I just can't do it anymore.

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I have been taking care of my 82-year old father for almost 5 years now with very little help from my family. I am a single mom with twin teens, one is special needs. I work full-time. I have been taking care of my dad's medical needs and his finances for over 5 years and he has been living with me for the last 4. I am not going to lie, he pays 1/2 the rent and helps with bills and this has allowed us all to live in a bigger house where the kids can have their own rooms. His health has been declining though and he has been in rehab for the last 4 weeks after a brief hospital stay. It was always assumed he would come back home when he got stronger (he hurt his leg and is working on walking again), but a few things have happened and I think I am finally at my breaking point. I just cannot do it anymore. I have been saying this for awhile, but out of obligation (he is my father for goodness sake) I have been sticking it out. But I am tired. My job is suffering from all the time I have had to take off for him (and the kids.) My daughter with special needs, just broke her leg and is in a full leg cast. She needs my help in doing everything. The day after I took her to get her cast, I got a call that dad was back in the hospital. I almost cracked. He was unresponsive and doesn't remember getting from the facility to the emergency room. He has had several strokes in the past, but they are not sure if this was one, or a seizure, or something else. I think his medical needs are so much more than I can handle. How am I supposed to leave him alone while I go to work? I am so tired. I don't need a big house anymore. I only got it bc I needed the room to take care of him. I have begged my family for help and I get nothing. I have two brothers, one sister, and my dad is still technically married to my mom although they have not lived together for years...which only adds to the problem. I think this is the time to walk away. My daughter needs my 100% attention, my lease is up on this house, and dad is back in the facility. I called a family meeting for tomorrow and no one responded. I am ready to tell them I am done. I just can't do it anymore. I just don't know where he will go from here. I don't think he should stay in the facility he is currently in. I think I am mostly afraid of telling him. I just can't do it anymore. My health is suffering.


K, yes it is time to find another living situation for dad. You are clearly over your limit. Five years is a long time, and there is nothing at all wrong with that. If you do not hear from your darling sibs tell the facility dad needs more care than you are able to provide. The social worker should help find appropriate placement for him. Hopefully you have POA for him. This will make things easier. Would two doc's find him incompetent?
kdaly, four years ago, my mom and MIL were in the same hospital, my husband was at home ill and my FIL was struggling with how to best help my MIL who was quite ill. And I had a full time job. It was rough. My wise son told me I had to prioritize and make unpopular decisions. My husband had to be first. My MIL had the amazing strength to contact hospice. And I told the hospital staff that I could not provide the level of care my mom now needed, and the doctor arranged for her to be transferred to skilled nursing. It's been a challenge, but it was the right choice to make my husband the primary focus and using outside help for the parents. Sometimes the only choices all stink, but you have to go with the best of them. IMHO, that's your kids.
Yes, I have POA. I wasn't sure how to proceed...thank you both for that advice. My dad has aphasia due to his strokes and has been diagnosed with dementia, but there are times when he is very clear, so I am not sure if they would say he was incompetent. I am not sure what the criteria would be for that.

About a year and a half ago, I started looking at facilities for him. Against my better judgement, I told dad I was. He said nothing to me, but started making all kinds of phone calls to see who could take him. It put a strain on our relationship for awhile and again, I kept him out of guilt. It will be really hard, but I think you are absolutely right...my children need to come first.
Your dad needs more and different care than you can give him at home. Talk to the discharge/social work department about what level of care he needs. Children ALWAYS come first!
K, since he has been diagnosed with dementia it may be wise to find a place for him now. Sometimes, the longer you wait, the harder it is on them. Talk to his docs they will have an assessment done to determine what level of care is appropriate for him. That will help you in your search.
Kdaly, heart-related condition, stroke, aphasia, dementia, over 80. Incapacitated. Not able to manage his finances or health conditions without another person taking care of him or making key decisions for him financially or to preserve health and life. Talk to doctor. Doctor will likely recommend several options if you ask for his help. Hard for doctor to really recommend if you do not have POA or guardianship or in place to be the person to make things better. This medical. This can be legal, but it depends.

His medical needs ARE more than a family member can handle, because these are acute conditions which require special care. There is hope. You can make things better by re-assessing what you believe will be best choices over the next 365 days. Establish goals and make it happen. You know what the issues are. Now, employ or increase your team to make both your parent's life better and yours as well. You are closer than you think, but need to make decisions and then enjoy big sigh of progress. Good luck!

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