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What to do with somebody that seems to sulk when he feels not cared for enough? Lots of family dynamics here. I am the only child of an 87 year old blind, deaf, father. He also has swollen prostate and is diabetic. He is bedridden. I work 40 hours a week, and have an only child, my 31 year old son, that stays overnight with his grandfather. My semi-retired partner is the primary caregiver and liason with the VA that sends a person to bathe him M-F, bi-monthly catheter changes, adjustments in prescriptions, and more. Is it common to feel manipulated? More often than not, my father "cooperates" with my partner, and seems to almost deliberately make life difficult for his kin. He can be very astute, and profound in his communication, for instance, I was with him one night, and he was shouting from midnight to three a.m. I told him I needed to be at work at eight, and he asked me why I wasn't asleep. I said because you aren't, and he said, "So shut up, already!" When my partner tries to calm him, my dad says, "If you want me to go to sleep, I will."

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As usual, Jeannie is right on target. I agree with everything she mentions. I do feel that family dynamics are the problem. Your dad doesn't want his "kid" to tell him what to do. Your partner is different. It's very hard for many elders to accept help from an adult child, so some of them become difficult. They feel that you are trying to "boss" them. They can look at an outsider as just help.

It doesn't seem right, but it happens often. So, as Jeannie says, if you let your partner take over more of the care your father objects to, then maybe you can work on building your relationship. It's not always practical to do this and it won't always work, but knowledge of this odd dynamic may help.
Good luck,
Carol
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It sounds like it might be most practical to allow your partner to handle all of these kinds of communications. Is your partner willing? Perhaps you could be the one to wheel Dad for a wheel-chair walk in good weather, talk about family memories, and basically stick to pleasant topics.

It is common for caregivers to feel they are being manipulated. And it is common for them to be right! -- but sometimes it is the perception of the caregiver more than the intent of the loved one that is at work.

Could you be more direct with your father? "Dad, I don't know if you realize it but you are shouting loud enough to keep me awake. I have to be at work in the morning and I need my sleep. Could you go to sleep know, or at least find a more quiet activity?" Tell him why and ask directly for what you want. Don't be subtle about "I need to get up early" and expect him to make the connection and offer to change his behavior. (Listen to how your partner handles these things. Maybe the fact that there isn't family history in the picture changes things for Dad, or maybe he/she has a slightly different approach you could learn from.)
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