My parents are in their 70s. My father was verbally and emotionally abusive (when he wanted to punish me, he would “cut me off” for weeks or months at a time and not acknowledge me). I decided I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. My mother has always been loving and supportive. Now, my parents appear to be deteriorating, and so is their home. They have a broken oil heater, the roof is covered in moss and leaks, and a lot of the exterior wood of their house is rotted. My cousins, my aunt, and anyone who knows my mom have been begging her to move out, especially since she has a slow-growing stage 4 cancer.
However, my mother won’t do anything unless my father does it. But my father doesn’t want to move out, because my mother says that if they do, she wants to live by herself. I am beside myself—for once, my father was making sense and talking about selling (to my aunt and my mother), but now my mom has shut it down, since my mother is my father’s only companion. As a result, they are in the worst of all worlds: My mom is in an unsafe, deteriorating house with my father, whom she claims not to want to live with. Wouldn’t it be better to at least be in a safe, roomy condo? I don’t know what to do. My lawyer sister says state or county intervention is impossible unless someone is “running down the street naked.”