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...

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I have the silent mantra, "Not my monkeys. Not my circus", when I am asked to do something unreasonable. I promise to help on my next visit. Often it is forgotten.
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One thing that has helped my husband and I when dealing with Dad, especially when he gets stubborn about things (and we know sometimes it's just stubborness, not dementia), is a phrase that Dad's pastor said to us:

"It's his journey."

You aren't responsible for every moment of happiness or unhappiness in your Dad's life. What's the worst that can happen if you turn off your phone for ONE day? Your dad might be unhappy for the day, but that's ok.  He has options that he's not using.  You're currently trading your own happiness, peace, joy, productiveness, and life, for his.
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I may end up taking the phone away. The staff has gone above and beyond to try to assure Dad that they will help him, but he doesn't listen.
He thinks he's "bothering" them or a "nuisance"

...and he IS bothering me. Sorry if that sounds mean, but today instead of focusing on work, he's melting down about his new oxygen machine.

I BEGGED the hospice staff to try to fix his old one, but the nurse thought it would be easier to use a small tradition oxygen tank instead of his portable electric one due to it turning off while he was away from the AL (I still think it is an issue of the Adult Daycare Staff not turning it off when they take it off him).

Dad is deathly afraid of oxygen tanks. He thinks they are going to explode, and he tries to do everything himself (though most of the time he does it wrong because he's legally blind). He definitely can't control the traditional tanks because he can't see well enough to use them.

...so he's been wound SUPER tightly since they put the silly tanks in his room. Despite the staff telling him that they will take care of everything, I've had to deal with a frantic senior worrying that he doesn't know how to work these tanks. It's not computing that he only needs to ASK (anyone but ME) for help.

His answer to the issue: just sit in his room (again). I'm really not in the mood to make multiple calls to the staff about this, but now my nerves are shot. Another ruined day at work...

I JUST WISH I HAD REAL HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'M NOT IN THE MOOD FOR THIS TODAY!!!!! MY JOB IS CREATIVE!!!!! MY CREATIVE ENERGY HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I finally stopped helping with getting new things and getting rid of the old. Because of the scene you just went thru.

In the future...add new clothes to the collection but leave the old ones alone. You may be able to get him to wear the new ones when you come visit....till he recognizes them.

Besides, what do you care what other people think? As long as he is clean ... job done.
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When I do something like this I leave notes for my mother. Like, "mom, I am storing your jewelry at my house. It's safe." In every drawer and on her table. It amazes me that she can remember some random new information, but she forgets that we talked about her jewelry umpteen times and agreed to send it home with me.
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I agree with taking the phone away. I pulled my mom’s phone when she started calling at 3AM just to tell me she’d learned to use the phone! I also understand trying to reach staff,especially during off hours. But, if you go to the facility within a few days, I would speak with one of the administrators and casually mention that Dad has been calling you when he is upset and confused, and could they instill in him that he needs to call them instead since they’re right there.

Don’t worry about anyone thinking you aren’t a good daughter. The staff at facilities are far too busy to spend much time forming opinions about resident’s families.
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Excellent advice from Barb!
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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.
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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.
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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!!!
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