Dad refuses help to care

Hello, thank you for having me; I’m really appreciative of such a forum and hope that someone might be able to offer some advice.

My father (aged 71) has cared my my mum (70 yrs) for over 10 years. My mum is pretty much housebound and won’t/cant do anything for herself; my dad literally does everything. He refuses any help or assistance even from myself or my sister, saying her likes to do things his own way. But it’s taking it’s toll. He’s also becoming unwell and increasingly unable to cope. The house is becoming dirty, they’re up all hours, they eat at midnight. My mother’s capacity is diminishing, she’s incontinent and he is managing and controlling everything - medication, money, food. They don’t go anywhere, don’t have visitors, and they have a very unhealthy routine.

My father had to go into hospital for several days last week with obstructed bowel, and only then could my sister and I go in and do some cleaning and provide some healthy meals for our mother. She can be difficult too, and we had to argue with her to get her to go to bed at night instead of sitting on the loo sleeping all night, which is what she normally does. But now he’s out, and cross at our efforts. Long story short though, is that he is refusing any help and both their physical and mental health is deteriorating significantly - it is becoming a safeguarding concern and I’m worried my mother is developing dementia. We’ve broached the subject of care, but he said (shouted and yelled) he can’t think about it, and told us to do what we want, he doesn’t care any more. I’ve tried to contact their GP but they’re useless so far and simply keep throwing medication at the matter.

I spoke to a social worker who arranged an appointment to do a needs assessment with them both over the phone (bearing in mind my mother can barely have a face to face conversation with anyone, let alone a phone conversation) which I thought would at least give him the chance to ask questions and find out what his options might be. But he’s refused. My mother on the other hand, has stated that she wants help and wants our father to have help - but she might not even remember the conversation the next day.

It’s a dire situation that I feel is going to end tragically. But if he does not give his consent, and refuses to take calls or let anyone into the house (even though my mother consents), where do we stand? I don’t think my mother would openly consent if she thought it would make my father angry. It’s a very worrying situation. Anyone else had a similar challenge?

Very sad, and worrying too.
How far away from them do you live?
What were they like when you were growing up?

Hi Marie and welcome to the forum.
This is a difficult situation. I assume your dad let’s you and your sister visit them on a regular basis. Think about practical things you and your sister can do to help them - that won’t upset your dad.
For example could you regularly take them a prepared meal to give your dad a break from cooking? How about if you kindly offer to take some of their washing home to wash and dry it for them? Offer to do the food shopping for them and/or take your mum to an appointment.
I am aware that helping them won’t solve all their problems but it should help in the short term.
Let your dad know that you just want to help and that you want to support him. I think the important thing here is for your dad to feel he’s in control of everything while you and your sister will help without taking over.

I don’t agree with taking washing home! My father in law’s washing machine broke, he was too mean to buy another one, although could easily afford it. Instead, my sister in law took it home to wash, that was a round trip of at least 60 miles.

In this instance, maybe it’s time to talk tough to dad. If he wants to end up in a care home he’s doing the right thing, otherwise he needs to pull his socks up and accept care. After all, if they both claimed Attendance Allowance they could easily afford to use some of it for a cleaner.

I know this sounds cruel and heartless, but self centred parents really ruined a part of my life.
It took a YEAR for me and my two sons to empty my parents house after dad died and mum moved into residential care. Over 60 dining tables, 10 dining tables, about 10 sideboards, for starters. Once the house was full, the garage was filled up, and when that became full they screwed giant cup hooks into the rafters and hung Ercol studio couches from them!!

I had been brought up to respect my parents, be obedient, never raise my voice to them etc.
It took counselling to make me realise, too late, that I was still being like this.

Looking back I so wish I had a blazing row with them about their ridiculous obsession with Ercol.
As a teenager I was good at school, tall, slim and athletic. Yet most of my clothes came from jumble sales so they could buy Ercol!

There is a saying that you get the behaviour that you are prepared to put up with.
So don’t put up with it.
If they want your help, they MUST meet you half way. You are their daughter, not slave. If they want the house cleaning, they can have domestic help.

I’m not sure about taking washing home either. I agree with Bowlingbun, but have an added take on it.My memories of having my husband’s washing given to me from the hospital and assessment centre are awful. He couldn’t help what happened but very often it wasn’t sluiced. so was horrendous at times. I loved my husband very much and did all in my power to care manage his needs. Hated that he needed to go into a nursing home, but such a relief not to be sluicing and sorting soiled underwear. He would have been mortified if he had the capacity to understand.