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I have been caring for my 87-year-old dad for over a year now. I am there EVERY day, all day. He lost my mom one year ago, and she waited on him hand and foot. He is totally competent although he does have a hard time getting around. He expects me to fill my moms shoes and do everything for him. Cook his meals, pay his bills, take him to appointments sort his medicine do his laundry, and spend every minute entertaining him. When I do try to go anywhere he makes me feel guilty with snide remarks like, "When are you coming back? How long will you be gone? OH I suppose the lines were too long and that is what took you so long!" I just feel like a prisoner. I also have a husband that has MS. I leave him every day to care for my dad. I just do not know how to get any relief... please help!!!!!

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What are your dad's real imoairments? Have you considered getting a needs assessment done?

Your first obligation is to your spouse. Your dad can spend his money on professional to do housework and the like. If he has medical needs, you should talk to his doctor about what those are and have a caregiver coming in to address those.
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Gressecj, found out my Mom had also waited on Dad hand and foot, that was how it was in their era, being in their 90's. So when Mom passed, I found out rather quickly that Dad was totally lost in the house unless he was in his workshop.

What are your Dad's medical issues? Would Dad be able to budget caregivers to come in to help during the day? Agency caregivers are around $20-$30/hour, yes expensive. Or would Dad refuse any outside help?

Sometimes what happens is that we enable our parent to keep living in their home. They remain in their lifestyle while we need to change our own. You need to set boundaries now.... make a list of everything you do for Dad, and I mean everything... now cross off half the items, now cross off a couple more. Thus, when Dad asked for you to do something that has been crossed off, say "sorry, I can't possibly do that", and stand firm.

And cut back your hours. If you are a senior yourself, just be honest with Dad telling him it is very exhausting trying to maintain TWO houses. Sometimes that doesn't work, as in Dad's eyes you are still the child and he is the adult, you are still in your 20's or 30's.

I was lucky, my Dad was happy to have caregivers pamper him... then he decided the house was too much so he moved to senior living. First starting out in Independent Living, which cost around $5k per month. Yes, expensive but half the cost of having around the clock caregivers. He loved it there, zero complaints, and the best time of day was breakfast, lunch, and dinner where he could sit with his table mates :)

Gressecj, I have a feeling your Dad doesn't like being home alone, thus the snide remarks when you are running errands. It can be scary for an elder because they worry they might fall and no one will be there. That is understandable.

Hate to scare you on this, but around 40% of caregivers die leaving behind the love one they were caring. Terrible odds. So keep that in the back of your mind.

Let us know what you decide to do.
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Because you visit everyday, your dad has transferred his dependence on your mother onto you. You have gone there every day for one year. That is more than an acceptable amount of time for you to have given to your dad to help him mourn the loss of your mother. It is time for him to step out into the world again and socialize with people his own age. You can let him know about senior centers, grief counseling, and other senior activities in his area but it is not your responsibility to take him as one would take a child to kindergarten.
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Gressecj, what would your Dad do if for some reason you were no longer around to help him? There is where that up to 40% comes in, in my posting above.

Your Dad probably would move into VA senior living and lives for many more years. And your hubby would be by himself without you :( How fair is that? You need to do something now to make the changes or you will crash and burn.

I remember crashing and burning out of exhaustion... I developed cancer from all the stress. And I developed a lot of resentment toward my parents because they never had to take care of their parents, thus had zero idea what I had to do to help them remain in their house. This was before I knew there was such things as boundaries, and it was ok to use those boundaries unless you can clone yourself.
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Gressecj, I think we fall into a trap of enabling elders unrealistic demands to our detriment. You have reached the tipping point with your dad where you are sacrificing your own health and life.

The tables have turned. Your the adult now and he is going to have to accept things he does not like. He will put you into an early grave if you let  him.

I just had a conversation with my elderly mom yesterday. She and dad are very close to the tipping point of being able to be on their own.  It's getting dicey.

I don't ask any more, I tell her what's going to happen next. In my folks case I am going to order up in home services at the next sign of crisis whether they agree or not.  I probably won't even discuss it with them.  I will just call and tell that so and so is showing up tomorrow.

If they refuse, then I'm pretty much done.  I'll work with APS to get them placed in a facility.
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Thank you Blannie, Before my Mom died I told her one day..."Nothing can happen to you Mom cuz what in the world would I do with Dad" her answer was "put him in a home". I told her, "Oh no Mom I couldn't ever do that". Her reply, Oh, yes you could". LOL Now, I am starting to know why she said that.
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Gressecj, a friend of my mom's remained in her home because two of her kids made it possible. Her daughter took her to appointments, shopping, errands, and her son took care of home repairs and such. Her daughter had her own health issues and her husband did as well. The daughter passed in her 60's, the son in his early 70's and the mom is still living in her home, with help from people she's now hired to assist her.

Can you sit down with your dad and explain that you must make some changes, and you two need to come up with a plan?
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Gress, assisting someone with balance and mobility problems could very well injure you. You need to stay healthy and strong so you can take care of yourself and your husband in the future. As we and our loved ones age, the choices are not always great ones but they are what they are. I've been where you are - my mom's care is handled at NH and I care for my husband.

As you well know, with ongoing illnesses like MS, quality of life and doing normal things whenever you can is so important for one's spirit. Grab time with your husband to enjoy life as you can.
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You are in charge of your guilt. He can say anything, but it does not make him right. Own your own truth. For a year you have sacrificed and put him first. You are an exceptionally giving, committed daughter. If he acts like you were gone too long that is about him (and probably being lonely, concerned), that is not about you. So treat it that way. Say "Dad I was gone just long enough to do the errands, what concerned you about the length of time I was gone?" Help him think through why he is acting this way. Separate yourself from it emotionally, you have no reason for feeling guilty, this is his issue.

Your husband needs you. Tell Dad that you can not go on keeping two houses so you are having someone come in to help you. She will do light cleaning, help with meals and do things that he wants, whether that be cleaning, errands, a chat or a game of dominoes. Then arrange for a caregiver to come in three or four times a week for half a day or all day, whatever is appropriate for your needs. This is not about him needing help, but about you needing help and tell him that.

Your time with your husband is limited and it sounds like he has been supportive of you doing this for a year, but it is time he get more of his wife in his life...it is the correct order of things. It is the way your father had things with his wife.

Decide on a schedule, be there each evening at 5:00 for dinner and some days during the day? Think about what amount of time will give you the relief you need. I may have missed it, but do you have siblings who could come stay with him for a few days or a week and give you some consecutive days off to recover a bit? The new schedule of increased caregivers could start then.

Also, you need caregivers to teach you proper ways to lift a person out of a chair etc. there are ways that make it easier or harder. When you hire caregivers be very specific regarding what you are looking for; experienced as a hired caregiver (not that they just cared for a family member), experience with the specific challenges your father has (limited mobility etc), have received formalized training, that you will have the same caregiver each day (that way they become familiar with your fathers needs and how best to work with him and he becomes confident in them). Be specific so you can ensure a smooth transition and success. The first day or two you will need to be there while the caregiver is there to assess how things are going. Remember, she may do things differently but as long as your Dad's needs are met that is the priority. Your Dad will need to pay for this care if it exceeds what the VAis willing to provide.

You have been a dedicated daughter, but you are another mans wife. It is time to create a better balance in your life. You are not expecting anything unreasonable. It is time to create a better balance for you all. Once my mother adjusted to her caregiver, I would return home and find she seemed happier and more upbeat with the caregiver than with me. Your dad may find that he likes socializing with someone else for a change.
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You are 64. Your father has mobility problems. What's the plan as he needs more assistance? Are you going to bathe him, lift him on and off the toilet, change his Depends?

Start planning for that now.

I know some people who are very pleased with veterans retirement homes/facilities. Are there any of them near you, and does your father qualify?
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