Balance husband, kids and aging Dad. Any suggestions?


How do I balance taking care of my family (stepson living with us) and my father living alone with Alz? My father refuses to go to assisted living. I have tried to get the doctor to convince him since he won't listen to me, but he still insists he is doing fine. I live 40 miles away and it's taking its toll on me. I feel like all I do it cook and clean at home and cook and clean at Dad's. I hate the thought of moving in with him and sacrificing my own well being and not being here for my husband and step-son, but I don't know what to do. Dad is still driving and thinks he is fine, but he doesn't eat unless I bring him food. He can't manage the microwave so I feel I need to be there to fix meals. He doesn't want anyone to bring him meals or come in to help so I don't know what else I can do. Do I just wait until he gets lost driving somewhere or has a fall? I quit my job to better take care of him, but I feel I'm losing my husband because I'm so stressed out. I don't even see my grandchildren or other children anymore because I feel like I am taking care of too many people. I know many people have it worse than me and I feel so guilty for feeling this way, but I'm wondering if I need to detach from Dad and only go to his home every 3-4 days to let him see that he really needs to go to assisted living. Any suggestions on how to keep my sanity and still keep my marriage/family in tact are welcome. Thank you.

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I think you already know the answer, don't you? But it's worth pointing out all the same that the only thing preventing your father from being persuaded that he does need help is... you.

It is no fun standing by and waiting for your parent's hand to be forced by his inability to care for himself, I do sympathise. But as long as you are helping him out, what need has he to move? Here's hoping that he'll have a rapid change of heart just as soon as you withdraw your labour, and without any actual disasters. Best of luck, keep posting.
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40 miles away is unbearable and not sustainable. I think you do need to detach. You are only one person and burning out. There is no need to feel guilty for feeling so strung out because you are strung out like a tight string that's about to break. Another thing that might help is to call adult protective services where he lives, explain your dilemma, and ask what help can they offer.

What have you and your husband discussed about dealing with this?

Do you have any family members who could come together for a family meeting to come up with a plan to put into action now?

Does your dad have any friends or church (if he's part of a church) members that could visit him?

What stage is his Alzheimer's?

Has the doctor said he is incompetent?

Has his doctor said it is not safe for him to drive? The doctor can report that to the state DMV and his driver's licence will be revoked.

Does he have any finances to hire some caregivers to come in? My dad has 3 caregivers in his house 24/7 but he has the money to do it.

I would not move in with him, sacrifice your own well being, your marriage and your step-son.

If you feel like you are loosing your husband then you are. I hope that can be salvaged.

I'm sure you'll hear from more than just me. It's late but some people are still up at this time of night.
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Do NOT be that statistic, sorry!
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Jiggs, do you know when you fly on an airplane, the safety announcement always contains the message "in the event of loss of oxygen, put on your own oxygen mask first before attempting to help others"? The same applies to your situation. You are one person. You have a right to a marriage and a life. Your father is only "making it" on his own because you're donating your time and attention. He's being incredibly selfish in not meeting you halfway by accepting outside help.

Have you had a sit down with him and said " daddy, I can't do this anymore unless you let someone else help you, too"? Sadly, with dementia, he may not be able to see that he's asking too much of you.

Do you know that 1/3 of all caregivers die before their charges do? Do be that statistic! Tell dad you're done. Take him on Assisted living facility tours. Try hiring one piece of help at a tine, "a laundress". " a cook", a maid".

Sadly, yes, you may have to wait for a fall. Does his doctor say he's safe driving?
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I think you are getting the right idea. You mustn't abandon the rest of your family to take care of Dad, and Dad may not exercise good judgment in his decision making on this issue. Have you gotten POA yet? Do you know how his finances are? Is his driving bad enough you would not want to ride with him? Your emotional response is not selfish or self-pity, but realistic. There is only one of you and zero time left to you to take care of yourself, which is not tenable in the long run. Possibly a comprehensive geriatric evaluation would help you determine objectively what the real level of need is, and whether he is even content and safe to be alone at all. The social worker at a geriatric program might be of help, or you may even need an elder are attorney. This is a tough road, and you can't let a person with impaired judgment be the navigator on it, even if he is your dad. It will be hard for him and for you, but truly, he can't run the show because it will run both of you right into,the ground. There will be things he can have choices about and you can give him as much autonomy as possible, but you don't have to try to do the unreasonable or impossible just because that's what he says he wants.
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