My 77-year-old father just moved in with me. Does anyone have any advice on how to cope emotionally with this?

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Hello all,

I am 30 years old. I just moved across the country for a new job about 5 months ago. My 77 y.o. father's kidneys failed shortly thereafter and began dialysis treatments. He lives by himself and clearly was having a hard time taking care of himself. Talking to him on the phone made me feel so awful, guilty and worried, in addition to having recently moved and starting a new job. So a couple months ago I offered to just have him move out here with me and thought "we'll figure something out."

My father has no pension or savings but collects a little bit in social security. All of this makes things a little difficult emotionally and financially for me. I feel very alone in this. Sometimes I feel good about it all and truly feel that everything will be ok and other times I feel like Im just lying to myself and that this was a mistake. Does anyone have any advice on how to cope emotionally with this?

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Top Answer
I am nothing but impressed with your love for your father. And yes, things will work out, not as you had hoped sometimes, but providing a place for your papa at this time in his life has it's own rewards... This is a hard job, plus you are working... we all cope in different ways, and on some days we don't cope at all. So if you have an 'off' day, don't beat yourself up, just try and see that you are new to this and it has it's own learning curve... but you have made a healty move to find support and that is a big step... If we didn't have each other on the different threads here we'd all be looney, or looneyer ( is that a word?) than what we already are... I know your dad has got to feel safer and it has been an adjustment for him too....
Just keep coming here and posting, asking questions, venting, and know that you are not alone in any feelings you have..we'll help, as there are (is?) many years of collective experiance with many different situations on this forum....
Wanting your dad to feel safe and helping him , nah, that can't be a mistake... as time goes on, you will learn many things and even if you have to place him nearby, you'll get help doing that too... so hang in there, you are not alone... hugs, prayers and angels to help you know love is never a mistake....
You should feel great about what you are doing for your father. He is truly blessed to have such a thoughtful and caring child. Everything" Ladee" above just said was right on and beautifully written.

Everything will work out for you and your Dad. Good things will keep coming your way; just believe that and you will do fine. As above post says, you are not alone - we on this forum are all here to help. Sending you prayers and blessings - take care.
Pollywog, I agree that taking your dad in was a logical and thoughtful idea, on paper at least, but now the reality of the financial part is sinking in. Why can't you discuss these things with your dad? If he's of sound mind, then there has got to be a two-way conversation about money. He's lived long enough to know a few things, so without making him feel guilty about strapping you, talk to him. Tell him that you're SO glad you moved him to live with you, BUT with that comes some challenges that you need his input about. There's got to be a way to ask him for his ideas without making him feel guilty for putting this burden on you. Find a way.
Bless you for taking in your dad, especially because you are so young. Check the Agency for the Aging in your area for any financial help available to give you respite. Having time to be yourself...outside of your very important for your emotional health. You did the right thing. I care for my 99 y.o. mother and the first months were a hard adjustment period for both of us. It is still not easy a year and a half later but I certainly feel better about my choice.
My advice is to help your Dad, and not feel like you have to "rescue" him. To me, the difference is real. He may not have a lot of money, but find ways to have him help with your household expenses and chores, as he can. If you start this journey treating him like a guest or an invalid, where you do and do and pay and pay, it will be hard to move to ground more fair to you. He had living expenses before, and should continue to have them. The loss of privacy and autonomy that this living arrangement requires for you is real, and so you need to find ways to take care of the spark inside you as well. If you are an introvert and need some alone "down-time" to rest and resource yourself, you may not find that space(figuratively, if not also literally) in your own home. Not everyone needs that, of course. To me, no refuge at home for quiet time has been one of the hardest things about taking in my own Dad 8 months ago.
Be as clear as you can, with him, about what you need -- and that your needs, and his, may change in the future. Finally, see what you can do to hemp your dad find new friends where you live now, so he does not have to depend on you for absolutely everything. That will limit you in ways you do not want to be limited at this time in your life. Good luck and lots of love to you!
Hi Pollywog,
You are truly a source of inspriation and courage. To be 30 years old and caring for your father is so self-sacrificial! I will be praying for God to give you wisdom and strength for the days ahead. While working at Focus on the Family, I came across a series of articles on their website that address the special challenges associated with caring for an aging loved one. I know you mentioned the emotional strain you are feeling..maybe talking to a counselor would help. Sometimes, it's just refreshing to talk to someone and know that what you're experiencing is normal. I'm sure that what you are doing is very close to God's heart. Blessings!
My Dad lives with me, too. I suggest you explore all available state aide, VA if he was ever in the military, medicare home health, etc. You need all resources you can get if finances are scarce. We are very fortunate that my Dad has two retirements and excellent medical coverage with medicare and military retirement benefits. I am also glad to have a large, caring church family from which I've found folks willing to help me. I've heard of a group called "rsvp" - forgot what it stands for exactly, but it's a group of retired folks that volunteer to help in various needs. See if there's a group in your area; they are online. The first word is "retired". We have a local group called "senior helpers" here. They have various levels of caretakers for hire. Although we haven't needed their services, we have registered with them in case of an emergency. A good support structure will be vital to you so that you don't feel quite so "caged" as time goes on. Sometimes I am overwhelmed and think I'm not going to make it. However, we must remember that one of these days we'll be glad to look back knowing we did the right thing. We'll be part of the "I'm glad I did" group instead of the "I wish I had" group!! Personally, I depend on the Lord to give strength and wisdom for the task. I hope you will turn to Him, also, for the renewal you'll be needing!
Pollywog I also admire you. My Mom moved in to recover from a fall over 4 years ago, lol, gotta laugh. You need to sit for a free consult with a lawyer because you are allowed to take rent from his social security. Unless you need that money for homecare or daycare, I would look into it. The heat is a large portion of our bills, she likes it very warm, then food and medications and clothing. I use my moms for homecare, previously daycare, because I was working fulltime also. I prefer a "break" by hiring homecare other than for rent. You do have rights, I think you can claim him on your taxes also so you need to find out all of these things. I wouldnt have my Mom any other place but home, she is bathed, loved, hand fed (for hours), and I sing her to sleep after we get her to sing for us! She is late stage alz but I know she feels safe and she will never be alone, what more could anyone ask for?Keep your chin up, its worth it!
Pollywog, you mention that your dad is on dialysis and if that is so he should be able to sign up for Medicare to help pay for those and his medicines. Someone at the dialysis center should be working with him and registering him as End Renal Kidney Disease and this should help with the dialysis payments. It is very nice of you to take him into your house and help with his care. This place is a great area for advice and if you need to vent. ; )

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