Is there a way I can make my father go to the senior center?

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My 68 year old father lives with me, my new husband and my 19 year old daughter. He has no major health issues anymore since we moved him from PA to TN to live with us. Other than depression. Mom died 6 years ago from breast cancer. Even when mom was alive all my dad did was go to work and come come. My mom worked full-time (even during most of her cancer treatments), shopped, cooked, paid the bills, mowed the lawn, cleaned the house, washed the clothes and washed the dishes, etc. My mom was worried that when he retired he would just lay around the house all day watching TV. This is exactly what he is doing living with us. He is depressed (we been to the doctors, the psychiatrists, etc - he goes a few times, doesn't take the medicines they give him and then he cancels the appointments or just doesn't show up). He was prescribed Ativan after my mother died and the dummy dr kept prescribing it for the next 6 years. Of course he got addicted and would take more than he was supposed to then go through withdrawal. It was a nightmare but after a year we (the doctors and I) finally got him off of that medicine. All he does all day long is lay in bed or watch tv and sleep. He refuses to cook or even make himself a sandwich. If we have leftover he will eat those but he drives to either a fast food restaurant every day for lunch. His major health complaint is constipation. He doesn't help around the house at all and he smells musty all time time because he doesn't shower or wash his clothes often enough. Says he doesn't do anything to get the clothes dirty. He is just plain lazy and always was. The doctors tell him he has to start moving around, socializing, etc. He can but won't. He still drives fine, has perfect hearing (better than mine.) I have tried to get him to go to this wonderful senior center which also serves lunch for $2.00. He refuses to go and won't get into the car. Won't help me or my husband out around the house at all. The only thing I refuse to do for him is wash his clothes but I might have to start because they smell so bad and so does him bedroom. If he does come out he sleeps on the sofa (which then smells bad as well). He is even too lazy to use a plate most times when he makes his toast so he uses a paper towel. He says if he uses a paper towel then he doesn't have to make a plate dirty. But he gets crumbs everywhere and makes a mess. He doesn't wash his hands after eating or coughing and my walls, door knobs and light switches get all kinds of grime on them from his dirty fingers and hands.

So after some advise from others we have decided to just ignore him. I'll knock on his bedroom door when dinner is ready and sometimes he comes out to eat and other times not. But his grumpiness and laziness puts a negative vibe in our house even if he stays in his room.

How can I make him do the things the doctor tells him he needs to do to feel better? I have power of attorney but even with that I can't physically drag him to the car and make him go to the senior center. My daughters college is right down the road from the senior center and we had worked out that she would drop him off two days a week at 9am and pick him up after her classes at 12:30pm. He refused to go. Now he says he might want to move back to PA. The reason I had to move him down here is his ativan addiction, his loss of weight (down to 108 lbs). My alcoholic brother lived with him (he did not work or help out around dad's house either) and they were always fighting and would always call the police on each other. The house was a mess because nobody cleaned it. So when I went home I cleaned it out and with dad's blessing we put it up for auction and sold it. BTW..my dad gets $3,000/month in social security and pension payments and has over $100k in the bank so he is not hurting for money. He says he doesn't want to go to an assisted living facility or live by himself in an apt. But he is living by himself in his bedroom! I know if he started going to the senior center he would like it. I took him for a visit once and I wanted to stay...it was that nice. Says he might move back to PA and have my brother move back in with him but my brother has not changed and if he does move...who has to do all the work...me?

Short of dragging him out of the house...what can I do?

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I have a lot of patients with drug-seeking behaviors. Some no longer suffer from depression / anxiety, but get the pills to sell them on the street for $5 a pop. Others have conditioned themselves to believe they can't do without them. When that happens it's not unusual for them to take more to get the same effect. Any way you slice it, these individuals can't function.

In sum, you're living with an addict and addiction is a family problem. The healing begins from within, and he's not going to achieve it unless he takes responsibility for his behaviors and realizes there are negative consequences attached to them.

Make him an offer he can't refuse: either go to detox/rehab for a month or move out. If he agrees to treatment, the first week (detox) will help him clean his body; the other tree will clear his head enough to apply consequential thinking to addictive behaviors. This might be the silver bullet that turns his life around.
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Thanks for all of your help! We already did two complete work ups. One with his private insurance/medicare which sent him to a psychiatrist. This guy was great and got him off of the Ativan. But after a few appointments dad stopped going. Then he had a full work up at the Veterans Association. Unfortunately I could not go with him that day and he came home and told me that they only gave him blood pressure medicine. He started acting drugged up all the time gain. So I searched his room I found out they had given him Ativan again and another medicine that was similar to the ones we just gotten him off of. He told them that is what he had been taking and they gave him more. I had to take it away....
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People who rent so much space in your head are unforgettable. .. Those who suggest you ignore him don't realize you'd be enabling pity-pot, self-destructive behaviors.

Working all those years gave him a sense of purpose; now he doesn't have one. Do his laundry, pack it, give him a one-way bus ticket to Philadelphia and the address to the nearest YMCA (it's somewhere near Market St.). It's time for him to move on and for the rest of you to get on with your lives.
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I think it istime to get him out of your house and as mentioned above set a date and have him go somewhere else-is is not working out for you and that is the botton line.
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You have a lot of issues going on. All I can tell you is that when my dad couldn't take care of himself any more alone, we urged him to go into Assisted Living. Wouldn't take OUR advice, but when a woman he knew praised the place to high heaven, he decided it was a good place to live. Got anybody whose opinion he might respect? As to going to the Senior Center, my husband with dementia didn't want anything to do with daycare, so I snuck him there as we went on other errands, told him I needed to check out the place. Once he saw what they did there (and that they wouldn't MAKE him do things), he decided it was okay - and now he participates in many of their activities. Sometimes trickery is good.
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68 is so young! It sounds like he may be depressed & Ativan does not help depression. That's an alarming weight loss. It's very sweet of you & your family to take him in & try to help. I would take your dad to the dr & have have a complete check up, there may be underlying physical causes for his weight loss & depression. It's too bad there are no senior apartments in your area, but an active assisted living may be just right. If your dad has the $$ to spend, now is the time. If you continue to care for him, dad should pay you rent. Good luck!
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No he doesn't need to live with us..and we don't need his income but like most we do live paycheck to paycheck. I do have him pay the electric and cable tv. I pay for everything else and do the shopping, cleaning, making dinner etc. I guess your right...he won't change.
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Thank you both for your responses. Part of the reason I moved him down with me was because he lost so much weight because he would rather take his ativan and sleep his life away than eat. He got down to 107 lbs. We have been looking into assisted living but the cheapest near us is $2,300 month and he doesn't want to spend that kind of money. He says he doesn't want to be alone or live alone. Unfortunately we don't have any senior apartments down where I live...my father's parents lived in one and they loved it. I think I will start looking for a 1 bedroom apt for him. It is so sad...he is healthy and of sound mind but to want to do nothing all day is so sad.
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Short of dragging him out of the house, what can you do? How about kicking him out? Along with Nancy I'm trying to understand why he is living with you. OK, you helped him through an addiction, which was very commendable of you. That is under control, right? So what is the reason he has to live with you now? Is he paying room and board and do you need that financially to get by? Or is there some other reason? It doesn't sound like he is there because you enjoy his company and his presence enhances your days. It doesn't sound like he needs a caregiver. If he doesn't want to cook or clean, and he has sufficient financial resources, how about assisted living, or even an independent senior apartment where they offer some maid service and have a dining room? Or what about moving back to PA if that is what he wants to do? You didn't mention anything about cognitive impairment or dementia, so he has a right to make his own decisions, even if they are very poor decisions.

And you have a right to make your own decisions. Maybe it is time to decide that the period of your helping him through a rough spot is over. Give him a reasonable period to make other arrangements. Help him with the process if he wants help. But set a deadline and say goodbye. Then stay in touch, of course, and continue to let him know you love him. But cleaning up after him is not your responsibility.

Good luck!
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First of all, how do you know your father is depressed? It sounds to me that he's 'been like this his whole life' so why is he gonna change now? Your mom did everything, and she knew him well enough to know that he was gonna do exactly what he's doing now, which is NOTHING. He's only 8 years older than me, and that's WAY too young to act like this. I don't know why he has to live with you, when it sounds like he's capable of living on his own. Tell dad that it's time for him to move out. At least that's what I would do.
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