Follow
Share

My dad is 78, with a few illnesses but these are controlled with maintenance medicines. He has severe hearing impairment and because of this and his personality, he can't interact well with other people. He doesn't have any friends, has no hobby and does not attempt to go out by himself. He just stays home and watches TV all the time. Even if he goes to a relative's party, I have to accompany him.


I'm 42 and single and I have a full-time job. I often come home late, tired out by work and the commute, but Dad still expects me to entertain him or provide him companionship. I understand he is lonely, but I feel exhausted most of the time, because of my full-time job, taking care of the house and attending to Dad's needs. I simply can't be there all the time. I have one sibling, but she refuses to accompany Dad because of his difficult personality.


How do I get him to have a social network? We live in an Asian country where there's not much senior facilities that he can go to. I'm so desperate, I'm thinking of quiting my job, just to be able to manage and at least have a little time to myself.

Find Care & Housing
Don't quit your job.....he will expect more of your time....not less!
(1)
Report

Your profile does not say that he lives with you but I assume he must? Have you ever considered at the age of 78 your dad has lived without needing a social network for a long time. He’s probably fine with that. I think you may be making this a problem when he doesn’t have one. He has decided he doesn’t really care about friends etc. he’s probably an introvert and may even have social anxiety. You really should just accept who he is and go on with a life as you want it to be. Does he say he’s lonely? You are going to have to level with him, like it or not. Lay out how you work full time, and write out a list of all the things you have to do beyond your job and that you are tired. His health is not bad so there is absolutely no reason to quit working at 42 because he has socializing issues. 78 yo is young by today’s standard. You don’t say why he doesn’t have hearing aids. Really need more info. Why does he live with you? If you are Asian I know that honoring your parents is huge. Please tell us more.
(0)
Report

I know the problem, poor hearing aid and all.  I tried places to socialize with others her age, but she did not do well.  I refuse to be the only one for her.  I hire 2 companions to be with her a few days each.  Partly because she no longer gets herself a meal and is a fall risk, but also because these women are used to engaging people in an activity they may like.  She has made some choices for herself in life, and I am not responsible for those consequences.  I just do the best I can, and keep some of my old life. 
I am retired.  If not, I would not give up a job.  You are not alone, and I hope you continue with us here.  Big hugs!
(0)
Report

Definitely do not quit your job. His hearing impairment is HUGE! If a person cannot hear (and I know one woman who refuses to wear her hearing aides-actually is my daughter's mother-in-law), this makes it very difficult for him to socialize. Get him to an audiologist who can assist him with a good fit for hearing aides. Getting that resolved will fix his immobility, which is often the beginning of the end. (Think "the body in motion.")
(2)
Report

Jasmine, why did your dad begin living in your home? He is young and you say the primary reason is hearing loss. Also does he drive? This will help in providing answers.
(0)
Report

Due to your Dad's age, consider having him evaluated for possible dementia. When people know they have age related cognitive decline, they become self conscious, and try to hide their inability to relate to other people. Ask family members and friends to check in on your dad when you are away. Seeing a different face, may raise your Dad's spirits.
(2)
Report

Dear Jasmine,

It's so good of you to care for your dad. I know its hard. I too was the main caregiver for my dad and also had a full time job.

I don't know if any of your neighbors could visit with your dad. My dad loved to meet his buddies at the local café for coffee.

I would check in the community or through church and see if any volunteers could come to the house to get your dad out or just come for a visit.

Finding a housekeeper is a great idea. I find a little company is better than nothing.

With my own dad, he was a quiet person for the most part. We never even talked that much because I felt so overwhelmed. But if you can, maybe talk to your dad and ask him about what he wants and truly tell him how you are feeling. He might not even know he is putting all this pressure on you.
(4)
Report

Our hard-of-hearing loved one has learned over the years to read lips & facial expressions well enough to carry on conversations, so we facetime with family all over the world. Those few minutes on the phone help raise spirits a bit and give us a break from "entertaining". When calling overseas, we use an app that is cost appropriate or free for that country. Hang in there! You will get through this!
(7)
Report

Jasmine:

Did your dad have friends before he started to lose his hearing? If not, he may just be the type of person that is introverted and prefers to stay to himself.

I do not think quitting your job is the answer. As others have suggested, keep your financial independence, and hire a home health care aide or whatever type of similar worker they have in your country.

Is assisted living a possibility? Does he have the finances for it?

You also need to go out and maintain your own social life.

You will not be abandoning your father or neglecting him, in any way by taking care of yourself.

Like they say when a plane is in trouble to people who are in charge of children or the elderly.......put your oxygen mask on first.

If you are not keeping yourself emotionally strong and physically healthy, you can not help anyone.
(5)
Report

I hope you can maintain your own life. You are in the prime of your life and giving up things now can negatively impact your own future going forward (financial, health, social, etc.). My parents have lived in the same town for 40 years but remained very isolated and shunned friends and any social activities. We had to move my dad into memory care last year. My mom is only 76 but sits home alone now and puts pressure on me to be "the one". I told her I absolutely will not be responsible for her happiness. I can't. I am 51 and run a small business. It's not my fault that after 40 years in one town, my mom knows no one and chooses not to leave the house. You will read many stories on this forum where someone (usually a daughter) gives up their career and sometimes even their own home life and/or marriage to take care of an older parent. If your dad relies on you now to be his "only", you could well find yourself at age 60 and still locked into that role, except he will be very old and your ship will have sailed. Your young-dad would probably never have wanted you to sacrifice your life for his.
(11)
Report

Thanks, everyone, for the immediate responses! Hearing from you gave me much comfort. I'm giving careful consideration to all your tips and comments.

Yes, I am in the process of trying to find a housekeeper. I figured having one would at least provide some help and companionship, especially during days when I need to go on business trips.

97yroldmom, you got it right! I was thinking of quitting because that's the portion of my life where I can carve out more time. But I do want to have financial security and career fulfillment. I feel like I constantly face a battle of choosing between my responsibilities as a daughter and my own dreams and goals.

GardenArtist, yes, the hearing impairment is a major factor. His right ear no longer hears anything, while the diagnosis for his left ear is already severe (3rd out of 4 levels of severity). I have learned to talk slowly and in a low tone, to be patient and explain things slowly, but of course, not everyone will understand that and would be willing to do that.

Please keep your suggestions coming! They help a lot!
(3)
Report

JasmineB, try to see if your Dad could find a forum on the Internet that would be of interest. That is if he is familiar with using a computer, I know some people aren't. What type of job did Dad have prior... look for a forum with that interest. That way Dad doesn't need to worry about his hearing.

Is your home a single family house with room to garden? My elderly Dad use to spend time in his garden growing veggies and flowering plants.
(5)
Report

When you wrote that he has a hearing impairment, a light went off. This is only my limited experience, but I've found that that's a MAJOR impediment to making friends, or even getting together with existing friends.

Do you know if he's able to hear men better than women? Sometimes the range of voice, especially soft female voices, is more difficult to hear. Has he shown any more interest in meeting with men than with women?

I believe that a hearing impediment is such a barrier to communication and to interaction, that it's easier to stay home than try to interact and be embarrassed by the inability to do so.

I don't really know what to suggest though; this was an issue I wasn't successfully able to handle, primarily b/c the hearing aide was too hard to manage given a hand injury; it was hard to insert and hard to remove.
(9)
Report

Don’t quit your job! Regardless of what your work is you will be worse off than now. Sometimes we know something has to change and the one thing it feels like we have control over is our work. Give that up and you will be full time caring for dad, trying to encourage him to do things he doesn’t want to do.
Try to hire a layer of help to do the chores at home. A housekeeper will be a small measure of company for dad. I am assuming you live together? Tell sister dad needs help with things besides going out if that is her primary problem with helping. Don’t minimize the benefit of any help. But do accept that sister has the right to make her own decisions as do you. (not knowing the laws of your country, I am assuming you are not legally bound to provide care).
What are the options in your country for elders?
Do you have affordable health care? Does your salary make a difference in your life? Does dad have funds to provide for himself? What will happen to your future if you don’t have savings?
Can you hire a companion to take him for a walk each day? I’m sorry if my suggestions are not appropriate to you and your dad’s situation. I’m sure you’ve thought of these things before but know that you are not alone and you can come to this site anytime to vent. Hugs.
(9)
Report

Jasmine, is the Asian country you live in your father's country of origin? Just wondering if being an ex-patriate is adding to his isolation.
(4)
Report

Would you consider hiring a companion aide/service? They would provide engaging companionship structured around the likes and needs of your father. Conversation, walks, games, activities and music would fill up some of his day and give you some breathing space.
(9)
Report