Don't know what to do - Long

CajanMarch 24, 2005

For the past 20 yrs. my friend and I have lived next door to her parents,

taking care of them the best we could. (The house is a double which her father owns.)

My friends mother died in July so now, she is the primary care giver of sorts.

We both work, so the most we can do for him is give him a hot supper at night.

Otherwise he is home alone all day.

Since she lives next door, her other 3 siblings feel that he is her responsibility.

He's 87 and we think he has dementia or alzheimers. He's mostly blind, has very

few teeth, shuffles when he walks and is an alcoholic. Lately he doesn't know

what day it is or what time of day it is.

He had surgery for prostate cancer 3 yrs. ago. He has not been back to the Dr.

since and has always refused to get any kind of medical care. He had a UTI

and almost went into shock. That's how they discovered the prostate cancer.

He has recently become very resentful and angry that she doesn't spend more

time with him - and has come up with some wild stories about me stealing

from him and turning my head when he talks to me, etc. He sometimes

refused the meals my friend brings over for him.

You never know from one day to the next what kind of mood he will be in or when

he's going to have an angry outburst.

The problem is that we don't know what to do. The rest of the family doesn't

want to intervene because they don't experience his behavior like we do.

They feel like it's his house and he has a right to stay in it and he also has a

legal right to refuse medical care. They don't want to go through the process of

getting guardianship and refuse to have him declared incompetent.

They all just want to wait it out. We've talked about moving out, which would

put us in a financial bind, and leave him completely alone - which we hate to do.

My friend is very angry and really doesn't want to be stuck taking care of him.

I know that sounds cold and cruel - but she understands now what her mother was going through - and couldn't escape and is very resentful. It a big mess.

She doesn't see any use in contacting any social agencies because she doesn't think they can help. He refuses to leave the house or to have anyone come in

even as a companion for a few hours. I'm at a loss. Can anyone help?

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Hi Cajan & welcome to the forum... I pray I don't offend you by anything I say. It is our desire to help and encourage one another. You've described a pathetic picture of an elderly man who's an alcoholic, almost blind, and possibly sick... He's been living alone for about 8 months and has a lot of time to think. Days, nights, and hours run together... He needs someone to step up and run interference for him.

You said that if you and your friend move out, it would put you in a financial bind. That suggests that for 20 years you and she have had a break financially. This could be a source of friction with her and her siblings. I would definitely encourage her to contact the area agency on aging for help. More than likely he is also entitled to some benefits for the blind. They are PROFESSIONALS who are trained in ways to approach the elderly who refuse care. Don't let your friend ignore avenues of help for her dad. If she doesn't try, who is??? Please keep in touch and let us know how it's going. ~abreeze

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 6:05PM
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It's time to lay down the law and get him into either a nursing home, or if he's capable, assisted living. Sure, he has a right to stay in his own home, but what if he burns it down! Your home will be gone, too. And he may get confused and angry enough to throw you two out, he owns both sides, he can do it.

This is a terribly dangerous situation, and if a social services agency, like Adult Protective Services gets involved because he wanders away or hurts himself or someone else, you and his daughter could be accused of neglect, or worse, abuse. As you know, no good deed goes unpunished.

Tell him it's time to move, and he can help with the decision, or take what's available when he's hospitalized and has few choices. He'll probably fall or get quite ill soon enough, and once he's in the hospital it will become obvious that he can't care for himself, especially if his daughter details his behavior. The Social Worker will find what's available on short notice, and off he'll go.

His daughter needs to start looking for places he might live, and then offer these to him, with no option to back out. There comes a time in many parents lives when the tables have to be turned, decisions have to be made for them that they may not like. Hey.......not too many of us are going to get up one morning and say it's time to move to Shady Acres Nursing Home!

Good luck and be careful.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 6:07PM
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I could have almost written your story. It's been awhile since I've posted here but I wanted to tell you that there is help out there for you. I'm in Louisiana too and I had to get an intervention on my alcoholic dad who also has prostate cancer and dementia. If it weren't for the angels that were sent my way, I wouldn't have accomplished this by myself. Please email me privately and I will try to help you get in touch with the right resources in our state. I don't want to crowd the forum here with lengthy details. I know exactly what you and your friend are going through except I'm all alone here taking care of my dad. There's some very good help out there and I'll be glad to share what I've learned and who helped me.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 6:51PM
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There's nothing easy about dealing with an alcoholic. I know. Mum had to really "hit the skids" before my brother and I simply said, "enough is enough" and stepped in and took over. It totally sucked. Now, it's more work for me, but the stress is greatly diminished; she is eating, NOT drinking or smoking, and my brother and I are getting her estate under control. But it is a neverending tide of details. So be prepared.

You have lived next door to this guy for 20 years and it's only now that things have become so dire?! PLEASE contact local agencies and involve them. As mentioned above, they are trained to deal with difficult situations like your's and will be able to help you find your way through the maze of bureaucracy.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 9:04PM
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Cajan, the folks here have been there--- listen to them and follow up, please. Nothing will happen without serious intervention. Things will only get worse. But there is hope that you can find great resources and good advice. Please, follow through. I don' contribute often here, but I tend to my 95 yr old Mother, and every day is not as sharp as the last one. But from folks here supporting me, I have learned a lot about helping my Mother out.

So open your heart and your mind, and lots of people here are by your side to help you out.

One step at a time, but just make sure to make that first step.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 12:59AM
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You are getting great advice. I had my dads doctor call the home health people, and have a nurse go to the house. One look and she knew he was not capable of being on his own. Once he was in the hospital, and I was told he definetely had to have 24/7 care, I could request a nursing home with a clear concensience (sp?). My dad would have never agreed on my word alone, but the doctor telling him he had to be cared for made a bit of a difference.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 4:49AM
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Thank you all so much for the great advice and encouragement. I will be sharing your messages and encouraging my friend to get the ball rolling.
Thank You Again.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 10:29AM
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