Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Tzitz Eliezer: How To Deal With A Parent Who Has Gone Mad
The gemara says (Kedushin 31b) says that Rav Asi had an old mother who made all sorts of bizarre requests.  He did what he could until it became impossible and then he ran away since he could not properly fulfill his mitzva of Kibbud Eim.  The Rambam learns from here that when it becomes impossible to deal with a parent you should leave the parent in someone else's care rather than violate Kibbud Av V'Eim.

The Raavad and others asks on the Rambam and say that if the parent needs someone to watch over them because of their condition, it is critical that the children care for their parent since they can care for them better than anyone else.  With regard to the problem that the child cannot fulfill every request, the Bach explains that it is not a problem since the parent is not of sound mind the child is not obligated to fulfill every request anyway.  The only obligation is to give the parent basic care and keep them out of harm's way.

The Tzitz Eliezer (12:59) explains that there is no Machlokes.  The Rambam paskens that the child should run away only if the care that the parent needs is something that the child is forbidden to administer.  For example a child may not tie down a parent who has gone mad nor may the child exert any physical force.  If this kind of care is required the child must hire someone else to do it.  Otherwise no matter how difficult it is to deal with the parent and no matter what kind of the demands the parent makes, if the parent needs to be watched, the child is the most appropriate candidate for giving the best possible care to the parent and should not leave them in someone else's hands even according to the Rambam.

 Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.