Dad has type 2 diabetes, has been in the hospital twice within 2 weeks, had a stroke which he fully recovered from but mom is refusing to give him care. She hasn't picked up his meds in 6 months, won't get a test kit to test his blood sugar, gives him candy and high sugar foods, refused the ambulance to take him to the hospital after he had a stroke when his sugar was at 600. Their Dr. is furious. At their last appointment he told her she is incapable of caring for herself or him. His sugar was back to 600 and he was very lethargic barely awake. Dr. suggested assisted living. She refused. He then strongly suggested a home health care nurse to provide their meds every day and test his sugar. She reluctantly agreed. After the nurse came for the interview she told mom she can refuse the care if she doesn't want it! She did. The nurse called the Dr. and he is 1000% behind helping dad. How can she refuse? Isn't that an abusive caregiver? What options are out there?

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Your mom can refuse the nurse's care for help with her own care.  I don't think she has any basis, or legal right, to refuse care for your father.

Have you considered a call to Adult Protective Services?
Helpful Answer (19)

My mother took no care of my father. Looking back, I really can't think why I supposed she would. She'd never in her life taken effective care of anything else, human, animal or vegetable - why would she suddenly start in her old age?

I once, when very angry, pointed out to her that if she'd taken even the slightest notice my father might have received life-saving treatment before he dropped dead on a squash court at 71. I apologised immediately, because what I'd said to her was cruel and pointless. But the reason it was so cruel is that it was also true.

Stop wishing that your mother would turn into a capable, willing nurse. Are you geographically close enough to supervise their care? What did their doctor mean when he told your mother that she was not able to look after herself, either? - what are her medical/care needs?
Helpful Answer (12)

jjFlorida, sometimes a spouse will be in total denial that their love one has serious illnesses. And if they do realize it, they become scared, resentful, and angry. This is not how they had planned their retirement.

When it comes to diabetes, it is a complex illness, so your Mom may find it too confusing to understand, so she sweeps it under the rug. Thus if she ignores this, maybe it will go away.

My own Mom I believe was still under the impression that my Dad was still in his 40's instead of being in his 90's. She would still do a "honey-do" list for him which would include climbing ladders and doing electrical work. Dad use to be able to do those things quickly but no longer at his age.

One time my Dad fell on his driveway and got a huge bump on his head. Mom thought an ice pack and a good lunch would do the trick. Once I found out about the fall, noticed that Dad was too wobbly to take him to urgent care, I called 911.
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Why doesn't the doctor order assisted living for dad? Let mom alone.

This is so tragic. I take it that this was not a functional marriage before Dad got so ill?
Helpful Answer (7)

What standing does mom have for refusing care for dad? Find an Assisted Living Facility and move dad in. I'm assuming dad is able to access his funds to pay?

Is mom mentally ill, or does she have dementia?
Helpful Answer (6)

Oh my gosh, l cannot believe some of the answers here, this woman has no right to dictate that her husband does not need care, she is incapable of caring, that has been verified by the doctor and the daughter, so therefore this man needs to be protected, to put him in a safer setting. Is this what happens in America, l know Australia is not that much better but this is 2018.
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Oh, and by the way, for several years I waiting for someone, someone, in the medical community to call out my mom's treatment of my dad for what it was...abuse. She would berate him in public all of the time including doctor's offices, when he was in skilled nursing, etc.  People would turn around and stare at us at restaurants and other public places.  She, too, ran off the prescribed home health care for my father.  The home health nurse told me my mom told her they were "intruders" into her home. I always believed if a man were treating his wife that way, someone would have stepped in. Nobody ever did and I'm never aware of anyone even calling my mother out and saying, stop treating him that way!! It's totally screwed up. I wouldn't expect anyone in the medical community to care, I guess they just chalk it off to a "cranky old married couple".  I really thought someone would step in, but in the end I was the only one who could be an advocate for my dad!
Helpful Answer (6)

As a caregiver for my husband for 29+ years (cancer), I know how difficult and consuming caregiving can be. As an adult child, you must recognize the fact that even though your mother's married to your father - what dictates that she be the 100% full time caregiver? Why can't she be the spouse? If she is refusing care, look at the financial picture - it's easy to suggest "assisted living" but what happens to their finances? Get an elder attorney to help them (AND YOU) wade through the finances - this will be the only way that you will understand current law and how it will impact them in the future. Insist on hiring a home-health agency to help out at home, or put your father in a facility that will help take care of his needs. But you should be the adult and stop thinking that your Mom should be the one to do the caring.
Helpful Answer (6)

This is a tough situation which does come up in some families.

In terms of decision-making and refusing care:
- Patients have a right to refuse particular medical services (although if they do so when it seems obviously a bad idea, clinicians and others should start to wonder whether the patient is impaired and lacking the needed decision-making mental capacity to legitimately refuse).

- When a patient is ill or unable to make medical decisions, a healthcare proxy/surrogate is generally allowed to do so on their behalf.

- A healthcare proxy can be appointed via a durable power of attorney for healthcare document. However, in the absence of such documentation, virtually all states allow for the next of kin to make medical decisions. In practical terms, most providers will accept the decision of a spouse who lives with the patient, unless the situation is extremely high-stakes and there is obvious family conflict (e.g. ending life-support).

- State law governs healthcare proxies and also defines elder abuse. Generally, the proxy is expected to act to serve the best interests of the patient or to make decisions in accordance with what the patient had previously specified. If they aren't doing so, in most states there is presumably a mechanism for removing the proxy from the decision-making role and finding a way to protect the patient. But getting there can be messy.

In terms your situation, @jjFlorida, one thing that is very good is that your dad's doctor is involved, concerned, and upset by your mother's actions. Things to consider and that you might do:
- Is your dad incapacitated and unable to make decisions? Or can the doctor specify to home health and the others that he should be making decisions, and not your mom?

- How does your dad feel about the decisions your mother is making? Is he able to voice preferences? To sign legal documents?

- Is your mom making decisions because she's named in a durable POA for health, or is she doing it "by default"? If she is DPOAH for health, does your dad have the mental capacity to name someone else?

In terms of next steps, you can try calling Adult Protective Services and you can try getting help from your dad's doctor in exploring options. I am pretty sure your mother doesn't have the right to refuse care that is in line with your dad's medical needs, unless he has previously been quite explicit about why this would be in line with his goals and preferences for his medical care.

You can also consider talking with an experienced elder law attorney in your state. Sometimes legal representation is needed to get what is "right" to happen.

In short, it's a tough messy situation. Your dad's doctor may certainly be able to help but it might take a while for the two of you to figure out how to do so. Good luck!

ps: I have not even gone into whether your mother has the capacity to be managing her own affairs and healthcare, but that's a whole other kettle of fish that you may have to deal with eventually...
Helpful Answer (5)

Most Senior Centers / Council for the Aging or Elder Services have a social work department. Contact the one that services your parents and explain to the social worker what is going on. The social worker will probably know how to proceed. The social worker might make an appointment to see your parents and talk to your mother about what's going on. This person just might be able to convince your mother that your dad really does need care.

You might need to contact your state's Adult Protective Services and file a report. I would do this after talking to the social worker... It's entirely possible that, after visiting your parents, that the social worker is willing to contact Adult Protective Services, in order to compel your mother to allow care for your father.

You might want to have a regular health and welfare check done on your parents. The social worker from the Council for the Aging can arrange for this. Do keep an eye on them, especially your father. If he doesn't sound right, you can call the police department non-emergency line and ask for a health and welfare check be done.

If you don't know where to turn, call your state level legislators. Most have a constituent services representative, who will help you determine who you need to talk to. A lot of people in your situation don't think about contacting a politician's office--they are there to help. If you don't know where to turn, calling them is well worth it.
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