Caring for my dad almost ruined our lives.

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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.

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You guys are scaring me to death.... So far my mom lives in her own apt, with lots of help, and the confusion/forgetfulness is only because of her pain meds (I hope). The possibility of dementia is frightening, because I entertain elderly ladies once or twice a week for a couple hours, and they, too, are forgetful/confused - pretty soon I will be, also! (P.S. She will not come to our house, because we already did that, for 3 years, and NO ONE was happy....) You ARE teaching us, though, and it is really appreciated; hang in there....
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Soloinny-Right! Lol. This is perfect. Small fridge ✅. We have this coat closet that we had to turn into a pantry with a lock. All sharps and anything he can open are in there. For his tv- he plays with the buttons, the volume at 3 in the morning. Boy! luckily it's one of the old ones with the option to lock front panel making it operational only with remote. But resets when power cord is unplugged then replugged. He recently discovered this. Wall mount didn't think about that. We were looking into a tv case- water tamper and dad proof. I'm buying zip ties today! Have a question about the outlets. If they are dismantled how does he receive electricity to his room. For light and tv? Very helpful thanks
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Of course it did! I don't recommend that one person take on caregiving! The mental and physicial strain takes a toll on everyone involved...in this case, except the abusive elder! Seek out help with town's social worker.
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Staceyb- it does give me ideas for the "future" mobility issues. Right now he's very mobile. His back hurts him some because of a past injury. But other then that. He moves around and is into everything. Right now his thing is pulling out wires. Got a cable wire sticking out your wall or you cable box, dads on it. No more cable. So we've got the smaller electronics with wires locked up and we bring them out as needed. Praying that the flat screen stays safe.
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LWD, so you intend to hang in there, I get it, I really do, as it was/is a cultural thing for us too, my folks were from Wales and all the way dow the line, kids looked after their elders, so its kind of ingrained into us. I came from a big family who all helped, so we had it a lot easier than most, plus our parents were lovely and appreciative, which makes all the difference in the World!

Now mt husband's family is completely fractured, coming from a very dysfunctional family, and we were the only ones who stepped up when my MIL passed away, to look after the Old Man who had never lived on his own in his whole life, and as afraid to even try. Plus, after he moved in with us, it became clear to me that he was the reason why their family was so dysfunctional in the first place, as he is a selfish Narcissist, who is only interested in his own wellbeing before anything else! I does make it difficult to live with, but after coming on here several years ago, I learned SO much, and really appreciate the feedback and the knowledge from the Best, and those who have worked in the trenches!

So now thatvwe know that you are IN IT TO WIN IT!, Lol, and you mentioned that your Dad has mobility issues, my suggestion to you is to get PT and OT in to make him as strong as possible, and o make your home as Safe as possible. Remember, you are getting older too, and trying to care for a fully grown adult who is falling and can't get up, is a B*#@H on your back! He might finght you on it, but keep at it, as he can prolong his mobility if he keeps his leg muscle strength up! Stretchy bands, those stationary exercise pedals, where he can sit and "cycle", and a Rolator Walker helps A Lot, giving him stability, plus a place to sit, should he get tired. Anything that will keep him walking on his own, is going to give you relief in the long run.

My FIL got very lazy, after he quit driving, and was just itting around ll day watching TV, but PT got him understanding that it is a USE IT OR LOSE IT proposition, and if he ends up ed bound, then neither my husband nor I could physically continue to are for him at home due to our own physical disabilities, and he would end up in a nursing home, no if ands or buts. Now he walks the circle of our home, several laps, 3-4 times a day, and it really has kept him much more stable. That's it for now, I hope this gives you some helpful ideas! Up to this point, we aren't dealing with Dementia, snd I know his puts a lot of added pressure on you, and I'm really sorry about that!
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I don't know much about the Amish, but for us Maybe its a cultural thing. It's just what we do, how we live. When our parent(s) gets old or sick we, the children, get them. I'm the eldest. Luck of the draw. I got him. So in turn so did my hub and kid. I've really never questioned it. It just is. My fathers aunt is in the end stage of dementia and still living at home. Her children and grandchildren all take turns caring for her. My grandmother Moves from one child to the next. Depending on which state she wants to live in. My MIL took turns living with each of her children as while. 10 years later when her cancer returned, my hubbys younger sister had her until her death. All the children helped. And I agree it is great conversation. But most of it involves suggestions about putting my dad in a nursing home or somewhere, anywhere not with us. I have read everyone comments. Tried to clarify Some repeats on questions. Believe me when I say- sister and I research. Have a file cabinet drawer just for him. Notes, names, numbers. When he first started acting weird. We started making calls and asking questions. Nursing home. Bing. On our radar. Group homes, adult day care, assisted living. Anything we found we looked into. Medicaid, Medicare, dept of aging. One way or other he doesn't qualify for financial help and we just can't afford to put him anywhere. But we are still continuing the search for options. Until then life goes on. As for my family. This all started about 5yrs ago, our mental blow up. And have since pulled ourselves together. We've learned to communicate with each other more positively. Our relationship with each other is, for lack of a better word, Normal. My husband and I are also doing fine. dads been living with us about 2 1/2 years now. It's been one challenge after another learning how to care for him as he changes. So yes we already know how hard it's going to be. It already is and will continue to be. He's still able to use the toilet. Next step is full on incontinence and cleaning him after. Maybe mobility issues. Which might be a good break from having to chase him around. We're making plans to try and get ahead of this. Single story home. Wider doorways. Putting in sink faucets and light switches with motion detector. Walk-in shower. If anyone has suggestions on how to live "with" him. What to expect. What you did that helped. That would be great. Because now, currently, living with him is the option and we would like pointers on that.
staceyb- I'll be looking into Aid and attendance. And see about speaking to someone at the senior center. Thanks for the luck.
To everyone- thank you for the time and feeling you put into your posts. I do look forward to reading these.
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LWD, so, will you plan to search out some of these suggestions? What about adult daycare, which might be a really great option for your Dad, as then he can be around other people in his own age bracket and have similar struggles. Just you yourself going to yor local Senior Center and speaking with one of the directors might give you some ideas and suggestions of what might be a good fit for your Dad, plus, they are a great resource for many of your questions. Was your Dad ever in the military? There are many opportunities for help with Veterans Services, and that would be a good place to look too! He may be eligible for Aid and Attendance, receiving up of a couple of thousand dollars each month, many are, but ont know about this underused option, and there is a lot of information about that, right here on this site! It all starts out with a phone call! Eventually, you are going to need help, so the sooner you begin researching these avenues, the better.

I don't want to be pushy, but I see myself in you, waiting til you are beyond burnt out, and crying in frustration that you are all alone in this, when there is help available for him and you! I know you Love your Dad, and he's so Lucky to have you in his corner, I just don't want you to get to that point like We did. I suggest you get a notebook, write down names and numbers, and do some homework, so that when the time comes, you will be armed with some resources to help you. Good luck!
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Hello again, LifeWithDad - Great conversation! Thank you for offering up yourself and your situation to generate all of this great discussion. I hear where you are coming from. I am big on family and that family support each other, especially the elderly who, let's face it, no one wants to deal with. I love the Amish model of family. But it is a model that is slowly becoming problematic simply because people are living so long. You are doing a noble thing. As the sole daughter/caregiver I felt like I could do it all too. But I didn't realize how involved - and how long! - everything would go on. I have a full-time job with a one-hour one-way commute. I have a long-distance relationship that has been put on hold for literally years because of his mom and mine. I have a "difficult personality" mom who just turned 90. It is not a scenario that just brings you down in a crash one day. It is a gradual wearing down that impacts you and everyone who cares about you. Paid helpers are there except for the roughly 25 hours that I am there. Sounds great? It is a huge help, but that doesn't mean there still aren't phone calls, shopping to do, paperwork to manage. I am on a very tight leash, so to speak, with mega commitments. My biggest concern for you is what everyone in your family has already sacrificed and the fact that there may be many more years of it to come. Advice from someone - me! - trying to do this: You need to care, love, and stay involved with your dad, but you HAVE to find some sort of balance so that you and your family can live a semi-normal life. If it all blows up, at the end of the day you can have the grim satisfaction that you fulfilled your self-imposed obligation to your dad - but at what cost? Finding the balance is hard, but that's what this discussion is all about. I will be listening for answers as well! :) Take care.
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Title is mine. He was not the best person to other people. Used fear to control them. Especially to his women and their children. Verbally and physically abusive to them. But to his blood children he was always there for. We got slapped a couple times as teens for smoking pot and lying but nothing bad. He made sure we were good. Absent at the worst. Parties, drugs. Just a bad lifestyle he was into. He was always there for me and as an adult to both my husband and I. Weather it was financially or to just talk. I guess knowing what I meant and writing it gave off a different meaning to those not familiar with us. What I meant by caring(taking care of) almost ruined ours lives. Was my first introduction into this world that is dementia. knowing he's different towards us but not understanding why. How that affected us as individuals and as a whole. All the fighting, hurtful words and blame. How we almost lost ourselves. Then realizing what was actually going on with him and each other. To now, how we are slowly putting ourselves together at the same time dealing with dad. It's supposed to be a message of hope and love. Yeah it does get bad. But It can it better. For us it's our love for each other that's keeps us going. Just Making the best out of our circumstance. That's all I was trying to say. I don't know if this cleared it up or made it worse. There it is.
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LWD, did you write the title of this thread yourself or did the moderators rewrite it for you? The mods do that sometimes. The title does set people's thinking in a certain way, particularly after reading of your father's girlfriends and baby's mommas. I had this picture of him as an absent father that you had kept in touch with until he went off the grid and ended up homeless. This is what colored my response to you most of all. Sometimes we can end up looking for the father we never had and hoping that this person will become our father if we try hard enough. The original impression I got was apparently the wrong one.
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