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My dad's house is in horrible shape. And he doesn't see it. It's in disrepair inside and out. I've tried to help as much as I can, but it always ends up in a big argument. I used to go clean when I knew he was away from home...he wouldn't even notice. Now he's hardly ever away from home and I can't "sneak in" and clean while he's away. I've offered to clean and he says no because it gives him something to do...but then when I go over again, nothing has been cleaned. When I do clean it only last a day or two IF that! What can I do? Nobody gets along with him because he "knows it all." I'm at a breaking point and today is the day I go over to his house. My stomach is already in knots.

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I got my head bitten off for folding a towel, once. The lady needed only stand-by support for her bathing routine, so rather than stand and stare I picked up her discarded towel. "I WISH you wouldn't do that!" she snapped. I gingerly tried to place it back on the floor exactly as she'd left it, then realised it must look as if I was being sarcastic, and then I gave up and just let it drop...

People are very, very sensitive about their possessions and their home and their routines sometimes, and you meddle at your own risk.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
It's so very frustrating. I've tried to explain to other family members (who obviously won't help) and they just don't understand...or don't want to understand.
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I wasted a lot of energy doing this... never again.
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AlvaDeer May 5, 2022
I think that many many of us (including me) have a personal story of a relative with this sort of "problem". I know there came a time we HAD to address it but ultimately and in the long run that did no good whatsoever. I am glad so many are sharing their personal experience. This is all so hopeless when you are in it. When you have to address it due to state intervention, you do--and later you end up in the same place. It isn't only the energy expended, the work done, because when we do this we are ultimately happy and proud of the results; but it is the seeing it all fall away as certainly as anyone can imagine. For most of us our hopelessness, our "giving it up" came the hard way.
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Check out https://childrenofhoarders.com/wordpress/

While the name implies that it is for children only, it goes above and beyond that. It is a small attempt from me (one that has lived with generations of hardcore hoarders), to you (learning to deal with a LO's illness) so that you may find peace stepping away.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
Thank you...I'll be sure to take a look. I appreciate you sharing the link.
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I so understand what you are talking about. My LO is a 32 year old disabled nephew. He has hygiene issues and cleaning issues. TG no plastic bags went into effect today. He hoards them. He was in the hospital a couple of months back so while in, I cleaned up his apartment with my DHs help. There were new items hidden under the bags. He has an aide once a week and will not allow him to clean up. He has lived in the apartment since going on 4 years. I got him all set up in the beginning. His hospital stay is the first time I have been in there since he moved in. Why, because everytime I thought about going in, I got a tightness in my chest. He lived with my 80+ yr old Mom. He had a sitting room all to himself and I fought him all the time to keep it cleaned up. At 72 I am no longer going to feel responsible.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
Thank you so much for understanding. Other people who aren't having to deal with elder care don't even try to understand. My husband even told me the other day...after I told him that everything at my dad's was just a bunch of stress for me...he said "it's only as stressful as you make it." I said "easy for you to say!"
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WHY are you going to his house?
Is your father suffering from immobility, or is it merely his decision not to leave his house very much.
Is your father dependent on your for care?
How old is your Dad? Can he do his own shopping and cooking and is he mentally incompetent.
Is this unclean living condition new? Is there hoarding issues here?
So many questions.
I myself would not be involved with a non-cooperative senior who wishes to live in these conditions. I would be certain they had emergency number for care should they require it, and move on with my life. It is seriously difficult to do POA and Trustee and Guardian job for a COOPERATIVE adult, but for one who is not cooperative it is impossible.
Were conditions such that my father was living demented, unsafe, in danger, I would call the APS and ask for wellness check. If they contacted me to do POA or guardianship I would ask that the state take guardianship. Do know that if you do this you do not have a say in placement, in where or when, in assets management, and etc. The State does.
If competent I would leave Dad to manage, take him to lunch or coffee if he wished to go, and would bow out.
If incompetent I would put this in the hands of APS and trust the outcome to them.
As you have already observed, there is truly NOTHING you can accomplish here other than to upset both HIM and YOU.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
Thank you for your input. I appreciate it. I go see dad at least once a week to take his full pillbox to him. I call or text him every day. He's 82 and had a mild stroke about 4 years ago which affected his short-term memory. He is still able to drive to get groceries, cook, etc. He's very capable of cleaning up after himself.
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To unknot your stomach for today, go and see your Dad and don't touch a thing (unless it's a fire hazard or otherwise a clear and present danger to health). Don't clean the toilet. Don't do the dishes. Don't change his bed. Make a mental list of what needs doing if you like, but don't talk about it.

If you want to take out the trash or put away groceries, fine, but don't talk about that either. And DON'T throw out anything without asking his permission. *

How often do you visit?

When someone says he'll do it himself or she'll do it later, it means one of two things. 1 - they can't bear the fuss and kerfuffle, the noise of the vacuum, the general bustle; it's stressful and it makes their head ache. 2 - they may or may not recognise that they can't do it themselves, but either way all the same they don't believe anyone else will do it properly, and "if a job's worth doing..."

When you say "disrepair," could you give half a dozen examples? What issues and risks are we talking about, here?

*To clarify - if HE has already put something in the trash, it is fine to take it out because he has implied his consent by placing it there. But say there's a milk carton on the verge of detonation in the fridge door, and nobody in the world would consider it viable as a foodstuff, it still isn't okay to ditch it without asking.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
Thank you for this! It helped me get through my visit today. I go over once or twice a week. Take his full pillbox to him once a week. Call or text every day. Today, I didn't mention anything about cleaning, etc. I did notice he'd done a few dishes.

When I say "disrepair" I'm talking about cracks in the walls, soiled carpet, trees that need trimmed, etc. Things he won't let me hire anyone to take care of because he doesn't see the need to spend the money (his money that he has plenty of). I take care of his bills, banking, etc.
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Visit, be respectful. Gain trust over time.
My dH just started vacuuming one day, the couches, the pet fur. No one stopped him. Lol.
Other times, we were told that we had done enough, and we should go home.

This was just prior to my loved one being taken out of his home, his wife in the hospital.

I would never be able to do this again. Extended family fought it all the way, saying there was nothing wrong.
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WhisperingPine71702 May 5, 2022
Thank you for sharing your experience. It's so hard to explain to people who don't understand.
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I would just go in, do an intervention with a cleaning crew. Have some of the men in the family take your dad out for lunch. Sort, throw out donate, re-arrange.

Clean the carpets, bathroom and minimize everything. Only thing is you have to hope after all of your hard work they don't revert back to it. They may not even see this or be aware of anything being out of place, that's if that have lived like this for a while.

Clean the windows, plants, air everything out. You need a team of people. Have them pay or it and hire a cleaning woman so things don't revert back to their normal.

Next stop Dollar Store -- Pine Sol, dust mop, dust pan and brush, sponges, you name it. Organize everything and you do a walk-through. Some older men retire and wear the same shirt everyday, especially if there's no woman around.

He needs someone, assuming he lives on his own to set up a system for him and follow up. These things happen especially after a loss. It may be important to him but this could escalate. Get him some plants to care for and trash barrels, etc.

Make it easy for him, hold his hand, sit him down and tell him you love him.
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AinSeattle May 7, 2022
That type of intervention rarely works. It just makes the person mad/madder. Most cleaning businesses don't want this kind of client either. OP, don't get caught in the never ending cleaning someone else's stuff trap.
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Adult Protective Services should be called, to do a welfare check on his mental state and physical ability.
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Is your Dad's house is such bad shape that it is a health hazard or fire hazard? If so, the only way you will get him to move on it is to involve an outside agency.

If it isn't that bad, then take an objective look. Has it gotten worse recently or has he always been that way?

What does the outside look like?

As long as you are cleaning for him, he will continue to make a mess and not clean up. You coming over and cleaning behind his back is not a sustainable option. I understand his unwillingness to allow you to clean as cleaning can be an excuse to breach personal barriers.

I like the "hire a cleaning service" once or twice a month. My mom had a cleaning lady that came in once a month, however, my Mom's place really needed cleaning each week. Understand you might have to pay for it. However, if he starts to realize that he really is okay with the service, then he might be willing to pay for it himself.

How about the outside?
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