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Dad moved in after mom died a year ago. It has been 6 months. we are all adjusting. He has his own living space (living room, bed and bath). I make dinner each night (he eats with us) and do the food shopping. He doesn't pay rent (I didn't ask and its OK). He is ambulatory albeit he wants a knee replacement next month.
Mom did everything at home. He provided OK and did all the repair things but the household mom did it all.
My issues is I told him he has to do his laundry (he does), care for his dog, make his own appointments and do his own entertainment. It is as though he lives on his own. I didn't want to become my mother and do it all for him which he would gladly have done. I do watch his finances but when he is low he is on his own (I have given hm some money here and there). He has to pay his own bills. Major guilt set in the first few months. Don't know why. It is starting to lift a bit.
I sometimes feel like I am being too tough on him but I feel it is what I have to do. He lost his mom at 14 and the whole family raised him to the point he is glad for someone to do things for him and he doesn't say thanks. He will do pretty much anything for anyone so that is a good thing.
He is hell bent on getting his knee done and I have to care for him. I am being standoffish about it because I know once he gets it done I will be the nursemaid. He he talks with my sister and he stretches it out that he is in so much pain (she is a nurse) so she will pity him and tell him he has to do this (she is 8 hours away and does not visit him here he has to go there).
Am I being too tough on him being aloof about it? I do not ignore him but I work at home and need my work time. We talk and have dinner together but I need my time with my wife and my friends. I was taking him to my friends for parties but that gets kind of weird. I need my friend time too.I am trying to get him socialized but I understand it is hard on him but yet I don't want to become his so everything. Where is the line I have to draw? We were invited to my friends house for a game this weekend but I don't want to take him as again its weird partying with your father. If there is a picnic with other older folks I gladly take him with us. I have lots of guilt about this, I am told not to but I do.
The whole knee replacement issues is getting to me, he hyper focuses on it. He figured me out finally after all these years, if I don't say anything the answer is no. So when he asks me about the surgery I remain quiet. I want him to understand I will help him but he has to meet me half way. I will not coddle him, he will have to get up and get around and do what the Dr says. He is planning on being in bed for months and I know he has to be up in days and moving and doing PT. My issues is I will be stuck in the house and be his nurse. I wont make him do anything unsafe but he has to be ready to take this on and be a big boy about it. I don't do bedside manner unless it is my wife or daughters then I do everything, it is the EMT in me. with me it's get up do your PT and move on. So why am I feeling so guilty?

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You are doing great. He may start his own interests. So hang in there.
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He is doing a bit better now getting out. He is going to church once a week. He asks me to go but I decline, I want him to go and meet people which is what he is doing. He is getting to know people and he is going to a dinner this weekend. I know maybe I am being harsh but I feel it is the way I have to do things. If I go then it will be me doing things for him. He does his laundry that is about it. He gets some things from the store he wants. He could do the shopping if he wanted to. He doesn't do dishes at all, but he is happy to make the dishes. Once in a while he will make lunch while I am out and he will clean it up so he is capable. He goes to his Dr appointments on his own. His knee surgery is in a week and a half. I will take him and bring him home and be there for the surgery but I cant stay all day and night for 4 days. I told him he has to listen to the Dr and do what they say. I said he has to get out of bed every day (of course I will assist him) and go down stairs, he will not be bed ridden. He wants a big TV for his room and I wont do it because it will be license for him to stay in bed. He wants me to help him in the bathroom. His bath is set up with grab rails and a seat for the tub. I will help him to and from but he will have to do some things himself. Am I being too harsh? I am not my mom, I will do what every is necessary but I will not allow him to be babied.

We go to our friends, I feel guilty not taking him but I need my friend time too. I try to get his grand kids home once a month. My brother or sister wont visit. too far away. Last time he went home my brother couldn't be bothered to even see him. I guess this will slowly get better, we are 7 months in so far.
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Dont feel gulity, your doing the best thing for him. Your local senior citezen center has programs and alot of them have exercise classes, check for church outings and the YMCA. There are alot of senior groups out there, my grandpa is 92 and going blind so he take dial-a-ride and walks to bus stops to get around because he is a member with two senior centers, exercises at them 5 days a week and is still an active elder with his church. I had a doctor I worked with tell me that "movement is life" and it is true. You cannot baby a person unless their condition is in great decline, babying people just makes them dependent and weak that leads to more and more physical care and dependence. Your doing the right thing.
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And just one more thought...I'm really glad as a few people including you tgengine said you are not charging your dad rent...
I'm actually shocked about this even being a thought or something anyone would do. I could never charge my parents rent...I would feel honored to take care of them as they took care of me.
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To tgengine,
The first thing is I'm sorry you lost your mom!! Some of our family members play a huge role in how our family's are set up and how they function. The loss of someone who sounds so in charge is very hard. Not to mention your own feelings of just losing her too.
Although you have your home, wife and children and your own life...somehow you do have to find a rhythym and begin to include, and enjoy this time with your dad. If there is a lack of closeness or issues from the past, then try and examine them and resolve them. Forgive what you can, forget the rest. That does not mean you have to hang out with him and your friends, but eventually as your family adjusts to grandpa being there...he will be joined with you all.
The 10 years I spent with my grandmother living in our home when I was growing up have become precious memories for me. We tried to give her space of her own, but within a year she was my second mom...and I treasure that time with her. I learned how to cook by watching and helping her, and she had a hard time for a while not feeling like a burden or like an intruder. She was going through a depression and adjustment of her own...but eventually the rhythm of the family was so wonderful.
There is a reason your dad had to move in with you guys, and could not remain on his own. I'm not sure how old he is or how old you are, but as the previous posters said, it may not be that bad of a surgery or he may not even need surgery. So start with the doctors appointments, which maybe you should try and go with him to so you can hear the real story. And where did your mom and him live, was it close to you. And if so where are his friends? He had a whole life somewhere else. Many men as time goes on work and family become so important that they forget to keep friends, and rely on their wives for their entertainment and social life.
So not knowing any of these answers, the first thing is what are his interests and hobbies, likes/dislikes? If you are near where he lived, get him hooked back up with his friends. If not, realize how hard all of this is on him. Losing his wife, and now his friends. Try and find ways for him to connect to his peers in your area. Church or community activities, your friends parents? And you are smart to understand he did not get this way on his own. If he is too dependent, this was created in his life, and it would be very hard to change him completely. Some people relinquish their control, and they actually feel cared about in this way. Find ways to make him feel cared about in other, healthier ways. If he could look forward to Sunday afternoon with you and the family doing something, then maybe he won't always seek your attention/affection in "caretaking" ways. Imagine since you seem to take care of yourself and your home/family to a large degree if one of your kids in the future were taking you into their home, but instead told you NOT to do anything for yourself. Tough love is not the answer here IMHO. You can let him know how you want things to be for him and your family, but their has to be kindness, friendship, and compassion.. Just like you wouldn't want your life in the future to be all done for you, without your having a say.
You sound like you take care of quite a bit in your home, so it seems like "taking care of" your dad is starting to feel like the tipping point. So, we have to try and see things from all sides. He sounds fine taking care of the things you've asked him to do, but realize this isn't like a "lazy" teenager who is your child. This is your dad, and his health, motivation and ability's are not the same as his children who are 20 to 30 years younger. I'm not sure why you think he is lying about falling...or at least it seems like you are implying it.
You can tell him that he needs a really good physical, including bloodwork, and meeting with the ortho about his knee. And, you might have to help him to make the appt. If he is suffering from some other med issues you would want to help him get help before they really affect him or then your family. Falling can be a symptom of many other ailments, not just a knee issue. One of them being alzheimers disease. I'm not sure if he knows what this knee surgery entails, but it's a lot!!! The intial week/two is grueling!! Then the REAL PT starts at least three times a week. But, maybe he will have to stay in a Nursing Rehab facility. If he is on Medicare, then find out how much they would cover for Rehab. Then ask when he would come home, how would he get to PT every week. Make the plans with him, but say, "Dad, although I am home, you understand I'm actually working. I'm not trying to ignore you, or make your life hard, but even though I'm physically here you have to understand it's as if I'm not."
The truth is, it's not up to you whether he is "allowed" to get this surgery. But, you just have to let him know how and in what ways you can and cannot help him. There are many Home health care agencies that can help do just about anything, including taking him to and from PT. But, as ALL of us are doing...we help with phone calls, and finding out information. We help sort out all the details with our parents/loved ones because they can't. And if you were at an office you/and or your wife or siblings would have to make some calls or go to some meetings.

Currently my husband will be gone for a week to help his aging parents. He has one sibling who lives very close, and one that is four hours away. That sibling has been driving in weekly to help. His mom had ER major abdominal surgery, with a colostomy and she helped to take care of his dad...a diabetic with extreme neuropathy in his legs, and he's now mostly incontinent now too. Not to mention, they both are horrible patients. Don't want to eat right, go to the doc, take meds when they should. Did we ever thought they would be like this????? NO way!! Did my husband ever think that his dad would fall out of bed at 2:30 am, and he'd have to help him up and then help change him and the bedsheets. No, but you take care of them because they took care of you...and you want them to be ok. You hire people to help where you can't, but help when you can.

So, first thing is...this is only 6 months after he lost his wife, your mom....it's takes a while for that all to sink in and adjust to fill her shoes. Second, try and see things through your dad's eyes, and help him to find his way again, and connect back to people in his world. Or maybe for the first time in his life!! And three, remember to take a breath, ask your family for help and try and build your new family that includes your dad. You may be surprised how much he will add to your life!!
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I agree this could be a meniscus problem. Please explore your options with the doctor. The solution might be easier than you think. Meanwhile keep on keeping on! He is in transition and so are you so be easy on yourself.
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Making your dad (or allowing him) to do things for himself is good for both of you. He may (eventually) find a certain dignity to carry his share of the load.

A person in pain from a physical problem cannot be at his best. Your dad needs to see experts about his knee troubles. Surgery may not be possible. Or it may be a different kind of surgery than he is expecting. But you won't know until you consult experts. Please do that. Come back and post what you find out and we can discuss it then, if you like.
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tgengine, I just went back to read some other postings you have written over the past month and you wrote that your Dad is 79 years old and 100 pounds overweight. No respecting knee surgeon is going to operate on your Dad. If you find one that says *yes*, run for the hills.
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I need to ask if he is heavy. It is a totally different deal, if he is obese. If not, he needs to go to rehab and then, see how it goes from there.

You are wise to set boundaries.
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I have read that in some knee surgeries age & weight are an issue, and recovery could take up to an year. After surgery, overall complication rates [such as blood clots, infections, and pneumonia] more than double in people who are quite overweight.

A good surgeon would ask a patient to lose weight... usually an older patient won't want to be placed on a diet and exercises such as walking to burn calories is almost impossible, thus surgery becomes a moot point.

I took my Dad to visit a doctor who specializes in knee joint pain, we were hoping to hear about the new shots that are available that help cushion the space in the knee. But this doctor wanted to sign Dad [93] up for knee replacement surgery. I was so relieved when I heard Dad say *no*.

Two of my biggest fears was that since Dad is just starting to have very minor short term memory issues that the anesthesia would hasten this [which it will]... and my other fear was that Mom [97], who is very frail, would be unable to care for Dad during recovery and rehab. And there is no way I could lift my Dad, help him upstairs to the bedrooms or help him in the bathroom :(
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Do not feel guilty for what I call "tough love". It is so important that your father remains autonomous for as long as possible.
I would advise you to do the research along side your father so that you can have a say on what is best for the Both of you. In addition, I feel that there is nothing wrong with you getting additional help with post-surgical at-home therapy even if you have to pay for it out of pocket. Good Luck
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You know what? You said something in your last reply that I don't remember you mentioning before. You said your dad's knee is giving way or "going out". That seems to me like when I had a tear in the meniscus. That is a relatively simple procedure. No hospital stay, no rehab. Just crutches for a period of time afterward. It's done arthroscopically. Did I spell that right? Well, anyway, take him to an orthopedic surgeon first, don't worry about the other doctors yet, and just see what you (and he) are up against. He will be in a MUCH better humor and a lot more fun to be around if he's not in so much pain. And I know the staircase is just driving him nuts, too, if his knee is giving way.
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Do you speak with him about your mother (his wife)? There are different ways of grieving, and this might be part of his (and your) problems. Have you discussed your living arrangements with him? Have you asked for HIS help in decisions? Having him do as much for himself as he can possibly do is good therapy in and of itself.

I assume your dad is on Social Security - does he also qualify for medicaid? If so, in all probability, the doctor will want him in a nursing home for several weeks post-op, in which case medicare will pay about 80% of the cost; medicaid would cover the remainder (I'm positive) - or you could use his retirement check to pay the remainder of the nursing home care. Was your dad in the service? Does he qualify for any benefits? Both Medicaid and service benefits will help him in many regards - the nursing home care; post-surgical at-home therapy and general care; general "baby-sitting" while you go out with family and friends (having someone else to talk to and spend time with might uplift his spirits, also).

Is the a local Seniors Center available? If you took him over even twice a week, he could meet new (and probably some old) friends, relax with them, have a good meal, and enjoy whatever activities are planned for that day. No cost usually. Do you have a local bus system that picks up seniors and deposits them at (wherever they need or want to go) - maybe he could wander around the Mall for a while, although with an aide might be preferable?

I'm just giving you ideas you didn't mention trying, but I whole-heartily agree with the previous respondents - you need to own up to, and rid yourself of guilt.
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Kathyt1, Thanks, good to know.
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relax knee surgery is 2 weeks in rehab, relatively free of pain, then you 95% and there is no pain. They don't cut muscle now, it much easier than you are imagining. He won't need much help when he is home.

I think you being wonderful. There will come a time he will need more help, but not now. The more active and automonous he is, the healthier and happier he will be.
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Thanks, I haven't talked to the Dr yet, waiting to see what the other docs say to get him cleared first (Cardiac, general etc..). I am sure he will be better getting it done but this is not the Waldorf Astoria and there re no concierge services here. He actually made his own lunch today... can of clam chowder. he wasn't happy when I told him the sodium level... I am eating salad and reading weight watchers so......
He says he keeps falling too, not sure if it is the knee or laziness or something else. He was at my uncles last week and says he tripped over the vacuum in the middle of the night because he didn't turn the light on. He has fallen in the past a few times says the knee went out. I am never around when it happens. He said he has a minor headache and refuses to go or call the doc. He is non symptomatic for a head injury. I asked him again to call the Doc. These are things we will have to discuss before he goes under the knife. I'd rather the doc be the one to tell him rather than me to the bearer of bad news. It is tough to see him go form being very active to lethargic. In August he fell while we were fishing (in a small stream) out west, he said he hit his head then (I was with him then). he says he talked to the doc about it when we got back. I am trying to get him to go out to meetings but he doesn't want to go now (says its the knee). I am sure if I said we were going to dinner you'd see the cartoon puff of smoke and he be in the car!
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It sounds like you do have some resentment of your dad living with you. If you acted the way about the surgery that you describe around me, I would hesitate to do it since, it's clear you are opposed to it and don't want to do much care taking of your dad post surgery.

I would see if there is some where else your dad could stay post surgery. A rehab place or another family member's home perhaps. Maybe he would be more prone to get up and move about more if he was some where else.

I would also encourage your dad to seriously research the knee surgery and OTHER methods of treatment. I've heard some good things about COLD treatments lately that are very nonenvasive and offer a lot of pain relief. It involves the doctor inserting very cold needles into the joint. I saw it on The Doctors, but you can find it by google.

I wouldn't fret about not taking your dad to every social function. I would think he would understand that. I would try to set aside something special for you and he or the family to do at least every other week. This would help make him feel welcome in the home.

I would also do a lot of reading on this site. It sounds like there's more going on than you just not wanting to do things for your father. Sometimes things that happened years ago resurface when the adult child becomes the adult in the relationship. I would try to eliminate the guilt, as it really doesn't accomplish much and is only a distraction from the real issue. I wish you both all the best.
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Sounds like you pretty much have it under control. There's always a settling in period when you add another member to the household. It just takes time.

Like I've said before, regarding the knee surgery, he needs to research that further. There may even be support group meetings he could attend. But he needs to find out *exactly* what will be required of him pre-surgery AND post-surgery. He may plan on one thing, but find out that is not what will be expected. After he has had the appointment with the doctor, he may find out he's not even a candidate or something. Or at least that weight loss is the best answer for right now (I think I remember you saying he was hefty?).

It is hard for men of that generation to suddenly be on their own. It's just not the way they were raised generally, to do the housework and stuff. He will gradually take on more, and more willingly, as he gets used to the idea. He may still be grieving the loss of his partner in life. No one wants to be the one left behind, you know.

If you are inclined to feel guilt, you will, regardless of what others advise you.

You have mentioned the nurse-sister before. Could he go stay with her while recuperating from the knee surgery? Assuming, of course, that it does happen.

We do not charge MIL rent either, the room is there, it's hers to use as long as she's able. She does, however, contribute toward the increase in utilities and groceries. Her knees are very arthritic, but she's (mentally) way past following up with physical therapy. We use ice packs, OTC pain relievers, cortisone shots, Aspercreme....It's a challenge to keep her going and keep her on her feet. I do not look forward to the day she is bed-bound. I would get her knee-replacement surgery in a heartbeat if it were possible. I love her so much and hate to see her with so much pain.
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