Elderly Dad is causing lots of hassle.


Pretty long story. Dad is 82 and lives alone. Is in reasonable health for his age generally.

3 months ago he had a chest infection. It was nasty but he would not let it go or listen to the doctor. He must have visited the GP about 20 times and each time they told him he just needed to wait it out.

Hes called the doctor to his house multiple times and now they refuse to come out to him. Hes also called an ambulance three times and each time they’ve checked him in hospital and sent him home.

His chest infection is gone now, but he says hes aching and feels nauseous. To be honest, I lose track of exactly whats wrong with him.

Yet he constantly hassles me. I tell him he needs to listen to the doctor but hes convinced he should be in hospital.

I do my best to help him but I’ve got small children and wife whos ill herself (with fibromyalgia). Its tough for us at times. We have to pay for a cleaner, and childcare. Also family come to stay with us to help wife out. I work 90 mins commute away so its a long day for me (Im up at 545am).

His recent behaviour has included all sorts. Hes faked chest pains to get attention. Hes demanded I go to see him. Hes demanded I take time off work to take him to hospital (I do contract work so its unpaid if Im not there). The hospital one was annoying – I sorted out patient trasnport but he didnt want to do that. My office is 80 miles away from the hospital – he said he wanted me to take him.

Xmas day at our house was a nightmare. He moaned, made out he was dying, was rude to my family, had no manners, and burped/broke wind at the dinner table just to prove how ill he was. Then when I took him homw I spent 2 hours talking him down from phoning 999. All the while my kids are at home having not seen their dad much that day (Its 30 min drive each way to pick up/drop off dad too).

My dear wife finally lost it (shes been great so far). I can see here point. Shes been suffering for ages yet he seems to make as much fuss as he can. Whenever I try to talk to him to explain Ive got others to consider but will do my best for him he does not seem to give a monkeys – its all about him.

Thing is I dont think hes got dementia. I’ve got a friend whos a mental health nurse who agrees too.

To be honest, we’ve had dad for last 15 years on xmas day (brother has him boxing day). I think my poor family deserve a break after this year. Dear bother will have to alter his xmas day pub plans. Im so desperate Im possibly going to tell dad a white lie that wife is working xmas day (shes a nurse).

But I feel so guilty all the time. Trouble is if I dont do the white lie I upset my own family….. :-(

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Sounds like my fil, first your wife and children come first. Second you have to set limits, learn to say no, don't enable his behavior of consequences of his choices, takers rarely set limits, givers must, self centered people rarely have empathy and the the ability to validate others, feeling obligated breeds resentment, don't let your father dictate your self worth, set boundaries with him. Last, childhood is a very short season, focus more on them and your wife. We love our parents, but sometimes they have to be third. You have to be husband and father first. It's just the way of life. Don't let guilt control your decisions. Good luck and take care.

Well I popped in Friday night (I was in the area anyway). Fortunately, hes still happy after his hospital visit. Still going for his endoscopy though this week - waste of time that is but I understand its not pleasant, so it might teach him its not ideal to have these tests he doesnt need.

He tried to get me to visit Sunday but I said I'd ring him instead. He wasnt particularly happy. So sunday evening my phone rang at 8pm, then every 2 mins for about half an hour (I was eating my tea!).

I did speak to him he was ok. Seems he had a few visitors saturday but, in his words "havent seen a soul today" (apart from his carer lol!). Why the be so dramatic? So I said - Its one day. If you cant cope with one day then dont live on your own - go into shelered accomodation. End of that discussion from him.

As you've all said before he wants things all on his terms. Live where he wants and everyone doing what he wants.

One thing about the last few weeks. Hes not even mentioned I didnt visit him in hospital. Before he would have gone on and on about this and practically demanded I visit. So some good has come of it. Also, he didnt even ask me to take him to hospital appt tuesday hes got a lift off his cousin.

Im beginning to realise that hes just not going to see sense.

Churchm - You're right I shouldnt have gone. Wife has given me a hard time about it too. But you're both right.

When I got there first thing he said was "sorry about dragging you out - I know you've been in work all day". I thought hmmm yes its easy to say now I'm here.

Which sometimes leads me to think he does this on purpose and he knows exactly what hes doing at times but still puts himself first. Which is the worse for me.

I was going to visit this weekend but I've hurt my leg now so its difficult to drive.

Luckily I only have to drive a little way to train station but then walking from train to office is hard work. I need a rest I think.

Dad sounds like a hoot.

Paul I am going to speak briskly.

Your father doesn't see a problem with your adding two hours' work to the end of an already busy day.

Well. Apparently, neither do you. Otherwise, what made you go ahead and do that?

He can insist all he likes. It is only you who can make yourself sit in your car and drive to his house. If it is a bad idea and an unnecessary visit, DON'T DO IT.

We are going through issues as you with my 92 year old fil. My husband and I are handicapped. My fil is in good health, but he is demanding, self centered man who lacks empathy, and compassion. We had an issue with him on Christmas. Well the next day my husband tried to talk to him about the way he acted, but all he did was speak ill of our sons. Well I went off like a rocket. I draw a line when you say lies about my children.
I have removed myself from him. You need to put your wife and child first.
This constant stress is bad for all. What we did was call meals on wheels, access, and our local agency on aging to help him.
I hope your country has these kinds of agencies. If he is a veteran see if they can assist you too. Good luck and god bless..

your dad is not going to see a problem with his seld centeredness. YOU are the only person who is going to be able to prioritize your own health and that of your wife and children. dont expect dad to "come around". for whatever reason, he is not capable of seeing beyond his own needs any longer. " yes, I love you dad, but right now my priority is taking care of my wife and kids" is a useful phrase.

ChurchM - yes I do get that. I know hes got "issues" with something. Not sure if hes lonely (he has a full social life) but definitely anxious about his health.

Main issue for me is that he wont listen to anyone or accept help. He wants miracles off everyone. Like you said I cant do it.

In the past hes moaned because I can't drive 80 miles from work to take him to a hospital appointment when I've sorted out patient transport for him.Because they were picking him up 30 mins earlier than he wanted.

Also, he tends to focus only on himself and no-one else. No-one else is ill apart from him which I find a bit off.

He came out of hospital yesterday but insisted I drive to visit him last night. Yesterday my day was wake at 530am, train to work by 8am, leave work at 530pm, get off train at 645pm. Drive to his house by 715pm. Finally got home at 9pm. But he doesnt see a problem withme doing this.

Paul, looking at this from your dad's point of view, there's not nothing wrong. He's lonely and anxious. Quite possibly these understandable emotions manifest themselves in physical symptoms. He's not making a fuss for the sheer merry h*ll of it.

But that's different from saying that you have to split yourself three or more ways to cope with all of the demands on your time. You can't.

So, since your priorities should be your wife and family and your job, you cannot possibly meet your father's emotional and physical needs - no matter how real they may be. So, whether he likes it or not, that support will have to come from other sources, of which there are many (unless he's living on a Cairngorm or something). If he turns help away that is his decision; but if you keep reaching out for him to organisations and services that offer things like befriending, lifts to hospital, day centres and what-have-you then eventually you'll fill his diary well enough and they'll take the pressure off you. Home help, carer services and activities don't have to be unrepeatable offers.

In terms of how things work with family. Yes its hard. Im up at 530am every day and get home usually at 6pm. I dont drive though I get the train so not as bad. Im still very tired by the weekend.

Daughter goes to school just mornings. But wife has to take/collect. We pay for a cleaner. We pay for extra childminder (three afternoons a week). Also, Mother-in-law stays 2 nights a week to help (Tues-Thurs). Also we've got a teenage son with different problems that presents!

I also fit into this visits to Dad almost every weekend - not always possible. As you can see theres not an awful lot else I can fit in!

It all works just about. I get paid well and the "system" runs ok until we get Dad who expects me to run around for him when theres nothing wrong. You can see why my wife gets so irate!

Good news I've been offered a contract (I do IT contract work) 7 miles from home. Id be stupid not to take it. Trouble is I need to get current place to release me from my current contract (Im signed up until end Feb) or its no go. Fingers crossed for me!

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