Help keep your loved ones safe with the Home Safety Checklist.
RSS Feed Print
Dad not taking care of Mom and she is wondering
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 1:40 PM
Joined: 7/15/2014
Posts: 2

.... opps ... wandering not wondering ... sigh ... it has been one of those days, weeks, months ...


This is my first post.  I have been reading and getting great ideas from everyone on here.  My heart goes out to everyone.

Looking for advise ...

(A preface to my story is that I am blessed with family that lives near my mother.  Aunt and cousin that live next door.)

My mom is at a point that she needs constant supervision.  She is in the end stages of this disease .... she talks but it doesn't make sense, she can't bath herself .... The problem is that she is TOTALLY mobile.  As the disease has progressed, I got her and my dad help by signing her up for adult day care.  This worked until two months ago when one morning my mother threw a fit and refused to go.  My mom threw a vase at my dad.  That day I heard about what went on since my aunt was there.  (I asked her to possibly get my mom up and out the door since we knew she was arguing with my father.)  Later that night, my cousin calls me because he found my mother outside at 10:30 at night.  This was in the dead of winter and it was cold out.  They took her inside, warmed her up and called me.

When I arrived at their house, my cousin brought my mom over and went to look for my dad.  He was in the cellar laying on the bed with his hearing aids out.  (He does this when he can't take it anymore.  He just lays in a bed, or on the floor in the dark to get away from her.  One time I found him in the garage in the back of his car ... last February.)  I let him sleep and slept on the couch that evening.

In the morning, I woke him up and told him we needed to talk.  He said he couldn't take it any more.  I said it was time to place her in a nursing home and he refused.  He said he would put her in a home when she is bedridden and he has to change her diaper.  I then said he needs to get in home care.  He agreed to this and I had it set up in a week. In the mean time, I was going down my parents house everyday after work to make sure she wasn't drinking coffee after 5:00 and that she wasn't napping in the evening.  We got locks on the doors that she was unable to open so that she would be locked in at night.

After two weeks my dad fired the caretakers.  He said that he felt like prison with them there and that they cost too much money.  I had a screaming fit with my dad.  Pointing out that he can't take care of her.  At this point, I would only stop down 2 times a week to check on my mother.

On this past Sunday, I got a phone call from my parent's neighbors telling me that they had my mom at their house.  They said she had been outside all day, getting into my aunts unlocked car, gardening in her pajamas .... I went down and stopped at my parent's home.  My father informed me that my mother was at the neighbors house (he saw them take her in!!!).  I told him that I know since they called me.  He then got up to go across the street with me to get her.  He took her home and I talked to the neighbors.  I then spoke to my aunt and cousin who informed me that they had also taken my mother home numerous times that day.

I spoke to my dad, yet again about the fact that he is not taking care of her and that she is going to get hurt.  He is still refusing to get care in the house or explore going to a nursing home.  My aunt also talked to him about how bad my mother is getting.

My husband called a lawyer to see if I could take my dad to court in order to take over her care.  The lawyer said that there is nothing we could do.

Now today ... my cousin just sent me another text to let me know she took my mother home with morning before work.  She found her at the stop sign at the end of their road.

My husband has really said, there is nothing we can do.  We have instructed everyone to call the police if they see her going far. (We are thinking this might shake him up.)  I am at my wits end.  I really don't want my mom to get hurt, however, I have no idea how to make this better.

Any thoughts ..... (And if not, just thanks for letting me vent.) Sigh ......


D in law
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 2:10 PM
Joined: 4/24/2017
Posts: 517

Hi, sorry you had to join.   There is a way by gaining guardianship of your mother,  but it takes time and thousands of dollars.  Sounds like  you don't have time.  I would definitely reach out to 911 in the event she takes off again.  This is very dangerous.  They or even you could send her to the hospital for an evaluation.  You need to be there, make sure there is a social worker assigned and it's possible that she could be placed into a facility from the hospital.  You need to let them know what's going on at home. Your father will adjust, believe me.   They need to know she is not safe and hopefully they won't release her to your fathers care.

 Also, try your local Dept. of the Aging.  They could schedule a social worker to come out and do an assessment.  So sorry you are in this situation.  

Also, just wanted to say this could very well kill your Dad.  Then what will you do?  He's already said he can't take it. This happened to my Dad and I took off work (Used FMLA) to care for Mom until we were able to place her into better care.

Best wishes, let us know how it goes.

Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019 2:20 PM
Joined: 9/18/2018
Posts: 9

#1 be sure she has the Alzheimers Medical ID tag so if someone finds her, they can call.  

#2 make sure to install locks on the inside that your dad can reach but not your mom.

That is really all you can do for the wandering at this point.  The worst thing about this disease is that there is no help for middle age families during these stages before they need actual medical help and hospice.  We just have to work together as families. My father takes care of my mom still but I bring her to my house 1-2 times a week to give him a break.  I go over there and shower her once a week too.  Good luck.  This is such a tough battle for us all.

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 10:40 AM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 569

It sounds like the situation with your mother is an emergency.  What your describe is that she has significant dementia and is wandering without supervision.  The fact that your father is refusing to supervise her is quite bizarre and I would wonder what is wrong with him. He may also be suffering with cognitive decline and is impervious to the risks at hand.  

  There ARE options to protect people in her situation.  I would get a second legal option.   I'd actually consult with an Elder Law Attorney in her jurisdiction to inquire about Guardianship and an Emergency Order. I'd inquire about getting protection for a parent when the other parent is unable or unwilling to protect the other.   An experienced Elder Law attorney who litigates Competency cases should be familiar with this.

  You can also inquire about other options, like contacting Adult Protective Services and/or her doctor.  I'd get a note book to log all the facts, dates, witnesses, contact info, etc.  so you can provide it to investigators.

 I would be concerned that this would be a liability for the husband and other family members who know it's going on.  I hope you can find some help for her. 

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 12:02 PM
Joined: 10/25/2018
Posts: 239

If you can afford to pursue guardianship, you probably should. You should definitely call in adult protective services to do an assessment. When the man across the street from our house couldn't take his wife's Alzheimer's anymore, he smothered her and hung himself.
NC caregiver
Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 12:48 PM
Joined: 2/7/2018
Posts: 856

You are in a very difficult position & my heart goes out to you.  I do wonder if your Dad might be in early stages of cognitive issues as he doesn't seem to be able to make good decisions.   Extra locks or alarms on the doors would be good as someone has suggested .  Is it possible to fence in the yard with a locking gate so at least she can't go outside the yard?   Since your Dad won't consider NH, would he consider a MC Assisted Living where both of them could move?  Is your Mom on any meds?   Im wondering if a GeriPsych could give her anything to calm any agitation .
Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2019 5:18 PM
Joined: 7/15/2014
Posts: 2

THANK YOU ... to everyone who responded and read my story. 

My dad has agreed to place my mom a care facility.  I am SO relieved.  He finally admitted that he cannot take care of her.  He said he feels really guilty about placing her in a facility.  I reassured him that both him and my mother will be happier in this situation.

Now for the leg work on finding a place.

And again, thank you for responding and "listening".  I just needed somewhere to tell my story and seek advice. This is such a terrible disease ....

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 10:13 AM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 569

Thank goodness! That's wonderful news. So glad he's agreed to have her placed for her safety and protection.  I know this must be such a relief for you and the family.
Wind Rider
Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2019 3:42 PM
Joined: 3/16/2019
Posts: 6

Ugh! This is so hard. I don't have any answers as we are just starting the caretaking journey for my MIL after her husband's death and feel completely over our heads. .  But one thing we've done since we can't be there as much as we'd like is to install security cameras at the entrances of the home.  The cameras are set to notify us when somebody is on the porch.  We can keep track of her coming and going to the mailbox.  And we can see when she goes back in the house.  We can even talk to her thru the speaker (but haven't done so to keep from scaring her).  It also has helped us see if she's changing clothes regularly (she's not, but at least we know we need to go over there).
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 8:59 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1453

That is wonderful that you dad is being open about his needs as well. 

Good luck in your search for a MCF with which you are comfortable.
Posted: Monday, March 18, 2019 10:50 AM
Joined: 8/24/2016
Posts: 140

so glad your dad is cooperating now. Just a suggestion for anyone reading this with the situation you were in, sometimes it helps if a doctor tells the spouse, patient, and/or family member that the person with dementia can't live under the current level of care. this has worked for a few of my acquaintances.
× Close Menu