My 88-year-old widowed father is stubborn and self-centered. He doesn't associate with people that aren't hired to care for him. What can I do to get him more socialized?

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My father has refused a hip replacement 20 years ago which would've kept him mobile. Due to back strain he can barely move around, and is reliant upon those who work for him(in his other business) for personal care....though they are helping him to heal, he shows them little respect. He shows me(his only daughter) even less respect - refusing to give me a key to let myself in when the others aren't around to do so. He acts as if I am after something(not sure what) or wanting to declare him. He refuses to discuss any legal work -such as end of life, trusts/wills, additional aids or other housing options. Most of his friends are dead, but he refuses to associate with senior communities, churches, refuses independent living facilities...and then complains of loneliness, he wants my attention but refuses to consider my time/efforts - and acts like I'm waiting for him to pass. Truly, I just want him to live out his life happy- he's choosing otherwise. What can I do differently?

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I stumbled across this site...my situation is not dissimilar, as an only child caring loosing my mother and caring for an 80 year old parent and looking out for him , I hold down a job full time, commute 75 miles to work and manage to cook roast dinners somewhere inbetween, everything I suggest to my dad is met with negativity.. he is just not a joiner of things, but also lonely, its a no win situ .. and you can't make them do stuff .. i think honeysprings comments is so true, if anyone has any suggestions though gratefully recieved !! but I feel your stress !!
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ShimmeringSong, I had just posted our situation before reading yours. I especially like Eddie's response. I wish you the best, because I know how you feel. I am one of five, but I am the eldest son, and both my parent's lifeline.
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I am new to care-taking in regard to my 88 year old father. He lost his wife 20 months ago and to be honest they were not doing a very good job of taking care of themselves before she died and he felt independent afterward but so lonely. I found that he was unclean, a lot of self neglect was going on and he was just A L O N E. He was offered to come live with us, he moved in Feb. but is not happy. He has not adjusted as well as we had hoped and is depressed. I got him to take an antidepressent and have done nothing but get him situated and have his medical care caught up to date to include hearing aids, which he hates. Dad will not go out unless it's with me, I suspect he expected me to fill the role of his wife however I am a married woman and to be honest Dad was not a very good father, missed out on most of my life and we have ended up with not much to talk about. I worry that this was the wrong thing to do and he will end up just watching TV until he dies.
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ShimmeringSong -
I'm in the same boat as you, with an antisocial elderly father who relies on me for his social contact. To the rest of you, no, it's not because he's old. He's always been this way and made life hell for my mother, because he was utterly reliant on her and unable to make other friends. Lilliput's advice is right on. Fit in what you are capable of, the rest is up to him to decide, and if he won't socialize with others, that's his fault. My father is only 75, people think he's in his 50's or 60's as he's so incredibly healthy but he does nothing all day and won't get involved in any activities. Yes, he's lonely, and he's needed me to call twice a day since my mother died. He gets angry if I try to find things to get him involved in. I've done my best. Don't curtail your life for someone who is selfish and anti-social. Easier said than done, of course -- I love my Dad, and I worry about it being unhealthy for him to be alone for days at a time, but there's no reason he can't get out, and he's hurt my ability to have relationships. That's his choice, not out of necessity, but because, I've learned, he has Antisocial Personality Disorder. I talk to him twice a day and see him once a week, and that's all I can sanely handle. It does no good to sacrifice your own happiness for someone who won't be made happy by your efforts, anyway.
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I agree with the others even when my husband was in rehab after being in the hospital the only group he joined was the gardening group because the activities-new at that facility did not know hardly anything about how to start and since he has been a gardener for years he agreed to become a part of it but other than having over 16 periods in rehab he did not join others just like at home and there came a time I decided I did not deserve his bad behaivor towards me and stayed away for days at a time but it was not my job to make him happy-some people just do not want to be socialable his main reason I think was because he only wanted to talk about his problems and others got tired of his wineing. You need to accept this but since he will not be nice to you you can decide to distance yourself more you do not deserve to be treated badly.
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Wow, finding this site, reading others issues and responses has made my day! thank you for being there.
I have been the sole caregiver for my 78 year old father for almost five years. He has chosen to give up. Yes he has had a few medical issuses but basically gave up and quit living. he has (in the last 2 years) lost
100 pounds. Due to the excess weight (at highest was just shy of 400 #) become imobile. His attitude ranges from anger to indifference. His idea of living is watching any Judge show to eating. I feel horrible that he won't help or do any thing on his own. Just recently i've been able to lose the guilt and just deal with my dad as an unhappy 300 # 3 year old.
I just have to tell myself daily that it's not my dad in there any more, and try to be as respectfull and loving as possible. I wish it were different But it's NOT!
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Shimmering, you can only do so much for your father. Is your father living in his own home (ie- not in a senior community of some kind)? It sounds like this is the case, and the helpers are coming into his home to help him. I don't know if finances would permit this, but if your father was living in some kind of facility where other seniors live, this could go a long way to help "socialize" him. Sometimes a move like this will open up a senior socially, who was formerly getting reclusive and anti-social. With my own father, who is also widowed, he is doing well socially now that he is living in a senior community ( assisted living). I can only imagine how lonely and angry he would be if he were living alone in his old house. But I realize that finances cannot always permit this. I hope you can work all this out, and that your father becomes happier and more cooperative.
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SONG:

He reminds me of when I was raising my twin boys. I used to tell my wife not to take them out of the crib every time they cried, but she didn't anyway. So they ate her alive for years afterwards. If I was the one at home, they "knew" better. If they cried, of course I'd come and check if there was anything wrong and change their diapers if needed, but most of the time wouldn't pick them up. In a nutshell, children learn to manipulate way before they learn to speak. Your Dad is doing the same thing.

Give him a very large slice of Humble Pie. Remind him that you and the other caregivers whom he disrespects so much are all he has. Also tell him that he should start thinking about fending for himself as you begin cutting his privileges a little at a time. He'll probably go "project" and try to send you on a guilt trip (more manipulation), but that's to be expected.from someone who's about to be deprived from a lifeline.

We all go through traumatic experiences in our lifetimes, but that's not a license to treat people who care about us like trash. I've always believed you have to be a masochist to be a caregiver, and a sadist if you truly want to succeed at it. It's like having two wolves -- love and hate -- lurking inside you. The one you feed the most wins. If it's hate, your soul will rot; and those around you will have to either run and save their skin or pay a heavy price. Unfortunately, the only thing we can do with these wolves is reconcile them and strive for balance.

Love yourself again, get your self-respect back, dare to sing once more, and stop taking all this unnecessary abuse. Your're not his whipping girl or some kind of dusty doormat, but his loving daughter. Good luck.
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shimmeringsong, you have gotten great advice so far. I just want to add some empathy. My mom used to make me fel as if she thought I was going to steal from her all of the time. In fact in later years she did tell my siblings just that. I had been caring for her for fifteen years. Cleaning, shopping, taking her on vacations entertaining her and her friends....but eventually she needed more attention than I could give and she talked my sister in to flying her to CA to be with her. In 3 short weeks my sister put her in a home. Mother wasw miserable and found out that I was loving her so much more than she knew. On her death bed she told me that she had missed out on a lot of love those last years. I was sad for her. Somehow when they think that we are doing wrong they just do not realize that we are loving them by wanting to help them. Hopefully, your dad will figure this out also. I hope for your sake that he will tell you so one day.
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that would be great IF he watched tv....he doesn't have a tv, doesn' like them...his social interaction is with his staff, his medical folks, and some phone conversations with one or two others....then he whines about no one associating with him....(when it is he whom chooses not to associate with others)
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