My father is lazy and entitled. Mom did everything for him and when she died he moved in with us and expects the same treatment.

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My husband, 18 & 21 year old just resent him now. We are all so stressed out because he is able to help but chooses not to. He still drives, refuses to bathe more than once a week and is basically driving us all nuts. He does not do one thing in the house, won't get the mail or empty the dishwasher. He never helped my mom and we jumped into this because of grief and my mom asking us to take care of him. He is 84. I have one brother who does not help. I always have to ask him to take him for lunch or an overnight. I feel used, exhausted from listening to everyone complain and helpless. My father begs us not to put him in a nursing home and says " I have no where to go" so then we feel guilty. I do not see a way out of this. It is eating me alive. Everyone else has it a lot worse I know but he is capable and is just choosing to be an invalid. He watches the news and reads ALL day long. I am at the point that just looking at him makes me mad. Thanks for letting me get this all out.

27 Comments

Ahemby...I hear you! My father is about the same age. My mother died almost two years ago, he now lives alone and must do his own laundry, cooking etc. I don't hear him complain about it now, but before my mother died and he had to take-on more of the household and "womanly" duties, he complained and depending on the chore, with anger. At that time I did sense that he felt entitled to not have to do those things (HE was the King of his castle!)...eventhough she had done these chores for years for him and them, without complainng, and would have taken on his chores without complaint, if the shoe were on the other foot. (Yes, I hold some resentment towards him for that!) With my parents, and the era in which they grew up, I think well defined roles were established in marriage and in our culture. Especially growing up in the US midwest, south and/or in a rural area. These roles and thoughts are embedded in their make-up. These routine thoughts will not change overnight and may/probably never change as long as he's around because, that's all he knows or feels accustomed to. Not only is considering doing "womanly" things around the house a foreign idea to him (he may not know how to do some things), but I think it's an ego thing (wouldn't be manly to clean!) and a control thing. He's in control of himself and, whether consciously or subconsciously, he's still in control of his environment. Begging to not be put in a nursing home..."I have nowhere to go"...sounds like he's manipulating you and the situation. And, IMO shows a lack of consideration for others.

So, do you feel as though you are enabling him to continue this behavior? If so, then tough love may be in order, if you think you are strong enough to speak-up, lay down the law and stick with it. If not, then your options are to adapt to him and his behavior (which sounds like your family has reached its limit) or move him out. If you're ready for tough love...then you can say to him, what he probably said to you or a sibling when growing up...while living in this house, you will follow the rules of this house set by you and your husband.

Considering that he may not know how to do some of the chores around the house, I would give him easy ones and be very specific in how you want them done. Getting the mail and emptying/loading the dishwasher are pretty simple tasks and not necessarily sissy jobs. It will give him some excercise too! Ha! If this doesn't work, I would have your husband talk to him...man-to-man may carry more weight with him. Consider how you could make him have to deal with the consequences of not helping out. Doesn't bring you his laundry...don't do it. Doesn't pick-up after himself in his bedroom, don't you do it. Make him live with the results of his decisions.

You are his daughter, not his maid, wife or mother. You're trying to raise a family in your home...not serve a guest at a hotel. Perhaps he needs to be reminded of that.
Would your father even qualify for a nursing home? Does he need skilled nursing care? Maybe some other living arrangement would be more suitable, such as an apartment in a senior building or assisted living. The one thing that is clear is that the current living arrangement is not working out.

Gather information about the options. Pick up brochures. Inquire about the costs. Before you present these to Dad, ask yourself and your husband if there is anything that would make having Dad live with you acceptable?

If you would be willing to have Dad there if certain things changed, then present that as one of the options. "You could live in an apartment like this one, or you could go to an assisted living place like this one or this one, or you could help around the house and continue to stay with us. Here is the list of what we expect if you are going to stay with us." Go over your list of chores, and the features of each of the other options.

Of course, if you feel the situation is irredeemable, then just present the information you have gathered about the other options. Tell him that he must be out of the house by xx date, and that you will help him with the selection process if he wants help, and you will see to it that he gets moved out.

You need to establish and enforce boundaries and rules for living with you or to see that he lives elsewhere. Otherwise you all may go on resenting him for another 10 to 15 years. Better get this on the right track now, before there are in-laws and grandchildren to come visiting.

Skip the guilt trips, please.

Your mother died and he is lonely. That is Not Your Fault. You miss her too.

He has no where to go. That is Not Your Fault, and it is also not true. You will help him find somewhere.

He has never had to help around the house. That is Not Your Fault. You won't ask anything he is incapable of learning and doing.

He wishes things were like they were back when Mom was living. So do you. But it isn't. Suck it up, Dad, and go get the mail.

In his day real men did not work in the kitchen. Those days are over, Dad. Please empty the wish washer.

He is retired and should be able to just enjoy his leisure. You are retired from your career, Dad, but you are not retired from participating in the running of this household. If you think you would be able to do less elsewhere, you are welcome to go there.

Ahemby, he knows where all your guilt buttons are because he probably helped put them there. Don't let him push them. You are not responsible for his current unacceptable behavior and you don't have to live with for the next decade of more.

Your home. Your rules. Shape up or ship out, Dad. (You'll be more tactful than that, I know, but that is the basic message here.)
I am going thru the exact same thing. My father is 68. my mom died almost 2.5 yrs ago and he walked away from it all the night she died. He wont take care of his house, acts like a pack rat, there is 2 years of dust in his room cause he is so lazy and procrastinates about dusting. Its driving me crazy. He wont even clean out the fridge from 2 years ago, he collects food and wont toss it etc. I have no social life due to this. His house has mold in it and will not be taken care of, I am attending college and it is putting a strain on me. I dont know what to do. he does not qualify for assisted living cause he has a job and social security plus he has moms life insurance. he still treats me like a child and when i try to speak my mind he gets pissed at me. I sacraficed my last relationship to take care of my dying mom cause he would not and now he does not want me to get a job etc, he even thinks my college education is a waste.
I dont know what to do help!!!
I am going thru the exact same thing. My father is 68. my mom died almost 2.5 yrs ago and he walked away from it all the night she died. He wont take care of his house, acts like a pack rat, there is 2 years of dust in his room cause he is so lazy and procrastinates about dusting. Its driving me crazy. He wont even clean out the fridge from 2 years ago, he collects food and wont toss it etc. I have no social life due to this. His house has mold in it and will not be taken care of, I am attending college and it is putting a strain on me. I dont know what to do. he does not qualify for assisted living cause he has a job and social security plus he has moms life insurance. he still treats me like a child and when i try to speak my mind he gets pissed at me. I sacraficed my last relationship to take care of my dying mom cause he would not and now he does not want me to get a job etc, he even thinks my college education is a waste.
I dont know what to do help!!!
Bella If I was you I would keep my distance. Your Dad is too young to be your concern.. If he wants to live this way then let him. If you are living with him get out now..
Bella...he will never attempt to do things for himself as long as someone, such as you, do it for him. Sounds like your dad and mother had their roles defined and acted upon them accordingly...with each other. Now that she is gone, that changes everything. He must now learn that and adapt by doing those "womanly duties or woman's work", or stubbornly suffer the consequences.

If I were you...I would try to explain to him vocally or written, if he won't allow you to speak, that the house is a mess and can not continue that way, due to health concerns. State that you can not do it anymore, but it needs to be done. You will help him find a person whom will clean once a week for him, or he can save some $$$ and learn to do it himself. But, make it clear to him that you are out of the cleaning/organization game and offer options.

It may be tough for you to turn your back and walk away, but in the long run it's best for both of you to cut this string. Good luck.
Bella, stay in school and live your life. My dad has consumed me for two years. All conversations are about him, I am so sick of talking about him I could scream. Things have been getting worse and his behavior, laziness and entitled attitude has made everyone resent him. I spend most of my time in my bedroom while he is in the family room enjoying my house. I have a glimmer of Hope as he might be moving out to go live with his sister. I am secretly overjoyed but afraid it might not really happen. Stay strong and don't be a doormat. I'm sorry about your mom. I miss mine everyday. Good luck.
My dad was the same. Many people tried to help him and he alienated all of them, refused to pay for anyone to help w house, including meals on wheels. He got furious w me because I wouldn't drop my life after his wife died (I'm sure his treatment of her is what made her give up and die).

Some of the bad behavior is the brain ceasing to function properly. Get them to a psychiatrist (my dad wouldn't see one because he wasn't "crazy", so I rook him to a neurologist after videoing some of his behavior as proof (iPad is your friend). The anti-psychotic he prescribed helped with the worst of the behavior but not the manipulation, whining, criticizing, and constant complaining. Find a geriatric physician. Regular doctors simply do not understand the issues we are running into with these elderly.

Recently, I came to "help" my dad for the last 6 months and two weeks ago just couldn't take it any more. I finally did similar to what jeannegibbs recommended. Give him two alternatives. Mine were he either comes to my home (where I got him into a residential 24x7 home) or he stays in his house by himself and I walk away. I was so fed up I was willing to walk away thought it was tearing me up. After watching me pack for several hours he asked if I was leaving. I told him yes and he begged me not to leave. I gave him the option of getting on the plane w me or living alone after I left. He got on the plane. Upon landing, he said to me "I'm not going back. I'm going to stay here."

They don't know what they want. They are bored. Feel useless and have no goals or direction or interests. We can't do anything for them but keep them safe if they won't help themselves. There are virtually no resources for care takers, no laws to protect us from sick, demented, lonely old people who can't or won't help themselves. The lesson is there for us as we age. Find interests and hobbies or causes that you believe in to keep you healthy in mind and spirit as you age.

A friend and I have made a pact that by the time we are 65 we will have found a home to live in with several others-- like the home I put my father in but of our own choosing. We will each have our own room and hire someone as we become incapacitated to do what we can't. Learn from what you are going through.
Ahemby - You are there, so you know more about the situation than I do, but I wonder.

IS he really able to do what you want him to do? Has he been seen by a geriatrician or an Occupational Therapist to evaluate his abilities and weaknesses? You probably can get him to do some things around the house, but it will be hard. You need to be really sweet and gentle with him, and take time to be sure he has learned how to do the task. You have to ASK him to do things as a favor to you. Letting him know you think he's a slacker will only make him resist.

If that sounds like it would be impossible, then you probably should get him out of your house, but reassure him that you will not just dump him and abandon him. You might find it easier to love and appreciate him when professionals are responsible for his laundry. God bless you.
some of you really amaze me..just remember you would be old one day too and your kids will have to take care of you just like your having to take care of your parents. Yes things get frustrating but just as well as your getting frustrated with them they got just as frustrating with you as you where growing up. This is the time where you should be HELPING them instead of talking crap about them. It shows that there is still cold hearted ppl in this world and even worse when its the one who took care of you when you were in need.. REMEMBER GOD sees everything and hears everything (even the words not said out loud) He dont like ugly... You wouldnt want your kids doing the same thing yall are doing to your parents..WOW..

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