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I've never been so unhappy...this is ruining my life.


My 80 year old father has been living with us (my husband and toddler son) for 8 months now. We 'rescued' him from terrible living conditions with my brother. I've never been close with my family. Very dysfunctional. I moved out with my then boyfriend (now husband) when I was 18 (20 years ago). My dad is not a bad guy but ridiculously bad with money and set in his ways. My husband convinced me to take him in because it was the humane thing to do and we thought he was more independent than he is. I had a ton of guilt growing up and I resolved it all thru therapy a few years ago. Well all my hard work is coming undone and it's ruining my life. I don't love my father. This is a burden. He's been irresponsible with money and has none. So I have him on every waiting list I can find for subsidized senior housing. The lists are years long. My husband doesn't want to hear me complain every day, simply about my dad's existence in our home, but I hate it. I want my life back. I don't want him in it. But there are no options. He has no where else to go. I can't even find him an apartment because he has no money saved and terrible credit. My husband does not (and cannot) comprehend my guilt complex and how my dad's presence is a cancer to my psyche. I can't stand that there is a problem with no solution. Just tell me I'm not alone in this desperation. Thank you for reading.

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I have been pushing dad to get out more but I see him slowing down fast. If he did what I suggest it may help but like my own getting into shape and losing weight it is a long slow battle.
He is slowly venturing out. I have started talking him with me on errands (as painful as it is). I am trying to put my own issues aside and trying to understand his. As I introduced my dad to someone yesterday "he is me in 25 years". Oh that was a scary thought. So as much as I gripe and complain I have to realize this is a part of life and have to grin and bear it. He asked about getting the boat out this year, it needs work. "I said we will see". He can hardly get into my truck let alone a moving boat. Again all a part of life I have to learn to deal with. Id love for him to do repairs around the house but it ends with me doing all the work. Right now it is day 3 me looking at his dirty laundry in the laundry room sitting on the floor. He has until 10 to do it today before I have to say something... Really? I actually have to say something? Again all a part of life I have to learn to deal with and be patient...
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gfd7974: I feel for you. Caregiving is hard, thankless work! Praying for you.
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tgengnie, I know exacly how you feel. My dad is the exact way and i know how flustered you are. I stay flustered more than i should. You hate to say their are a burden but that is how i feel these days. Really stinks
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tgengine - Thank you. You too are a good person :) This is rough stuff. I wish my dad would go out more. I tried to get him involved at the senior center but he didn't like doing the activities and being with "old" people. He doesn't think he's old...except when it's a good excuse for his behavior :-/ He doesn't drive, though he wants to, because he'll just burn through money faster and I fear get lost or cause an accident (he can't see or hear as well as he thinks and I feel like his head is not focused enough for safety on the road). There are community transport buses that can take him but you have to schedule them in advance and he can't think in the future. Anyway...here I go again...lol
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Don't beat yourself up, I get it, I feel your pain. You are a good person for doing what you are doing. I moved dad in with me 2 years ago. Bad with money, didn't save, spent like crazy. We get along OK but it is tough having someone in the house. My wife doesn't understand my guilt complex. It is not that I have anything to be guilty about I just feel bad going out with my wife and doing other things by my self. He is starting to venture out to church and clubs but loves to be entertained. He doesn't reach out to grand kids, he waits for people to call him. He has a few friends he calls but that is it. I did move him 8 hours from home but there was not choice, he was out of money and out of assets so I am the primary care giver. He has enough to pay his insurance and gas that is about it. Still spends until he is out of money then I have to lend him money. I am pushing him to get out more and do more with clubs. It is hard at 80 being in a new town and trying to make new friends. I gave up trying now I just say what is on my mind.
I get the guilt, it is getting better. It just takes time. You are a good person for doing what you are doing!!!!!
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You are not alone. There are solutions for your Dad and your family unit.There are provisions in every state for either Medicaid or Medicare for in home personal services. These services are a cost-effective alternative to institutionalized long term care. Our agency here in Wisconsin offers a FREE in home assessment by a nurse. If I might suggest contacting your ADRC office or a case manager for more options for you and your family. From first hand knowledge, I know there are some wonderful personal care workers who will alleviate the workload and the emotional burden you and your family are carrying.
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Well, so much for that. They have a 2 year wait list for the cheapest apartments, the only ones he can afford. The lady said, since he's a veteran, I should apply for HUD VASH... so I check out the program on the web... a requirement is that he *needs case management*...meaning he's sick, disabled or addicted. If you're just a normal old broke guy the government can't help you. I'll call anyway...when I find an hour or so of spare time...with a full time job and baby. Sigh..................
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So, this morning my husband says, "I can't believe he's finished 2 gallons of milk in 2 days. And I hear him dump so much down the sink!" He does. He pours a whole glass, drinks about half, it gets warm, he dumps it and refills. It's absolutely maddening.

We had a massive blizzard this past weekend...about 2 feet of snow. We live on a country road, no sidewalks. Yesterday he walked .3 miles up to the market just to get candy.

I found an ad this morning for a low-income senior apartment building about 30 minutes from my house. In the next state (MD - I'm in PA). They're taking applications now for residency in May. I'm going to call on my lunch break. I don't know how my dad will take the news....I don't really care. This needs to happen. At this point, even the HOPE that they have apartments available makes me so excited. Fingers crossed....
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I hear you. I went on a similar rant earlier...and I DO love my mom. But totally relate to wanting your life back!! Folks have good ideas though; TV with headphones, extra milk in a little fridge, tell him they stopped making Reeces Pieces (sorry, my bad), sugar in a pitcher. I have no real advice of my own because I'm in a similar boat but...keep ranting sister! Getting it out is half the battle.
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I am glad to know you will be seeing a therapist. She/He will help you learn to also set boundaries and give you coping skills. This is not easy and anyone who thinks so has never been there. I would have had no idea how much my life would change, but a friend forewarned me and he was right. I am gleaning the positive from it, and learning to deal with the negative. Support groups are essential! Best to you.
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Wow. I can't thank you all enough for identifying with my situation, understanding and empathizing. Just to know I'm not the only one, makes it a little more bearable. I do a lot of what's been suggested. It's just hard for me to not cater to people. I work on it every day though, and I think therapy will be a big help. I'll keep looking for alternative housing practice kindness and patience, if only for the sake of my husband and son, they don't deserve to suffer my moods related to my dad being here.
I'm glad I found this site. Hope I can help someone else feel heard.
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I feel your pain. You just told my life with my father to the tee. I can't get any help for him either. I wish i could answer your question. If I can get help I have to payout of pocket,and he has Tri Care and Medicar . My dad has Alzimers so it makes it worst for me and my husband. All I want is my life back to.
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Hi
Your husband and son are your number one responsibilities. Your father did this to himself. Do not ruin your life for him. He will not change while living under your roof. Taking him to counseling at age 80 would be a waste of money. Ask Dr. Laura about this. No guilt for kicking him out or sending back to brothers house or wait for health crisis and as mentioned earlier do not take him home
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Yes, hopefully he will go to the hospital and don't pick him back up!
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So glad you can vent here, your situation is really tough. Looks like a lot of us came from messed up families, sadly, and can relate to the feelings. I found being near my dad and/or just talking by phone with a certain one of my siblings would trigger bad memories and reactions from me. (So grateful neither came to live with me. And I’m sorry for you.) Therapy helped, but the best part was that the therapist put me into a group of similar people. It became a safe place to vent, and several became friends we could phone each other outside of the group meeting to vent. Probably saved my marriage.
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I am sorry for your situation, life is hard enough without having to care for a parent. I cannot imagine having a toddler and your aged father in the house. Our Mother was hospitalized in June, went home, fell in October, went to rehab, was released in December and went to her own house ( which is not really set up for a handicapped person) only to have her basement wall collapse and is now with my sister. She has to walk with a walker, which is a miracle. We did not think she would even get that far. I feel guilty because I have a full time job and the burden is on my sister, who is my half sister. My family too is dysfunctional, and I am sure we are the majority these days. My brother comes over (who is my half brother) as much as possible to visit or take Mom for a few hours. But our Mother has become a little demanding since all this has happened. She does not like it that she can no longer go whenever she wants, she wants us to take her places(a lot). That is a little hard, it is winter and she has to use a walker, there is not a whole lot of places we can go with her. And if we take her out and something happen, there we would be. I took her out the other day,(just so happen to be a nice day) and we just drove down to where she grew up and I took her to a restaurant that was easily accessible. I tried to keep her out for at least 6 hours to give my sister some time to do what she needed to do. I have tried to be understanding in the fact that I too will be where she is one day. I am very independent, to depend on someone else will kill me. To be a burden will also kill me, I don't want to be. It is a burden for my sister, we all knew this was coming but telling yourself it is coming, does not prepare you for it. My sister now has to consider my Mom in all she does. But it is getting to the place where she is beginning to go ahead and do. Mom is the one who is going to have to be understanding. Can your dad go on rural transit to a senior citizens facility? That would get him out of the house for a length of time. I agree with the one post, you cannot change your life completely around for your father. You fix your normal foods and if Dad does not like it, tell him there is peanut butter and jelly, or fix a bowl of cereal. His choices. I once had a counselor tell me that I was not responsible for my adult children's choices. YOU are not responsible for your adult father's choices. We all have to answer for our own choices. I will tell you the one thing I have told others concerning family, " Make decisions where YOU will not have "no regrets." Saying that, your husband and your child are your first priority, not your father. I understand not loving your dad, I did not love mine, but I did not have to care for him either. I did keep communication open with him, but he was not allowed to visit my house. This was due to choices he had made earlier in life concerning me. My choice was I wanted no regrets, and being a Christian, I did not want to be the reason he did not seek after Christ. Life is hard, it has never been promised it would be easy, only in fairy tales. You do need a good support group, and I hope you can find one. Life is hard especially when you are doing it alone, even though there may be a spouse, siblings in the picture. My heart goes out to you, I know the feelings you are struggling with. I will be praying for you and that you will be able to find a place for your Dad.
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I'm with Harpcat and the others who say you should stop catering to his likes and dislikes in food. Cook for your husband and let Dad eat or go hungry or eat toast, and use these good ideas for sugar dispensing! I'm not sure that drinking a gallon of milk every day is actually good for anyone, too. If you let it "run out" occasionally, he can get used to drinking water, and you can scramble an egg or have toast for breakfast if you normally eat cereal! We NEVER could have had our dad live with us because of his smell, his refusal to bathe, his refusal of Depends for his incontinence, and his bossy personality. You were good to get him out of the bad situation, but this is so hard for you, we know. You shouldn't have to go through this. We finally tricked our Dad into memory care, and it was good he had saved enough money to afford it. Good luck, and keep coming back to this group for support.
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He must be getting Social Security? If so, charge him room and board. Treat him like ur child. He eats what is in front of him, when it comes to dinner anyway. U say he can't drive? Then don't buy him anything. With a toddler u can't be waiting on him hand and foot. Put the sugar in a shaker. Thats what I did for Mom. I used a Tupperware spice container. You say he is not as independent as u thought. Is he showing signs of Dementia. If so, have him evaluated. Maybe u can get him in a NH with Medicaid. Its ur home, he needs to realize how lucky he is u took him in.
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I don't want to co-opt your story by sharing too much of my own, but.....my mother is living with my new husband and I now because we're the best option and we don't know what else to do. And even though she had to care for her mother years ago (with our help) and turn her own life upside down to do it, and even though she assured my siblings and me on several occasions in recent years that she had "taken care of" all her affairs, we have since found out the hard way that she had made no plans or arrangements.

That trapped feeling due to the lack of any other options is suffocating; you are not alone! And I am determined to NEVER do this to my own children!
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You're not alone in your desperation. Especially you're not alone in feeling bad that here is this old guy, messy and hopeless, with no one else to look after him so you're lumbered - and you find you're unable, for very good reasons, to do that job with grace. After all, what does he do that's so terrible? Not much. And you can't *stand* it. And I don't blame you.

By way of parallel, when she was still partly independent, my mother used to make this instant oatmeal with golden syrup flavouring in it for her breakfast. Well oh dearie me, not the crime of the century surely? But OHMYGOD that sweet stench in my kitchen every morning!!! I can't tell you how viciously furious it made me at the start of every day. Daft, isn't it?

And your Dad is pathetically grateful for your care and support, too. Groan. If only he were a curmudgeonly, controlling bully - ideally one who was mean to your toddler, too (don't tell me - he's a terrific Granddad? Much better than he was as a father?).

Well, you are a bit stuck.

They say (I think it might have been Eric Clapton first) "if you want to be happily married, marry a happy person." You certainly seem to have got that bit right. Your husband sounds a gem.

This is maybe what he's missing, though: that there is nothing rational about whether or not you are on the same wavelength as another human being. You don't have to have an explicable reason for finding your Dad's presence in the home a torment. It's enough that you just do.

And here is the good reason why your husband needs to support you more energetically in finding your father his own place. The frustration and desperation you feel are apt to lead to worse feelings - like anger, resentment, spite - that will make it near impossible for you to provide a home for your Dad. All too easily, his living environment could end up being emotionally abusive. Which would leave you feeling terrible, change the person you are, and impact on your marriage and your child.

Practical steps:

Ask your father to give you financial Power of Attorney, and make the arrangements for him to do it formally. This will make it much easier for you to act on his behalf and, later on, restrict his irresponsible spending.

Seek out more resources locally - day centres, activities, voluntary organisations, anything that can broaden your dad's horizons and get him out from under foot.

I expect you already have, but be persistent in seeking advice about how to get him living independently once more. Imagine you and your husband had magically vanished: what provision would be available to him? Aim for that.

And meanwhile, once you've set in motion all the wheels you can find, then do look for the good in him. Imagine looking back on this time, and think about what memories you would like to have. It's incredibly hard going, I know, but the one choice that you *do* have right now is whether to get through it well, or badly.

Keep venting! This is a safe place to dump any bad feelings. Best of luck x
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I understand. And I had a good relationship with my mom. I have 5 kids and taking care of mom fully time. I hate it. I feel every emotion you are venting. And you can't talk about it because it makes you sound like an awful daughter. I know. I get it. You are not alone! I have no advice but know you are not alone. Hugs.
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What would happen if you bought and cooked just what you thought appropriate rather than catering to his bizarre preferences? Run out of milk. Forget to buy sugar. If you serve chicken or leftovers, "This is what we're having tonight."
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I'm wondering what would be the worst that could happen if you didn't buy milk every day or Reese's pieces? Yes, these are small things that bother you but spits all the small things that add up and get on the nerves. If he doesn't like chicken, well that's too bad. Just as when I was a kid, if I said I didn't like something, is eat it or go hungry. You are not a restaurant providing a range of menu options. He doesn't get to totally change your life to "his likes". It's enough that you are allowing him to live there away from your irresponsible brothers. It's unfair of your husband to tell you to get over it. Both of you would benefit from joint counseling. You've done the right thing looking into subsidized housing. The other option would be a facility where you could apply for Medicaid since you say he has no money. I sympathize with you wanting your life back. It is hard!!
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Gfd- you need to look within yourself and make decisions. My parents were nudists and swingers so i completely understand communal living...probably better than most. I had to look within myself a long time ago and make decisions based upon my personal beliefs. Personally, i discovered that those were decisions that they made were theirs to make not mine, so i enjoy a relationship with them both. If you cannot accept decisions that were made in the past by your father, you need to remove yourself from the situation.
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Your complaints aren't petty. If your husband or an older child were behaving in those ways, I'm sure you'd be annoyed at them, too. And your dad probably has no idea of the depth of your irritation and has no real ability to change his ways. If you're at work during the day, you won't be able to keep him out of the kitchen, which means that the mess is almost unavoidable. Something that might possibly help with the sugar . . . my mom used to put the sugar into a syrup pitcher, rather than into a sugar bowl. That way we could just pour from the pitcher instead of spooning from a bowl. Re the milk: could you buy an apartment-sized fridge and store a couple of extra gallons of milk in that? It would use extra electricity, but it might cut down on the trips to the store. Of course, the real issue is that you need to have your house to yourselves, just you, your husband, and your child. Could your brothers contribute anything toward monthly apartment rent for your dad? (I'm not sorry that we took my dad in, because I think that he would have died from his medical issues without our help, but I NEVER want another house guest, at least not someone who stays indefinitely.)
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And yes, I'm getting back into therapy too. :)
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AngieJoy. Wow. Haha... he does have his own room, with a TV. And headphones. That he never remembered to charge so my husband wired speakers to right next to his head on the nightstand. That was huge to me.
My husband is aware of it all....but he just wants me to be happy and the only way to do that right now is to accept the present and not be negative. But I am struggling. Some days I feel anger and resentment toward him because he was a driving force with 'helping' my dad and bringing him to our house. And I get mad that he has needs and of course our son needs me more than anyone and it's just too much. And when I vent to people I know I do it in a humorous way because I don't want to sound like a terrible person.
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I suppose this is more of a rant than a question :-/ I know I'm doing all I can by applying for subsidized housing and just waiting. I daydream about finding another senior citizen who wants a roommate :-) I guess I just wanted to know that I'm not alone in this feeling of desperation. My husband doesn't understand and says I just need to 'stop feeling bad', 'he's fine'... but it all the little things my dad does that drive me crazy.
He drinks a gallon of milk a day. So I need to stop at the store multiple times a week. And he spills a lot.
He eats Reeces Pieces candy by the 15oz bag. And drops them on the floor.
He spills sugar on the counter top. Daily.
I don't like his smell.
The TV is ALWAYS on.
He won't eat leftovers. He won't eat chicken. Or fish. Or scrambled eggs; he likes them over-medium.
When I make something he doesn't like, which is often, he won't eat. He'll have cereal. With lots of sugar. That he'll spill on the counter.
He goes to the bathroom a lot. Usually while we're getting ready for work.
He wants a car. But has no money. And is practically blind in one eye.
I could go on...... I try to tell him about these things but he doesn't notice them and forgets...

I know all these things sound REALLY petty. But they drive me crazy. And I have a toddler. He is less annoying than my dad. And I just miss my freedom. It's like having just a random old guy in my house. I want to be with just *MY* family. I am so sorry to go on and on.... I just feel like I'm never heard and since you all live with this too.... I don't know...I feel like this is a safe place to vent.
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gfd, I understand exactly what you mean. The nearly 10 months that my father lived with my husband and me were some of the most challenging of my life. Dysfunctional family, difficult childhood. Having Dad in our home brought back all the bad memories, and even though he has been living elsewhere for close to two years, I don't feel as though I'm back on an even keel emotionally. Is there a social worker at your father's doctor's office? If so, you might want to talk to her/him about possible housing options for your dad. Would an adult foster care home or an adult group home be an appropriate place for him? The waiting list might be shorter for that sort of living situation. Is he a veteran? He might be able to qualify for a veteran's pension. If it is absolutely impossible for him to move out at this time, I'd suggest that you think about the day-to-day annoyances that are caused by having him in your home. Something that I found almost intolerable was the blaring television. Shortly before he moved out, Dad bought a new television with headphones that allowed him to have the volume high without deafening the rest of the household. If I'd had any idea of what a relief that would be, I would have insisted that he make that purchase months earlier. Does your dad have his own bedroom at your house? If so, could you squeeze a recliner and a small TV into that room so that you could have the living room as a relatively quiet and private space for you, your husband, and your child? If your dad is super messy in the kitchen, it might be worthwhile to start fixing all of his meals for him (would your husband help with that?) so that he doesn't have the opportunity to drop, slop, and smear food all over the counters and floors. (I'm not suggesting preparing gourmet meals--just simple foods such as salads, fresh fruit, sandwiches. We used to buy precut fruit for my dad's breakfasts. It's more expensive than slicing fruit at home, but it makes it easier to put a quick breakfast on the table.) If he's messy in the bathroom, you may have to assume that's unavoidable and plan on a 5-minute mini-cleanup a couple of times a day (you could buy a couple of packages of inexpensive washcloths and keep them under the sink for quick wipe-ups). Is your husband aware of the details of your childhood? If he isn't, and you feel comfortable doing so, you could sharing some of your bad memories with him. That might help him understand why it's so difficult for you to have your dad around. Also, if you can't complain to your husband, could you vent to a friend? (I never felt comfortable doing that because I didn't want my friends to think that I wasn't a good daughter. Looking back on the situation now, I wish that I had been more honest with them.) Or could you talk to a therapist? Maybe the therapist that you talked with in the past? Just a few random thoughts here. I'm sure that others on this site will have lots more ideas for you. Please post again and let us know how you're doing.
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He's not sick so won't end up in the hospital...I can't really just walk away from him...he won't understand. He has always lived with my brothers; but they're not like me. They're like him. Bad with money, very irresponsible. No thought for the future, not even days away. They all had a very inter-dependent, communal living relationship. But they're all very selfish and don't actually 'care' for one another. They took his money but he slept on the floor. My dad loves us (me, my husband, his grandson) and I know he appreciates being in our home and having me handle his money. I make sure he gets the things he wants and needs because I feel an obligation to do so. I'm sure he thinks I do it because I care. I have no desire to hurt his feelings. I live with an unnatural level of empathy and I don't want anyone to suffer. So I take it on. I know this about myself. I don't want to go to counseling with him. I have no unresolved issues *with him*. I accept him for who he is. I just don't like who he is and I don't want to live with him or be his caregiver. So I need to find him somewhere else to live where he'll be safe and have access to food... and there are so few resources. He has Medicare and supplemental insurance. There's nothing really wrong with him medically. I appreciate your words and suggestions.
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