Follow
Share

Pretty long story. Dad is 82 and lives alone. Is in reasonable health for his age generally.


3 months ago he had a chest infection. It was nasty but he would not let it go or listen to the doctor. He must have visited the GP about 20 times and each time they told him he just needed to wait it out.


Hes called the doctor to his house multiple times and now they refuse to come out to him. Hes also called an ambulance three times and each time they’ve checked him in hospital and sent him home.


His chest infection is gone now, but he says hes aching and feels nauseous. To be honest, I lose track of exactly whats wrong with him.


Yet he constantly hassles me. I tell him he needs to listen to the doctor but hes convinced he should be in hospital.


I do my best to help him but I’ve got small children and wife whos ill herself (with fibromyalgia). Its tough for us at times. We have to pay for a cleaner, and childcare. Also family come to stay with us to help wife out. I work 90 mins commute away so its a long day for me (Im up at 545am).


His recent behaviour has included all sorts. Hes faked chest pains to get attention. Hes demanded I go to see him. Hes demanded I take time off work to take him to hospital (I do contract work so its unpaid if Im not there). The hospital one was annoying – I sorted out patient trasnport but he didnt want to do that. My office is 80 miles away from the hospital – he said he wanted me to take him.


Xmas day at our house was a nightmare. He moaned, made out he was dying, was rude to my family, had no manners, and burped/broke wind at the dinner table just to prove how ill he was. Then when I took him homw I spent 2 hours talking him down from phoning 999. All the while my kids are at home having not seen their dad much that day (Its 30 min drive each way to pick up/drop off dad too).


My dear wife finally lost it (shes been great so far). I can see here point. Shes been suffering for ages yet he seems to make as much fuss as he can. Whenever I try to talk to him to explain Ive got others to consider but will do my best for him he does not seem to give a monkeys – its all about him.


Thing is I dont think hes got dementia. I’ve got a friend whos a mental health nurse who agrees too.


To be honest, we’ve had dad for last 15 years on xmas day (brother has him boxing day). I think my poor family deserve a break after this year. Dear bother will have to alter his xmas day pub plans. Im so desperate Im possibly going to tell dad a white lie that wife is working xmas day (shes a nurse).


But I feel so guilty all the time. Trouble is if I dont do the white lie I upset my own family….. :-(

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
Sounds like my fil, first your wife and children come first. Second you have to set limits, learn to say no, don't enable his behavior of consequences of his choices, takers rarely set limits, givers must, self centered people rarely have empathy and the the ability to validate others, feeling obligated breeds resentment, don't let your father dictate your self worth, set boundaries with him. Last, childhood is a very short season, focus more on them and your wife. We love our parents, but sometimes they have to be third. You have to be husband and father first. It's just the way of life. Don't let guilt control your decisions. Good luck and take care.
(1)
Report

Well I popped in Friday night (I was in the area anyway). Fortunately, hes still happy after his hospital visit. Still going for his endoscopy though this week - waste of time that is but I understand its not pleasant, so it might teach him its not ideal to have these tests he doesnt need.

He tried to get me to visit Sunday but I said I'd ring him instead. He wasnt particularly happy. So sunday evening my phone rang at 8pm, then every 2 mins for about half an hour (I was eating my tea!).

I did speak to him he was ok. Seems he had a few visitors saturday but, in his words "havent seen a soul today" (apart from his carer lol!). Why the be so dramatic? So I said - Its one day. If you cant cope with one day then dont live on your own - go into shelered accomodation. End of that discussion from him.

As you've all said before he wants things all on his terms. Live where he wants and everyone doing what he wants.

One thing about the last few weeks. Hes not even mentioned I didnt visit him in hospital. Before he would have gone on and on about this and practically demanded I visit. So some good has come of it. Also, he didnt even ask me to take him to hospital appt tuesday hes got a lift off his cousin.
(0)
Report

Im beginning to realise that hes just not going to see sense.

Churchm - You're right I shouldnt have gone. Wife has given me a hard time about it too. But you're both right.

When I got there first thing he said was "sorry about dragging you out - I know you've been in work all day". I thought hmmm yes its easy to say now I'm here.

Which sometimes leads me to think he does this on purpose and he knows exactly what hes doing at times but still puts himself first. Which is the worse for me.

I was going to visit this weekend but I've hurt my leg now so its difficult to drive.

Luckily I only have to drive a little way to train station but then walking from train to office is hard work. I need a rest I think.
(1)
Report

Dad sounds like a hoot.
(1)
Report

Paul I am going to speak briskly.

Your father doesn't see a problem with your adding two hours' work to the end of an already busy day.

Well. Apparently, neither do you. Otherwise, what made you go ahead and do that?

He can insist all he likes. It is only you who can make yourself sit in your car and drive to his house. If it is a bad idea and an unnecessary visit, DON'T DO IT.
(3)
Report

Paulf,
We are going through issues as you with my 92 year old fil. My husband and I are handicapped. My fil is in good health, but he is demanding, self centered man who lacks empathy, and compassion. We had an issue with him on Christmas. Well the next day my husband tried to talk to him about the way he acted, but all he did was speak ill of our sons. Well I went off like a rocket. I draw a line when you say lies about my children.
I have removed myself from him. You need to put your wife and child first.
This constant stress is bad for all. What we did was call meals on wheels, access, and our local agency on aging to help him.
I hope your country has these kinds of agencies. If he is a veteran see if they can assist you too. Good luck and god bless..
(2)
Report

your dad is not going to see a problem with his seld centeredness. YOU are the only person who is going to be able to prioritize your own health and that of your wife and children. dont expect dad to "come around". for whatever reason, he is not capable of seeing beyond his own needs any longer. " yes, I love you dad, but right now my priority is taking care of my wife and kids" is a useful phrase.
(1)
Report

ChurchM - yes I do get that. I know hes got "issues" with something. Not sure if hes lonely (he has a full social life) but definitely anxious about his health.

Main issue for me is that he wont listen to anyone or accept help. He wants miracles off everyone. Like you said I cant do it.

In the past hes moaned because I can't drive 80 miles from work to take him to a hospital appointment when I've sorted out patient transport for him.Because they were picking him up 30 mins earlier than he wanted.

Also, he tends to focus only on himself and no-one else. No-one else is ill apart from him which I find a bit off.

He came out of hospital yesterday but insisted I drive to visit him last night. Yesterday my day was wake at 530am, train to work by 8am, leave work at 530pm, get off train at 645pm. Drive to his house by 715pm. Finally got home at 9pm. But he doesnt see a problem withme doing this.
(0)
Report

Paul, looking at this from your dad's point of view, there's not nothing wrong. He's lonely and anxious. Quite possibly these understandable emotions manifest themselves in physical symptoms. He's not making a fuss for the sheer merry h*ll of it.

But that's different from saying that you have to split yourself three or more ways to cope with all of the demands on your time. You can't.

So, since your priorities should be your wife and family and your job, you cannot possibly meet your father's emotional and physical needs - no matter how real they may be. So, whether he likes it or not, that support will have to come from other sources, of which there are many (unless he's living on a Cairngorm or something). If he turns help away that is his decision; but if you keep reaching out for him to organisations and services that offer things like befriending, lifts to hospital, day centres and what-have-you then eventually you'll fill his diary well enough and they'll take the pressure off you. Home help, carer services and activities don't have to be unrepeatable offers.
(2)
Report

In terms of how things work with family. Yes its hard. Im up at 530am every day and get home usually at 6pm. I dont drive though I get the train so not as bad. Im still very tired by the weekend.

Daughter goes to school just mornings. But wife has to take/collect. We pay for a cleaner. We pay for extra childminder (three afternoons a week). Also, Mother-in-law stays 2 nights a week to help (Tues-Thurs). Also we've got a teenage son with different problems that presents!

I also fit into this visits to Dad almost every weekend - not always possible. As you can see theres not an awful lot else I can fit in!

It all works just about. I get paid well and the "system" runs ok until we get Dad who expects me to run around for him when theres nothing wrong. You can see why my wife gets so irate!

Good news I've been offered a contract (I do IT contract work) 7 miles from home. Id be stupid not to take it. Trouble is I need to get current place to release me from my current contract (Im signed up until end Feb) or its no go. Fingers crossed for me!
(1)
Report

Jeanne - you're right Im thinking something like sheltered accomodation too. BUT in his mind he is fine just needs the doctors to sort him out physically. So hes no need to change where he lives. Hes clinging to these "tests" in january that will cure him. I think doc just did this to shut him up.
(0)
Report

Thanks all. Yes its an anti-depressant - Mirtazapine. (I took this years ago). So he is likely to experience side effects and it will take weeks to work. BUT, you can guarantee he wont be willing to either wait or put up with some minor inconvenience.

But you're all right. Even if I go tomorrow night you can guarantee he will have a go at me because I've not visited him. He just will not see what I've got to put up with.

Not sure if I said earlier he was kicking off once because he was having trouble sleeping. As if it was the end of the world.
(0)
Report

It's time to learn to say "no, I can't do that, Dad". I know that it's hard. We were brought up to obey our parents' commands.

Just understand that what your father is asking you to do is unreasonable. You've gotten that perspective from several different folks here; not a one is saying "yes, yes, you must accede to your father's demands". No one. Nada.

Your dad is unreasonable. He may have dementia. He is almost certainly depressed and yes, the antidepressants will take several weeks to kick in. And yes, he needs a higher level of care than you can provide.

Talk to the discharge folks at the hospital about a care plan that does NOT involve your making more than the occasional social call. You have enough on your plate!!
(2)
Report

It sounds to me like it might be time for Dad to be in a place where he is not alone, where there is always a nurse or trained medical personnel to check his complaints, where he'll be around other persons his age,and have other things to do to occupy himself. Sound like anyplace you know? How about an Assisted Living Facility?

Your first priority must be your wife and your children. And for heaven's sake, you also need to take care of yourself! A 90-minute commute? And a wife with a chronic illness? You can't spread yourself so thin that you collapse! You don't deserve that, and you wouldn't be any use to anyone at that point.

Stop enabling your father's behavior. Stop giving in to him if he just whines enough. Say "no" when that is appropriate and stick to it.
(1)
Report

Oh! - antidepressants. Well if it's Citalopram they won't work for a month anyway. And of course if he won't take them they won't work at all :P
(1)
Report

What are ADs, by the way?
(0)
Report

Paul, don't go. Your youngest child takes precedence.

Instead, do this. Call the ward and ask to speak either to the Ward Manager or to whichever doctor is holding the bleep for your Dad's consultant. Explain that you're looking ahead to his discharge and need to discuss his care plan. At the same time, ask if he is short of any supplies which you can bring for him when - and this is the crucial part - you visit on a day and at a time of *your* choosing. Send your love and reassurance that you will see him soon.

And you know the real reason for not visiting today: turning up on a hospital ward at 7:15 of the p.m. is of zero practical use. There will be nobody there to provide information, they'll be busy getting patients ready for the night, they probably won't let you stay for more than 45 minutes... It's pointless. Don't even bother. Anything your Dad really needs to tell you he can say over the phone.
(2)
Report

Well things are getting worse. Last thursday the GP gave him ADs but he'd been reading the side effects leaflet so was moaning. I managed to talk him around but he swore he was going to press his emergency buzzer if he felt ill.

Bear in mind the GP wont come out to see him any more and the ambulance now refused to take him to hospital when "hes ill". So friday he "had a fall".
To be honest, Im 99% sure it was fake or at the very least hes used it to his advantage. There is a slight superficial scratch on his head.

So hes in hospital now. They wanted to send him home straight away because he was fine but he played up and they've kept him in. At least hes got his wish for the last few months.

Trouble is my wife hasnt been well recently. So I havent been to visit him yet. I just cant dump my family again for another fake illness - my dear brother can pick up the slack her. I've spoken to him on the phone and explained but each time hes been very rude to me.

Yesterday he told me it was urgent that I visited him today. I explained (for the 50th time) the situation and that whereas I'd like to visit him I had people who needed me at the moment (wife and kids) and he was safe and being looked after in hospital. His answer "she cant be that ill, tell her to buck up and get on with it!".

Must admit I was not impressed. Wife is MUCH worse than hes ever been and never ever complains. Yet he thinks he can dictate to me.

Back in work today and spoken to him and hes demanded I visit after work. Up 545am this morning, 90 mins to work, I;ll get back to hometown at about 630. 45 mins further to hospital. Probably get home at about 930pm so wont see my youngest. He thinks this is fine because I have to visit him.

To be honest, mentally and physically Im exhausted but all he thinks about is himself.
(0)
Report

Dad has been living alone since he retired - 25 years ago.
(0)
Report

There was a documentary a while back that featured a dotty old bat in Birmingham somewhere who called the emergency services every time she wanted to be sat up more comfortably on her day bed. They were tearing their hair out about it: she was up to a tally of several hundred calls, she was on everybody's blacklist, she'd been threatened with prosecution - but when it came to it if she rang 999 and wailed loud enough they had no option but to attend. Moral: if your dad calls an ambulance and complains of chest pain, they'll go. They might be mighty pissed off about it, but they will.

It does sound as though that chest infection has really frightened your father. It would explain his fractious temper, and his self-pity, and this learned helplessness stuff he's pulling on you.

On the boundaries issue, and based on observation of several people I know well who have dealt with embarrassing aged parents, one thing you have got to learn to do is not feel responsible for what they do. Of course it makes you squirm if your parent is rude or bonkers or demanding; and it can be difficult not to blush for them; but It Isn't You doing it, and anybody involved in older care ought to know better than to appear to blame you for your father's behaviour.

What kind of relationship do you have with the carer services? If you possibly can, find out names and telephone numbers and bombard them with flattery. An appreciative relative can do a lot to make up for a grumpy client; plus if he does try to cancel the sessions at least you'll have a chance to argue. There are many providers, by the way, he doesn't just have to take what he's given; but having said that I never did find an agency that managed the continuity and reliability they're supposed to aim for as part of best practice. When he grumbles about it, just sympathise, I wouldn't bother explaining again. What you told him is true, certainly, but however good the reasons are it doesn't make it any less annoying for him when carers turn up late, not at all, or indistinguishable from Adam.

How long has he been living alone?
(0)
Report

Yes, I understand what he "thinks" he knows about mental illness. You tell him that seeing a geriatric psychiatrist has been "ordered" by someone else. It's called therapeutic fibbing.
(2)
Report

Has your dad been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist? It sounds as though this has its origens in anxiety a d depression. Meds might make a huge difference.

Learn how to say " that's not possible, Dad". and " I can't do that Dad".
(2)
Report

The GP thing. To be honest, Im surprised they're patience lasted this long. Hes called them out probably 15 times saying he needs someone.

He refuses to make his own way to the surgery. Its a mile away. I've tried to tell him that GP will be fine if he makes his own way (e.g. get a taxi) but it takes a lot of the GPs time to visit him all the time. His answer - why should I pay for a taxi?

I know hes badgered them and badgered them to send him to hospital (and he called 999 a few times). Each time the hospital has checked him over and sent him home. Also, last time I think he was very rude to the GP who, once again, declined to send him to hospital.

But yes the "cry wolf" thing is worrying. If something serious every occured then I do wonder. Hes phoned me in the past saying he had chest pains when he admitted later he didnt really. But then how far does the GP/emergency services let it go?

Obviously, I want emergency services to be there when my Dad REALLY needs them. I just imagine sometimes though how I'd feel if my Dad died when an ambulance is delayed by someone who made spurious calls.

BTW - yes I do think he has mental problems. But he wont listen. In his opinion, mental issues do not exist. "Its all in your head". "People who think they are depressed need a kick up the backside thats all".

(As a sufferer myself of anxiety/depression last 20 years off and on I've never admitted to my Dad because of hs outlook on it).
(3)
Report

BTW - yes we have involved social services and he gets a carer in the morning now. It was ok for a bit but he refuses to have any further care. And hes on about cancelling that now.

He wants them to turn up at 930am every day but sometimes they need to change the times. He was rude to carer the other day - this was boxing day and they phoned him to let him know carer was tied up and he turned up at 1030.

I did explain that probably everyone wants 930am but they've only got so many carers who have to see so many people so someone has to be earlier and some later in the morning. And its not the carers fault - they get given a list of people to see and being boxing day there may well have been less people working.
(1)
Report

Thanks Churchmouse. Yes Im in UK.

I have recently given him a letter to take to his GP to give me permission so we'll see what happens there.

When I say "lost track" its because every time I phone him its a different illness it seems. Some real, some maybe a little imagined and some hes just made up.

Know what you mean about needs and wants. His needs I'll fit in every time but, sometimes, I feel as if hes working against me sometimes and expects me to be the answer to everything.

Know what you mean about being grateful - never happens to be honest. I think the worse thing at the moment is the times I've tried to explain that I cant do something hes got really nasty with me.
(0)
Report

If you're using 999 I assume you're in the UK are you?

You can:

Involve Social Services. You can look them up through your father's local authority website - you want Services for Older Adults.

Advocate for your father in liaison with his GP. Excessive demands can lead to his being labelled the old boy who cried wolf, but given that he has actually had a serious illness recently it's not okay for them to decide unilaterally that he doesn't require care.

It makes me grit my teeth just a little when people say they've 'lost track' of what's going on. Well, get back on track! Either that, or butt out. You need your father's permission for his GP to give you access to his medical records but that's not so difficult, and they'll probably be relieved to have someone rational to discuss his care with.

Making a fuss... He's old, he's ill, or at least he has been ill, he may be frightened and lonely. It's perfectly legitimate for you and your wife to decide that being his primary carers is more than you can manage; but in that case help him find alternatives (see above, social services can advise). Don't blame him for feeling as he does.

For yourself, to be fair to yourself, have a good think about your priorities and establish boundaries accordingly. Your wife and your children have first claim, I'd suggest; but then balance that against what you believe your father's needs and wants are and seek additional resources for him. You can't be everywhere, you can't do everything.

Other obvious sources are AgeUK and CarersUK, the latter will have a local or regional network you can access.

Oh, and don't expect him to be grateful. Not because it wouldn't be nice to be appreciated, but because if you don't expect it you won't be disappointed. Focus on the possible!
(3)
Report

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter