Where do I even begin?

My father is 65 and had a stroke just over two weeks ago, he had an initial stroke during the first lockdown in 2020 leaving him with weakness down his right side. 

He lives in and owns his own home and is married, however this is where it gets complicated. 

His wife still works, her profession means she is out of the area for weeks at a time and used to come home most weekends, since my fathers stroke this has become less and less, she hadn’t been home for over two months prior to this stroke and it was me who received a call from my father saying he thought he needed an ambulance which was a logistical nightmare with me living over 6 hours away from him. 

I had been in contact with his wife leading up to this, after his last stroke and before this one, she had told me she was fed up with coming home and the house being a ‘state’ and had been telling me it was down to him being ‘lazy’, he was capable enough to call a takeaway but not buy food shopping etc whilst away nor clean or look after himself. 

In a nutshell he was taken into hospital for two weeks and she did not call him once, it was he who initiated contact and me who took responsibility for his needs and NOK duties.  The care when he was in hospital is another matter entirely and  I have raised a formal complaint.  

I travelled down to him last weekend and was horrified by what I found when I arrived.  I had not been down for over two years due to COVID and work commitments (I’m in the services) but spoke to him several times a week where he told me everything was fine, he was doing okay and she was home most weekends, not something I could push/prove purely by phone. 

My father is half the weight he was, very frail and unsteady on his feet, slow in his speech and cognition and clearly not able to cope on his own let alone run a large home.  It was heartbreaking to see when he is one of the most intelligent and independent men I have ever known.  

It got worse, I arrived at his home address around 4pm and spent until 1.30am the next morning cleaning/washing his clothing/ binning mouldy food from the fridge and trying to get it semi sorted for his return home that morning.  

It has taken from last weekend until this to thoroughly clean and get on top of everything, he has a beautiful home that he’s worked his entire life for, he was also in the services and upon retirement paid the mortgage off.  

He has spoken with his ‘wife’ twice during the last week for a total of around 10 minutes.  She hasn’t indicated when or if she is coming home and has shown little interest, I had a brief chat with her ‘whilst biting my tongue’ and she actually said ‘I’m not coming home on weekends just to be a carer’ I was livid.  

I’ve had some difficult conversations with my father this week around selling the house, moving near me, taking on power of attorney so I can deal with his medical/financial affairs as he just won’t cope with forms or lots of information.  

I’m at a loss what to do? I’m terrified about leaving him later this week, I was due to go home yesterday due to having work today but have extended my leave.  He has an initial care package in place for 4 weeks, rehab carers that come in twice a day but even this hasn’t settled me. 

His carers are not a timed service so turn up within a four hour window morning and late afternoon, they have a 30 minute limit in which to provide ‘support’ he gets up around 7am but they’ve not been arriving until around 11am, this week I have taken care of everything so there’s not been much for them to do if anything other than getting to know him and he them. 

He’s meant to wash, dress do breakfast and prepare a meal for lunch whilst they are here, I don’t know how? He will then be left on his own until the evening to basically fend for himself.  

I would like to put him in the car and just take him home, however, although my home is big enough and I have a spare room he would not manage with the layout, stairs etc, he also has dog who is coming home this weekend.  I have two dogs myself and he would not cope with three on his own whilst I’m at work.  

The other issue is I don’t want him leaving his home until his affairs are in place and house sold, I will not be giving his wife the opportunity of taking his last bit of pride away from him.  

He called his wife yesterday to catch up, she was out having a lovely day shopping without a care in the world whilst I’ve been putting in 18 hour shifts sorting his home, throwing out condiments/freezer food/dried goods dated between 2010 onwards, doing all his meals, physio exercises and getting him out for short periods.  

I asked him how he pays his bills, he still has the same standing order set up to a joint account from his own account where all the bills go out of, he hasn’t changed this payment from day dot even though he no longer has a mortgage to pay.  

I’m at a loss what to do, where do I go from here? 

I have had a lifeline fitted, been in touch with Age UK who are going to help occasionally assisting him with shopping and washing his clothes, his stroke physio is coming in weekly and has also completed a safeguarding referral.  

Any advice that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated.  

Comments

  • BellaLasagna2018
    BellaLasagna2018 Posts: 186 Forumite
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    edited 19 June 2022 at 11:51AM
    Hi, your post has had lots of views but no replies, so I couldn’t read and run.
    My partner is a care worker for a private company, so I’m not an expert but here are my thought from what he tells me of his work. I hope it helps. 

    Firstly what does your father want to do? Stay in his house or move in with? 

    The situation is more complicated as he is married so half his assets belong to his wife. He might not be able to sell the property without her signing some documents to say she agrees as she leaves there officially  (I’m selling my property and although I own it fully and I’m not married to him, my partner will have to sign a paper to say he will leave the property too). 

    If finances allow, I would suggest your father getting a proper cleaner, especially if the house is big. You can then have as many hours as you can/ want to pay for. 

    I would also suggest, again if finances allow, paying for private care as you will able to dictate how often care workers go in, what tasks they undertake (it could be keeping him company, making his meals, helping wash and dress etc) and how long they stay. All that of course provided they have the staff. 
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  • OP Has posted another thread here.

    Where do I even begin? — MoneySavingExpert Forum
    If you go down to the woods today you better not go alone.
  • Sea_Shell
    Sea_Shell Posts: 9,339 Forumite
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    I didn't want to read and run. ☹️

    Sounds like a really horrible position to be in.

    How long have they been married?
    Is the house in joint names?

    More generally can a spouse object to an adult child going "over their head" with regards POA etc. ?
    How's it going, AKA, Nutwatch? - 12 month spends to date = 2.31% of current retirement "pot" (as at end March 2024)
  • pinkshoes
    pinkshoes Posts: 20,061 Forumite
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    I'm assuming the wife isn't your mum? How long have they been married? Does she own the house with him? 

    From a blunt point of view, it sounds like the marriage is over. The "better or worse" bit did not seem to apply to her. 

    He clearly can't cope on his own, so at the very least I would be looking at employing a carer to come in every day for a couple of hours to help him. 

    In the long term, on the basis that things probably aren't going to improve, then divorce and sale of the house, then perhaps moving to something more suitable with a carer, or assisted housing?
    Should've = Should HAVE (not 'of')
    Would've = Would HAVE (not 'of')

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  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Posts: 11,199 Forumite
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    It sounds as though your dad's issues are physical, not mentla, so the first qiestion is what does he want? 
    IT would be open to him to start divorce proceedings with a view to sorting out a fincnail settlment - this would probably mean sellingthe house and he could then use his share of the sale proceeds to buy somewhere smaller near you, or rent somewhere, or if he moved in with you, to pay for private care.

    He may also want to take steps such as severing the joint tenancy on the house (if it is in joint names) updating his will, and granting Powers of Attorney to you so that he can secure his own finances, to an extent, and so that you have an official role (epspecially if his health deteriorates further) 

    If he wants to stay in the current house and isn't interested in divorce then deoes he had sufficient incom to allow him to pay privately for additional help? perhaps a carer coming in more often, a cleaner, better quality pre-made meals so he has things which are nutritious and which he enjoys, where he can manage to heat them up.


    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
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