Dad has no friends and is dependent on me... it's exhausting.

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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.

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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.")
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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.
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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.
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