Feb 20, 2016 - 09:48 AM
Very good question. My FIL (father in law) is a 74yo unacknowledged alcoholic who actually has the Wet Brain diagnosis. To make it easier to understand, he essentially drank his way into Dementia. Experts could definitely expound here on my description, but I think that gives a quick snapshot of the issue.
He made my husband and sister in law live in Hell growing up. My MIL did leave him. He moved across the country and was extremely spotty about contact. When he did call, he was in a drunken rage and that upset my husband for days.
Lo and behold, in 2011 he wants to move back to CA. His kids, with trepidation, support him in this. He wanted to live with one of the kids, he didn't care which. That idea was completely vetoed and they moved him to first Independent, then Assisted Living. We took him to medical appts, paid the bills from his funds, etc. In spite of the past, my husband and SIL made many good faith efforts. They exhausted themselves, trying to make life good for their Dad.
From August of 2011 to early 2014, there were nothing but terrible problems. While in Independent Living he bought suitcases of beer every other day and lots of bottles of hard liquor. Only quit drinking entirely in 2014. He assaulted multiple residents, and physically fought with staff. There were worse incidents than I'm representing here. He was kicked out of several facilities, causing stress to all of us. Each time HE represented himself as the victim. It got so old.
So the questions did arise -- how much did his kids owe him? By 2014 he graduated to Memory Care level needs. My husband and SIL decided on no more contact -- bills were paid, supplies were delivered, but no more visits. His behaviors and acting out in Memory Care always seemed to boil down to: "Where are my worthless kids?" Even when told that by staff, my husband and SIL stayed strong and did not resume contact.
Now he is on Hospice, and I would say he is in mid to late Level 7 on the Alzheimer's progression scale. There are no friends who visit. There is still no contact whatsoever. My husband says he honestly can't wait for this to be over, and I can't blame him. We both acknowledge that his father dying is only one step toward recovery from what was a sad childhood. In hindsight, I'm extremely grateful for my own quiet upbringing.
I'm not sure if my answer here helps the person who posted the question. I work in Healthcare myself and I've found that many family members have very similar memories and experiences to my husband and his sister. They are asking the same questions -- what do I ultimately owe this person in light of bad growing up experiences?