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Dad is dangerous, Mom won't agree assisted living.

My 86 yr old father has dementia and is physically, emotionally & verbally abusive to mother 84 yr old. My mom refuses to admit he needs to be placed in safe environment. She has to lock herself in separate bedroom at night. Sister living with them now 24/7 but we want to put him into safer situation. Mom refuses. Our father has slapped her and tries to corner her with intent to hurt her. Grabbed her arm and bruised arm. We (sisters and brother) want to have him placed adapt in assisted living. What are legal options if mom won't agree?
Dad has lucid moments where he remembers he was mean and gets down on self. Tried to kill himself but sister defused. He getting much worse. Mom did agree that 911 will be called next time he tries to harm her.
My brother calling attorney tomorrow but appreciate help suggestions from everyone anyone.
Status: Open    Jan 26, 2016 - 07:25 AM

Elder Law, Dementia

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5 answers

Expert Answers

Jan 26, 2016 - 09:48 AM

Each state is slightly different in this regard, but here in Alabama we have what is known as an "Involuntary Committment" hearing. You or your mom would file a petition seeking an involuntary committment and a ruling as to your dad's mental status. He would then be escorted to a psych unit for observation and prognosis. A few days later a hearing would be held and the judge would most likely rule that he is a danger to himself and others and needed to be treated for the condition. Not exactly what most people look forward to but necessary in many cases. It gets him the help he needs, and that is what is important, not what the neighbors might think.

Good luck!

Jan 27, 2016 - 10:19 AM

Calling 911 would be the best option. It would be worth looking into formal commitment proceedings. Contact your local probate court office to ask about those types of proceedings.

APFM Staff Answers

Dec 12, 2016 - 10:20 PM

First, you need to be commended for asking for help and for wanting to do the right thing. Your mom clearly still loves your dad but the disease has made him a danger to him in his current state. With proper treatment (a long in-patient stay in a geriatric psych unit to tweak his meds) he could potentially be safe at home. Just like your mom wouldn't dream of refusing him chemotherapy for cancer she has to understand that his disease is causing a very common symptom- aggression which can be treated if she is willing to get help.

You have a few different avenues here:
* Call 911 after the next outburst and refuse to take him home from the hospital without treatment. (What I would choose for my dad.)
* Work with his neurologist to have him hospitalized.
* Reach out to adult protective to be the ones who put an end to this dangerous situation.
* Go to court to have them deemed incompetent.

My best advice is to stress to your mom that he needs treatment for this one symptom. That does not change the fact that he loves her and that inside of his heart he is the same person. This is a VERY common symptom of the disease and can be managed better than it is. If she continues to make a decision to do nothing she is giving up the ability to plan on ways to keep them together because at some point, Adult Protective will step in and make decisions for her.

At this point, he is not a candidate for assisted living. They will require an inpatient stay first so that he is no longer a danger to himself or others. The quicker the symptoms are managed the quicker you can all decide next steps based on his "new baseline".

There is a 24/7 hotline from the Alzheimer's Association and great videos by Teepa Snow on YouTube that may help your family as you work through this.

Good luck!!!!!


Jan 27, 2016 - 06:20 PM

Re first response worrying about the "neighbors" isn'tthe issue here ..... My mom having hard time coping with this and in denial. It is tearing her apart. Dad still has many moments where he is fine and can function pretty well. But the "bad" moments getting worse more violent with vulgar language and horrible accusations. And attempting physical abuse.
How to convince mom that for her safety they need to be separated? Trying to be careful with moms emotions and not upset her too much This very difficult for the family. Dads PCP said a while ago he should be moved but family trying to prolonged it. We worried for moms safety.
Would it be beneficial to get statement from family doctor or still recommend he get psych evaluation?
Thank you for your time

Source: baileyhermit

Feb 06, 2016 - 08:41 AM

If mom still won't budge on keeping him home with her, you also have the option to contact Adult Protective Services. Mom's feelings are important but she could get herself killed and strictly speaking, she is failing to get critically necessary evaluation and treatment for Dad. Suicide attempts are not supposed to be ignored. I think a call to his regular doctor is fine to let themknow what is going on, and if there is a POA they could supply an incapacity letter (some states or documents require two for a POA to be fully activated) - but yes, you are going to need a good geriatrician and a geriatic psychiatrist for this. This is a huge burden for your sister and as the one there in the midst of it, her perceptions and desires should be given priority consideration as well. One person alone can't really provide 24/7 supervision, and that's what this calls for, unfortunately. Access to potential weapons must also be removed. Wish this was easier. You are doing the right thing to realize the level of danger and that things cannot be permitted to go on as they are, even if your mom wishes it could, thinking things will get better...they just won't.
Comments (2) | New Comment

By nak0817 on Dec 03, 2016 - 02:21 PM | Like (1)  |  Report

If there is a geriatric psychiatry program in your community you may want to give them a call. When your Dad strikes out and hurts others he is a danger. This qualifies for admission to the program. He will receive care from a treatment team lead by a psychiatrist. He will have a comprehensive assessment and a plan of care will be developed that includes medication management. Discharge planning will involve the family. I hope this is an option for you.

By lesleykrauland on Dec 03, 2016 - 10:01 PM | Like (1)  |  Report

I'm very sorry for your very difficult situation. Your mom is full of fear, naturally, and it is fear which gets in the way of getting the professional help your dad truly needs. As the daughter you are being very responsible to seek guidance on what to do to help your parents and keep them safe and healthy. Safety and health are paramount -- without these your parents will suffer (and have been suffering as you well know). It is not easy to call Adult Protective Services or commit your father involuntarily to a hospital for care -- prepare yourself for this fact -- but it is a very reasonable and good choice and will promote your parents' safety and health. It's no one's fault that your dad's health is deteriorating. Getting him professional help will keep him safe and your mom and sister and yourself too. I'm sorry; it is a hard journey. But you are doing well and moving in the right direction! Best wishes for a good and safe outcome.

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