom has a very difficult time picking him up when he falls (she has had to call for EMS or the FD many times). He has issues with incontenance, and my mom has a very difficult time changing and cleaning him when he messes himself, or when he needs to be dressed or cleaned. My mom says she can't approach him again about nursing home care because he has threatened to break all of the windows with a hammer or try to kill himself. She proposed to me to come and get him (I live two hours from them) under the guise of just bringing him to my home to visit, but then having him stay with me (Isn't this kidnapping?!). I know hes not going to want to stay. I have a young child and certainly don't want him exposed to violence or, God forbid, a suicide attempt. Plus I work, so I cannot be home with him the whole time. So, I guess my questions are, one, what can we do about care for my dad; and, two, can I bring him to my home?

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Fyreflye, ring APS for advice. I think you are right to be worried about your mother's mental health, but also I'd be worried about the physical risks too - through attempting to lift, or manual handling of a much heavier person, plus the stress, plus the fatigue, not forgetting the frightening statistics showing how many "healthy" caregivers die before the person they care for. So it's no exaggeration, your mother is at risk of harm.

And, of course your stepfather is also at risk of harm because he is completely dependent on someone who simply cannot give him the level of care he needs.

This is becoming, if it isn't already, a dangerous living situation for two elders. So calling APS isn't accusing anyone of anything, it's a simple request for urgent help.

Won't they say "well, take him into your home then"? No. They won't. For one thing, you don't have his consent and you are quite right to have concerns about that; and for another no one can pick you as an option unless you make yourself one - you simply have no legal responsibility to provide care for your stepfather.
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Fyreflye, being your Step-Dad is 97 years old, he is thinking that nursing homes are county asylums because that was how it was back when he was much younger. I wouldn't have wanted to go to those places, either. No wonder your Step-Dad had threatened to break all the windows or do away with himself.

Since your Step-Dad would need to sign up and be approved by Medicaid to help pay for "continuing care" [do not call them nursing homes in front of Step-Dad"]. I would look around your parents location and maybe even where you live, those places that take Medicaid, what do these places look like. You may need to be placed on a waiting list.

Does your Step-Dad use a rolling walker? If not, buy him one, as that is such a wonderful item to use whenever someone has issues with falling. My own Dad had one, and that helped limit his falls, and he liked the idea that it had a seat.

Your Mom must be physically and emotionally exhausted. Many of us here had to wait until there was a serious illness or serious fall before we could get our parent into an around the clock care facility.
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Don't go. Tell your mom that you can't pick him up. If she does not know about the abuse, you don't have to tell her. You can say something has come up at home and you can't make it, that you are so sorry but she's going to have to think of something that does not involve YOU.


I don't care how exhausted your mom is, she is again heaping abuse on you. She probably knew about your abuse when you were younger and did not stop it, and now is actively trying to abuse you but in a different way. All are taking advantage of a vulnerable person, you. You can walk away too. I had to go no contact with my mthr for a number of years to recover from my abuse. I can't be around my abuser. You should not consider this to be even a remote possibility.
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Under no circumstances should StepDad be in your home — a.k.a. your child’s home. Big NO.

Your child should not have any exposure to him. In any location. For any reason.

Now back to Mom’s lament. If StepDad can’t walk, he can’t break all the windows with a hammer. Probably can’t kill himself either. Unless he keeps a handgun tucked in his wheelchair. (And if that’s the case, the real issue here is the threat to your mother’s life. Not that old pig’s life.)

Fyreflye, let’s make one thing clear. What’s right for you and your household is not what Mom wants. CHOOSE YOURSELF.

Mom has every right to let her Stockholm Syndrome (or Battered Woman Syndrome) run her life. It is completely inappropriate for Mom to expect her issues to drive your life.

It is not your job to fix what someone else broke.

Double-up your boundaries, Fyreflye. Cuz Mom has none.

Mom’s toxic world is for Mom to figure out. You got out decades ago — and rightly so.

Tell Mom that the next time he falls, she calls 911 and he goes to the ER. From there, you can DISTANCE-help her negotiate admission and discharge to rehab. 

Does Mom know that the magic words are “He has no one to care for him at home.” ??? Yes, Mom lives there. But that’s not the point. She cannot take care of him. She needs to override the discharge bullies who will try to send StepDad back home, simply because Mom has a pulse.

I recommend that you consult with the APS in your parents’ region. And county aging services. And the Medicaid office.

Knowledge is power. Dump all the knowledge on your mother. If she cannot process it, she might be having cognitive issues. Which opens a new can of worms.

If Mom understands the options intellectually but fires back with a string of excuses, then she does not want appropriate help. She wants you to “save” (a.k.a. enable) her, and only on her terms. No & no. That is not healthy for you. 

No matter which way this swings, save yourself. Because you cannot save your parents.

You CAN do the legwork for what will keep them both safe and under proper medical supervision. It is possible that, armed with new knowledge, they will get over themselves and do the right thing. 

And because they are legally competent, they are also free to reject any and all productive advice.

Good luck and big hugs. My heart breaks for you. How sad that your late-years memories of your Mom & StepDad are them trying to suck you back into their toxic world. You deserve better. CHOOSE YOURSELF. 💗💗💗
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1. What can we do about care for my dad?
You can call Adult Protective Services and tell them the story. They will do a "wellness" check. They may suggest that your step-dad be placed in a facility.
If you have the money (since they don't), you could pay for a caregiver (a private person or through an agency) until they are approved for Medicaid. Some posters don't believe that adult children should ever pay for care for their folks, and I'm not suggesting this as a long term solution, only for a couple of months until Medicaid kicks in.

Your mother sounds like she's on her last leg (by suggesting something so drastic as you taking him to your house and keeping him there). Has she thought of going to ER with symptoms of exhaustion or back pain or emotional anguish from the caregiving. She should then speak to a social worker to help her with this dilemma. That way it will be documented that his care is too much for her.

2. Can I bring him to my home?
(Bad idea) Only with his consent. If he is of sound mind (no dementia) he has the right to come and go wherever and whenever he wants. If you held him against his will, it would be kidnapping. If you physically forced him to stay, it would be assault and battery.
NOT to mention the emotional uproar this would cause.
No, you should not even TRY to convince him to come, as he is mentally unstable (saying he'll break all the windows and/or kill himself.) He should not be living with your child. There would be no one home to care for him at your place anyway.

I'm sorry for your situation. Hopefully, some other arrangement will take place soon.
Helpful Answer (4)

No, don't bring your distressed, incontinent, frail father to your home where your young child lives. Obviously.

Are you sure that your mother doesn't mean you should pretend you're taking him to your house, when in fact the real plan is you detour to a nursing home and drop him off there willy-nilly?

That's not AS bad an idea, but it still is a pretty bad one. First things first - what about bringing in professional helpers to deal with your father's personal care? You could organise that pretty much immediately, provided your parents can afford it.
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Fyreflye (great name, by the way!), I think you need to put in an emergency call to your therapist or another counselor you can talk to confidentially about this.

DON'T go tomorrow. DO call APS.
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You need to get them help. Call adult protective services and ask their advice.
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If a patient is admitted ( not under observation) for 3 midnights, they become eligible for rehab. It's a way to get dad out if the house and into a bed. Once in rehab, the facility can assist with Medicaid application, although when one spouse is remaining in the community, she really needs an eldercare attorney to do the application.
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Wow, great information and support. Thank you so much. My parents are the way they are because things happened to them when they were younger and didn't have the resources, didn't know how to find the resources, or simply chose not to properly work through them to come out on the other side more whole. For whatever reasons, I still feel like I want to help them but stay at a distance geographically so that I'm not falling into the emotional rollercoaster that seems to be their lives. I chose to live this far away, but yet this close, for a reason. Now that mom has decided to keep him home, I know this situation may come again, but this time I will be more prepared -- hospital stays, getting Medicaid started, etc. Thank you for all of the info!!

I called APS already, by the way, and they went to their home yesterday. The case worker is helping with the Medicaid application process with waivers for something -- not sure what.
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