Seeking Advice on How to Talk to My Dad ....

Started by

Lost my mom 6.5 years ago ... father is living alone in their large home. What was once a beautiful home, beautiful landscaping, and clean, well-kept residence, is now a run-down, dirty house - inside and out. My father lacks motivation, eats poorly, and is clearly depressed. He jokes about his lifestyle and couldn't care any less -- often laughing, saying "that's what retirement is all about". It's maddening. I used to help -- cleaning the house, pulling weeds, trimming bushes ... while he sits and watches. I have severe back issues and cannot keep up both homes. I have asked him to consider sellling, because it's obviously too large for him, overwhelming for him, etc. He just says, "it's not overwhelming -- I'm not as intense as you, I just don't care." He is the type that will be livid if I try to have a heart-to-heart with him, and I just don't know what to do anymore. My mother would be horrified if she could see him and the home they built. Any thoughts?


3931 helpful answers
Hi Toughspot,
I answered the first question where there wasn't all of this information so skip that!

You've obviously tried everything, and until he's ready to change, he won't.

I think you may have better luck if you detach with love. Just act like it doesn't bother you. Don't do the work for him. Don't argue. Grit your teeth if you have to, but say something like, "Okay. I’m too intense and you are happy. Let’s call a truce. If you ever change your mind and want to go to a doctor or look at retirement living, let me know."

Obviously, you'll have to watch for worsening depression and/or suicidal tendencies. But we can't force others to change. He sounds like he is competent enough not to have social services come in for a welfare check, however if it gets to that stage, you can call them and have them check on him. That would give you third party help, but he will be angry, so be prepared for that.

Only you can decide your approach, but he may feel like his "kid" has no right to tell him how to live and just be digging in his heals. If he realizes that you've accepted his living habits, he may then feel he has made the decision to do something different and then start changes.

Let him know your are available if he ever does want to do something different. Keep loving him. But perhaps pulling back is the best approach.

Take care of yourself, too,

carol is so right about everything she said . after dad had his big stroke . the dr told my brother he cant be left alone . oh my poor brother had to go thru it . dad cussed at him called him in every hatered name at him . told him no man would ever want him for a son . it tore my brother up so badly cuz that was not like our father speakin out like that .
long story short dad is happy cuz he is living with me ( his baby girl) . he rather be with me than in a nursing home . i fully accept it but boy oh boy its like chasing my own tail around and around .
thats ok i get to see him 24/7 and talk to him anytime i want . than havin to run to nusring home and cry everytime i leave and sit at home wondering is dad ok ??? i am blessed and dad is blessed .
you could move in with your father if you dont feel right yankin him away from his only home he knows . i had to take dad home with me cuz i lived one thousand miles away from him . now he is within many feets away from me . :-)

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support