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Three times in the last 7 months, my dad's 84 y/o wife has not taken him to the doc or urgent care for medical treatment when ill. She waits anywhere from 4-5 days to get him in for meds. In September, she went out of town with family members & left him alone for the weekend with no prepared food for him to fix, nor did she call to check on him. She did not alert us she was going away. When he told us about it, we drove two hours to stay with him. She's been asking (and receiving) from dad extra money each month since her 55 y/o prescription-addicted son moved in with them three years ago. Dad hates that the son is living there with them but since his wife owns the home, he doesn't believe he has the right to ask her to make the son leave. Dad's wife keeps us away by saying her calendar is full. This has been going on throughout the 12 years of their marriage. Dad is 96 & his health is fading fast. She has now become his caregiver. She intimates everyone by her b*tchiness, and if someone does something to make her angry, she retaliates. It's a scary situation. Does any of this fall under the auspice of elder abuse? And if so, what can the authorities do without taking the chance of her retaliating by treating him worse?

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Thank you, Bethany. We are hoping to get Dad out to the golf course one day soon so he can reconnect with some of his friends there. He won't be able to golf but he can socialize. At the same time, it will give his wife a chance to do something enjoyable during that time.
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Continue to try an have a relationship with her in the mean time try to find stay home health aides and suggest to her they can take some caregiving stress off her usually the elder can talk to them freely and will be documented if anything of concern to them comes out and that can help the situation a great deal . It gives ur dad someone out side the box to talk to without added family pressures pray u guys can work it out and come to a Godle understanding
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Dear YoungestOfSix ~ She has no one to help her, by her own devices. Her 50-something year old son behaves like a teenage boy, doing very little around the house to help out, staying up all hours of the night and sleeping until noon the next day. She has wanted her sons to stay dependent on her and two of them have. Her daughter has come around very seldom over the past six months. There is some kind of problem between them and the daughter has decided to move on with her own life by making new friends and becoming more involved with her own grown daughters & grandchildren. It's a sad situation and you'd think that our wanting to help out with the caregiving might be met with open arms but it didn't happen.
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Dear Bethany ~ You are so right. Caregivers need a break. However, how do you get someone to take a break who refuses to allow it?
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Do they have any home health nurses or therapist that come in and spend adequate time
Maybe there are some things your not aware of in the caregiving procedures of his wife. From experience with my situation the dad may agree on her leaving and just don't tell the whole scenario on the situation If it weren't for documentation of our care specialist that see what we actually go thru with the care of mom
Some of the deceit she gives about situations could be in trouble and easily accused of abuse
Even the stay home caregiver (24/7) need a break and who h of u are willing to give up a day or two of your life to give her a well deserved break
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Be good to hear how you get on. Hope this is the start of a change and she realises you are there to lean on.
Hopefully she will stop being so defensive and admit that she probably needs a lot more help. (She is 84 after all, and you have to wonder who is looking after her... her son??? Hmm. Her daughter sounds more useful, but sounds like a lot of sibling rivalry going on there. Always tricky)

Best of luck xxx
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Dear NJCinderella ~ Thank you for the encouragement in your post. I told my stepmom last week (nicely) that her leaving him on his own for the weekend back in September "might possibly be considered elder abuse". Dad said that after we got off the phone, she kept asking, "Abuse? Where did she get that information?" We are suspecting she may have thought Dad told me things she'd been saying or doing, but he hadn't. Her own behavior was what I was following. Since then, she has given an invitation to visit anytime (whether she is home or not), even coming once a week. She even went so far as to say that if we don't want her there, she will leave while we visit. I told her we would never ask her to leave her own home. We are planning to drive over tomorrow for our first in-home visit. It is a 2-hour drive one-way and we will stay two and a half hours. We're hoping we may be able to get Dad out for a drive so he can get out of the house.
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Thanks so much, YoungestOf Six! Prayers for encouragement with your family.
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You are a fab daughter. Keep doing what you are doing.
XXX
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I disagree with Jill. You said that the wife is taking care of the dad but not the writer's way. Leaving a 96 year old man without food for a weekend is not taking care of him in my opinion! That sounds like neglect for me. Yes, she may be providing minimum care but is that "care"? Even thought one response said the wife "holds all the cards" maybe she can be intimidated back by suggesting protective services or police will be called the next time she goes away without notifying family to come help with the dad. Sometimes you have to push back even if there isn't a legal leg to stand on, so what. She may not know that and if the police are called they have to respond so that would create an embarrasing situation for the wife to answer why she left him alone without food. Might be enough to stir the hornets nest and involve social services.
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Dear youngestofsix ~ I am so sorry you experienced losing your mum. It is so hard to second-guess ourselves later, wondering what we might have done and how things might have turned out differently if we had done so & so. I am sure your mum knew of your tremendous love, especially if you were one of the few in your family to stand firmly in your opinions when in opposition to your dad's.

We have invited & encouraged Dad to come live with us but he wants to remain where he is. My hubby & I are retired and are home most of the time. One of our sons & his family of three children also live in our area and offered to help out if/when we might be away for a bit. Dad is choosing for himself where to reside, and that's what I want to him to be able to do. We all need to know that we have choices, and sometimes just knowing that people are behind us & emotionally supporting us helps give us some backbone to stand stronger. It may also be of benefit for him to know that we are in the wings & he can come here at any time and/or we will help him move into Casa Grande Assisted Living.

Yes, my stepmom is very obstinate & controlling, while Dad is very non-aggressive and "goes with the flow". In earlier days, they made a pretty good match. They married when my dad was 84 & she was 72. They both told us from the beginning that she needed Dad's medical insurance (100% paid for life) and he didn't want to live alone. It sounded like a pretty good arrangement. As for her loving him, I cannot answer that. We have seen very little emotional connection from either of them in the 12 years they've been married. :(
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She sounds like my dad. Fiercely independant and resentful of any offers of help. Takes it almost as an insult.

All I can say is follow your gut instinct.
We were all scared of dad's wrath (and to a point did not want to get him angry/upset as he is no spring chicken at 89)

But I totally regret this now.
Mum pretty much died because dad refused to accept how ill she was, and I went head yo head with her GP but because he was not showing huge concern I doubted myself.
Turns out I was right and they were wrong.
And I lost my mum probably 5 years or so earlier than was necessary.

I try not to carry it as guilt, I think to a point if we'd got her through that then maybe her quality of life would have been bad (potentially to go into a nursing home, away from dad and our home, and having diaper changes by strangers etc... she'd have hated that)

Sounds like you mentioning elder care abuse has given her a much needed reality check.
Hopefully she follows through on allowing you freer access.
Bizarrely dad did not see our visits as an opportunity to take a break despite being absolutely exhausted. He'd fuss around, making tea etc and refusing to use my visit as a chance to go take a much needed nap! He'd occasionally nip to the shops (for hours sometimes!)
But only once he let me take mum to mine (I had to have the mother of all rows with him to make that happen... threatened to tell their GP he was keeping mum prisoner ... he retorted by telling me I was dead to him and to leave his house... but oddly by the time I git to the car he'd capitulated and said I could take her!
Wish I'd challenged him more now. Think he is just the type that needs someone to really stand up to him before he'll change his mind about anything! He's been in charge his whole life. Very dominant. And gets away with it because everyone (me included) is afraid of his temper (never violent, he just cannot cope with conflict at all, goes very red and very shouty, and we all lived our lives cow-towing to him.
I am the only one of the six of us that seems to be able to take him on, but it's horrible, I hate going to his level, makes me feel sick and anxious, but on the occasions I refused to back down (probably 6 times in my whole life!) he backed down/ capitulated/apologised!! A miracle!

Hate to say it, but maybe this is what your stepmum needs?

No onesize fits all solution here.
Your situation sounds really hard, you obviously adore your dad.
Would he really want to go into a home though?
Wish you could get them talking properly to each other about how they are feeling. Easter 2013 I did get my mum to admit to my dad how stupid he made her feel, and he was shocked... he'd often talk over her, and growing up I recall vividly he would poo-poo her opinion (he was super clever... whereas mum had 'only' raised 6 kids)

I'd say stand up to her more, speak regularly to your dad and his GP.

Sadly I suspect he'd rather put up with her and her son than go into a home on his own.
I'm guessing moving in with you with carer help is not an option? (Lots on here would strongly advise against that!!)

Does your stepmum love your dad?
Might be worth asking her if you can get her in a calm moment. Wonder what she would say?

I can't imagine how hard it would be at 84 to be caring full time for a very sick immobile elder husband, and still supporting 2 freeloader sons.


Sorry for rambling on.
I hope you work this out.
But trust your instinct.
xx
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Jill1027 ~ Thanks for your post. I am friendly, civil & polite to my stepmom. However, she is surly& curt. I try to take things personally, as her own family knows this to be true about her. They just laugh at her, which I do not participate in nor approve. She has a tough type of personality which does not allow anyone to "help" out b/c she wants to prove that she can do everything herself. She pushes us all away when we offer help.

At this point, some of us are suspecting that her own physical problems are causing her pain & anguish & that she is angrily trying to deny their existence. It's very hard to accept aging. I am 62 & realize this reality for myself. Yet there comes a time when each of us, if we live long enough, will need to face it and deal with it.
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IKORWPA ~ I accompanied Dad to his annual physical two weeks ago. Since he has appointed me Durable Power of Attorney Health Care, we are working to get me added to his medical records so that I can request copies. There seems to have cropped up another area of difference between is wife & I and that is one of a COPD diagnosis. She said he has never been diagnosed with it yet she's the one who told me several years ago that he had it. His doctor has prescribed Advair Discus 100-50 along with Pro Air HFA. We need to find out what his medical records say as to why he's been prescribed this combination. In the meantime, I am hoping to accompany him to other doctor appointments & help to be "another set of ears & eyes" on his behalf.
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Daughteronduty ~ Thank you for your post. You have covered a lot of different areas in this situation. I am sorry you have experienced stepdaughters who are indifferent or are looking for a hand-out. I am not one of those. I am an only child whose mother died in 1999. Two years later, my dad remarried an old family friend. I have known her and her four children all my life. My dad sold our family home to move into hers b/c she wanted him to. Has he given her money b/c he understands that she is younger than he and will need to perform some caregiving? Yes, he has. $50,000 worth of stock that pays quarterly dividends. She has told us that she has cashed out and spent all of her own CDs on her two adult sons' support. Her daughter is irate about this & called me to ask if I can get ahold of my dad's checking account so her mom will be forced to stop spending her monthly income on these two brothers, knowing that my dad will supplement her income. I have told her I cannot do that in good conscious. My dad is still able to make some of his own decisions & I respect that. She has stopped calling me & I am thankful.

As much as I try to see things from another's point of view, I also have a point of view and it is from the perspective of a daughter who legitimately cares for her dad & wants to see him have quality of life and enjoyment each and everyday he has left on this earth. When I ask him a question such as "What do you look forward to each day when you get up?" and I get the answer, "Not much", it causes me to want to do something to help correct that. I don't think I'm any different than any other adult daughter who sincerely cares about their parent.
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ferris1 ~ Thanks for your post & questions. My dad is having falling & stability problems & uses a cane. He's becoming very feeble. His wife sets out all his medications to take, morning & night. He also gives himself an insulin shot at night. Her daughter called us last month, which was highly unusual. She wanted to report that her & her hubby felt her mom was treating my dad mean. She said they felt it's b/c Dad had stopped handing out as much extra money to her & she is angry about that. During that conversation, I mentioned her leaving Dad alone for that weekend while all of them went out of town. Her daughter profusely apologized to me and said "I asked Mom twice if she didn't think she should at least call you & tell you that we were all going and that he was being left alone. She just said "He'll be fine".

Last week, I calmly mentioned in a conversation with my stepmom that her leaving him alone that weekend, and especially without any prepared food to eat, "could possibly" be considered elder abuse. She went completely silent.

Two days later I received a call from her and during that conversation she told me that she resented my accusation of abuse b/c she had make plans for a neighbor to go check on Dad & take him dinner. How come her daughter didn't tell me that in her phone call? I let her know that while we were there, no neighbor called about bringing anything over. She said that it's b/c we were there & she called off the neighbor. Our suspicion is that it took her a few days to come up with what she thought was a reasonable explanation to cover herself. Since that conversation, she has become more cooperative & has told us we are welcome to visit anytime we want, even once a week.
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YoungestofSix ~ It has caused my dad a lot of grief & anger that the stepson lives in the house. He does not want him there but doesn't feel he has a right to request that he move out b/c the house belongs to my stepmom. She also has another grown son (in his early 50s) whom she has always financially supported on a monthly basis. Her own daughter is very upset that her mom's money is being spent on these two brothers. She called me, telling me that her & her hubby have witnessed her mom "being mean" to my dad and they wanted me to know about it. I am trying to have as much compassion for my stepmom as possible.
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Being that she was only allowing us to see Dad once a month, it has taken me a longer to realize just how confused he's become about situations. Things that happened a week ago, he's not remembering correctly, if at all.

I have Durable Power of Attorney General and Durable Power of Attorney Health Care but am wondering at what point they will become active & what type of testing may be involved?
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Lizann ~ Thanks for posting your suggestions. We've asked if he wants to move over with us & he declined. I've also asked if he would like to move to an assisted living facility that he likes in the town where he lives. He said he "can hang on awhile longer" where he is, living in her house.
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Thank you, 4thdaughter!
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If she is truly an abuser, then she will do everything to alienate you from your dad. He may have Stockholm syndrome and not want to leave her abuser. This is a very complex and difficult situation.
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Dear daddysgirls4859 ~ I'm glad things worked out for your family! It gives hope to those of us following behind.
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I am glad to hear your situation has improved and communication with your step-mother has become easier. Cooperation and compromise are the best solution and hopefully now things will get easier and more open. Best wishes to you all!
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Go to an elder lawyer and get dad to declare he wants to be moved out of this house and marriage. At 96 he will not survive without proper care. If the home is hers so be it, but he needs to be cared for. Decide if any of the children can step up to keep him the rest of his life with them or if he needs an assisted living probably the level he needs is that of a nursing home.

Good luck.
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Dear Waytee1155 ~ My heart goes out to you in what you have experienced. There are so many situations where the money is the goal. We have a bit of that going on but I am Dad's general POA, as well as his medical POA. I am also joint with him on his personal checking account, as well as a CD that he has. He has updated his Living Trust and everything is in order there. Other than her milking him monthly for extra bills to be paid (up and above their agreement to split all household bills 50/50), he has been financially holding her at bay. He told us a few weeks ago "I know when she wants something from me". When I asked him how he knows that he said, "Because, like yesterday, she bought me two new shirts." My hubby & I chuckled a bit and asked, "What do you think she wants from you right now?" His response was, "Her anniversary is coming up this month."
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Dear Sabrina1959 ~ What a horrific & sad situation you've experienced. There are so many stories of experiences & each one is a bit different, yet the there are some of the same threads of intent running through all of them. So sad!
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Dear 4thdaughter ~ I was hesitant to contact the authorities b/c of my fear of how she would treat Dad. I am working with her when needed, and being respectful throughout our conversations but I will no longer be intimidated by her rudeness. As of right now, she has agreed to allow us visitation and I am hopeful that this will work out well.
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Dear YoungestOfSix ~ What a hard situation you have endured and I'm sure your loss is tremendous. My condolences & prayers for you & your family members.

Thank you for taking time to post your thoughts on my situation. My dad's wife is a controlling person, such as your dad. Her side of the family talks about it all the time and our side of the family can certainly relate to their stories. I understand that she is feeling defensive in regards to her care of him and I am doing my best to give her proper kudos whenever I am able to do so. My aim is to deal with her as peaceably & respectful as possible. Dad is still able to convey his feelings as far as us visiting, and she has now decided it's ok for us to visit as often as we'd like. We live two hours away, so it will be an effort to get over there with the winter setting in, but we will make every effort to do so. Thank you again for your good suggestions.
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That sounds great! Fingers crossed it will last and keeping the peace won't be too stressful. Well done you, happy visiting :)
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I thank all of you for your considerate posts. The update from this end is that she & I have spoken. She defended her actions and I agreed with her wherever I could. I called over this morning and she was pleasant. The one thing that came from the conversation is that we are welcome to visit anytime we'd like (such as once a week), whether she is home or not. This I a huge improvement over the past. I'm hoping this will last & will not be a fleeting situation. Thanks again, everyone! You have a great venue here for being of service to others in need. Blessings.
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