Hello all,

I have a dilemma that I hope you can help me with. My elderly father who is 83 moved out of state a few years ago to be closer to my oldest brother who is married now. My father, however, lives alone, he's a few towns away from my oldest brother though. My father is ill with pancreatic cancer. I understand that he is ill and elderly and cannot do many things for himself such as cleaning and laundry. He does still drive and can walk and cook, but what I think is unfair is that he expects his daughters, (my sister amd and myself) to come down every two weeks to clean his house when my brother is nearby. When I do visit, I do these things for him but I do not think it's fair that I'm expected every two weeks to do this when he will NEVER ask my oldest brother to help clean. I suggested a home attendant but he changes the subject. I am not a selfish person. I love my father dearly, with all of my heart, however, I do have my own life to live. If he were close by, this wouldn't be an issue but he's not. Please give me advise and am I wrong to think that this is unfair?

Thank you to all who respond.

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It is unfair that you are expected to go clean his house every two weeks.

(It is also unfair that he has cancer, of course. Hey, life is unfair.)

I hope you will continue to visit him as often as you can, but I think it is ridiculous for you and your sister to come some distance to do the cleaning. Nor do I think Brother should necessarily do it, just because he lives closest. The solution is obvious and I'm sure you know what it is. Hire the cleaning done! It may be that your father is qualified for such a service. If not, there are plenty of services around that you can hire.

My mother resisted the idea of having a homemaker come in and clean her small apartment. She told the social worker, "My daughters can take care of that." But her daughters spoke up loud and clear. "When we come to see you we want to play cribbage with you, not scrub your toilet!" You need to protect the quality time you have available to spend with Dad. One way to do that is to hire out the tasks that anyone could do.

Dad doesn't like that? Too bad. It is very difficult to turn down what an elderly sick parent thinks they want, but sometimes you simply have to act in their best interests whether they see it that way or not.

When Dad is gone, are you going to be glad that you vaccuumed his carpet twice a month, or glad that you took him out to the botanical gardens or a ballgame? Only you and your sister can be his daughters. Anyone can do his laundry.

Don't spend any more of the precious time you have left with Dad fretting about who does what chores and what is fair. Arrange a local service to do homemaking tasks and use your time wisely to strengthen your family ties.

(It may be that Dad resists having a hired service because he fears he won't see you if you are not coming to clean. I am definitely NOT suggsting you stop coming to see him regularly. I'm just suggesting a switch in what you do when you are there.)

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