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My parents are 86 and 91. About 7-8 years ago my husband and I moved to their community and built a home on their property (I know). We bought their farm on a land contract and they are now living in a condo in a retirement community. My father still drives and he has lots of friends. My mother has dementia, but is still doing pretty well. Normally, I see them a minimum of 2 times a week, but lately it feels like my dad will not give me a break. And, of course, the more he calls or stops by, the more resentful I feel.

This has been an ongoing problem from the beginning. He wasn't around much when I was growing up so I didn't realize how pushy and obnoxious he could be. My intentions in moving next to my parents was to be here to help them as they got older and I've done a lot, but my dad is so needy.

When we first built our house, he would come in unannounced. He would start by knocking on the door and when we didn't answer (because one time we were in the bedroom), he would let himself in and call to us! He came into the basement when I was exercising and told me he had knocked, but no one answered. (If you knock and we don't answer, we are not here or we don't want to be disturbed!)

It would be nice if he was someone I could talk to so maybe I could try to make him understand how intrusive he is, but he also doesn't like to listen. When I've told him something bothers me, he'll ignore me and continue to do it so that I have to keep saying something. Then he gets exasperated with me! In fact, I have realized that our entire family deals with frustration and anger by being passive/aggressive.

I can't blame all of this on his age. He's smart, he has lots of nice friends and he can be very nice himself. It's just that he treats me so disrespectfully, I feel. We live in the country and it seems like he spits on the ground constantly. I cannot guess how many times I've asked him not to do that because it grosses me out. He'll stop for a while, but it doesn't last long. His table manners have definitely gotten worse and part of that probably is his age. Still, I find it disgusting when he leaves his napkin next to his plate and wipes his fingers as he eats. He thinks nothing of taking off his shirt in warm weather and it's a horrible site. In the past, when my mom had more control, she would tell him to put his shirt back on. Now she just looks at me and says he needs to get a bra!

We had my parents here for Christmas and we try to get together with them for dinner or lunch weekly, but lately I need a break. Dad calls me at home or work and wants me to meet him and Mom for lunch. And/or he wants my husband and I to go out for fish on Fridays. I know he's bored and tired of being alone with my mom, but she is actually very happy spending time alone. He belongs to the senior center and has a number of activities there. He can even take Mom along because there is a library, movies, etc., but it doesn't seem to be enough.

On the one hand, I feel guilty for avoiding my parents. They aren't bad people, but they are limited. Other than family, I don't have much in common with them and now they are both starting to repeat themselves A LOT. My husband has a stressful job, I work part time, and we have a dog and horses so I feel like I'm busy all the time. I'm so stressed out right now that every time Dad calls and I hear the ringtone I set up for him on my cell phone, I feel angry and upset. I've even tried finding ways to connect when it feels better for me, but that only seems to "prime the pump."

I want to be a good daughter. I love my parents and I know they need some help. I know my parents have done they best they could for all of their children, but I'm so angry right now that all I can think about are the negatives.

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Hmmm if he lives in a retirement community I bet they have some groups that maybe he can join. Maybe they have some groups just for men doing menly things like fishing and cars and gardening and the like? I would see if they have any evening functions...do they put out a flier of events. Maybe you and dad and go through it...maybe go with his and get him interested and then you can wane off of it while he gets enthusiastic? Do they have movie nights....well you get my drift things they have arranged...or maybe even other senior clubs in the area if the retirement community only has a few options...what are his interests or hobbies or lifelong dreams he can get hooked into with a new crowd or even bring his buddies too!!
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PirateQueen, you are right, he does not have dementia. My mom does. Dad has always liked being around friends and he really does have them, but it's like he needs constant entertainment. People have been busy with their families over the holidays so things have been slower than usual. He's not an alcoholic ( I was married to one), but if someone came over every night of the week for happy hour, my dad would love it.
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Whoa....I don't think the old fellow has dementia..but just plain bored out of his wits. Is he and your mom too feeble to go on any senior outings or trips. I would go with him to his senior activities and see if he is definetly in tune and involved...maybe it seems to you that he has a lot of friends but maybe in reality he does not. I would check into that...sounds like he is very bored of the same old same old and is trying to make some use of the time he has on his hands with familiarities like family. Can you have him help you with your dogs and horses? Believe me it will only get much worse as they age in the matter of dependence on you. So get used to it!!!
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You either did not mention it or I missed it but does Dad have some form of dementia? From the sounds of what you are writing he does, therefore part of what you are writing about will soon disappear.....his driving. Lock your doors into your home and that will keep Dad out. Since he wasn't around much while you were growing up maybe he's trying to make up for lost time. He probably feels more comfortable around you so he doesn't watch his table manners. My mil, whom I care for, acts like Emily Post whenever she is out in public or around someone else. When she is in her home she eats on the couch with most of it dripped down her front, wears a dirty robe until I can finally get it off of her, will wear sopping wet adult "underwear" if I don't constantly remind her to go potty and let's get changed. When I ask "are we wet or dry" our little hand goes down our pants and we squeeze. Would NEVER take a bath so I bathe her every Wed and Saturday. She lives in her own home, but it is attached to our house by her laundry room and a large, heavy locked door. She has no idea it can unlock from her side by her front door key....and I'm not talking! Maybe you could sit down with your Dad and tell him your schedule is really full but you don't want to miss out on visits with him, so you will go to his home or take him out to lunch on such and such a day at whatever time and visit, that way you can also visit with your mother sometimes. We all want to be good daughters, or in my case, daughter-in-law....but we cannot do it at the expense of our own health and mental stability. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day care that we start to neglect ourselves and those around us. When we built mil house a year ago, I told my husband I would take care of her but I would not allow her to interfere with our marriage or our life style. I was on disability at that time and have since retired, can't be a paramedic with a bad back, so I am home almost all of the time. Husband is an ER physician (stress filled) and when he has time off he just wants to hang around home and regenerate. We will take mil out to lunch occasionally and I savor the times when he and I can go without having to take her along. I have to remind myself that in the "normal" plan of life I will still be here after she is gone, so make whatever time I have with her good. But I know it can be frustrating.....just how many times do you have to repeat something before it sinks in? The sad part is that with dementia it won't sink in. You need to take a break or you will start to resent your Dad and I can tell you that he will need you more and more as he ages and his mental status changes and it won't be good for either of you if you resent him. Is there anyway you or you and your husband can get away for a few days? Sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries and you will be ready to deal with Dad again. Big hugs to you and I wish you the best with this.....please keep us informed in how you are doing.
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I suggest that you get your dad to the doctor - sounds like he is in the beginning stages of Demetia, too. Also, are you sure it's safe that he's driving? There is a new program in Texas if you notify the DPS they can send them an official letter to require that they take a drivers test. Otherwise take a deep breath. good luck
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