Caring for my dad almost ruined our lives.

Started by

Didn't realize how easy life was before dad. When worries consist of simple things like what to cook for dinner, homework or as Complicated as my child's adolescent emotions, fears, worrying about alcohol, drugs, and boyfriends. Oh how easy life was then. Ive always been closest to my father. I'm his eldest. He was always there for me and respected me in a way. But Dad has always been chauvinistic and a abusive man to his girlfriends and baby mommas. When he first came to live with us 5 yrs ago he was only 57 yrs old. There wasn't much signs then. Just small stuff. Which the family- his siblings and mine just kind of wrote it off as him being dramatic. Then he stopped showering, became verbally abusive towards me and my daughter. Everything became a fight (arguments). Us against him. Husband and I. Daughter and I. Life got so dark, negative and hateful. After almost a year He decided to move back in with his girlfriend and my brother who was 12 at the time. You would think, yay. But no. my Family and I were suffering the side effects. I was hardly eating and lost 30 pounds in less then two months and was so caught up in my own misery that I almost missed the signs that my baby and husband were going through it too. Dad became homeless and was living at a park, Eating out of trash cans and being beaten on. When my sister found him. He was in bad shape, Mentally and physically. He hasnt been the same since. Having no other options, he is now back living with us. We have been through many things these last few years. Had to make lots of changes in our life for health and safety. His, ours and those around us. Life isn't so "easy" anymore. The four of us- We all gave something up to this disease. Our freedom. my dad lost his because of drug and alcohol abuse. My husband because of his love and dedication to me. My daughter also because of love. Me because of duty and love for my dad. This is not the path I want to walk but I'm on it. despite all the pain his past decisions in his life has caused to me and mine. I am determined to keep my family together, be happy and try to care for him the best that I can.


Oh, goodness. It sounds like a train wreck. You sound like very tough people. Is your daughter okay with things? She would be the main one i worried about. How old is she now?
Train wreck? I guess you could say that It's more a fender bender now and everyone has car insurance. Daughter is doing fine. Is just past 18. I just keep talking with her. It was slow going, with a few slips. She came to realize how precious she was to us, how loved and that she was the only one that could really make the decision to help herself. So she Pulled herself together. Went to summer school to make up credits. She's graduated from high school with a 3.4. GPA. Missed the "with honors". She just couldn't make up that one class. She's enrolled herself into college and looking forward to it. She has expressed her feeling of anger and frustration to me about having to help with her grandad and losing those young teenage years with friends because of it. All while her young uncle and cousin gets to enjoy theirs. I'll I could say was that I was sorry and it is unfair, but this is our life and he's apart of it. The faster we as a family accepts it, the faster life can go on. Work together, work around him, his needs as while as our own. It also helped that We pay her A bit. So she's with us and still helping with grandad. Her only real concerns so far are regular life stuff. Getting her DL and finding a part time job.
Has your father been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, or is he suffering from mental illness. If he has Alzheimer's he may need nursing home placement because it will only get worse. If he's mentally ill he needs to be treated.
Have you tried to contact your local agency on aging, if dad was a vet, the VA. any group that deals with the issues you are dealing with.
Could any family member come for a day, and give you a break from all of the anxiety you seem to have. The one thing I've learned from taking care of my mom years ago, you need to find a way to have time for yourself, a hobby, reading, praying any thing that puts your mind at peace. . Caregiving can be tough, but you are blessed to have a supportive husband and a caring daughter. Take care and God Bless.
I strongly agree with contacting organizations who might be able to help. If it turns out that you must contact the APS, definitely make a report and take with you all proof that there's a problem. What I would suggest if he still homeless is to get pictures of him sleeping in the park and eating from the trash along with all other proof of him being homeless. If you can even get a video of the action as well as the pictures of him living in the park, that will help strengthen your case. If the man happens to be competent, you may have to alert the authorities and any park ranger who happens to be over the park where he's living. You definitely want to let them know what's going on so they have a better understanding on how to properly handle the situation. Yes, his age should definitely be a serious consideration. I'm not sure exactly what caused him to be homeless, it sounds like it may have been either unfortunate situations that forced him out in the street, but it could've also been bad decisions on his part, I don't know. Whatever the cause of homelessness should be remedied before it gets too cold in winter sets in. Homeless people often end up dying in the streets with no one to claim the body. This is a sad existence. No one should live like that, especially if the person never had funeral arrangements or a will set up before they became homeless. If no one claims your body before you became homeless and you have no identification and no funeral arrangements, your final wishes may not be honored. I've seen videos on YouTube including one where the city cremated the body of an unclaimed person who had no funeral arrangements and no one to claim him. I think that if you're going to have no one to claim you, at least have some form of arrangements in place in case something happens to you and you become homeless and happen to die in the streets
So what is your question LifewithDad? No one said life was easy, it is difficult. How you deal with your challenges is the real test. Hang in there!
Having read Your Post LifewithDad it is Heartbreaking but You will discover this as Your Cross in Life. I think every one of Us is tested, and You are doing very well. Your Dad is so Blessed to have You for His Daughter. Remember to Look after Yourself too.
LifeWIthDad, according to my calculations, your dad is only 62. That means probably many more years of care. Your daughter paid a price but it sounds like she is planning a future and will move on and out. I am most concerned about your relationship with your husband. You say your husband has already paid a price because of his love and dedication to you. The price will only get higher. I strongly encourage you to look into some alternate arrangements. It is one thing to start this process with someone in their 70s or 80s. But as you say yourself, you all have already paid a price. Not to be negative but it's likely it will only get worse. You took vows with your husband - please protect your marriage number one! Good luck!
The dad is not homeless now, he is with the LW. Not sure what the question here is. He sounds mentally ill and he will not be getting any better, he needs treatment. Maybe he has brain damage from alcohol? This is a difficult situation, different from dementia. The LW is trying to do her best for her family, even though dad is destroying it, and I am glad the daughter got away! But dad may decide someday to go back to 'living free' and if not under guardianship, is perfectly free to do so. (People read about the homeless and say, 'oh, why don't those cruel relatives offer that poor suffering homeless person shelter in their own homes??' Because often, the poor suffering homeless person prefers to be out on his own, or is insufferable to live with, due to mental illness. And you can't force the mentally ill to get treatment or take medication .... or anything!) Good luck, LW, I am glad your daughter is out and moving on with her own life, she should not be involved in your situation as she is young and has her own future to worry about.
I agree with tornadojan. We really can't expect people to sacrifice so much for the benefit of a single person who has created such a mess. It is only their life if it is the life you create for them, LifewithDad. To expect them to fall into their proper roles out of their devotion for you could be asking too much of them.

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