Dad relies on me for everything and it is putting me in a tough spot with my family, what can I do?


My Dad started living with us 10 months ago. His Dr. said he has the on set of Dementia. He said it could get worse in the next 5 years. I find myself getting angry that i asked him to move in our house. We can not do anything without him. He wants to be with us all the time. I feel it has put a burden on my family and me. He did not want to live alone anymore and my sister wants nothing to do with the situation. She wanted to put him in a nursing home and wash her hands to it all. Of course i felt sorry for him and took him in. He drives me crazy and i cry all the time because i see my family going separate ways some days. I talked to him about going back home and of course he put the quilt back on me. He does that so well. I don't know what to do someday's and when i want to escape to a store he grabs his coat and follows me. It is getting to me lately and i do not know how to deal with the situation. This is new to me and i am not sure i made the right decision. What do i do? Anyone? I feel like my life is falling apart right in front of me.

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I also went through what you are going through and it is imperative to set the rules about your time with your family. I too felt guilty with my mom and she was so clingy, showering was impossible. Until I sat down and talked to her about my time with my family not that it meant her being apart from us but that my family also needed me without her. It took a long while for her to get it but I got a senior companion to sit with my mom for 6 hours a week, I put her in groups 3x a week for 9 hours a week and little by little she started letting go so tight. She still has her days when I leave and she makes faces but I don't feel guilty no more. My mom was very independent before dementia and I know that if she was in her right mind she would not be this way. But somehow you gotta disconnect yourself and be stern about your time. I know they get lonely but we have to take care of ourselves and our families too. I'm much happier as a person and my mom well.... she is spoiled when I'm with her but she is ok for now. I know it probably might get worse but I still have learned to handle it when she does pout. I know that I'm offering my mom a better life outside a nh and I do my best for her, my family and myself by not giving in to her. Plus she is ok, she's not hurt just lonely and everyone goes through that. She is never left alone she just prefers me to be with her but I can't and I won't feel guilty for it. Hugs To You. I think we all go tthrough this at one point in our journey just be strong. God Bless You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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First of all, unless there was abuse in the background, don't even consider washing your hands of the whole thing. Even if Dad needs to be in a care center, you can continue to be his advocate, see that he gets good care, visit him often, send him cards and jokes, talk to him on the phone, etc. It is not your house or nothing. Many loving daughters take care of their parents in care centers.

But before you consider that, see if you can make some improvements with the current situation. It is understandable that Dad wants to be with you all the time. But just because he wants it doesn't mean you have to allow it. You need to set and enforce boundaries. You need some alone time, and some time with your husband, and some time with your kids, without Dad, as well as spending some time with him. This is very difficult. Telling him the rules is role reversal, and if he is good at handing out guilt, it is hard to manage. Hard, but not impossible.

You haven't mentioned some of the other issues that sometimes come up in these situations. You haven't said that Dad thinks he is in charge of the children, or is demanding about household details, always expects what he likes for dinner, is rude to your guests, etc. etc. If the "only" problem is that you need your space and he is crowding into it all the time, then you may be able to make big improvements.

Consider an adult day health program for him a few days a week. Take him to the Senior Center and pick him up 2 hours later. Have regular date nights with your family and gently but firmly exclude Dad. Be frank with him. You are doing everything you can to make it possible for him to live with you, but he has to do his part, too.

This will be very difficult, and while you are establishing boundaries it might help you to have the support of seeing a counselor.

If you can't make it work better at your house, then it is time to find alternative housing for him. With dementia living alone is not likely to be practical. A group home, foster care, assisted living, a dementia care unit -- get help figuring out what is appropriate. Honor him. Love him. But don't give up your family and your sanity for him.
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