The price of self care.

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So I guess I'm still on my soap box about this. I have a couple of things going on... Dad NEEDED new pants. His old ones were so worn, faded and threadbare, it was an embarrassment for him to wear them in public. I read forums and tips to help with the transition. NOTHING helped. . Despite me having Dad try on the new pants and complimenting him and going through the old ones and letting Dad decide which ones he would keep (we kept three old pair for comfort) and us putting them away together...dementia kicked in and he forgot the ENTIRE ordeal. Today I received a frantic call from Dad that all of his clothes are gone... someone stole them...the new ones don't fit (even though he did not try them on)... It's been a nightmare. . I've tried to calm him down and assure him that everything is OK, but now I feel like I should go over there and calm him down face to face. I have to be at my second job in a couple of hours, and since I have the rare luxury of Dad getting a visit from wicked ex step mom today, I was overjoyed at being able to lie in bed until going to work. I don't get to do this because EVERY Sunday, I make the 45 minute drive to Dad's AL with take out from one of the only three restaurants he enjoys. I get sick of doing that because I don't really care for the meat-and-potatoes restaurants Dad likes every single week. . Anyhoo, today I thought I would take a break... have a 1/2 pajama day, but then comes the wardrobe meltdown. So right now, I'm feeling guilty because I can tell dad is still upset and I don't think my phone conversation helped at all. It's too late for me to head to the AL before work, and if I call in late again, my second job is gone. . I know this sounds mean, but some days I just wish I only had to take care of ME...


I don't think you are being mean at all. I know it's hard but try not to feel guilty.

If you went over there and explained in person what happened to his clothes, would it change anything? Probably not.
Tinyblu, your frustration is real and yes, you do need to take care of yourself. Let the people at AL worry about calming him down, there is no need for you to feel guilty and certainly no need for you to risk your job to go see him.

You did everything right in getting the new slacks and trying to engage dad in the process. His mind is not right. It is no one's fault, it is just a terrible reality.

If you go next Sunday to see him, stop at a restaurant you like and pick up a meal you will enjoy, then pick up his 'usual'. No need for you to eat something you do not enjoy. Yes it will take more time, but, having a meal you like is worth an extra 15 minutes or so.

It took me many years to realize the only person who will look after me, is me. If I do not put myself first, nobody else will. I was raised to believe that as a daughter then later mother and wife, I came last. I wore myself out working 6 days a week. Nope not any more.
Tiny; the fact that your dad is having delusions about his clothing does not mean that you need to intervene. He doesn't live alone. He has staff who can help him, distract him, redirect him.

Every emergency that your father "thinks" he is having does not equal YOU having to intervene.

"Dad, I'm so sorry about your pants! Please ask the nice lady at the desk to get someone to help you out. I'll be over next week and we can chat about it then".

Can you do that, Tiny?
I agree that if Dad is in a facility, you don’t need to be his Program Director. You don’t need to be there for ever want, need and meltdown. If you are, his facility does not get to know him and learn to deal with him. If they call you to come, it should only be in a dire emergency. My mother had dementia. She was always a dramatic, stubborn person and in the end, she was also combative. However, the facility knew how to handle her. They did what was necessary for her, including moving her to a room by herself when she clocked two roommates within 6 weeks of each other. Sure, I visited. I visited at different times, different days of the week and stayed for meals. They knew me and I knew them. They also knew I am caregiver for my immobile husband and I didn’t have 24/7/365 to live Mom’s life for her. Rethink these responsibilties you’ve taken on yourself. Talk with the facility’s social worker. See what they advise and what encouragement they can give you for taking time for yourself.
Quote: "Every emergency that your father "thinks" he is having does not equal YOU having to intervene."

THIS. Times ten. You're doing a great job taking care of your father. With dementia, he's not going to remember every conversation, so yes, it's his facility's job to intervene when he freaks out about something minor. As you said, he's 45 minutes away. There's only so much you can do, and it sounds like you've been at your limit for awhile. Remember, you're the ONLY person who can say "no".

Example: I have friends who will currently ask me for things that they shouldn't ask me to do at this point in my life, and I used to always say yes, no matter the cost. But now, I realize that these people aren't EVER going to think to themselves, "You know, WhirledTravel is caring for her FIL full time, he has dementia, and she's trying to keep 2 businesses running as well. Instead of asking her to do something for ME, maybe I should ask her what SHE needs?" Seriously, almost* NO ONE does that. So, YOU have to be the one to say, "No, I can't do that right now." And don't feel guilty about it!

*I say almost, because I have to say that I have one AWESOME friend who has done a few really sweet things for me lately, and I'm so grateful!! Recently, she brought me some food for my animals so I wouldn't have to go to the pet food store. Delivered it right to my door, and I hadn't even asked her or mentioned it! She's amazing. Tinyblu, you need and deserve someone like that in your life, and I hope you find one!! :)    ::hugs::
Thanks everyone. Yes, I do need to learn to say "no". I've gotten to a point where I can SAY it, but haven't wrapped my head around not feeling guilty about it.

I created this monster. He has been used to me running to save him since I was six years old. I'm definitely going to work on getting the staff involved more. The thing is, he will call ME directly. Half of the time, the staff is unaware of his meltdowns. Then when he does make them aware, he will say "Tinyblu is upset with me" or "I don't want to get into trouble with Tinyblu". I don't know where he gets that, so I often worry that the staff thinks I'm a monster (I can be impatient).

I tend to try to handle his meltdowns on my own because calling the staff to inform them of what's going on is a PITA in itself. Dial number... wait for answer... ask for transfer to Assisted Living side... hope someone answers... if no answer ask to be transferred to other AL floor... hope someone answers...hope it's not the one with the bad attitude that yells at the residents... ask for what I need... hope they follow up... worry about them following up...

See what I mean? It's easier for me to just handle it (Yes, I recognize this is my codependent control freak speaking... UGH old habits die hard).
Ugh! Going through same thing!😟
Thinking of you!!💜
Tinyblue, I understand, I really do, and I'm so sorry that it's difficult for you! Don't be too hard on yourself. I was always the "fixer" in my family, too, and the scapegoat, etc. (I started cooking my own breakfast and waking my mother up in the morning when I was 6. Can you say "programmed?" Lol...)

Anyway, all you can do is take it one step at a time. My husband came from a co-dependent family, and for years now always jumps in to do things for his dad, as if everything is an emergency. I sometimes ask him, "What's the worst thing t hat will happen if you don't do XYZ for your dad?" That sometimes helps get perspective.

Also, once you do quit running to his aid, either the staff or your dad will start to figure things out on their own. And that's ok. I know dementia is tough, and sometimes you DO just need to be there. But part of this is a pattern, too. I say that not at all in judgment, but because I've done it! I was part of the pattern. With my own f amily, when I finally stopped "jumping" when they said jump, they eventually quit asking me to jump all the time! It did take awhile, though, to be honest. And, I had to learn better ways of coping.

You might try Googling "Pinterest Codependency quotes". I know it sounds silly, but sometimes reading those quotes is a good reality check. I do it when I start to fall back into old patterns.

You could also maybe read the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie, and "Boundaries" by Cloud and Townsend. They're both excellent.

I wish you peace and no guilt in your journey!! You're a wonderful daughter!!!
First, I'd take the phone away. Surprised at this stage he can use it. Make the staff aware you bought him new clothes. They should be trained to handle him. He is safe, clean and fed. Thats ur responsibility but you need to stop trying to do it all. (been there) Your Dad will never get acclimated to his new home if you don't allow him to adjust to those who are caring for him.
Tiny; We live in the era of email.

Get the email addresses of the folks you need to contact. Don't call them, email them.

Don't take "no" on this for an answer. These employees have email.

A very nice RN unit manager, who actually was very nice, NEVER answered her emails. I was told this. I called AND emailed. She NEVER answered her emails. She was suddenly no longer in the employ of the NH.

I'm a gov't employee. If I don't answer my emails and phone calls within 24 hours, there are consequences. Don't take no for an answer.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

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