My mom died, I'm left to take care of my dad, who refuses any help but mine!

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My mom died 2 weeks ago, now my dad refuses to grieve or accept any assistance with the housework. He is selling his house and moving into an apt building right next to mine and is depending on me to be his caretaker. He CAN cook for himself, but everything else is up to me. I have Fibromyalgia and arthritis in both knees.

I guess I already know what I need and should do, I have a wonderful therapist who understands me and my situation completely.

I just needed to get this out of my mind.

Thanks for listening!


You should discourage your dad from making ANY major decisions a mere two weeks after his wife died. Take your dad to your therapist.
Give your father a few weeks to grieve for his wife and adjust to his new situation. Then do what you feel you need to do. Since you are not well yourself so you have to look out for your best interests as well as his.
You don't offer a lot of details. Are you the only child? How far is your dad from you now? Will him being near-er ultimately benefit both of you? The sale of the house will provide resources to pay for benefits! Can you order groceries on-line (for both of you) and you can bring his over to him? Ditto for housekeeping help, one cleaner, 90 minutes at each house? A bit of honesty can go a long way! When I began the journey with my Mom, I never asked her about getting a helper. I brought someone over and said they were going to be visiting a few times each week and could help her when I couldn't be there. (Ditto for housekeeping help) When it was time for a live-in, I brought her over and said she would be living there to help my Mom. When it was time for Assisted living (AL), we moved her from rehab to the AL since 'the doctor wanted her to get more help with walking'. I watched my Mom go down the dementia path and I just made the decisions I thought were right. Your Dad may not have dementia, but you can't run 2 households with your own medical situation. It will take him some time to sell his house and move but you should set the ground rules now. Caregivers can't give care if they aren't taking care of themselves!
It's only been two weeks and emotions are still very strong. Take a step back from trying to do too much thinking it will make the hurts go away. I did that and set a very bad precedent. Have others help with the grieving process; perhaps a pastor, counselor, etc. An elder atty is a good person to talk with to advise on guidelines required to care for the surviving parent.

I went overboard, I tried to be the only person (and I am an only child) to "make it all better" and promised much, too much. It's been 18 years and I am tired of being the widowed parent's "crutch." This parent considers herself first in line before my spouse and children It's been very stressful.

If caregiving becomes part of some "agreement" you'd better get your "chore list" and compensation defined ahead of time. If you don't know how to phrase it, then ask a specialist for help. Good luck.
It's been researched the death of a spouse is 300 out of 300 on the stress scale. Moving is close to a death. However, everyone grieves in their own time and way, and if your dad needs to have new surroundings then allow him that without too much fuss. As far as you doing all the housework, etc. because of your medical condition, you have a perfect out. Just tell him you are unable to help because it hurts too much and he is capable of helping himself. Tell him you will be giving him time to adjust to his new situation (death & move), and he can make new friends at the new place. Encourage him to go for walks and find out what is in his neighborhood as you will be unavailable to help much. You set the boundaries. Best wishes.
iamblessed, first of all I am so sorry about your mom. My mom died 2 years ago, and I still want to pick up the phone and chat with her, so it's gonna be a hard road for awhile I'm afraid. Now about your dad, without knowing what the relationship was between he and your mother, it's hard to know exactly WHY he's so crazed about moving this quickly. If he thinks that by getting into different surroundings he'll avoid the sadness and pain from losing his mate, then he's wrong about that. It may work for the short term, being busy thinking about what he has to do for the move, but when the dust settles it's gonna hit him, HARD. And when it does, he won't be surrounded by his wife's things anymore when he WANTS to remember her and their life together. That's why the experts tell a person not to make a drastic change for at least a year, because it will be worse in the end, and people do foolish things during that first year. It's like the man or woman that runs out and impetuously get married, a month or two after their spouse dies, because they don't want to be alone. They wake up a year later and realize they've hurt their kids by doing this, and they're living with a virtual stranger. Plus they're STILL grieving the loss of that original spouse, so what was the point? My dad is 86 and never cooked during the 63 years he and mom were married, but before mom died she started teaching him. Now you should see the stuff he comes up with, oh my gosh us kids call him the 'stew master' because apparently he's gotten THAT down to a science. ha Ask your dad WHY is he so eager to move. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery temporarily, and that can be arranged without actually moving everything. Talk to him. And tell him that if he still is determined to move, that he'll have to hire someone to come in and help out, because you can't physically do it. The thought of spending that extra money just might dissuade him. Sorry again about your mom. ♥
Did Mom dote on Dad? It's understandable that he would not want to give that up. It's important to set the "ground rules" early and that he understand that you love him dearly but that you are his daughter, not his wife. Tell him you want to make sure your own life is balanced so that you don't burn out and start to resent him. I don't see how he could argue with that.
I also send my condolences to you and your dad.
Poor Dad:( He doesn't know what to do but be with you, his beloved daughter.
Two weeks is not enough time for reality to set in. I hope you both can grieve, take some time, get some breathing room. My condolences to you and your Dad:)

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