My dad is a VERY stubborn man, extremely prejudiced and has a fierce temper. My mom divorced him after 50 years of marriage. She put up with enormous amounts of emotional & verbal abuse during those 50 years. After my mom left him my dad lived on his own. On his own he didn't take care of cleaning and struggled to tend to other needs; (ie laundry, grocery shopping, etc) The lease on the house expired and was not renewed. He then stayed with my sister for approx. 2 weeks. He was basically kicked out by my sister because of his opinion of my sisters live in boyfriend and his accusations of them stealing from him. Police were involved in that scenario. After that my dad stayed with my wife & I. Things were okay for awhile. At the 2 week mark my dad went into a fit of rage that was completely unpredictable. Many of the events and things he said about me and my wife he doesn't remember. Many of these things I find hard to forgive him for. Again, the police were involved in removing him from my house. The police brought him to a hospital for psychiatric evaluation. The hospital released him and he ended up staying at a local motel for approx 2-3 months until my mom and found him an independent 55 and older apartment. He has been there for approx 1 year.
Throughout all of this I have had to intervene on a handful of occasions with suicidal threats from my dad. He has done nothing but complain about the apartment he lives in, having nothing to do and complains about the people who live there. He does not take care of his apartment. He doesn't follow some of the rules for living there such as feeding wild animals. He has misplaced his wallet/checkbook and blamed other residents of robbing him. He can't seem to budget for his future needs. He doesn't seem to grasp reality. He has elaborated on various stories/circumstances that become so far fetched that if you tell him different he argues with you. He refuses any county agency assistance. He is a very difficult man to deal with and to try to help simply because he doesn't listen to reason and refuses outside assistance. My relationship with him has been like a long, strange, difficult roller coaster ride with plenty of ups and downs. There have been times when he and I didn't talk to one another for months because of him not wanting to face facts/reality. I am at my wits end as to what to do for him. My brother, sister, mom and I don't know what more we can do for him. Who can we go to for help?
The residence he currently lives in is not renewing his lease because of his attitude and behavior. He needs to be out by end of June. He is convinced that he can buy or rent a house. He applied for a home loan and was denied because of his poor credit rating. He lives on S.S money.
It's a very complex situation. There is so much more to this whole issue that I could go into. He is seeing psychiatrists at the VA hospital. No one has power of attorney over him and honestly no one in my family wants that responsibility with him. I honestly do not think that he is competent enough to live on his own. I do not know if any doctor or psychiatrist/ psychologist has declared him or diagnosed him as "incompetent" or having dementia/Alzheimers.
What can/should my family do next?

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Ken, this is sad. I feel for you. You dad has apparently had mental issues all his life and his ability to compensate and control to an acceptable level has been eroded by dementia. He would probably be taking better care of things if he was cognitively able to do so. Adult Protective Services *might* be able to do more than the Area Agency on Aging, as the latter is much more on a voluntary basis. They could look in on the state of his current living quarters and take it from there. With someone this uncooperative, you are looking at guardianship and all that entails, rather than POA anyways. The bottom line is: The system will either let you help him by documenting his being a danger to himself and others or it will not, and other than getting what evidence you have to the doctors and social workers trying to assess him for this, you may not be able to do more if he will not let you.

As long as he is considered a competent adult he can legally refuse all care even if it makes him go blind or kills him. He may become homeless; you and I both know that the homeless shelters are full of people with untreated mental illness.

Make sure any monetary support you give him does not obligate you - don't co-sign for anything or have your name on a joint account, so that nothing he does can put you in debt or bankrupt you. You could check in with an eldercare attorney to see if they have any other options, and to make sure that no filial responsibility laws would apply to you.

So, there are a few things you have not done yet and they may or may not work. If he can be declared incompetent and gotten into care and treatment even against his will, he could receive medications that would allow him to adjust and allow him to have a better life and some family relationships. If he can't, frankly the outlook is bleak as things will have to get worse, i.e. something bad will have to happen before anything changes for him. If you give it your best shot and it nevertheless comes to that, it will not be your fault. Document everything you do and try to do.
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Freqflyer; My mom & I have had our suspicions about my dad having a UTI and or dementia. The very difficult part of this is getting him to see a doctor and following through on his own. He has had incontinence issues (wetting himself and/or the bed) in the past. When family members have brought it to his attention he denies having the issue. Right now his big health concern is losing vision. He is need of cataract surgery and has had eye/vision complications for several years. His blood pressure has been so high that it was causing an extreme amount of pressure in one of his eyes. I'm not sure what medications he is currently on. My dad has a negative attitude toward most doctors, especially if they are of another ethnicity/race.

jeannegibbs; I have talked to county agencies (Dept. of Aging/Edlerly) and they assigned my dad a caseworker. They offered assistance but my dad made it VERY difficult for them to help and he refused any help/assistance. He is a danger to himself because he tends to be oblivious to various circumstances or present moment situations.
It's hard to not feel guilty or obligated to my dad. I don't know how much more I owe him. He is my dad and at times that is a difficult fact for me to acknowledge. Nothing can change that fact. I do realize that my father's possible mental illness is not my fault or anyone else's fault but his own. It's just a complex and difficult thing to deal with and to understand.
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It seems to me that you have done pretty much all that a family can do.

We really don't have (yet) really effective ways of dealing with the mentally ill. A few generations ago when we ran out of things to try we locked them up in mental institutions. This was not a good solution, but what we've replaced it with -- basically nothing -- is not a good solution, either. So first, don't feel guilty or inadequate that you cannot solve a situation our entire culture hasn't been able to solve.

It is positive that he is seeing psychiatrists at the VA. We can hope for the best there.

When I look at the numbers for the homeless population I wonder how many tear-filled stories there are behind them.

Have you talked to Adult Protection Services? He is not being exploited by someone else, but it sounds like he is a danger to himself. The problem is he can refuse to cooperate and I don't know how they can help him then.

The only advice I have for you and your family is not to add guilt feelings on top of all the other stress. Your father's mental illness is Not Your Fault.
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Ken, from what you have written, sounds like your Dad possibly could either have Alzheimer's/dementia or an urinary tract infection [UTI]. Untreated UTI's in an elderly person can cause symptoms of outbursts and fit of rage. The story telling of things that never happened is a stage of dementia.

Of course, getting your Dad to a doctor to be tested for a UTI won't be easy. You will need to make up some excuse to get him there, such as his health insurance requires a twice a year physical otherwise his health insurance will be cancelled [it's not true, but we do what we need to do to get our love ones to a doctor].

Sounds like your Dad is a very proud man, the reason he doesn't want any help from the County. Sometimes we need to wait until our elder develops a sudden illness or a serious fall before we can get them the help they need. A trip to the ER, hospital stay, then rehab... then into assisted living.
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