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This is Dad to a T. It seems he's been doing this all his life not just when he's old.


If he can get someone else to put themselves out he won't even bother himself. The number of people who he's upset because quite frankly, he's ungrateful and expects people to do things for him.


Bought him the mobility scooter because he said he can't walk. I went for a walk with him many times so he could get the hang of it.


Found out he pretty much only goes out when someone else is there to take the cover off etc. Then he moans he's stuck in the house! I know it's because he just can't be bothered himself.


I'm at my wits end. He moans he's stuck in and then he won't make any effort. I've tried to talk to him but he just won't do things on his own and is never happy unless he's got someone doing something for him.


To put into perspective, wife is a nurse. She sees an old man totally disabled who uses a hoist to get himself into the chair and drive it to the doctor. My Dad, who's nowhere near that level, can't be bothered to take the cover off his!

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Very much a child of his time, it sounds like, Paul. Well. Time and place, perhaps.

Look, he likes his life as it is. He's comfy. All you can control is what bits of it you will and will not support. To expect your father to agree with you, and adapt himself to your preferences, and say how grateful he is, and never complain, is unreasonable. Let him grumble. He's okay, you're okay, it doesn't matter.

And one advantage I can imagine is that the rut he has chosen to stay stuck in is one with a large variety of formal and informal social support networks. So that even if, God forbid, you got struck by lightning and vanished altogether, your Dad would still be fine. He may say different, but the underlying reality is... he doesn't *need* you at all.
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paulfoel123 Oct 25, 2018
CM - you'd swear it was still 1965 sometimes with my Dad.....

Yes I know what you mean. BUT hes not ok - far from it. Hes constantly moaning and wanting me to "fix" things for him doing what he wants and how he wants it.

But no he doesnt "need" me at all most of the time...
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Thanks all. Yep I have tried to sit him down. Hes good for about 2 days and then back to normal.

He knows all the stuff I've got going on but its almost as if its not important compared to what he wants or issues he has.

To be honest, I wouldn't mind him phoning me at work if it was important. I wouldn't mind doing things for him if he really needed. Neither would my wife.
What grates the most is that he wants things his way when it could be so much easier and expects it.

That's just it I've offered to sort out home delivery. It costs very little. I've tried an tried but he says no dont want to do that.

He would rather get me to drive the 15-20 miles each way no matter whether I'm busy or not. Like I said, its a game with him - if I had food delivered he loses one bit of power over me "You've got to visit because I need food".

To be honest, sadly I now visit less than I would if he treated me properly. I know every phone call and visit is going to involve him trying it on, and me having to say no. So I try to avoid.
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I had a father like this. Mom had spoiled him. TG he passed before Mom cause I would have put him in a NH.

Why is it that parents forget that when people work they just can't pick up and leave their jobs to cater to them. My family knew not to call me at work unless it was an emergency.

You probably have done this already...but you need to sit down with Dad and look him in the eye and tell him you are not able to fetch and carry for him. That your priority right now is your family and your job. When it comes to a job, tell him he should be aware that you can't leave the job everytime he FEELS he needs something. An employer will not put up with it and u could lose ur job. That you have done everything possible to make his life easier and all he does is complain. With a special needs child and a wife with health problems they come first. So, he needs to do for himself or go into a Care home. He has resources he needs to use. He needs to stop calling you at work unless its an emergency. Tell him you will set up a day that you can run errands. Once a week, twice a month or once a month. But pick a day convenient for both of you. Until you set boundries this will continue. If he gets mad, oh well, he will get glad.

Do you have where if Dad does run out of food he can call a food place and have it delivered? If so, he needs to use it. The more independent he is the stronger he will be.
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paulfoel123 Oct 24, 2018
Talking about Dad being independent - no chance of that happening.

Thing is even when I was a kid he just did not bother and got other people to sort things for him.

Hes just worse now. If he can get someone to do something for him, so he doesnt even have to think about it he will. At no point will he think about how hard it is for the other person or even himself. I've sat there and said "But its easier for you and me if we do it this way" and hes sat there and said no for no apparent reason.

Some examples of when I was a kid:-

Parents divorced when I was 3 (I had brother aged 2 as well). Hey tough for single Dad. But as the years have gone by I've found out some of the things he did.

- We lived in a council house (social housing for non-UK) in a not very nice area. All because a friend of his knew someone who could pull strings to get us one.

Dad had a decent enough job at the time. Apparently, he never looked into buying a house in a nicer area because he thought he'd never get a mortgage and he didnt want to get into debt (not sure how he thinks most of us buy houses). But he never even looked into it.

- Washing machine. I remember him carrying a suitcase full of washing about a mile walk (he never bothered to learn to drive either) to his mothers (my gran) every sunday. Refused to buy a washing machine - too hard to use and/or "for women to use"

He still has no washing machine. When he got divorced again years ago I tried to get him to get one. Nope - he managed to get his older sister to do his washing for him. (Now brothers GF does it - I refuse).
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Paul, I understand that your dad thinks he is the top priority.

You only have control over your behavior, not his. His expectations do not inevitably lead to you having to "do" for him.

Notice that his GP had no trouble telling him "no, there's nothing we can do about that".

Do the same.
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Lol, Barb. Somehow I can't see Paul hanging up on his Dad. But I expect he can dream!

Puts me in mind of the late, lovely John Peel complaining about how his own children spoke to him. "I could NEVER have said that to my father! I would have had to drive to the next county just to *think* it!"
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Heartless? Hardly! Bit of a mug, now...

If your father has food in the house.
If he prefers to wait hours for free transport.
If he would rather sit waiting miserably for your attention than enjoy the support and friendship offered by others...

These are the bits that he has to suck up. Let him. He will come to no harm.

And don't include your on-call hours in your Dad Schedule.

I thought of one other thing, actually. You could get yourself a pay as you go phone, tell your Dad you've changed your number, and put this dedicated number onto his phone(s) so that you can turn him off when you need to.

It's all about turning things round so that *you* are in control of the contact instead of him. As long as you do still keep in regular touch and you do as a matter of fact take good care of him, it's fine that he can't interrupt you at will.
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paulfoel123 Oct 23, 2018
Ha ha of course you're right.

That's the biggest problem to be honest. There are easier ways but Dad expects things as he wants it. If there is an easier way for everyone then Dad wont care- he wants it how he wants it.

In the past, I have actually disconnected home phone (no-one but dad rings this) and blocked his number temporarily on my mobile.

I had to once. He'd phoned 999 twice that week, called his GP out twice, all of whom had said he had a cold/virus and just had to wait it out. I went to see him a few times, made sure he had everything he needed. But he kept phoning and phoning - expecting me to fix things. Obviously I couldnt. In the end I turned phone off for 3 days,
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Let him push. Take him shopping once a month and tell him that you'll arrange for a delivery service to take his order for fresh goods once a week.

We're talking about your livelihood, right? You've got two kids, one with special needs. You've got an ill wife.

The order of priority is:
Minor children
Spouse
Your own health and ability to earn a living and save for retirement.
Your elderly parent, who has OTHER resources, just chooses, for his own benefit, not to use them.

Notice who is dead last there?

"No dad, I can't do that. You'll have to make other arrangements".

Practice saying that, Paul.

Don't argue with him. Hang up.
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paulfoel123 Oct 23, 2018
Thanks Barb - you're right.

Trouble is Dad thinks and has said that he occupies the top, 2nd and 3rd spot.
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Paul; NO ONE on here is going to think less of you because you are setting firm boundaries with your narcissistic father.

Learn to say "No, I can't possibly do that, Dad". And mean it.

He gets mad? So what?

Is it better for YOU to get mad? And discouraged and depressed?

Nope.

YOU are the only person who is going to look out for you if your dad turns down help that is offered and won't spend his money on taxis or caregivers.
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paulfoel123 Oct 22, 2018
Do you know what Barb about 50 people have told me the same so I know you're right.... :-)

But I have difficulty with it. I'm trying to help him and he makes it difficult and I get so mad.

I'm trying honestly I am. I do say no to him a lot more now - mainly because he pushed it too far with my wife and I realised that ultimately he was pushing us apart. And I realised that she wasn't just moaning about him unfairly as I used to think - but she was dead right about him.
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Use a scooter or he can't go out? Hooey. Unless he lives on Snowdon or something there are cabs. There are RVS drivers. There are befriending services and support services and heaven knows what-all.

And anyway. You got him a scooter and he's still not going out. So..?
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paulfoel123 Oct 22, 2018
OK let me clarify. He likes to go to local town (hes lives pretty much in town centre) to go to betting shop. He also goes to play indoor bowls at place about 1/2 mile from his house.

Yeah he could get a cab but he won't. Hell would freeze over before he'd pay for a cab. Hes said before "taxis are not for people like us". Hes sat in hospital waiting room (I was working away) waited 4/5 hours for free patient transport rather than pay £10 for a taxi home.

In the past I've arranged things for him. Transport to hospital, carers, meals on wheels, etc. He just cancels them and says its too much hassle. Hes got tons of friends etc and active social life when he can be bothered.

Hes been offered help before by GP, hospital, social workers but he always says no need. His favourite saying is "I'll manage" or "You'll help me won't you". He'll tell social services hes ok because his son can do it (i.e. me) without even asking me if I can.

Honestly, I know you're thinking of me as heartless here. But Dad is only ever happy when hes got me or a family member running around doing things for him. No matter what I or others have put in place he won't accept it.

He deliberately sabotages things sometimes just so someone has got to come and do it for him. In all honesty, I'm beginning to wonder if sometimes he does just to see if we'll do it for him, sort of like a test.

In another thread on here I mentioned his wheelchair. Id accidentally left it in my car so I said I'd drop it up at weekend. Middle of the week - need wheelchair tomorrow because Charlie was going to take him to Bowls in it.

I said look the only way I can get it to you is if I take a long lunch from work and drive it up tomorrow. About 60-75 mins round trip. OK he says.

I do on call at work and unluckily that night I got called so was in the office at something like 5am. So I called Dad and said look do you REALLY want that wheelchair today because I've been up early etc. Yes I need it he says. So I drop it up.

Speak to him at the weekend - so how was it going to Bowls in wheelchair with Charlie? Oh I didn't like to ask charlie in the end so decided to walk...

Not the first time hes done something like that where hes blackmailed me into something because he can without a thought for me. Its not cool.
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Sigh. It may be, too, or partly, that he is one of those people who is happy being miserable. Maybe he loves a juicy grievance and is never more contented than when he's got something to complain about.

I was thinking that another approach that might help you is to sit down with a calendar and design a 'caring for Dad' schedule that you would be happy with and able to manage without excessive stress. Anything that crops up in between, you then either delegate or defer to a Dad Day. And anything else, he's going to have to suck up. Sorry Dad.

Have you been watching Old People's Home for 4 Year Olds? The very idea of my life being invaded by toddlers makes my blood run cold, personally; but the series, and the one before, is certainly food for thought.
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paulfoel123 Oct 22, 2018
Yes try to do that now to be honest. But he still pushes and pushes.

One problem is, as I mentioned I do on call. 98-99% of the time its no problem BUT if I get called then I have to drop things - I do get paid to do so after all...

So I've told Dad, Yes I will be there UNLESS I get called. But he still plays the "got no food in the house so you'll have to get shopping for me". I've tried to say we'll sort out home shopping as a backup just in case but he refuses. Its come hell or high water I have to go.

It did happen once. I got called. I knew he had food that time but he still laid it on thick about how I was leaving him with no food. I told him I could get something sorted by next day and I knew he had food in the house anyway.

He said at the time I should have called my boss to tell them I couldn't do the callout because I had to go and see him. Which would not have gone down well for obvious reasons.
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Paul, with respect, that was silly of you.

I see tv ads for these blasted gadgets, smiling old ladies on their way to the gym or gathering their grandchildren to their bosoms - like they've just driven down the M1 laden with presents or something - and think "oh ah. And how much does that battery weigh? And how is she getting her scooter over the step through her uPVC front door? And what happens when it conks out and she's stuck in town?"

If your father needs help with activities of daily living, ask his GP or Adult Social Care to arrange a home assessment by an occupational therapist. Don't throw money at his problems.

This is also a situation where comparisons are odious. Just because one stoical old man is coping admirably does not mean it's reasonable to expect your father to do the same. And for all you know, that totally disabled old man's children may be tearing their hair out with anxiety that he is indeed about to drive down the M1. Swings and roundabouts, eh.

It sounds to me as though your father is bored, possibly depressed, and seeking attention. He may also have deeper medical/psychiatric/social care issues, and I appreciate that it is difficult to get those addressed. But the point to bear in mind is that, no matter how hard a time he is giving you, he is at least as much *having* a hard time. What to do about it? Set boundaries for yourself, and continue to plug away at getting his local health and social services network involved.
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paulfoel123 Oct 22, 2018
Know what you mean but its a case of use one or stay at home all the time. He won;t be able to get out.

Health service/Social? I guess you're in the uk too? Completely useless not interested. Hes had home assessment and had mods to home (which was a fight to be honest).

Know what you mean about different attitudes of course. He is who he is. BUT the reality of the situation is if he wont even try then theres no a lot anyone else can do. We can't be there every time for him its not possible. Part of the problem is he knows it he doesn't try eventually someone will come running (or he'd like them to).

As you said I've had to set boundaries and he doesnt like it one bit at the moment....
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