Wishy-washy parent causing anxiety from afar.

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I've posted here before but things have been in a holding pattern. Dad is living alone, has PD and knows he needs to move. Would be best to stay in city he's been in forever, but he feels he needs someone to check on him DAILY in a nursing home, doesn't trust the care. I'm an only child...but he can't decide to move here or to another city with extended family. Telling me details, details, and more details about getting ready to sell his house. Won't entertain, consider or take suggestions so I don't make any. Well he just had MRI for leg and back pain and doesn't seem to be able to get from the doc what he can take for pain, so he suffers. Without too many extraneous details, my immediate family sitch is difficult at the moment and I know I can't take on local caregiving if just phone calls are causing me so much tension. Help!!! I know I have to set limits but what about only-child guilt???


Does he have friends in the city he is in now? Friends who would stop in and visit, take him out for coffee once in a while, etc, if he were in NH there? What about the extended family in another city? Are they emotionally close enough to him to be willing to check on him, visit him often, take him out, have him into their homes?

It really is best for NH residents to have an advocate who looks out for them, straightens out issues that arise, investigates care complaints, etc. That doesn't necessarily mean a daily visit, but the advocate role is easier to play if the NH and the advocate are in the same city!

If your own circumstances make it impossible for you to be his advocate, be frank with him about that. If you think you could handle the role but not daily visits, be honest about that, too. These are things he should know as he is making up his mind where to move.

It sounds like he should have someone to go to doctor appointments with him. Or at the very least have someone who is authorized to speak to his doctors. Such a person could find out what the doctor has really said about managing pain.

Who has POA and Medical Proxy for Father?

Perhaps some counseling would help you cope with the anxiety and the guilt.

Good luck to you and to your father.
Thank you:) He does have people who would visit him in the home city, and in the extended family city. At this point he is capable of making his own decisions, but I assume I'm POA and proxy when the time comes. I really avoid asking questions or making suggestions cause I'm tired of being shot down. Not just now but my whole life! He said the PD doc said to ask the primary care about pain meds which is odd. The primary care doc doesn't reply in a timely manner which to me says find a different one, but again my opinion isn't helpful. He took Advil and it didn't help, and he isn't going to the ER, so there! Yup I for sure need to get myself counseling. Thanks again for the reply.
He called twice tonight...in a morbid tone said the doc has the MRI results but hasn't called him yet. The MRI was to rule out pinched nerve: Dad thinks his pain is caused by cancer. The second call was to ask me to do some business stuff for him that is kinda wacky. Too much stress already!
imaamy, this is just my personal opinion, nothing professional about it, and it is based on the few paragraphs you've written.

I see a lot of problems in you accepting the POA role or in having Dad live near you, expecting a daily visit. If he has shot you down all your life to the point where you now avoid expressing any opinion, how would you be able to make the hard decisions where what is best for him is not what he wants? He already wants you to do "wacky" transactions for him. Are they in his long-term best interest? Will they undermine his ability to pay his own way for future care? And if you thought so but can't even express that opinion, how would you handle it if he were clearly not in his right mind for making decisions?

How is his cognitive ability right now? At least 30% of PD patients develop dementia. Chances of a person 80 years old having dementia are 50/50. Does it seem likely he might be in early stage dementia? The inability to make up his mind, thinking he has cancer, wanting wacky business stuff -- none of these proves dementia and it depends greatly whether this is business as usual for him or a change in his behavior, but it is worth at least considering.

Get some counseling for yourself. That may help you sort out what you reasonably can and cannot handle, or how to move in a direction that would enable you to handle more. Until then, I suggest you discourage Dad from counting too heavily on you.

He is your father. No matter how he has treated you that is still a fact. I don't think you should abandon him. But participating in his care from afar may be the best you can do now.
Thanks so much, the wacky biz thing is sending emails to pay a small bill, but it has to be separate emails for security. He isn't giving all his money to a tv preacher or anything, this is a legit bill. He can't use his computer much now to do it himself. The behavior is life-long but exacerbated by aging and PD. If he came here and was truly out of it, I'd make the decisions. This is a mid stage where he is still competent but won't accept me telling him he is getting a little "off." And people think only children are lucky!
He has decided to move elsewhere where there is more family. However, he is calling me daily now with nothing much to say but he is lonely and unable to get out due to a back problem. He is repeating info in great detail and today I told him he'd just told me same yesterday. I felt bad doing that but he spent 45 min on the phone yesterday giving me way too much detail about very minor things, repeating himself a couple times in the conversation. I feel I should listen but how do you draw a line about how much, how often, how much repetition you tolerate, etc?
Just a thought -- could you call him daily? Then it would be your topic and your schedule. Might make it a little easier. "Dad, I have to leave for an appointment in a half an hour, but I got to wondering. Do you remember the kind of flowers we had in the late 70s, planted on either side of the front steps? A friend was describing what she is looking for and it sounds like them, but I couldn't remember what they were called ..." And eventually, "Oh Dad, I have to run or I'll be late. Talk to you tomorrow."

Might not work. Couldn't hurt, could it?
That is a good idea. He is sleeping a lot now from meds, but I could try. I have 3 kids, one a toddler, so even a half hour can be tough. I encouraged him to join groups so he'd have more contacts, but he refused, so now that he is shut-in, he has few people to call. Problem is, my day-to-day is just trying to keep everyone going and really not much to talk about. Our daughter has had a rough year and he was grilling me about her yesterday, which isn't really a topic I care for, but again I felt bad to tell him so. I'm trying to walk on eggshells to protect his feelings....I could tell even informing him he was repeating himself was offensive to him. Thanks again:)
How about 10 minutes? And how about finding other ways to lighten his loneliness? Good ol' snail mail could come in handy. Do you kids know him? Whether they do or not, perhaps they could occaionally make cards for him. You could send a piece of their school work now and then. Send a picture. Clip articles from the paper or magazines that you think he'd find interesting. All these will give you a topic to discuss besides the (boring) extreme details of his transactions. He may not have a life full of interesting events and activites to discuss, but you do!
Sounds to me you are unsure of anything. You assume you will have POA? That is a big assumption; POA's are usually drafted in an attorney's office. I realize you may have you hands full with your OWN life but he is your father and you should at least make arrangements for him in the way of his care. There comes a time that all of us with elderly parents have to step up and be responsible for the them in some way. I feel sorry for both of you; one doesn't want to accept aging and health issues and the other doesn't want the extra responsiblity and burden. Take charge of the situation; there are many agencies that can assist you.

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