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Dad is 91 and I can handle him most of the time until he falls or doesn't want to do something. then its a challenge.

During the day, I am gone half the time (he refuses any help when im not here) as I am an Executive Director of an animal clinic. fortunately, I have good staff and can work from home most of the time. In my business life, I have to talk strategic planning, project management, FTE coverage flows, etc. Once I get off the phone, I have to completely and entirely change who I am in order to reach him. In fact, his first few words are "You are THAT important?" (said to bait me cause he had to wait, hanging over my shoulder while I finished up a conference call. We have a housekeeper, once everyother week; he hates her. Says she steals things. Any help with how to avoid the transition from business executive to "bossy daughter" mode, which was always my childhood tag? I want so badly to not boss him, but being that its in my personality (and his too) its hard for me to even boss someone that cant think logically. He broke his hand last week and pulled the cast off when I wasn't looking because I refused to do it for him and lectured him on why he needs to leave it on. He takes oxycodone and then drinks when I am not looking (I cannot even begin to try to take his alcohol away at 91) so I have hidden his oxycodone and he accuses me of being addicted to them so that's why I take them.
okay, my head hurts just talking .... going for the aspirins (which is as strong as it gets for me...)

How do go into a detached mode--- is that what I need to do? when dealing with him. Does anyone have a similar transition to make or know of any books that have helped?
Linda

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Okay Linda, take a few deep stomach breaths and exhale long and slowly through your nose, calm yourself, number one! I think it is terrific that you are ED for animal clinic, this is a very stressful and caring business. You are adept at taking on not only the business aspects of this clinic but maybe I am assuming here too much but also you must take on the undeniable emotional aspect of this kind of care business. Even as an ED I would think you'd get involved with some of the cases. Not as intense as a animal protective foundation, but stressful for sure. I always thought if I had the time I'd love to volunteer at APR or clinic, but I get way way too too involved. I would be a mess all the time and have a million animals.

Now I say all of this because taking care of your dad requires all of the skills you use as an ED. You have the hard headed business skill and compassion, and like rearing anything from kids to animals usually there is not a manual but we learn from trial and error and through experience. Everything I learned in my life unfortunately I had to learn the hard way and on my own, I am now open to suggestions LOL. Anything to live an easier life in my book.

For me caring for my mother brought front and center my own mortality and all the uncomfortable things that we usually push to the back burner for later. Well it is now later. As a business woman put that hat on and take care of legal issues if not done already, but I would be surprised to think you have not done this yet. But needs to be said, those power of attorneys are essential as making sure he does not die intestate.

Get all arrangements made for his estate, taxes, funeral wishes now. Get a list of policies, bank accounts, iras and so forth. Make it easier on him and yourself. He won't like it much, I wouldn't it means I am closer to check out time, he may be afraid, I would be, I am now.

It is a sad and hard time for all of us, your dad, everyone, but it is the time for us to really grow up and become truly independent of our parents emotionally and often the role reversal is a mind twist and cluster. You now are the parent. Growing up was dad bossy or mom or both. Think about how they were when they were younger, this is their personality now without power behind it.

Dad is 91, holy moly that is great and he does not have dementia even better. I would assess his medical needs, can he function alone, does he take meds. If he needs a carer get one, if can get to Adult Day care get him there. He needs stimulation, he is drinking because he is bored, scared and all of the above. Get him around his peers, involved with things he used to love, get him out of the house.

He is goading you with the comment about "are you that important." Well yes dad isn't that great that you helped create a human being that is "important" and has people and animals relying on them.

Take it slow, faggetabout the guilt, there is none, useless, it is the nature of the beast. Take care of yourself, tell him what he needs to do, consider his feelings and if you can give him choices and options, get him involved in his care.
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NEVER judge anyone else in their caregiving capacity. We who are in this position need all the support and help we can get in managing the challenging problems of the circumstance. You are right when you say we come here as, not only a place to ask questions, but to get answers and support. I was on the end of some of that judgement and all I can say is, "walk a mile in my shoes...".
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How ironic. I came on this site tonight to whine and complain and ask for HELP! I was going to say: " I'm on the verge of throwing in the towel! Someone please tell me why I shouldn't." Then I began reading this thread. Many suggestions and answers came to me. I went to bed tonight when it was still daylight. 8:30, a beautiful summer evening. I was feeling sorry for myself, drained, tired, and fed up. All day was spent with Mom and her needs. Everywhere I went, she went. It takes four times longer for me to do ANYTHING, because my poor sweet Mom is a clueless little kid...coming out of her room with two different shoes on, wanting to wear her cashmere sweater to bed (in 90 degree weather), thinking she can walk just fine on uneven terrain, steps, no hand rails, etc etc. This place is not a handicapped facility. My husband refuses to make it one. Therefore, dangers lurk everywhere. Hubby is out of town tonight, and Mom and I had a heart-to-heart. I told her I needed a break now and then. I needed some "alone time." Even for an hour. I feel like I'm going to crack. She told me that she was aware something was wrong with her, and she is frightened to be alone because of that feeling. She doesn't know what to do, or what she is doing. It was sad to hear. And interesting that she is very aware that she is totally clueless, and how scary that really is to her. Knowing this doesn't really solve any problems though. I hope it makes me less impatient, although I am so burnt out. I liked reading some of the answers about "burn out" and what to do to try and avoid it. I can't come to grips with placing Mom in a memory care right yet. To me it would seem like abandoning a two year old. She said tonight that she relies on the love, and care of those of us around her who she knows love her. (Actually it's just my husband and I, most of the time, and the many visiting family members who come and go.) And how much easier it is for those who come and go. Just like being a grandparent who can love the kids for a time, but are ready to relinquish the care back to the parents as soon as they can, right?? So, checking in to this site has once again helped me through a horrible day....a thought that I just couldn't go on with this, and feeling depressed and hopeless. Thanks caregivers!!! Only all of us really know what it's all about. :-/
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And ignore all nonsupportive comments on this site. Pick out info/resources/people who support you and offer good guidance (such as beammeupscotty and Madeaa). Really-you are doing well-it's so hard not to get caught up in the old child/parent relationship thing when caregiving for a difficult
parent. His safety-your sanity are your priorities. Book suggestion: coping with your difficult older parent: a guide for stressed out children by grace Lebow and Barbara Kane.
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I'll give my two cents on this. My Mom lives with my oldest sister and "tries" to dominate her every waking hour because she herself has no stimulus of her own to occupy her time during the day. Because of this my mother resented my sister, who had maintained a home based sales business, time she had to take away from sitting with her or entertaining her. She will literally throw temper tantrums or fake illnesses so that my sister would have to shut down what she was doing to placate her. Mom literally degenerated to where she wouldn't do any simple task for herself and insisted my sister do it for her, such as clean her own dentures. She is quite capable of doing these things. The final straw came when Mom woke crying out she couldn't move her legs. It seemed that the following weekend they had been visiting my brother who's wife had had knee surgery and could not walk. That's right, Mom decided that she could no longer walk! Since my sister had some severe back problems of her own, she told my mother she couldn't lift her. Mom still insisted she couldn't walk or move. Having no alternative my sister called EMS and took her to the ER. To make a longer story short... Mom was admitted to a rehab for awhile by a geriatric physician to try to get her to rehabilitate herself to do everyday things she should do on her own and socialize her. She refuses to socialize with anyone and resents my sister for leaving her there which wasn't what happened at all. It was recommended to be what was in her best interest and my sisters. Visits with her result in insults,accusations and crying asking to be taken home. Not sure who's benefiting from any of this. I'm just relating all of this so that even when you think you ARE doing what you feel is the best for all concern that there will be lingering questions if you really are. Trust your OWN judgement to your situation. No one else walks in your shoes.
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WTH, if you live your life waiting for a pat on the back you may be sorely disappointed, you got to be okay with you as is, no matter what anyone thinks about it. Sometimes I find it helpful to answer a question to sort out my feeling and thoughts just like when I meditate to sort out my thoughts, feelings and gain greater perspective and understanding. This helps me to reinforce myself with proper attitude,if someone agrees great if not well, as I say if it don't apply let it fly, your opinion of me and what I say will not change my opinion of myself. My well being is not measured by what others think, say or feel about me.
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roscoe888 - all I can say to you is that this is a support site and you certainly are not being supportive or helpful by judging and labeling. Take a breath and think before you post.
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i would recommend a number of things. i listen to the "co-creator network" radio station on line. they have lots of therapeutic discussions and many deal with issues of health and handling those with special needs. most are based on keeping centered and present in the moment. (some of the shows are a little whacko but even those people are working with people to provide some creative outlets for their minds.) worrying about the past and the future are what stress us out. try to be more present or centered at work and you will see that it makes your life easier. also, reminding yourself that you are a creative being, an electrical force in the world, will give you a good outlet for your stress, and your father's. try to get involved in some artwork. paint a watercolor with him. have some child play with him. also, remember that love comes from within so pay attention to your heart and keep pumping out those love feelings. it will help you heal and will be good for your dad. even though my entire life has become taking care of others, who are not necessarily home upstairs, these tips have helped free me from my situational and mental prison and have set me back on the path to living.
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The best caregivers have compassionate empathy for Their loved ones while avoiding becoming traumatized by exposure to pain in others that comes from too much sympathy. A sympathetic reaction means to experience what the other person is feeling or has gone through. Sympathetic reactions have two drawbacks. Sympathy can force traumatized people to have to deal with the emotional reactions of the listener, and sympathy can make the caregiver vulnerable to developing bystander PTSD, professional burnout, or worse.

Emotionally resilient people hold up well under pressure and can gain strength from rough emotional experiences. First and foremost you have to care for you, this is always a must in caregiving because you will get overwhelmed and burn out. This is no good for you or your father. You have a very heavy work load, BE CAREFUL for your sake. If he wants to resist care when you can't be there then so be it, they are there for his safety not his attitude. Good caregivers don't for the most part take it personally, they just do their jobs and exhale later. Don't get down on yourself your doing great. Take care
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Good morning everyone. I am exhausted and just woke up and have to leave in 1 hour for work!! But had to check in. Everyone, hang in there. Just thought of this..it is so hard because sometimes we want to FIX everything. For instance, if we just do this or that it might all get better some how. Our goal should be just to do what we can, and know its probably not all going to get fixed and back to normal.. then we might relax some. I do try to fix, like for instance, a new plan here and a new plan there. Its exhausting. It is what it is and it out of our control many times. Let life happen likes it has been planned with the aging process doing what we can, but knowing the world is not in our hands. Keep calm and carry on. No guilt today, rest when u can.
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