Follow
Share

OK, I have just joined this site today and maybe just hoping to find others in similar situations, so I don't feel so alone. Sometimes I am just overwhelmed with feelings of resentment, followed by guilt. I have been reading some of the other discussions on this site and realize that many people are in much worse situations, so now I am struggling with more guilt in complaining and I apologize if my complaints offend anyone.


My mom passed away 2 1/2 years ago, leaving my now 86 year old dad behind. I was never close to my dad but once my mom passed, it became my "duty" to be there for him. Dad is still physically healthy except very hard of hearing and in the early stages of dementia. He still lives in his own house but expects me to be at his beck & call-I live close by. At his age, I know that his mental & physical health will only decline but after 2 1/2 years, I am already so tired of being "there" for him.


Since he is able to physically care for himself, my job is to listen to him & do things with him. I know, that sounds easy enough, and this is where I feel guilty for complaining but I am so tired of listening. My dad is probably one of the most negative & opinionated people I have ever met, and he loves to talk at you. He doesn't want to hear anyone else's opinions and the daily 45 minute phone calls are exhausting. When I go shopping, he expects to go along, and then questions any items I am looking at, wanting to know why I want something. I usually have to drop him off at home and go back to the store to do most of my shopping, after we have the lunch that I have no desire to have. If he's not being opinionated, he has to tell me long "stories" about things that happened 50 years ago. I have heard the stories now, more times than I can count.


The outings & phone calls leave me absolutely exhausted and usually follow with a long nap for me, and I just get further & further behind on my own responsibilities. Before my mom passed away, I was happily single and independent but suspect I am now joining the ranks of "depressed" people, even though I never experienced depression prior to this change.


I have never liked my father. If he weren't my father, I would avoid him like the plague, to be honest. I moved closer to be near my mom and never expected to be in this position and now just feel stuck. If I considered moving away, I would be viewed as this horrible person that abandoned her father at his time of need. I feel like my whole life is now on hold, especially when people are always saying how wonderful it is that I am here to take care of him. Why can't I see anything wonderful about it?

Find Care & Housing
1 2 3
Everything has been said by others here. Very good advice.

My question: where are all those judgmental friends of your father's when it's time to go shopping, out to lunch, just chatting, etc.? Don't be guilted, or manipulated, by those opinionated people who are there only to criticize. When they've walked a mile in your shoes, maybe you can allow them to shame you, but I doubt that will happen. Your father sounds very meanspirited and petty. There's a possibility he could change his Will whether or not you cater to his every whim. You may one day have to decide to walk away and leave it all to save your sanity and happiness.

If you truly have joint tenancy with right of survivorship for all bank accounts, that should give you financial control that your brother doesn't have. However, your dad can change his Will or Trust any time as long as he is of sound mind. You need a Durable Power of Attorney to manage his finances and living arrangements when he becomes mentally incapacitated.

I can't imagine how difficult your position is now, and looking toward the future. My 98 yr old mother is sweet and undemanding, but she looks to me to fulfilll her social happiness and that's something no one can do for another person. I feel guilty everytime I leave her ALF and her deep sigh follows me out the door. Quilt is always with us.

Good luck to you.
(2)
Report

Haven't read the other posts but I remember losing my independence also when my mother passed away. It was just so very hard on my father to lose her. She was his mate for life and he relied on her for everything. After 4 months, my father surprisingly sold their house and arranged to move into a 55+ facility where he wouldn't be so lonely. It's not the same as living with family. As someone who had been living alone myself for awhile, I didn't understand that at the time. I was working and had friends/interest, but many of his had moved away or passed away and they had become isolated during my mother's illness. At some point, I realized I was my father's best friend. He would call and visit at inconvenient times and I could feel my independence disappearing, but he needed me and was there for me for the first 21 years of my life, so I decided I could be there for him. I never moved in with him like he wanted because I wanted him to have the opportunity to meet others and even marry again. But he didn't want to start over and it took me awhile to see he was losing some capabilities. I resisted that idea. I didn't want to become a caregiver. It was a long 15 year journey, but I am so very glad I was there for him. I learned a lot and I changed a lot. He forgot who I was but was always glad to see me and recognized that I was the person that would help him and make things right. It was a bond we never would have had otherwise. It was a bond none of my siblings had. And now, after the journey is done, I am experiencing my own journey of loss and loneliness and I see how very hard he tried not to bother me.
(3)
Report

I suspect that your father does not know he is critical and negative. He thinks he is just having a conversation and that this is his input and opinion. Also it seems like there are boundary issues. He stomps all over yours and this causes your resentment and then guilt. You might try retraining him like you would a child. Find some carrot and stick plan that would reward him when he is positive and punish him when he is negative. But chances are that he is very unhappy and lonely after losing his wife. He needs friends and activities.

However I was not able to accomplish this with my older sister who was negative and wanted me to hate my parents. I didn't want to hate my parents. I thought the did the best they could for who they were. Yet I was unable to get off the phone with her. My husband said I would be depressed for 3 days after each call. It was impossible to work things out with her. If you didn't agree with her or had a different idea, then you were accused of being mean. One time she said "Are you calling me a lier?" I said "no I just have a different memory of the event". Then she said "I don't think I like being called a lier"!. That finally crossed my line and I said "Well, then stop calling me!" and hung up.

Actually she was divorced and living alone and I didn't completely understand how lonely she was. She said she would even talk to salesmen on the phone for company. Now I am divorced and living alone (no family here). So I talk to people on "Word with Friends" even though I know most of the men are on the take. But I talk to them until they ask for money. That sounds sad, but this is a part of getting older.especially if one has lost their spouse.

My daughter will say "Now I want to tell you something but I don't want you to criticize" This is the boundary she is working on me with. I want information so I cooperate (the carrot). When I am too judgmental (I think I am just offering an opinion) she just clams up (the stick). Being positive is hard to do when one is so isolated. But I am working on it.
(4)
Report

I just want to tell you to run.
I moved to rural TN by myself. Didn't know a soul. I'm originally a "city girl" from the suburbs of Detroit. I moved to FL with my ex fiance, bc he took a job there, I didn't want to live in FL. I am not a hot weather person.We broke up 2 years after moving there,(he really didn't want to get married. Just didn't want to live alone.)
I bought a foreclosure in rural TN with the plans of staying 2 years to fix it up, spend time alone to grieve the relationship, than sell at a profit and move home. I had never even vacationed in TN. Just bought the house via the internet and FedEx. Did not know a soul here.
Less than a year after moving here, my older alcoholic brother moved 2 blocks away from me here a year later. He was the victim of a violent crime in Detroit, and left with his dog, the clothes on his back and his car. Less than a year later he had 3 strokes and double brain surgery. I have been "trapped" here 16 years taking care of him. He is mean and nasty, and bc he yelled at any physical therapist that tried to help him regain his ability to walk, he cannot walk. I came here when I was 40. Young enough to still have a good life. Now I am 56, have my own health issues, and nobody to help me. The strokes were not his fault. But the alcoholism, Rx drug abuse, and allowing every loser in town live to with him, than expecting me to clean up the mess after they stole his money, sold his belongings, his medications and abused him. And I did. Because "You're closest to him. What can I do. I'm in DC or I'm in MI."
All my hopes and dreams, my health and mental well being are gone. As is my youth. I cry everyday. I just want to go home. This house is a money pit and I'm too sick to go through selling it.
What I would do is try to put your father in assisted living. Hold off on moving till he is in and settled, and you know it is a good place. Contact an elder law attorney to protect any assets he has so the state doesn't take them. Do not end up like me. I wish I knew then what I know now. My life's path was decided for me by an alcoholic and my siblings. Now I am going to cry. I hope that helps.
(7)
Report

Hi I recently was caring for my mom. Even though it has been 1 yr and 1/2 since she passed on, I am still effected by it. I could be close with my mom. Now my Dad who is 92 yrs old id in need of help. He is extremely self centered and judgmental.
He always was but now that he can not stay on the go, it is worse. My opinion is that even though your Dad may not like you not being the care giver, it is best for you both for him to have someone else. It is too difficult for it to not build up inside you. So if you stay you may have resentment. If you go have a life then you may feel guilt. You have to decide which one you can live with. Ive decided for my father to have a caregiver 4 hours a day. Even though everyone was in disbelief that I was not going to fulfill the caregiver role, they have adjusted. And my father likes the caregiver. I am unsure if he knows why but I believe it is due to it not being emotional for the caregiver to be with him. Hope you come to a conclusion that feels good for you.
(5)
Report

You say your dad is hard of hearing. Does he wear a hearing aid? Poor hearing is very alienating.

My 91yr old dad is very hard of hearing and misses out on so much. He loves playing cards and dominoes but will only play with people who know him and know he doesn't hear well, so I understand my dad's not wanting to go to a senior center and frustrate his playmates and perhaps embarrass himself around people who don't know him.

He doesn't want to fork out thousands of dollars for a hearing aid, so I'm checking into hearing devices advertised in magazines. Surprisingly, there are some out there that have decent ratings. I think his desire to socialize would be greatly improved if he could actually hear well enough to participate in conversations. Not to mention how less frustrating and stressful for me not to have to yell all the time!

My two cents if it might help in this area.
(3)
Report

WantMyLifeBack: I am so sorry that you're in this phase of your life. Perhaps your father could join a support group or go to a senior center in the afternoons. Remember - this, too, will pass.
(2)
Report

Blueberrybelle: It's ok to refuse to let a parent devour your life, when parent has options, like senior center, etc.  And you can certainly care about a person without getting overly involved with their everyday concerns.  The love goes both ways.
(9)
Report

There will always be people who expect you to do this or that, expect you to think in certain ways, etc. But you have a right to your own thoughts, your own decisions, your own life. Try to work through your beliefs as to your moral responsibilities, what YOU believe, not what others think or say. Facts not emotions. All too often guilt is based on false assumptions and emotional impulses, not on realistic facts.
What is your father doing to broaden his world, to socialize? He has got some responsibilities here. you know. How about senior center or other activities he might be interested in? You are not his "cruise director" unless you want to be and it seems reasonable for him to make an effort to meet his social needs other than through you.
Frankly, I would not feel guilty backing off, even moving away. It is not just about his needs, but about yours as well.  Only fair.
(5)
Report

I have always said that....I don't like my mother, but I do love her. I would never seek her out to be a friend just because of the person that she is. But I don't want to see her trying to live on her own with the capacities that she has. So, I can relate to your situation. My advice? Stand tall; distance yourself from your father; and don't put any relevance on what people think. Start by correctly assuming that your father is responsible for himself. If he can afford a companion at home with him, then, by all means arrange for one to be with him. Do not fall into the...that's what I'm expected to do...trap. If there are monetary means to take care of your father, you could facilitate that avenue. If not, then there are other options such as Medicaid, etc. YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR FATHER'S FUTURE. But, you can help him take care of his own future. Begin with Power of Attorney for financial and/or medical power. If he's not willing to do this now, wait until he no longer has the capabilities to do so. Which may be a while, but his doctor should be a good resource for you. Good luck. You can make this work.
(6)
Report

You just described my relationship with my mother and father, except I was closer to my father. My mother is exactly like your father and unfortunately I have no advice to give you. All I can say is that I feel exactly like you but I know that in the long run, I'm doing the right thing. As frustrated ask I get with the situation I get the satisfaction of knowing I am doing the best I can do for my mother. Even though I don't particularly like her, I do love and respect her for raising me into the person I am. Even though you don't have a good relationship with your dad, he and your mom obviously did a great job with you!! Be strong and God bless you!!
(4)
Report

Even though he’s your father, you don’t want to be his daughter. I don’t know if you ever did father/daughter outings when you were younger? Advice: Take him to adult daycare or a senior Center & tell him you will pick him up at ....(time)...They usually serve lunch there & have activities. Maybe he’ll meet a new lady companion! You are so lucky you don’t have diaper changing on your to do list...& also you’re lucky he can do for himself. & you’re also lucky he doesn’t verbally & physically abuse you & injured you in the process. Look on bright side. To be honest, if “caregiving “ at this level & I wouldn’t really call it caregiving...(it’s just that he’s lonely, bored & wants company) bothers you...then you’re not going to ever be cut out for REAL caregiving when the time comes. Make plans for your future & help him get on with his life...create boundaries & keep them. Hugs 🤗
(4)
Report

The real problem as I see it is modern medicine has kept people alive longer than they should be and with the extremely high cost of AL or home care it is causing an already stressed family member dealing with their own aging problems to be placed into a very complex situation. There are many parents who did not “raise” their children or resented the interference the child brought into the parents life or perhaps the child has been on her own since early teens with no help whatsoever from the parent - all true in my case - but that parent reaches a point where there is no option but to take care of them. So resentment is natural and no one should judge another as they may not know the big picture. I just try to get out socially as much as I can and enjoy my evenings with a glass or two of wine. It helps.

PS this site does help tremendously especially when you are at your wits end. It helps to read and realize how much worse it could be or to laugh at some of the comments made by others.
(10)
Report

Don't listen to blueberrybelle. That was rude and uncalled for. What goes around comes around. If he treated you like crap. demanding, and you've never had a relationship with him I have no sympathy for the man. This is coming from a 78 year old woman and I would never expect my kids to do what he's expecting of you. If you don't find some help and distance yourself it's going to get worse and he will take you down with him.
(9)
Report

Ricky,

I adore your honesty. I really do.
(0)
Report

Do you expect someone to be there for YOU when you are old and sick? I hope you don't find yourself alone. You don't sound any nicer than you describe your Dad to be.
(0)
Report

Probably would be best for your father to consider what care options there are before dementia becomes advanced. Then plan his future accordingly(e.g. AL, Memory Care or eventually LTC)
Other people are not living your life or paying for your upkeep. Why let those who know nothing about your life, influence how you live your life?
(6)
Report

Others may have suggested this too, but please get yourself a therapist to help you with the mess you find yourself in. It would sure help you to have someone to listen and guide you objectively through the decisions and changes you need to make. You have taken on these "duties" caring for a man you don't even like. If he's 86, you are young enough to still have a life to live without your father monopolizing your time and trying to guilt you into never saying no to him. This is your life! Is this how you want to spend the rest of it? There have been some excellent empathetic comments to your post. This forum has helped me so much over the last few years. I find it invaluable. We are all on your side. The very best of luck to you as you work through this.
(9)
Report

I hear ya loud and clear except it’s my mother who I brought to my house over SIX years ago. We were never particularly close as my grandmother raised me the first three years of my life. Mom was the youngest of 10 children with a large age span and got attention when she whined and complained which she still does. Everyone raves about what a wonderful dutiful daughter I am to take care of my mom. Mom would have to be essentially comatose before she would agree to live in any residential or assisted living place. When she first arrived I would have bet she wouldn’t have lasted a year but since she has everything done for her; meals made, and good medical attention she is going stronger all the time but will never be able to live alone again. No family support whatsoever and my brother who lives out of state has been to visit once for three days which allowed me to go on a mini vacation the entire time she has lived with me. To say I’m resentful is an understatement. I find myself hating every new medication her doctor gives her to help with her COPD. I know I will have horrid guilt when she passes for wishing I did not have this responsibility. But it sucks! I have learned however that I would never impose this on my own children. I am very active socially and hope not to live as long as so many are living now. My moms quality of life is pathetic and my own quality of life is diminishing daily. I’m hoping that she will pass and I will finally get to live a retired life since I had retired just months before she arrived. At the rate it’s going, she will outlive me. And by the way she has always adored my younger brother who can do no wrong in her eyes. She refuses to go live with him as she has always been convinced that he would come to his senses and divorce the woman he married over 40 years ago. This site helps to just let off the steam at least.
(8)
Report

Hello WMLB,

Oh, how I can relate to everything you wrote, the only difference is I provide care for both my parents to whom I am not close.

That being said, given you are self-sufficient, and were once happy and independent, please get some therapy. It will give you clarity in regards to your guilt and concern about what others will think. (F**k them and their opinions).

You didn't mention siblings, which suggests it's all on you. Do check out alz.org for guidance. I heard about it word of mouth from others in our situation, and found it helpful.

I too, have noticed that people who aren't, and never have provided care for a parent, upon hearing one is a caregiver, nod their heads approvingly and murmur platitudes about it "being wonderful". They mean well, but it does get old.

I wish you strength, and hope you'll seek the ear of a trained professional.
(12)
Report

Hi it sounds to me like you are depressed and suffering from burnout. Plus of course you are grieving loss of your mum. I can only say to you somehow you need to take care of yourself. I'm not saying you should move away but get some help. Contact social services. This in itself will be stressful getting the help you and your Dad need but stick with it. Then set boundaries as far as poss where you have time out for you. I was primary carer for my mum for years. It got to stage I couldn't go away, even after being with her all day I couldn't switch off when I wasn't with her. I am now seriously ill myself probably brought on by stress. My mum is now in a care home. She knows how poorly I am but when I can visit her she still just wants to talk about herself and be nasty to me because I don't go often enough. She has always been negative self obsessed and jealous of others. Her dementia hasn't changed that. I love my mum but I've never liked her. I sometimes feel my illness has been given to me so I have no choice but to see her less. Do something positive for yourself.
(7)
Report

Please don’t feel alone. I am in a similar situation, but with my mother. She is not a sociable person although she did enjoy being in a nursing home when going through skilled rehab and nursing. At least, she seemed to enjoy it - she was in a good mood, did the activities and made friend with other members and staff.

She he was here for 22 months with my husband and I. It was a disaster. (Husband is now retired.) Now, she is at her home /her request. She is mobile and coherent. My older brother lives with her, but he still works. I go there twice a week to help, take food or get her out of the house.

Mom will not go to a senior center, has run people off due to her negative attitude and relies on me for outings/entertainment. My older brother occasionally takes mom out a bit. My younger brother rarely calls or visits mom. My relationship with mom has been strained. I have distanced myself from her somewhat.

I think your your father needs to take some responsibility for his own life. He is, after all a grown, mainly capable man. I think you need to give yourself a break and try to realize that you have your own life to live. It took me a longgg time and a lot of stress to finally know that I cannot “make” mom happy no matter what I do or don’t do. Good luck with your difficult situation.
(9)
Report

WARNING WARNING WARNING! You are in the burn out / resentment zone... next stop Depressionville.

Maybe my my opinions are too strong, but I just had to respond to your post.... I hear you and can completely understand your frustration! Believe me, you are not alone. First, I was not close to my father either (never participated in my life), and if I did not care for him as a person like your situation, it would be near impossible to give up the life you are living to help. It sounds like he is lucky to be able to get around like he does, and does not require a ton of help there. However, listening to negative commentary all the time is exhausting. I think he is using you as a substitute since your mother’s passing and expects you to keep him entertained and in his company.
Maybe I am selfish, but as far as I am concerned, those sacrifices are reserved for those who have cared for and participated in my life. Just because someone is a parent, etc., does not automatically invoke the rest of your life to slavery and caregiving.
As for what other people think.... to H—- with them. I too hate the “How great it is that my FIL lives with us and what we do for him” 🤬. I want to scream..... it is not pleasant, fun or tolerable. My 31 year marriage has come dangerously close to collapse.
So, with that said, I would advise you to really step back and look at this situation though objective eyes and not guilty eyes or what others think you should do. If you have the ability and latitude to move as you suggested, then I would consider it. You do not owe anyone an explanation for your decision. Believe me, those people will not be around once you have gone crazy....
You really have to be careful about the precedent you are setting with him.... it will get worse as time goes on and it will become harder for you to get your freedom back.
Situations like this can become toxic before you know it. Please please do not wait until you are at the end of your rope to take action. Again I just don’t think you “automatically” owe your life to his care and companionship. There are plenty of outlets for the elderly.
I hope others on this site will be able to help you as well. Please feel free to reach out anytime as we are all hear to support each other. Blessings!
(11)
Report

Boy, for 3 days you received a lot of responses. You can see you are not the only one.

My Mom was a sweetie pretty much thru her whole dementia. Staff at the AL and NH loved her. My Dad passed before her but I am pretty sure he would have been a pain. Living with me would not have been an option. But boundries would have been set. I did it with my Mom too.

I set up one day a week we went shopping. This would be the day to go to lunch and run errands. Fridays she went to dinner with us. Sundays I took her to Church. I was lucky my disabled nephew lived with her so she wasn't lonely. He took care of Meds and meals.

Call your local Office of Aging and see whats available for the elderly. Is there a Senior center nearby. Ours the ladies play cards. Is there a Senior Adult care. Moms picked her up, she had breakfast and lunch. Activities. Those who could do where taken grocery shopping and to Walmart. Some of the men sat in another room watching TV and talking. You have to get Dad to realize that you are not his wife. That you have a life of your own and need to live it. Put your phone on "do not disturb". On my phone u can allow the ones you want to ring thru, the rest go to voicemail.
Do you work? If not, get a nice p/t job. This will make you unavailable. When u visit, you can make them short. If his calls are really not important, tell him u won't be taking calls before 9am and not after 8 unless its an emergency. (My family already knows this) That you don't take calls during work unless an emergency. Really, you need to do this to get ur life back.
(3)
Report

Does dad have any man friends that are like-minded or equally opinionated? Maybe they could visit. Are there any hobbies or interested that you could steer him towards trying again? Dominoes, cards, church groups, etc.

Depending on the finances, it might be time to get a little help at his house. Some cleaning, preparing some meals, or other things that he may be lax on. Don't take him on certain shopping trips - include him for the grocery trips at Wmart type store where you would be able to get pretty much anything he would need (and your own groceries) like the Rx meds, personal, home items and the food. If he can be let loose in the store, make him get a basket and give him his list. It's actually better for him to do these things because he is completing some tasks.

The timer suggestion when the phone rings is good. Turn it on and when it goes off, you have to hang up - someone calling on other line, food cooking, laundry is ready, etc. Maybe you don't need to abandon him, just put some other people in charge of certain tasks and do come/go visits that aren't quite so taxing.

If you know any of his friends/family that have moved to assisted living, take him for a visit and talk up the good points while you're there. Maybe he is ready for a change to be around more adults his age.
(3)
Report

I know my sense of humour has taken a battering and isn't what it was in the olden days, and I really don't want to preach, but I couldn't see anything funny at all in the parasuicide/cry for help, the outcome, or in the OP's use of it to silence her father on the subject.

Whether he's attention-seeking or playing to the gallery or is genuinely unhappy isn't the issue. He has the right to express himself. Mocking his expression of what he's feeling, however melodramatic it might be, is wrong.

I also know from experience that taking care of a parent with whom you have a problematic relationship is tough going and you need all the light relief you can get. But seriously? - if things between any caregiver and a parent are that totally lacking in sympathy, it's time to step out of the front line.
(4)
Report

"He did try to kill himself one night, by taking a bottle of my mom's blood pressure medicine. All it did was get him all constipated. I could not stop laughing, and for a few days, I made autopsy jokes about his constipation and he hasn't mentioned suicide since then."

Although threats and attempts at suicide are not funny laughing matters, like you, I did laugh at the result of his attempt! Fortunately it was not the worst outcome, but it did teach him a lesson!
(4)
Report

My late father was a fairly foul individual, who made my childhood a misery, (I’m an only child) but when he became ill I came under *immense* pressure to “do the right thing”. Thankfully I resisted this from the outset because when it became clear that as an adult I was no longer someone he could manipulate he turned his attention elsewhere and started dragging well meaning female ‘friends’ of his down. (Yes, he was a misogynist and he liked being one).

Some people enjoy being miserable and making others miserable with them. Society also conditions women to be the carers, a thankless task in the main. Distance yourself from him if you can, you will thank yourself in years to come. Good luck!
(6)
Report

Do the right thing as a decent human being. Though it is difficult, one needs to set aside their own personal issues and pay attention to the job at hand. I'd suggest resource in the community to see what options are available, either through paid or volunteer help. When you rise above your personal resentment you will personally benefit. Life's growing pains can bring you unbearable misery or an opportunity for personal growth. There's just one thing wrong with running away.... it all catches up to you one day.
(1)
Report

Ok. Life has s hard, especially where aging parents with all the ailments are concerned. Now, I would announce, not request that he is going to do some activity/hobby to meet other people his age that he can get connected with. Weather it’s painting, any activity you think would peak his interest and he can do that. Believe me, I went through the same thing. You won’t feel guilty then, and all that stuff he says will be new to other people. He could make a new friend! Then you can do what you want on you’re time. There’s probably stuff for you to do in the area too, so you won’t resent not moving right now. Then just travel and look. Take occasional weekends off for you. I caved to the ‘there’s nothing I want to do’ speech. And now I wish I would have been way more forceful, but loving and firm.
(2)
Report

1 2 3

Start a Discussion

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter