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making parents listen to reason

My parents are in their 80s.  Mom has Alzeheimers.  Both have mobility problems.  Their house is a disaster & dad can't really take care of my mom alone but he won't accept help.  I've begged.  I've pleaded.  I don't know what to do.   When help shows up they won't let the person in the house. 

I think about applying to have mom declared incompetent & making myself her guardian.  Then if dad won't listen to reason I can have him charged with custodial interference.  That's awfully drastic but I am at my wits end.

Any suggestions?

Re: making parents listen to reason

  • I would speak to an attorney about this.
  • i'm sorry for your situation, but "making them listen to reason" and "mom has alzheimer's" in the same sentence doesn't make any sense.

    ditto PP.  see an attorney.

    <img width=100 src="http://tinyurl.com/6q2woyb">
    <a href="http://www.wanlifetolive.com">[the bliz-og]</a>
  • From my experience, you won't get anywhere.

    DH and his siblings attempted this years ago with his dad, who has dementia (non-Altzheimer's).  Your dad is the next as kin.  As long as your dad is competant (meaning not that he is doing a good job, or is not in denial, but that he does not have any diminished mental capacity), then nobody will allow you to become guardian for your mom.  Your dad is the guardian.

    I would speak with a lawyer, b/c maybe it varies by state, but I would not get your hopes up.

    You might also thinking of calling the authorities about "elder abuse."  Maybe then mental health workers will come and investigate the situation of BOTH parents. 

  • am a lawyer.  My father is not my mother's guardian.  Nobody is anybody else's guardian until the law so appoints them.  If I actually do this, the only person who can oppose my application will be my father & even taking age out of the equation, in a side by side comparison, I will be appointed mom's guardian.  I don't have siblings.  I also know all the judges. 

     I don't want to have to get this ugly. 

    Are there any arguments that you or others have used to help me comvince my father to let me get him some help for my mother?  I can't understand why he would rather whine then make his life easier.  Money is not an issue & they have fabulous insurance which will pay for this. 

    I'm really not asking the board for legal advice.  I'm looking for things to do before I have to go that route . . . something kinder & gentler. 

  • Poor you. This must be difficult.

    Sometimes parents will take the advice of someone they respect who is closer to them in age rather than their own child (however much they may be proud of their DD, the lawyer).

    Is there a family physician, friend or clergy member whose counsel they might consider? Are there enough concerned family members that you could assemble the needed support to do an intervention around agreeing to accept help?

  • I don't know if you can reason with them.  Maybe the next step is to tell your father you will take legal action if he doesn't accept help?  I don't know if that will make things worse, or if that's being irrational, but if you've tried everything else, I can only think of that as being the next step before actually taking this to court.  This is all probably way off base.

    Sorry you have to go through this.  It's not going to be easy no matter what happens.

  • image dalm0m:

    am a lawyer.  My father is not my mother's guardian.  Nobody is anybody else's guardian until the law so appoints them.  If I actually do this, the only person who can oppose my application will be my father & even taking age out of the equation, in a side by side comparison, I will be appointed mom's guardian.  I don't have siblings.  I also know all the judges. 

     I don't want to have to get this ugly. 

    Are there any arguments that you or others have used to help me comvince my father to let me get him some help for my mother?  I can't understand why he would rather whine then make his life easier.  Money is not an issue & they have fabulous insurance which will pay for this. 

    I'm really not asking the board for legal advice.  I'm looking for things to do before I have to go that route . . . something kinder & gentler. 

    We went through this in NJ (same state as you are from)....and even though stepMIL was an alcoholic (and a compulsive gambler, and stupid!), dh (and his brother) were told they would not be made guardians if dh's stepmom (stepMIL) protested.  At the time, MIL was taking advantage of FILs incapacitated state to raid their savings and gamble it away. 

    I don't think you can assume that just b/c "you know all the judges" they will appoint you the guardian if your dad protests.  DH & brother are educated, and had FILs best interest in mind (and they primarily wanted guardianship for healthcare reasons, not financial, although they wanted to close the savings so stepMIL couldn't gamble).  stepMIL just wanted her husband not to get in the way of her gambling addicting.  Unless they find something wrong with your dad (denial doesn't count), he is the next of kin, not you.  Also, any joint assets that they held would be managed by your dad.

    However, I would add that we never went to the process of going to court.  We were just advised by friends who were lawyers and BIL had some experience from being close to people involved in the state and county senior services. 

    If you can make it work, best of luck!

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • My Grandma has Alzheimer's and when Grandpa was alive it took a really long time for him to accept help.  He simply refused to admit that he could use it.

    My Dad faught with him about it all the time.  The only way he got Grandpa to accept it was by suggesting and introducing little things slowly.  He started by convincing Grandpa to hirer a family friend's daughter to clean the house.  He used the whole "you'll be helping her a lot" line to get him to agree.

    Then he convinced Grandpa to get meals on wheels a few times a week so that he wouldn't have to cook.  Then instead of a home health aid he convinced Grandpa to find someone to come and sit with Grandma so that he could go out sometimes to his clubs and meetings.

    Turns out that these people were hired through a firm that supplied "companions" and home health aides etc.  After he was happy with the companions he eventually moved up to a home health aide.  But in the end he only hired college students.  Again he was convincing himself that he was really helping them out, but that he could have been okay in the end.

    The hardest thing he ever had to do was put Grandma in a nursing home.  But after taking all of these little steps he began to realize that he really couldn't do it on his own, and that she needed to be in a place where she could get the care she needed.  Also that the house was not the safest place for her to live anymore.

    This is a really hard thing to go through, and I wish you all the luck in the world.  What worked for my family was being persistent, taking little steps, and letting Grandpa save his pride by "helping others" when he hired them.

     

  • this is very hard if you are dealing with people at that age. they do hardly understand.

    anyways, ditto to some.. see an attorney for this matter.

     

    image 

  • image anakin:

    My Dad faught with him about it all the time.  The only way he got Grandpa to accept it was by suggesting and introducing little things slowly. 

    I would do this. He won't accept help? It's probably the age and PRIDE. A lot of older men have this, especially with a military background. I would do exactly as the pp mentioned - introduce things slowly, be there to help, have family cook a meal and bring it over, stop by frequently to check in.

    My Mom was trying to take care of my Dad when he got sick, and she couldn't lift him when he fell - so we arranged for local emt that knew parents (small town) to come check in or that Mom could call without calling 911 - some emergency areas offer special lift assistance, etc. Stake out whats in the area, what resources you can start with.

    I think if you do any legal action or declare one inept - you'll wind up getting people involved that you might not necessarily what involved. Just sit down and have a heart to heart and gather family together and take that approach.

    image
  • I agree with pp who suggested going the route that shows he is helping both himself and his wife out by getting help.  We got my grandma and grandpa, *separate homes, a home health aid through the state.  They help cook and get them to exercise and clean and do things on their own so that they have a healthier life.  They teach them home skills and so on. 

    Will the grandfather accept family help to go over and clean on weekends and maybe sign up for meals on wheels or some other way of getting cooked meals for a trial so that he can see how much better it is than him having to do it?

    I know that some agencies have social workers for the elderly that can go to the home and talk to them about what is best for the sick person.  For some reason outside interference in a nice caring way they listen to.

  • If you haven't already, I would "google" topics about aging and eldercare.  You might get more targeted/specific/expert advice from websites on this topic than you will asking a bunch of internet strangers whether they've ever experienced a similar situation.  In one of your replies, you sounded kind of frustrated with the quality of advice you're getting on this board.  Well, YEAH -- there are probably better resources for this topic than The Nest.

    FWIW, however, when my mom went through this with my grandfather, it was hard for him to accept that he needed a LOT more help.  She just kept at it with him, but always proceeded with an attitude of, "I want to help you, Dad -- what would make your life easier that I can help with?" not an attitude of "You're so old and incompetent, I've got to take charge!"  I'm not sure how you present yourself to your parents, but in your post, your frustration and condescension toward your parents is really obvious.

  • If you manage to become guardian, please post or send me a PM telling me how you did it! 

    DH and his siblings could not even get FIL's driver's license taken away - and we have several family members who are on the police force.  FIL has never been in an accident, but has gotten "lost" on several occasions.

    It may be b/c DH's dad doesn't have Altzheimer's - he has dementia due to strokes. 

    I would also add, you have to think of what is best for your mom, even if it is not easy.  Even trying to get social services involved or guardianship tore dh's family apart, and is one (or many) reasons we no longer speak to the ILS. 

  • I know you don't have siblings, but do you have aunts and uncles that can come and weigh in on your side if you talk to your parents about their living situation?  Maybe they'd listen to a sibling before they'd listen to their daughter.

    I'm sorry you're going through this.

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • Thanks everybody.  I guess I need to start slowly.  I do have a friend who can start the cleaning.  Then once it's organized, I hope dad will see that cleaner is better & he'sll want to keep it that way.   If he just didn't have to deal with everything / running the house too I think he can still handle her meds etc.

    A friend of mine suggested his reluctance is becasue he doesn't want to accept that she's sick. 

    I have had their doctors all weigh in.  Both my parents know that all the doctors are "on my side" & they are all willing to come to court to say that I am best for my mom.  I trot them out when I need real help & all of the doctors will communicate with me.  All of their friends also constantly tell them I'm right.  They are getting the message from multiple places. 

    I just get frustrated & sometimes wish I coudl shake some sense into dad. 

  • image anakin:

    My Dad faught with him about it all the time.  The only way he got Grandpa to accept it was by suggesting and introducing little things slowly.  He started by convincing Grandpa to hirer a family friend's daughter to clean the house.  He used the whole "you'll be helping her a lot" line to get him to agree.

    ... But in the end he only hired college students.  Again he was convincing himself that he was really helping them out, but that he could have been okay in the end.

    This is how we were able to get my grandma some help - she had to think that she was the one doing the helping. Someone with a good sob story about a jerky exH and single mom... made grandma feel like the lady of the manor to be able to help her out. In our case it was just grandma, but it might still work.

    - Jena
    image
  • I would talk to an Alzeheimers non-profit and find out what other people have done successfully
    image
    No amount of education could convince Betty to be nice to possums
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