My father is 89, my mother is 87 with dementia. My father has a difficult time getting around without his walker or cane. They live in a 3 story home with their bedrooms on 2nd floor. My father refuses to put my mother in a home because he expects his children to come every night to put my mom to bed and make sure they have a meal on the table. My mom can't dress herself, she is wearing depends that my dad does not change for her until one of us shows up @ dinner time. We then have to make sure she has eaten for the day and taken her pills before we bring her back up to bed @ 6:30 PM. She can't remember how to brush her teeth, she eats very little, and she will remain in bed sometimes until we get there and get her up to come downstairs. They have a dog that is deaf, that defecates and urinates thru out the house so they have us put puppy pads down all thru out the house. My father insists he can take care of her with our commitment every night and if we can't he states that we are selfish and just thinking of ourselves. My sister lives up the street and she is able to get there every night but it is taking a tole on her. There are just 3 of us in town and no other help comes in because my father refuses to pay for it. He can move to a home at this time thru the VA and take my mother with him but doesn't know what to do with the dog. They do not have enough money to put my mom in a home with out my dad having a lien put on his home to pay for my mom if she goes to a home and he stays at home. How to we convince my father that it is time for her to get more help that we can't always provide with out him making us feel like we are just being selfish.

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Take your dad to visit the VA home ASAP.

Take the dog to the vet and get it checked. If the dog is in pain, it's time to put the dog out of misery. If the dog is not in pain, take the dog into your home (crate the dog in a comfy and easy to clean space with regular walks) and bring the dog to visit your dad at the VA home.

Recognize that your father will not change because he doesn't have to change. You and your siblings are enabling his current living situation.

Also recognize how very, very fortunate your father is to have access to a VA home.

Your father is not thinking clearly - either because of the situation with your mom, his own cognitive decline or a combination of both - but, you and your siblings must be rational and act in their best interests and in your own as well.

Caregiving must work for everyone involved. It's time for you and your siblings to be the adults. Be gentle yet firm and resolute that "things cannot go on the way they are now, dad".

Your parents' needs are only going to increase. Do not let the VA home opportunity pass your family by.
Helpful Answer (24)
disgustedtoo Feb 2020
I would also recommend enabling the move and assessing/taking care of the dog. Another option that might be possible, if they initially balk at the move, is that VA does provide some in-home care.
Your dad is the selfish one. No loving parent forces their adult children to take care of them at any expense to their offspring.

I am a dog lover, but fouling all over the house is a deal breaker. He obviously can't even let the dog in and out.

Can you and your siblings agree to stop propping up this really bad situation? It is going to take all of you to say no more.

Your dad is also neglecting his wife, leaving her in bed in her own waste is detrimental to her wellbeing in many ways. One meal a day is not sufficient nutrition, she is probably dehydrated as well.

It sounds like your dad is not all there cognitively, time for extreme measures.
Helpful Answer (19)

Your father has 100% unrealistic expectations, including the expectation that he's capable of caring for his wife who has dementia & has needs that go way, way beyond his capabilities. He, most likely, is suffering from dementia himself, based on your description of what's going on in the house right now.

At some point, a parent's wishes have GOT to be overlooked and overridden. The parents sometimes become the children and the children must take on the role of the parents; we see that ALL the time here. Yet the children are afraid to say No to the parents, because it goes against everything they're taught. "Respect" for a parent includes allowing them to have the right to do what they want & to live how they'd like, right? No, wrong. At this point in time, and with this level of disease and dysfunction, someone has to step in and deem their lifestyle to be unfit and no longer safe. They have to be placed in a safe environment, such as Assisted Living, for their own good, because they are no longer capable of making sound decisions.

It is what it is. We children do what we have to do to ensure their safety and that they're eating and being cared for properly. If he is able to move into a VA home and take your mom with him, then that is the easy answer here. One of the children can take the dog and bring it by for visits once in a while.

Your father can call you 'selfish' until the cows come home, but you know that is not the case. He is no longer able to think clearly, which is obvious. This is what you tell yourself. If he was able to think clearly, he'd SEE and he'd KNOW that the living conditions he's subjecting himself and his wife to are dangerous, unsanitary and it's only a matter of time before both of them fall & need hospitalization. At that point, the choice will be REMOVED from him and they will HAVE to be placed, like it or not. That's how our system works.

He can do things the easy way or he can do things the hard way. Most of the elders choose 'the hard way', unfortunately, and wait for The Crisis to occur and for them to be forced into placement. Let's hope you can convince your father that making this decision on his own is much better than having it made FOR him.

Wishing you the very best of luck with this difficult situation. I had one myself and my dad was forced into Assisted Living after a hospitalization and rehab stint.
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Isthisrealyreal Jan 2020
Lealonnie, I think that my parents can do what they want. I found that they have all the rights, the law is behind them and against me trying to force them to do something that they don't want. I am all okay with that, but that is a double sided coin, I too can make my own choices. Propping up their bad choices is not something that I am willing to do. They may fail and become willing, but right now it is a flippin runaway train and I have moved out of its path.

I understand the laws, I know that people have institutionalized others for evil reasons, but it is so far the other way that it is mind blowing and frustrating, especially when you just want to help them be safe and cared for. Grrrrrr!!!
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Taking care of the dog sounds a lot easier than taking care of Mom and Dad. If the dog’s care is all that stopping him, heartily encourage them to move to the VA home, and assure him the dog will be well cared for and can visit. Our elders have a special bond with their pets who have grown old with them. My Moms concern for her dog trumped her own care for herself. Now that I have just lost my elderly dog, I understand better how she felt about hers. So take that roadblock away in a kind way, and help them move on.
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Based on what you have posted, I would say it is more than time. Your father is neglecting his wife, as he is no longer capable of living independently, those of you who are running over there every night are actually part of the problem, you are setting up a false front, a lets pretend situation.

Ask around see if a family member will take the dog, thus eliminating this as an excuse.

He is fortunate that he has the VA as an option, time to take advantage of this option. Who has their DPOA, whoever it is should step in, if necessary call APS, do whatever it takes to have your mother properly cared for.
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Alicew234, you are correct, it will be really hard to step back and let things get bad. However, it would only take one day for APS to intervene. The conditions that will be existent in the situation when the adult children stop propping it up will set APS into action. If they come in and find a filthy nasty mess on this ladies bottom they WILL do something now. You can't expect them to help when you are taking care of everything, they are overwhelmed by their jobs and have to act by priority of need. Someone being propped up doesn't have a need, the caregivers do and APS doesn't give a shake about the caregiver.

We are talking about days to change a situation that could escalate for years before these caregivers finally break and they will because the situation is beyond what the family can handle. So we do the very hard thing now to stop the hard things from continuing daily.

No one ever said any part of this would be easy. Change never is.

Ckirsch, be sure and make it very clear to APS that they can go to a VA home, this will help them get both of your parents the care they need. You could also give dad the ultimatum, you either get your head into helping mom get the best care available by moving into the VA or the state gets involved and then she goes wherever they choose. Make it one or the other, no other choices available.
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Alicew234 Feb 2020
I don't know. In our case, the caregiver refused to let the APS people in and they closed the case. But if Ckirsh lives in a state that is more aggressive in protecting the elderly, that might work.

In our case we had to wait for the crisis. A fall lead to a hospitalization. Discharge to rehab turned into a "No safe plan of discharge home" and a permanent nursing home placement. The patient is well cared for now.
"He can move to a home at this time thru the VA and take my mother with him but doesn't know what to do with the dog"....

Take the dog into one of the siblings homes.
Place Mom and Dad in available VA home **together**, providing caregivers to come in for Mom.

That is my solution, and I am sticking to it. It looks so much easier looking in from the outside.

Because if people wait, I have seen families destroyed, divorces, elder abuse, no medical care provided for one spouse, and exploitation by adult children with their own issues of incompetency. (bipolar, failure to become self-supporting).

Do it now, imo.
Helpful Answer (8)
Alicew234 Jan 2020
We are going through something similar. Unless her dad is demented too, he probably has POA over his wife and he gets to decide where they both live and whether or not to hire care. The children have only two options: Abandon their mom to his "care" or Keep helping her. Either way, eventually, there will be a crisis and things will have to change.

It would be great if elderly people would hear their children when they say "we can't do it anymore." But many of them do not.
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It might be a good idea to call APS for mother, not father. Father’s POA shouldn’t over-ride APS finding that your mother is not receiving adequate care. It’s not a case of convincing father to change his mind. Father will tell APS about the family care, APS should check with you, you all need to say that you cannot continue to provide it, and you don’t think it is adequate anyway.

One small verbal thing to think about – s/he ‘moves to xxx', don’t say that “you put them in a home’.
Helpful Answer (8)

I agree with those who believe this situation needs to change.
Botton line: in what situation will both parents be safest?
Staying put is not the answer. If they have the VA home as an option, they are very fortunate. With luck there isn't a long waiting list.
You and your siblings have helped your parents, but their need for a higher level of care/ assistance is becoming more dire.
Although difficult emotionally, in time you will never regret assisting them to relocate to a safer place.
Helpful Answer (8)

Do something soon. We had the same situation and nothing was done until they
broke their hips in the same year. It was a blessing in disguise. I found a Elder assist service that helped me to do a separation of assets so my mother in law could go to skilled nursing. She was never strong enough to walk again and needed help with daily living. Medicaid approved her and they cover everything now. Her mind is good and she has thrived. We even got her cataracts done! My father in law has dementia but could care for himself until she left. He had fully recovered from his hip surgery but his dementia had worsened. We were able to get him assisted living in the same facility and his small income covers the bulk of
his expenses. Recently we got him a small VA pension. This has not been easy but, I'm here to say that there is hope if you use the resources available. Its been 1 year and the difference in both of them is remarkable. They spend every day together and when we visit we are able to enjoy them. Don't wait until its too late. Start doing your homework now. My sister in law lost years of her life trying to care for them. Wish we would have stepped in sooner.
Helpful Answer (8)
AnnReid Jan 2020
We had a similar result with my mother, who “bloomed” in the 5 1/2 years she was in residential care.
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