My parents are both 72. Mom is in excellent health and taking care of my father and myself. I am 41 and disabled from a car accident. I am trying every day to become more independent so my mom doesn’t have to do too much for me but my father is in rapidly declining health and on top of that he is an alcoholic. She does EVERYTHING for him - Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wound care, he’s incontinent so she has to clean up his messes… she’s been doing this for years and he doesn’t appreciate her in the least. In fact, as his condition worsens he drinks more and becomes angry with her, constantly calling her horrible names and threatening to kick her out on the street because the house is in his name even though she’s been paying the bills for years. She loves him, they’ve been together for 52 years, but as the situation gets worse I’ve seen her go from a woman with friends and hobbies to a depressed person who hates her life. She cries every night saying she can’t take this anymore and she would kill herself except she’s a coward.

How can we take the steps to get him into a nursing home? It’s hard to prove that she’s incapable of taking care of him because she’s taking care of me too. But if this keeps up she won’t be around for either of us. This whole situation breaks my heart and I feel so useless. It would be better for everyone involved if he were in assisted living. He doesn’t want to go but regardless of what he thinks he can’t take care of himself. I couldn’t even tell you the last time he’s showered - It’s been over a year and he refuses to let her help him with that.

What can we do?! Please help!

Find Care & Housing
You said your father doesn’t want to go into a nursing home, so there is no point in forcing him to do so. He, therefore, should be left to fend for himself as your mother does not deserve to be treated as his servant/slave.

Your mother seems to be a wonderful and caring woman, and she does not deserve to be treated so poorly by your father. Your mother should walk away from this toxic marriage. Your mother should speak to an attorney to see what her options are if she were to divorce him. If your mother lives in a community property state then she will get 50% of everything that your father owns and she and you can both move on with your lives away from him and find peace and happiness which you both deserve.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Dupedwife
CaregiverL Apr 11, 2024
”Should be left to fend for himself” - Really?
1st thing is contact Elder Law Atty . You have excellent writing skills so you’re not totally disabled. Then atty will devise a plan. Then contact some nearby nursing homes. If possible , can mother tour them. He can either go from home or to ER first. If you and mother want to go the home care route instead, then it’s probably going to be difficult to get any outside caregivers to stay & be reliable. Your mom can’t do the hands on caregiving anymore. It’s going to kill her first. Even though she’s in excellent health, she’s no youngster. You have to encourage your mother to change her situation. In addition, can you qualify for some physical therapy? There’s nothing wrong with you mentally. Certainly your mother has rights since she’s a spouse married for so many years & being caregiver in order to delay admission into nursing home. Maybe you can help mother with getting paperwork together that lawyer and nursing home will need. Good luck and hugs 🤗
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to CaregiverL

Your Mom is in control but won't do the 1 thing that will help her: leave and don't go back.

Maybe try to get her to an Al-Anon meeting so she can see she's not alone in her situation. Maybe recommend therapy to her. That's as much as can be done.

The house is in his name, so you won't be able to legally extricate him easily. It's his legal residence (as it is hers).

He probably hasn't assigned a PoA.

He has no incentive to change. No one will be able to get him into a nursing home at this point (he has to have a PoA and a diagnosis of incapacity, or you go to court to acquire guardianship, which can be very expensive).

If she ever leaves him on his own, "someone" can contact APS and work with a social worker to get him a court-appointed guardian. Then they would remove him.

If he's been a life-long alcoholic he may now have "wet brain" (a form of dementia that alcoholics get). Or is there some other health issue going on?

"Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS), sometimes referred to as wet brain, is a brain disorder related to the acute and chronic phases of a vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency. Thiamine depletion is seen in individuals with poor nutrition and is a common complication of long-term, heavy drinking."

In the case he becomes belligerant and threatening, she (or a present family member) can call 911. The cops may have the authority to temporarily remove him. He may even go to the ER. If he does, make sure she doesn't go back to retrieve him. Tell them he's an "unsafe discharge" and his abuse is a problem at home. Just keep calling 911 when he gets that way. I'm sure it won't be your Mom calling.

I'm so sorry for this situation, but your Mom holds the keys.
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Geaton777

The power here lies solely with your mother. If she’s willing to change the situation she can, but keep in mind their dynamic has been in place for many years, and it’s unlikely that she will have the courage to change it. If she wants change, the next time dad rages, she calls 911 and states her fear of him, says he’s not safe to be around, and has him transported to the hospital. She never again discusses what he wants with him. Once at the hospital she quickly finds a social worker and says his needs are beyond her abilities to care for in a home setting. She adamantly refuses to take him home and insists they find a place for him to go. She doesn’t visit him until this happens, she holds firm despite any and all pressure to take him home. Do you honestly see her doing this? She would be a far braver person than you’ve ever seen, this takes a lot of resolve.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Daughterof1930

Dream, this sounds like a horrible situation. My dad was controlling and difficult to mom his whole life, when he got older it got so much harder, mom waited on him hand and foot. We actually really never figured out if he had dementia because he never had to do anything for himself anyways. Mom made sure, everything he needed was there , if not she was ready to jump.

My question is, how's your mom feel about it. I wanted my dad to go into, any place but with my mom, but my mom wouldn't of had it any other way. He passed before her, but she would still be waiting on him hand in foot, even if it ment she had to crawl to get his tea, and to be honest waiting on him was her happy place. It's what she wanted.
So I'm wondering if your mom would cooperate with getting your dad placed. Even if it is what's the best for everyone in these situations
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Anxietynacy

I forgot to tell you.. we connected in a grocery store.
she was under the impression I hated her..
Hubby was a jerk… had I had known he was beating the crap out of her.. (well now, it’s a onesided story ) she snd her daughter would’ve been gone way before his death..
they will not know what really is going on until you .. TALK..
he had and is isolating your mom from her loved ones..
I bet you a hug and a wish that I may be right..
Only way to finalize this bet is for you to make a couple of phone calls
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY


Dad/her hubby says you and mom are useless…
Then gratefully apologize, and get out.. tell him you n mom understand that he feels anger towards mom.. so you n mom are going away for a couple of days to give him his precious space…
We love you dad.. we are so sorry we got you so upset… ..
shoot, call a friend or family… KOA CAMPGROUND.. look up camping sites near you….
Get out for a weekend… turn off your cell phones…
Heck, you don’t have to admit him.. unless you want to press charges… almost sounds the same as my friend.. domestic violence.. but she got home from work n found him dead.. and now she feels guilty by going to work and not realizing he was going to die if a heart attack(?) not sure yet… we haven’t received a death certificate yet.. anytime now
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MAYDAY

I’m helping a friend. He spouse died… (listening.. sounds like a good thing.. )
She is grieving.. she was told and hit she wasn’t good.. etc etc..
Does your mom and/or you still have phone numbers of family & friends??? If so, call them… most likely as in my friend’s case, your dad/her hubby isolated her… HE ISOLATED her. She didn’t think anyone loves her… THEREFORE.she can only depend on him….
Isolation … nowhere to turn…
Ohhh… too close to home .
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to MAYDAY

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter