Need advice concerning my friend's Abusive Father with Dementia

This is a very complicated story but I will try to simplify it. Firstly my friend’s parents divorced long ago in her childhood. Secondly, they both verbally and physically abused her as a kid and she moved far away from them as soon as she could.

A few years ago my friend was deathly sick. Malnutrition due to stress caused organ damage. She had ascities due to liver damage and pancreatitis. Things were looking grim and her mother flew out to “take care” of her.

Well, she and her mother never got along and before too long her mother left but not before flying my friend’s penniless father (who was camping on his foreclosed business property) to come and “look after” my friend.

My friend got a liver stent and was put on pancreatic enzymes, so she did not die. But meanwhile, while recovering from that, her father needed major heart surgery. Well, my friend saw him through that, despite her weakness.

Now, years later he is well and truly moved in and walks around like he owns her house. He verbally abuses her everyday. He slams doors, threatens her animals and yells at her when he is mad (which is all the time). He invades her privacy, constantly interrupting her. He has no other social outlets and refuses to gain any.

Due to his dementia, he conveniently remembers none of the worst of his daily abusive episodes.

My friend’s reaction to stress is to: not eat. Obviously this is very bad for her recovery and her father is literally killing her.

I have suggested she kick him out but it is not so easy to condemn your own father to homelessness even if he was/is abusive.

Having him around is toxic. What happens to old, penniless, homeless people with dementia?

We are in Oregon. Is there some state resource I can refer her to? Are there old folks home for homeless people here? There must be right?

I told her to call the Department of Aging but she swears that they keep hanging up on her. Yes, I find that hard to believe too but that is what she says.

What can I suggest for her to do?

  1. Because her dad’s been living with her for a few years, she can’t just kick him out. She would have to formally evict him. I don’t know what Oregon’s laws are on this, but also, since she’s been his caregiver, she probably can’t just drop him off somewhere, even if she does formally evict him.

  2. She should talk to a lawyer who specializes in getting care for elderly dementia patients. Make it clear that she’s looking for a lawyer for her self, not her dad. She should discuss getting power of attorney and authorization to make medical decisions for him. Without this, it’s very possible that the various government services can’t discuss medical arrangements with her.

  3. She should ask the lawyer about getting your dad signed up with the various government available for elderly demtia patients. She should also look into resources for the caregiver. Here are some links for perusal:

3. If necessary, offer to sit with Friend’s Dad for a few hours so she can go to her meetings.

  1. The ultimate goal will be to get Dad out of the house and into a place specializing in dementia patients. It won’t be easy or cheap. Or fast. That’s why she needs a lawyer or other specialist who can help her navigate the laws for seniors and the government programs available to help out. Dad should be eligible for Medicare and other services that will help pay for his nursing home.

  2. Friend should cut her Mom out of her life. Block Mom’s number and never answer the door if she’s there, because she’s going to assume that she’s entitled to use your friend as a live-in nurse, as well. If she doesn’t have a relationship with her mom, she might avoid ending up on the hook.

Wow. In her shoes I’d be tempted to take him for a long car trip. Stop for gas and while he uses the men’s room drive off.

Pack up his things and drive him to where the Mom lives, and just drop him there. (The further away it is, the better!)

Turnabout seems like fair play, to me.

Can’t she just get him put into a home though? He has dementia and is being abusive/combative. I think that qualifies, very likely.

Sorry, I forgot to say that she does not have a lot of money. So she cannot afford a regular nursing home for him.

By her, do you mean his wife? Or his daughter?

Surely there is provision to provide housing for indigent dementia patients? A state/charity facility perhaps? Has she even looked into it?

Besides, if he’s still married, doesn’t the onus to pay fall to wife? Not the daughter?

I’d be making this the wife’s problem without a moments hesitation, if it were me.

I mean, if she reports him to the police for violence against her, doesn’t he then become their problem? And won’t they then find a place to put him?

She has two separate problems. As long as she thinks of them as the same problem she’ll be stymied.

  1. Get Dad out of her life.
  2. Get Dad taken care of.

As to 1: If she’s renting she can simply not renew the lease and move out. Not telling Dad until the day of. Then simply drive away. If she owns it she can sell it and do the same thing. He’s already amply demonstrated that he will sponge off her until the end of his life or until she takes drastic measures.

As to 2: The only way Dad is getting taken care of is if the State cares enough to do so. It seems they don’t. So he won’t. So she should quit trying to do this.

What she has been doing is punting on both these problems and putting up with the status quo as it slowly kills her. Which is simply a form of suicide. The OP’s friend is not a highly effective and stable person. Her history proves that.

Lots of people are walking talking tragedies. All three of these folks seem to be that. The OP is the fourth person in this little melodrama. As such he has a decision for himself: how much of your life energy do you want to spend trying to stage-manage this unfolding tragedy? IMO any answer between “none” and “all” is defensible. But regardless of your answer it’s valuable to know that this is the question this situation is asking you.

@elbows: Per the OP, the parents of the friend divorced decades ago. There is no current wife.

See - the laws regarding all this (and also leaving him in a mens’ room somewhere) vary from state to state. In some places, children are legally obligated to care for their family members. Also, in some places, as a person living in that apartment for several years, even if he’s not on the lease - he still qualifies as a tenant. Even if the lease holder moves out, the landlord might be left having to treat him as a tenant, and go to the expense of evicting him and so on. This could lead to her being charged with elder abuse or neglect.

That’s why Friend really needs to make “Get A Lawyer” her first stop. She needs to find out what her legal obligations are so she doesn’t accidentally trip an abuse clause.

Then she needs to get him a case worker and pursue government assistance. She might also need to have him declared medically incompetent and have someone (possibly herself) authorized to make decisions about where he should go.

She does need her Dad out of her life, but because she’s been acting as his caretaker for years, she can’t just put him on a Greyhound and wave goodbye. It’s going to be long and complicated to get this set up. I’m sure it will be worth it in the end though.

And seriously - no more contact with Mom.

From a purely practical perspective, leaving him at a men’s room a state or two away is what I’d be tempted to do, *especially * if his dementia means he will not remember where he was staying recently.

Oh, and IANAL.

Let’s keep your personal quirks out of this.

Just because he has dementia, doesn’t mean he can’t be traced.. I believe that the preliminary step of getting a public guardian for that man is in progress, and no charges are filed yet. It’s possible that no charges will ever be filed. But OP’s friend needs to find out what the law says in her state.
On a purely practical perspective, my retirement plan is the one suggested by our renowned Eve - a bottle of vodka and a bowl of sleeping pills.

She’s been dealing with this for NINE YEARS? :rolleyes: I’d have gotten rid of him about 8 3/4 years ago.

Get a lawyer and a social worker. They know different aspects of the legal system and of the local safety nets.

To what degree is important, though. At one point my mother was such a pain on the note of “you owe it to me!” that eventually each of her children consulted a lawyer separatedly. We found out when she said it with all three of us present and there was a three-sided chorus of “no we don’t!.. :confused: did you guys ask a lawyer too?”

Under Spanish law, the obligations of adult children towards their parents are “the same as those of parents toward their dependent children, except for education: food, housing, clothing, medical care. And exactly like with dependent children, it is not the cared-for person who decides what and how to provide it, but the caretaker, within the limits of the caretaker’s own ability and physical and mental health. This includes using the state’s own safety network, as that’s what we have it for.” This is completely different from what many parents want, which includes having the children move back with the parents (usually leaving job and chosen-family behind), or moving into the children’s home and becoming their 24/7 job.

A few gems I’ve gotten re. other abusive parents including my own Kraken-model mother:

  • Some parents never finish giving birth. Then again, the verb is “to give”… you’ve got to be generous to give anything, including birth.
  • It’s life, not a mortgage on a house. They can’t grant you one and expect returns with interest.
  • It’s called “giving”, not “lending”. They’re supposed to give you your life, not lend it: they can’t ask for a life back. Your life is yours to live, not to spend it not-living in your parents’ shadow.
  • To be able to take care of others, first you need to be in good enough health yourself.
  • The commandment says to “honor your parents”. How does it honor them when you let them rip you to shreds? You’re supposed to honor your parents, not bad parenting!
  • I see your “honor your parents” and raise you “parents, do not exasperate your children.”

She ain’t going to get rid of him. She’s put up with him for 9 years. Why would she get rid of him now?

If she feels she MUST do something (and obviously she does), take him to a nursing home and have him made a ward of the state. He’ll go on Medicaid and the nursing home will take the Medicaid.

IMHO she should leave him in the garage with the car running. What makes people feel they have to look after parents who were abusive and made their life hell? Your friend should also see a therapist for herself.

Another option is to start calling the cops and getting him arrested for domestic abuse every time he threatens her.

I agree that she needs to see a lawyer to see what she can legally do to evict his sorry ass. The fact that he’ll end up homeless and alone isn’t her fault, it’s his. But again, she needs to see a lawyer to make sure she evicts him legally.

Um, where are people getting the 9 year figure from? I have lost track of time but I think it has been like 2 or 3 years since he arrived. Sorry if I made it sound like a lot more.

Anyway, thanks for the replies!