My elderly father is an abusive alcoholic. His 10-year-relationship just ended, and I'm trying to find him care so that he can remain home but he is so abusive. How do I deal?

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Abusive Alcoholic 84 years old Father who's 10 yr relationship just ended, yells at me when I try to arrange care. I have spent the last 2 weeks straight being at my Dad's making phone calls all day trying to set up care so that he can stay at home. When I say Dad, I am trying to follow your wishes of you staying at home. He starts yelling at me calling me stupid and says he has never liked me etc. He calls me everyname in the book and said I should just mind my own business. He cannot bath himself or make himself something to eat. I am so angry at the moment that I have told my siblings, I don't care now he can go in a home. I am not taking this abuse when I am the one trying to help him the most. I am so angry and feeling guilty. Thanks for listening.

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Caretaking is so frustrating. My mom went from a sweet quiet lady to ungrateful, demanding and nasty. And it seemed I could never do enough. She has gotten better but it was tough. And anger is quickly followed by guilt. I think I should be so much more tolerant. I now try to detach with love. When she gets like that during my visits, I say I have to go and will come back when she is feeling better. Now that I have set boundaries she knows that if she starts mistreating visitors they will not stay as long. Good luck.
Top Answer
The emotions your dad displays are probably rooted in fear but that won't help you much. He could also be suffering from dehydration, chronic urinary tract infection, anxiety or alzheimers. I've noticed that men in particular get mad when they realize that they're becoming forgetful, it masks their fear at loosing control. Do NOT feel bad if he drives you out and it becomes too difficult to help home. Do what you can and expect a "sentinel event" - that's the type of thing where he takes a fall and ends up in the hospital. That's what it might take to get him some help. This is hard to do, you'll feel guilty and he might make you feel even more guilt but.. YOU CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH in these instances. It's a balance between being loving & helpful and maintaining your own sanity, job and family. It's easier to help him when you know it's for a limited time but in this case, it could go on and on.

If he's this mean and crusty then he'll probably drive off any in-home care givers. If you can get him to the ER, you can tell them that he's been ranting and raving - you fear a UTI, a urinary tract infection, then they'll start to run some tests. Tell them his home is not safe, he doesn't take his meds as prescribed, that he can't bath or use the toilet safely. Then tell them that you and your siblings can't handle him at home. This means he'll probably get discharged to a nursing home.

If he's ever served in the military or been a dept of defense employee, call your local Veterans Affairs office. They might be able to hook you up with a local veterans home where he'll get good care. There will also be a majority of men there and he might behave better - more polite & compliant - around them. I've seen this happen with both my uncles - there were mean and nasty to family until they had to live around a bunch of other men. I don't know what it was but it was a HUGE improvement. Best of luck to you and to your dad.
2 great suggestions Lynn.
WHen my mom starts acting strange and being mean then we know she probably has an UTI.
We ask the nurses to check her and usually that is the case and after few days on meds she is much better.

And great advice about the VA. My friend moved into the VA after trying several nursing homes. Besides the savings staying there, he is much happier being around the other servicemen and sharing stories. And the staff at the VA (Chicago) seem to be great and treat the residents with respect. .
Cablaha and Lynn, thank you for the suggestions. I will check into the dehydration and UTI. Yes my Dad is a War Vet which puts even more guilt on it for me, but I just can't take the abuse. I know he will end up in a home because he is making it to hard to care for him. It's really hard to help selfish, nasty parents. Thank You.

Yes it is very difficult. And having been sober for over 20 years myself, I remember how nasty I could be. You can call your local Alcoholic Anonymous office and they will send someone over to talk to him if you want. And there are support groups for you too.. Alanon where people will listen. You really need to make sure you take care of yourself too during this difficult time.

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