My dad is 86. He has Dementia (likely Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia) but refuses to believe that he has anything other than age-related memory loss.

My sister and I have been aware of this since November, when his wife (my stepmother) passed away at the age of 77.

My dad is very stubborn & extremely chauvinistic. He has always “been right about everything”. Often, he would help non-family people, but not so much his own family. (Long story and this is going to be long enough)

He and his wife were living half of the yr. in Arizona & half in WA state. It was obvious that it was hard on her to pack up and move every 6 months, (bad knees/gastric bypass) & she would say (when he wasn't around) that she didn't want to live in AZ because it was too hot. When brought up he would deny that, saying she loved it down there. My sister and I brought up multiple times that they needed to sell both places and move closer to one of us so we can help them, but it always fell on deaf ears.

Now, last November, my stepmother, (God bless her, put up with him for 50 years another topic in itself) is now gone, and it's obvious she had dementia the last year or so herself. She had always done the finances, so my sister & I got durable POA & health POA so we could pay his bills, as he is not capable. He would just sit & look at the pile of mainly junk mail and freak out.

He refuses to believe he can't take care of himself, but here are a few of the issues:

* Lately, can't dress himself (put his buttoned shirt inside out. When his friend told him it was inside out, he said “what do I do”?

* Refuses to shower or bathe (says he sponge bathes. No. He doesn't)

* Is a diabetic, has a barrel chest, has vascular issues.

* He has very bad edema in both legs (and a 2" open sore on one), to the point where, it's possible he could lose a leg.

* He lost his driver’s license (due to having dementia) but continues to drive pretty much every day.

* He has a gun (somewhere). He had asked his friend to put it in his (his friend's) safe & then asked for it back the next day (this was after saying I put the TV program on). Anyhow he was ranting that morning. When his friend said “No”, not until you calm down, he called the sheriff, who showed up & agreed he shouldn't be given the gun in the condition he was in.

* Has no idea what foods to avoid, and when given a list still chooses to ignore the list the eat pretty much all sugary things & drink several diet Pepsi's a day or, several (yes, several) beers.

* He can't handle the remote control for his TV (called his friend at 4:30am one morning. He had woken up (he sleeps in his chair in front of the TV) & an infomercial was on. He was freaking out, saying I had put the programming he was seeing on the TV & he could not change it. His friend had to come over & unplug the TV.

* Loses things, and says either I stole them, or someone broke in & took them. Then later finds them (usually when he accuses me, I have not even been there for a couple of weeks)

* He leaves his heater on. He doesn't know how to adjust it (it's just a dial) & opens all his windows and doors.

* He just lost a 6” x 8” clock I bought him, which he depends on, as it has the day, date, time & if it's AM or PM on it.

* He got lost in his van the other day & following his friend home did not even recognize his trailer when he arrived there.

I live 3.5 hours away & am married. No kids, but my husband & I both work full time, saving for our soon to happen retirement, and I'm helping my mom out (his first wife), as she never did save for retirement, so we make her house payments (we have a huge promissory note / deed of trust on her house, so we make sure we eventually get our money back). Neither my husband nor I can work from home...but from all the reading here, I know I could not handle him living with us.

My sister is a single mom, supporting a teenager. She can't work from home either.

(Sorry...continued next post....)

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Your situation is all too common. It can be so challenging to navigate while you're trying to do the right thing for your father. A great first step would be to sit down with a licensed expert, someone who can evaluate the home and give you suggestions on what the best solution is. It is likely that your father might be able to live safely at home but it could require additional aide care or some standard home modifications. If it's helpful you can always check out some free resources and connect with an expert here:
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My Dad had trouble with operating the tv and DVD player. I usually put something on for him every night provided it has English subtitles as he’s pretty deaf. I suspect that he has vascular dementia but he hasn’t been properly diagnosed. He’s pretty grateful to my husband and me for looking after him and thanks me frequently. btw you’re very lucky that you have support from your sister.
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Good grief, Michelle. I can't believe that you are leaving this decision to your father who has severe dementia. If you have mental health POA, USE IT! If not, you should be able to take him to ER and have him kept for observation for 2 days. Your father could kill himself and others. If he kills others and their families find out you and your sister were aware of his dementia, it will take you tens of thousands of dollars to defend yourselves. If your indecision comes from fear of your father, you have to move on. He is not that Father anymore and your health, you sister's health, your Father's health, and the lives of strangers are more important than any past issues you may have. Just my opinion.
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Cover999 Jul 5, 2022
Survivors and/or their friends and loved ones would start GoFundMe, esp if there was media coverage.
Thanks everyone for wading through all of this. Again, apologies for the length. Like everyone going through this, it is not a short, or uneventful process.

Unfortunately, he won't listen to his doctor...he won't listen to anyone...not even his friend much of the time.

I'm just wondering if any of you have had to "trick" your parents into going into an AFH? I hear from both them, AL and MC places that no one wants to be there...that they all want to leave. Sounds like they will just keep telling them they can go home when they get better, and sooner or later they settle down and find that it's not so bad having most of their needs met.

Is that your experience?...or do I need to get guardianship and force him to go? I guess I'd rather "trick" him into going when still not declared incompetent, than to get guardianship and "force" him...I can only imagine the catestrophic reaction being forced to go would cause, and even if he doesn't remember what happened, I understand the emotions would stay. I don't want that for him if at all possible.

And to be clear, all of his doctors, all the medical staff he comes into contacdt with, and pretty much every person he comes in contact with (that I hear from), all agree he should be in 24/7 care. At this point I feel that the longer I hold off, the more potential that he wil really hurt himself, or kill himself or someone else while driving.

Oh, we're talking about a man who a few short years ago could fix I went to see him recently, and he had a jigsaw laying at his feet in front of his easy chair. (Luckily no blade was in it). I asked him what that was for, and he told me he needed to put some screws in the wall. When I told him you can't use a jigsaw for that, he got really mad and said "You can if you know what you are doing!" Sigh... It would be funny if it were not so sad.
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OK I found the new thread!

What I had planned to say was, attempting to preserve Dad's autonomy & what independence he has, is wonderful, but also hard - trying to balance his real needs for supervision & increased safety.

To be honest, that long list of daily tasks your Dad is struggling with do seem to add up to supervision needed around the clock.

If APS is like the services here, they try *least restrictive* solutions first. Eg home care services before placement. I would think a carer staying on the property would fit this bill. Whether it is enough..? Whether a caregiver would want to do this..? I don't know. (I read about the last one 😖)

I do applaud your gentle touch. I think these situations are such are huge shift. It may not be that Dad *won't* acknowledge his memory & thinking problems - it is that he simply *can't*. If he can't he can't. Read up on *Anosognosia* in the care topics.

Dad's Doctor may be able to sign that the POA is now needed. Sometimes Drs will not (which to be fair, signing away someone's rights in a 10 min consul.. no-one wants that). Sometimes a full neuro/psych exam is needed - & many refuse that!

Depending on how Dad progresses you may indeed be *awaiting a crises* to bring about his placement to a safer, supported care home. Maybe neither of you are quite ready for that just yet?
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JuliaH Jun 27, 2022
You're right, around the clock supervision. I don't think it's possible for any service to attend to though. Anyone who has had a physician tending to one for regular check ups should definitely see the impairment. I started with assisted living and in 3 months she went to memory care. I believe it was poor menu choice and led to excessive water retention which led her to the ER with congestion around the heart. In fact it led her to a delusional state where she lost it completely. That's why they moved her into memory care a floor down. I'm not dissing your comment whatsoever, just wanted to suggest that if she moves her father to make sure there's memory care there. Also, close to you as possible as they will always need something. I'm saying it's for her sake and his she finds some way to put him in a safe environment. There's no bigger scare than to miss a loved one by 5 minutes (I was expected) and they're not there.
Drs know what is going on, they need family to follow up.
A good Dr will know their patient.
Kudos to you for your input!
Wow! This is so Alzheimer's and you think his Dr would be onboard with helping him and you. I'm was going through some of these issues with mom. The TV and remote she still can't work and she would mess it up and I'd have to come running, often would confuse it with her phone. She's in memory care now.
She wandered off and got into someone's car, police helped track her down and that was the final straw.
It took the Dr to help her realize that an accident at her age is deadly. I'm not sure about how to help you with financial matters as mom has enough for now to keep her in memory care until I can get the house sold. I'm her POA/ medical advisor and I'm in the same position as you, having to be the decision maker, it's frustrating!
Hopefully you will get the information you need from the forum here. It's going to get worse, sorry to say. Knowing he's safe and not on the road or wandering will be less pressure on you.
I'm hoping your Dr will get you the services and attention he needs.
Good luck with your loved one!
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(3 of 3 posts)

Now, after all of this explanation, my questions are:

If we have him placed in an AFH directly from a hospital, does the AFH have to let him go home if he can't take care of himself? It's a forgone conclusion that he will be adament that he can care for himself and wants to go hom.
Should I first go for guardianship? I do NOT want to be his guardian: A. I think he would not want to see me after that (and I'm his only local relative) and B. I feel that if I go that route (assuming I even win), I don't think I can force my dad to do anything....would I need to show up with police to get him to move? C. I don't think I want the responsibility, as I'd be afraid I'd miss dotting some “i” or crossing some “t”.
State Guardianship? On the face of it, that seems the easiest, but I'm afraid they'd bleed his account dry, then place him someplace awful where he's in a room with 2 or 3 other people, nowhere near me.

Thanks in advance for your comments and suggestions, and I'm very sorry for the super long post.
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(2 of 3 posts)

My brother is a dead-beat who threatened both his parents when younger, actually beat my dad up 30 or so years ago & is a 2-time violent felon, so we're not even keeping him in the loop.

My dad DID get a will, mentioning his son & why he is not including him in the will, so hopefully that will avoid later issues.

So, as you can imagine, I and my sister BOTH have easily spent hundreds of hours helping him since November.

She drove from California to the AZ properties, spent a week cleaning them up, and clearing them out of the hoarding mess that was there, and waded through the titling mess he had for all his properties and vehicles there, and a friend there sold them with his permission. My sister is the one that typically makes the doctor appointments, sees if there are any local services to assist (he refused meals on wheels after trying them one week), and is very good at checking in on him with phone calls.

I have driven down to see him (334 miles round trip) pretty much every other week since November. I've done his bills, sorted through at least 8 feet of paperwork, cleaned all of his late wife's items out of their main and guest trailer for him, took numerous trips to Goodwill or brought home with me to recycle or put in a garage sale, took him to the lawyer for his POAs, his Will and to get his ID card when he lost his drivers license, and the list goes on, as you can imagine. The only payment I have taken for this is gas money to and from his trailer. I don't plan or expect to receive more...I want his money to go to pay for his care.

Both my sister and I have bent over backwards to do everything we possibly can for him, but neither of us can take him in....and he refuses to admit he has a problem....and now his friend that has been helping him has about had enough (his friend has serious health issues himself, so we are trying to find a way to shift this off of him).

We've talked with Adult Family Services, but until he has been declared incompetent, they say there is nothing they can do. He is a veteran, but he did not serve even one day during a war, so there is nothing they will do for him (other than doctor's appointments). There are no local other local people we can hire to take care of him. I don't even have the legal right to take his keys away or put the Club on his vehicle.

Our current plan, (not a good one, but not sure what else we can do) is to wait until the next time he is checked into the hospital, then tell them he can't go home and place him in an Adult Family Home. The reason we're going this route rather than Assisted Living or Memory Care is that I've not been able to find an AL or MC facility that can guarantee him a Medicaid bed after self paying for 2 years, where as I'm being told (by the people running the AFH) that every one of their beds can transition to Medicaid after they self pay for 2 years...and there is a chance I can have him placed near me so I can go visit him much more often than once every two weeks.

He has enough in his bank to self pay for 18 months @ $10K a month, and when I sell his other properties here in Washington, he will have enough to pay for the remainder. I can't sell either trailer or any of his remaining 8 old junkers, boats or trailers while he is living there, & it's obvious he is not competent, or inclined, to do so.

(2nd of 3 sorry!)
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