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I am an only child who always got along great with my parents. Mom passed away from Alzheimer’s 4 years ago and Dad (now age 97) was ill with pneumonia so we took him in. He is on oxygen 24/7 and walks with the help of a rollator. He has his own master suite on the first floor with a huge tv, but prefers to sit out in the family room with us to watch tv. He only watches one channel - Fox News and cannot hear it unless the volume is very loud (This is despite the expensive hearing aids he wears). He doesn’t like anything we watch and complains, yet doesn’t want to go in his room until after 9 pm. Most of the time he sleeps in the chair but refuses to go into his room to nap. So we turn the tv off when he falls asleep and then listen to him snore (although he swears he is NOT sleeping). I know this can seem somewhat funny to others, but it, with being shut-in, it has become quite annoying. He sleeps most of the day and when I wake him he is quite grouchy most of the time. He is adamantly anti-assisted living, so there is no use recommending it - money is not the issue. The constant negativity of his presence has become something that is increasingly upsetting to both my husband and me and we feel that we have no choices. The guilt of wishing for the responsibility of caring for him to end is overwhelming bc it is akin to wishing for his death. He goes nowhere, wants to go nowhere, and we are all he has. I read this site everyday and realize that many people have worse situations, but have not really read about anyone in the same predicament. Help me find a way to cope with him. I’m wondering if he is depressed or in the beginnings of a dementia state.

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My Mom and I lived together for 9+ years before she went to the LTC facility. Even though Mom had a TV and a recliner in her bedroom, she preferred to sit in the kitchen and watch the small 10 inch TV because it made her feel "part of the family" "part of my daughter's life". Mom hated being "imprisoned" in her bedroom just so she could watch TV in comfort. Mom said that she felt unwanted whenever I asked her to go to her bedroom to watch TV during the day or when I was in my office next to the kitchen.

Maybe your Dad feels "left out" whenever he is in his own room and needs/wants the physical company of you and your husband.

I agree that you need to set some boundaries in regards to the TV in the family room. JoAnn and others have some good suggestions. It will not be easy, but you need to be firm as you take control of YOUR TV in YOUR Family Room again.
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I tried to be the "good" girl for my parents. I did everything they asked and their way. This was in the 60s. As I grew up, I still did for them but not in their time in mine. Unless it was an emergency. I worked, then I got married, had kids. My time was not always mine.

As a friend just discribed my Dad, he was a curmudgeon. You either liked him or you didn't. Man of his castle. But I will tell you now, that he would have never taken over my home. And my DH would not allow it. I did it his way growing up, not in my own house. There is no way he would sit in my L/R and blare my TV. Or take it over. I don't like daytime TV especially news. I would be turning it off and tell him, Dad u have a TV in your room, use it. If he likes the L/R chair, then take it to his room. Of course he would have dinner with me, maybe even sit and watch TV but as soon as he dozed off, I'd say "Dad, its time for bed". And he wouldn't have complained about what I watch. "Dad, u have a TV in ur room, go watch want you want there." When he falls asleep and starts snoring, then ur DH should get up and say "time for bed". When Dad argues " Sorry, but we can't enjoy TV with u snoring so its time for bed. If he gets mad, he gets mad. Its your home! Maybe if you set boundries he will be more likely agree to an AL.

Maybe start putting a bug in his ear about an AL. He will have his own room, dine with others, activities, outings, ect.

His hearing aides. Are these fairly new for him? Because the elderly have no idea how to use them. He shouldn't need the volume up on the TV if his aides are adjusted correctly. He is able to turn them up or down. The battery does not need to be replaced until he gets that signal. My husband just had his audiology test. He always liked his analog better. She explained that digital does sound different. Its more mechanical and it takes people a while to get used to that. But the new aides can be adjusted to be more like analog. Dad may go for a check up regularly, but he may not understand the process and the aides are not adjusted properly for him. We were told that we could get an app for DHs aides where he can control the volume from the app. (Elderly have problems with the wheels and now its a button that its how long you push it to what it does) U need an iphone for this but it doesn't have to be the best or can be a used one. Just one u can download from the wifi. You may want to check that out.

Just because he is Dad doesn't mean u cater to him. He is now living with other people and it can't always be his way. And you have to be assertive. Think of him like ur child. What would u have done if the volume was too load on the TV they were watching. Or they complained about what you were watching. He doesn't need to be with you 24/7.
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lkdrymom Apr 15, 2020
I agree completely. If he wants to blare a TV, he can do it in his own room. If he is in the LR and snoring he needs to go to his room because no one can hear a thing over his snoring. Stop walking on eggshells around this man. Take back your home. You have every right to enjoy it.

I see this time and time again....everyone is afraid to upset the elder...but it is ok for the elder to upset you. WHY???
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I think it's dementia. My mom would sit in the living room watching sports - which she hates. She had a tv in her room but would rarely watch it. Just sat there in a daze. When it starts to intrude on your enjoyment of your own home, you are going to have to let dad know that it is not his house and that it is your rules. You will have to say ' well dad, sorry you don't like our programming but you will have to go to your room to watch. We are not going to hear complaining.'
(My dad tried anti depressants but they made him feel worse so we had to stop them. He is 98 with COPD.)
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Has anyone in his medical team mentioned a trial of a small dose of medicine cation for depression or anxiety or orneriness?

This might be tricky with the COPD but so much of his behavior really does sound like it could be at least partially mood based.

The sticky with most of us in similar situations is balance. You have noticed possible signs of other issues that make him less amiable and cooperative. At his age, with his problems and idiosyncrasies, you ultimately have to do “the lists”- the pros and cons for you and him and your husband including the degree to which you will all be willing to go to be sure that you’re each living the best life possible while dealing with the needs of everyone else.

It is very hard when the dynamic changes with a loved parent until it is so far away from what the relationship was when all of us were younger. Part of your situation now is that at some point in your past, you would have negotiated and managed his “stuff” and yours in a completely different way from what you feel you have to do now.

SO- IF You want to change the balance of what HE wants in relation to what YOU want, you’ll have to realize that he WILL object, probably in ways that will upset you. He will say things that will be cruel and insulting, may yell, swear.

Another thought- whether he is “adamant” about giving assisted living a trial, he also sounds terribly lonely. If you could get him to do a respite week in a good local center, he might find it would be lot more pleasant than he thinks.
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Reply to AnnReid
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Tell dad that he is not in charge of the remote. If he wants to feed on news all day he must watch it in his room.

Let him grouch and complain, then repeat the above.

I would do an audio recording of his snoring and play it back to him, I would get some good speakers that you can set up next to his head and let it rip. This will probably wake him up everytime and provide you with some entertainment.

I would also let him know that he isn't the head of this house and that respecting others needs, wants and privacy is necessary and if he can't consider others he will be moving to an AL, period end of discussion. He doesn't have to like it. He just needs to be considerate of every member of the home or know that he has worn out his welcome by his selfish attitude.

Take a stand for your sanity and start implementing changes today. Your husband will appreciate your efforts to reel daddy in and put him back on track with having courtesy for everyone in the home. Seniors tend to get very selfish when they are getting their own way with no push back.

Edit: when he wants the tv turned up hand him his tv ears, every single time. If he wants to hear he will use them. Have you tried removing his hearing aids to use them?
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Look into a device called TV ears. It was so helpful to my mom when my father started to lose his hearing that we bought two so Mom would have a spare for the times when Dad would forget to recharge them.
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Dolciani Apr 15, 2020
Thanks Alice. We did purchase those but he had difficulty with “too much stuff over my ears” between the oxygen tubing and hearing aids. They now just sit there. He is very against trying anything new. He actually eats the same thing every day for breakfast and also for lunch. Watches the same channel all day. Very stuck in his ways
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Being stuck in a house with Fox News blaring loudly for hours on end sounds like something that is illegal under the Geneva Conventions on torture. Try blocking the channel maybe.

If he's living in your house his wants and desires are irrelevant. Set the rules and make him stick to them.
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Reply to HelloImMinsu
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Thanks, everyone for you responses. His hearing aids are fine - they are checked by the provider quarterly. We have already had words about changing the batteries on a weekly basis. He prefers to wait until he hears the “beep” indicator for battery replacement to tweak one extra day out of the 25 cent battery (grew up during the depression and won’t waste a penny). He has a chair in his room just as comfy as the LR chair - plenty of windows for brightness - he says he wants to be around us......even though he spends that time slumped over and asleep in the chair.
I did watch a video about someone explaining the beginnings of dementia and how grumpiness and arguing were signs. His negative presence in the room is just overpowering. He and his 99 year old sister (yes, 99) both have speaker phone on when they converse so we can hear their entire conversation (we have to pause tv when he talks - for him to leave the room, attached to oxygen is too difficult). They mostly talk about how the world has “gone to hell”.
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FloridaDD Apr 15, 2020
Do what you have to do.   Take control of the remote.  Put on Rachel Maddow.   Keep the volume how you want it.   Tell him, no sleeping in living room.
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Check the batteries in the hearing aids. Make sure they both are clean.

Talk to his doctor about his meds.

I like PolarBears suggestions very much. I wondered if he just wants to be wherever you are. I wouldn’t ask him if he wants the changes. Obviously not. He likes things like they are. Just move the chair etc.
My mom wouldn’t stay in her bedroom during the day but did go to bed early in the evenings. She said she didn’t sleep all the time but was ready to lie down.
It could be he is just following the same habit he had in his own home. Time for a change.
I sure hope you find a solution.

My husband and I are staying with his aunt, 93, during the virus.
She was getting up during the night and turning her tv extremely loud. She isn’t deaf and doesn’t listen to it loud during the day. Now we hide the remote before we go to bed. She thinks she has left it in her bedroom (a habit of carrying it around) and will go back to look for it and then decide to go back to bed. An easy fix for us. My husband will “find” it the next morning for her. She turns it off often during the day to better hear what we are saying in the neighboring rooms. Smile.
DH is working in one room and I’m in another but she is tuned in to whatever we are doing.

I hope you feel empowered to do whatever you can to save your sanity during this time.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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Dolciani- Why do you think your dad prefers the living room over his room? He has a TV in his room, so it's not that. Do you think because it's more comfortable in some other ways? Is there a recliner he can sit and watch TV in his room? Is it brighter or warmer in the LR? Or perhaps, he likes the LR because he can see other people around?

I would find out why and try to make his room more to his liking, AND the LR less so.

Maybe, temporarily, you can remove the TV from the LR, that way if he wants to watch he has to use the TV in his room. The chair he likes to sit in the LV, can you move it else where? Maybe let him have it in his room?

I sympathize with your frustration. My Alz. mother used to live with me. She caused so much stress for me and my family. When she moved out, we could feel the tension lifted and atmosphere in the house lighter.
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Shell38314 Apr 14, 2020
Or unplug the TV in the living room...Sorry...just trying to help!!
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FloridaDD is right...........there is nothing 'funny' about your situation at ALL!!! Setting down some boundaries with him will be absolutely necessary if you want to maintain ANY sanity in your OWN home! If dad would like to go to an Assisted Living home, you can easily arrange that for him if he's stubborn and non-compliant with YOUR rules. Otherwise, here are the NEW rules, dad, take it or leave it. Literally. He's running the show in YOUR home, and that is unacceptable.

As far as feeling 'guilty' goes, don't even go there. My mother is 93 and lives in Memory Care. Every day I pray God takes her home because enough is enough. When I was working at a Memory Care here in town as a receptionist, a Catholic priest came in every Sunday to administer communion to the residents. He told me he prayed daily for God to take his 91 year old mother home as well, that death is not the 'end' but a rebirth of a new life with no pain or suffering. Take THAT for what it's worth, as I do. We're not 'wishing our parents dead' but wanting them to have a rebirth into a new existence where they can be whole again instead of bogged down with COPD, dementia, deafness....etc etc.

Wishing you the best of luck moving forward.
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Shell38314 Apr 14, 2020
Thank you lealonnie, now I don't feel so bad for asking God to take my mother! 😳
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It is not funny.   Like a 3 year old, you have to set limits.  In his room by a certain time, no TV above a certain decibel.
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