How do I know when my father is really ill or faking it?

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So my father has been living with us for this entire year. And I am, right now, feeling at the end of my rope.

I work hard all day at my job and take care of a teen-age boy. I'm a single Mom as well.

It seems that my father cannot WAIT for me to get home so he can hit me with another piece of bad news. His back hurts; he did not sleep last night; he is feeling weak; he is dizzy; he had a period of confusion . . . and today - the biggie . . . he has chest pain.

His caregiver/companion was here all day; he did not mention it to her because she is not 'family'. Though she was here all day and would have been more than happy to take him to the doctor. I had to work late as I feel like I'm getting further and further behind in my job.

My son tells me that my Dad has been out looking for me twice this evening. He did not answer his cell phone.

When I finally get home - he hits me with the chest pain. Now he did not go walking today because he had some. He will not go walking again until it goes away. He did not call his doctor; he did not tell his caregiver.

I have dealt with so many of his so-called health crisis this year; I cannot even begin to name them all. We had plans to visit our family back home and he could not get out of bed that day because he was 'weak'.

This has been going on for years. How do I know what is real and what is a cry for more attention? How do I deal with this? Call 911? Insist he go to the nearest Urgent Care? It's starting to give ME chest pain.

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Ringo1, if he is sweet old man who loves you, you wouldn't be in this situation. I am sorry, but these parents who manipulate their kids, it takes alot to see through them. We are blinded by our love for them. What about their love for us. It took me having three daughters, my Dad dying, and my Mom being as ass about her finances to realize that she had always "never been there" for my brother and I. Mom can appear sweet too, but she is selfish. Just take some time to reflect on all you have said here, reread what you have posted and tell me if a sweet, unselfish parent would do this to their child and grandchild.

Unless he has dementia or something that has changed his personality, I suspect he has always been this way. You have to protect yourself, your job and your relationship with your son. Grandpa's needs can be more than met in a nice assisted living facility. Don't look back, just do it. I hope he cooperates with you.
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ringo - the probem with all of this is that there are no easy answers. You just have to make a decision one way or the other and do it. Those of us who agonize and despair and worry and fret over the fate of our parents are the good ones IMHO. At least we can sleep well at night knowing we've done our part, and we've done our best, for our parents.

As for hoping you die before your son has to deal - make sure he knows how you feel. make sure everyone in your life knows. Do a living will - if you don't have one already you can get them online - and attach with it specific instructions in case of dementia.

Having seen my MIL's pain and suffering with cancer and her death at age 49, I decided long ago I would never do chemo unless 'they' could all but guarantee I would have a complete recovery. Now, having lived since 2006 with the ravages of my Mom's Alzheimer's, I (and my husband) are more determined than ever than our three adult daughters will NEVER find themselves in a similar position.
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Oh gosh; yesterday he was so sweet that I felt awful about sending him to an ALC.

The 3 of us went to dinner and he did talk about the money; how he can't stand the thought of them taking all his money. I talked about the pros - the thought of 3 meals a day and some companionship with people his own age - have to be appealing.

I know that I can't make this happen befoe his surgery in two weeks. I'm not that good.

He seemed so sweet and helpless; I cried all the way to work wondering if this is the right thing to do.

My logical mind says 'Yes" - the way we are living is not normal; I have no friends; no privacy; no private time with my son; and again, functioning as the surrogate wife since 2001. My father has no appropriate social contacts other than his caregiver and relies on her, my son and I to meet ALL his emotional and physical needs. He needs companionship; activities; and 3 good meals a day as oppposed to doughnuts and soup the days his caregiver is not there and I don't have time to cook.

My emotional mind says "why can't you make this work?" It's financially advantageous; he's a sweet old man; he loves me and my son . . . am I blaming him for too much for what's wrong in my life.

I know, in my heart, that we would all be better off with him in ALF - most of all, HIM. But it's so so hard to think of 'sending your father away'.

Prayers for all of us facing this situation. I truly hope I die before my son ever has to make decisions like these.
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I should add, I used to respond to many of her complaints giving her the benefit of the doubt and they grew and grew and grew. I have spent hours and hours and too much energy over the years trying to sort out things that were wild goose chases. Now, to look after myself, I have decided I will respond when I KNOW there is an emergency or serious problem. There are people nearer her who can help in the short term - the staff at the ALF - and others who can notify me if I am needed.
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Go for it - and before the surgery. You are NOT a terrible person. My mother is very manipulative too and can almost outshop me and she is in her late 90's, but "cannot" do what she does not want to do. She is in an ALF, had Borderline Personality Disorfder and compains about everything - vigorously. I know as long as she is complaining she is fine, as it is her favourite past time. I limit contact as the continal negativity is very stressful, as are the demands to follow up on the complaints which are just the ups and downs on life. She is well cared for, nourished, in a beautiful apartment etc. She is physically A1 as pronouncd by doctors on the many visits to the ER. I believe if you allow it, people with this personality will use up every bit of energy and time you have and you need to spend some of that on yourself. I am in my 70's and my health has suffered so I have had to distance. Mother is still fine and has the help she needs. Is she happy? She complains a lot but them she always has. No one is responsible for someone else's happiness - just for their care.
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Ringo1 NO ONE thinks you are a terrible person. I moved my 85 yr old mother in with me and its been a 3yrs now. I have all the issues you have, I work all day, I have a 19yrs old daughter who I have in college. I left a 20yr miserable marriage bought my current house thinking my life would be better..its only more challenges with my elderly mother. She tells everybody I am the mother, and I hate it..but once a week usually Sunday, is my day for rest and I do something for myself alone! I know I will have to make a decision soon for my mother's care outside my house. So when you have done the best you can for your parent..as a caregiver or placing them in AL or nursing home, that is still done for the best. Be blessed.
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Ringo, I am so happy to see you've talked with your Dad about AL and at least now you know what direction to take. It also makes the whole situation so much more bearable that you can talk with your Dad and know that he is willing to accept change. One thing I want to share with you though is why wait until after your Dad has his cataract surgery? They say that the recovery is easy afterwards but it still takes time with the bandages etc for healing. It might be better for your father and you if you can get him into AL beforehand. We went through this surgery twice a few years back with my father and everything went fine with him, he recovered fine but a certain amount of care was needed to make sure he healed well afterwards. If you can't get him into AL beforehand at least you have a caregiver there when you're at work. Thanks for keeping us posted :)
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ringo - just wanted to add that I agree about being present for your son. I personally believe its every bit as important to be available to your teens as it is with toddlers. A majority of them anyway.
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I agree with feelingnuts, I just hope he will go along with it when he finds out how much they really cost. Mom and Dad (now deceased) couldn't pay for anything while I was growing up, no college, no weddings, no vacations, no anything. They had to save for their "old age". For years Mom has thrown it up to my brother and I that she wants to go into assisted living, then a nursing home. Now she is 81 and lonely, will not keep up her home, can't do anything for her self (not because of her age or physical abilities). So, I started talking to her about visiting a very nice assisted living just a few miles from her home and across the street from my brother. She won't go, now says she just wants to go to a nursing home when she needs it and she does not want a caregiver in her home. Finally I realized she isn't going to spend a nickel on any of this. Just be an unhappy old woman. She is only happy having a pile of money and not spending it. I sure hope your Dad doesn't pull something like that. Mom will spend some of her money on her care, she has burned so many bridges she will have to.
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Ringo,
No one thinks you are a terrible person we have all been there done that, we need to do what is best for us.
Hang in there. :)
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