My Dad is 82 and an alcoholic who obviously needs to go into assisted living or find full-time care at home, but consistently refuses to do so. He will tell me one day that he wants someone to "live-in" with him, but wants to pay a wage so low that no one would consider it. I found someone who was willing to take his low rate of pay, then he changed his mind about what he wanted to pay them and wanted to pay less. The next day he will tell me he wants to go to assisted living, but complains the place is like a prison. (I'd move in myself tomorrow if it were up to me honestly.) He keeps changing his mind and shifting the goal-posts so that it makes it impossible for me to do anything. On top of this, all of my siblings are full of good ideas about things we (my husband and I) can do to help him, while completely ignoring the fact that we both work and we also have a minor-aged daughter who is experiencing mood instability and severe depression. She is in now in intensive therapy that takes up an enormous amount of time and just came out of her third acute hospitalization.
Dad's last thing is that he is now refusing to eat. If I am there, all day long, he might (with coaxing) eat 600 calories. He is severely malnourished and losing weight. I cannot get him to go the doctor's office and he refuses to go in the ambulance.
He's had three pretty severe falls (though how he's managed not to break anything is anybody's guess) in the past month. We simply can't keep helping my Dad or doing the things my siblings are suggesting by ourselves anymore. Yet, anytime we try to hire anyone, Dad claims they are "too expensive" even though he can well afford the help.
Trying to care for him plus take care of our daughter is putting enormous amounts of stress on both of us physically and mentally, not to mention a huge strain on our marriage. We're both on high blood pressure medication now and both our doctor's have attributed it to stress. I keep telling my siblings "that's a great suggestion, but I don't have time to do that with our daughter's therapy schedule." It goes in one ear and out the other. And Dad will call me yelling and screaming about how he took care of me and now it's my turn to take care of him. I just can't do it. And moving in with us is not an option. We cannot have his alcoholism and his stress in our home with our daughter who is already having severe issues. If anyone has any advice about what to do, I would really welcome it. We just can't continue to deal with the situation as it is. Honestly, if it weren't for my husband's job, I'd move out of state and disappear.

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Your first and frankly ONLY obligation in your situation is to your minor child.

Take 3 giant steps away from your manipulative and mentally illl dad. Call local Adult Protective Services and report him as a vulnerable elder.

I understand that you care about what happens to your dad. You love him. But you can't love him more than he loves himself.

Your daughter had, quite literally, NO one else to parent her through the rocky shoals of adolescence. Your father has other children and he can become a ward of the state. In other words, there are alternatives for him. Not so for your daughter.
Helpful Answer (26)

If he is a competent adult he is free to make his own (BAD) decisions. So let him. But in doing so you have to stop cleaning up the mess he makes. Let him deal. If he calls and reminds you that you "owe" him....remind him that he has other children and maybe he needs to call them for once.

Do not move him into your home under any circumstances. You now just have to wait for that crisis that takes him to the ER. Refuse to take him home. Let a social worker find a place for him. Your father won't like it but who here gets everything they want.
Helpful Answer (21)

You don't have to leave the state to "disappear". It's called boundaries. Inform your siblings that as of XX date you can no longer provide any care. If you are your father's PoA, you can resign. Let your siblings know what will happen if they choose not to step in (and it's ok if they don't). You will call APS and then the county will take guardianship over him unless another sibling steps up to lead his care in some way. You don't owe any explanations to anyone. You don't have to defend your decisions. After your care resignation deadline, block or don't answer your dad's calls. He'll figure it out and so will your siblings. It doesn't have to be forever, just until you feel able to reengage, if you choose. Peace to you!
Helpful Answer (19)
Harpcat Feb 2020
Great answer
It's easy to tell you to set boundaries with everyone but very hard to do it. You need to tell your siblings that you can no longer provide regular care for your father and if they can't do that then you'll call APS to evaluate his needs. APS may actually decide that he is capable making decision, albeit bad ones and that's the end of it. He'll continue making bad decisions until there is a crisis (which actually is the best thing that can happen at this point.) When the crisis happens then you keep repeating that you are not responsible, you cannot have him in your home, you cannot provide oversight and regular care. You say this to EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME. Eventually the hospital social worker or APS will take over.

You have your hands full with your daughter and she needs all you time and attention right now. You must not succumb to your father's manipulation and guilt trips. Screen his calls. Do not pick up when he calls, let it go to voice mail. Don't stop by the house and try to get him to eat. Make a weekly trip with some groceries and just to check on things. When he starts laying a guilt trip or yelling at you just leave. Don't try to explain. At 82 and an alcoholic your father isn't going to change his ways and suddenly be reasonable. This will only get worse. Let the crisis happen so it can get sorted sooner rather than later.
Helpful Answer (18)

Oh my, you are not obligated to him because you were born and he raised you. That was his and your mothers choice to have a child and the consequences of that choice is that you are now obligated to raise them. It does not create a debt for the child to have to pay at some future date. That is nothing but manipulation.

You and your husband are very much at risk of dying yourselves because of the stress that his bad choices and manipulation put on your lives. You need to think about what happens to your daughter if you or your husband die because of your dad. That should be enough encouragement to tell him enough is enough already and to tell your siblings that they are welcome to step in and put their ideas to work or shut up.

You have to let him fail without you propping him up. That is the only way that change for him will happen. Block his number and your siblings and call APS about a vulnerable senior and let him deal with the consequences of his choices.

Please, for your daughters sake do not become a statistic.

You can do this, you can be strong enough to say no more, starting now.
Helpful Answer (18)

The next time a sibling comes up with a bright idea, say: "that's a great idea! You must come and show me how it's done!"

Seriously. People who aren't there should just shut up.

And do what BB says, below. Once they've helped your father get himself sorted out, you will then be able to establish a sensible visiting schedule and perhaps supplement whatever services he is using - you're not abandoning him forever, and you're certainly not indifferent to his welfare. But you CAN'T meet his needs, and it's best to get out of the way of professionals who can.
Helpful Answer (15)

Welcome to the WFTF club (Waiting For The Fall) - the club no-one wants to join. Big welcome (((hug))).

I've written on others posts, last year a Social Worker gave me this advice that helped me.
1. Discuss current situation & warn of dangers you see.
2. Suggest alternatives.
3. Let person make their decision.
4. Step back & let the consequences be theirs.

You have pointed out the issues & suggested AL but organising a move could well be beyond his capabilities. You may not be able to accomplish it yourself without the legal framework (ie guardianship).

I found a mini-break to get away was my turning point - when I stepped back *without the guilt*. Being physically away helped reset me mentally so I could reassess & re-prioritise going forward. (Which was no longer helping support living at home alone).

No harm in saying something like, "You do it your way Dad. But if you get unwell, please go to your Doctor". Call him daily for your own peace of mind if you need to. Be ready to call ambulance if a fall - dehydration is a common culprit & if not eating or drinking properly this will happen sooner rather than later.
Helpful Answer (15)
jkm999 Feb 2020
Your 4- step program should be a pinned post on this forum. In some manner or other that's what we've all had to do. My friend, who is a nurse responsible for evaluation for hospital release, told me that most of her job is explaining to families that if the elderly person has been found competent to make decisions then they are also allowed to make BAD decisions.
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You've already gotten some great advice here. I just wanted to add that your father is probably suffering from alcoholic dementia also, which makes him even more unreasonable and difficult to deal with. Once such a thing happens, it's unlikely anyone will be able to get through to him as his reasoning skills are gone. If you add that into the equation, calling APS sounds like a very, very good idea because nothing else is likely to work.

Wishing you the best of luck dealing with all that's on your plate right now, and sending you a big hug too
Helpful Answer (12)

Call APS for a welfare check on him, then stop helping him and let whatever passes pass. He is not your responsibility. If he calls you, do not answer. Call him only when you want to, not out of obligation. Your refusal to move him in with you is a MASSIVE step in the right direction.
Helpful Answer (12)

Your dad is an alcoholic and you're thinking he will do what you want him to do. You know alcoholics are selfish. I hope you've been through or are attending an al-anon group. You can not control your dad's emotions or decisions. If it were me, I'd block my dad's number when I needed a break. I'd go "gray rock" on him when he rants at me, and I would let him stew in his own juices. Why would you put up with this abuse unless it's a co dependent situation which is often the case with an alcoholic and their family.
Please seek help, institute boundaries, ignore his threats and let me take his life in his own hands. You owe him absolutely nothing, regardless of his opinions.
Helpful Answer (12)
dogparkmomma Feb 2020
Your answer gave good advice but slipping in the comment about a co dependent situation seemed a little unnecessary. And telling her to go to al-anon was also unnecessary in this situation. It could help although I personally did not find it helpful when I went. But she and her husband are a little over stretched at the moment. She needs to find a way to shut down her father and her siblings immediately. There is a lot of complicated dynamics in families with demanding elderly people and it is often difficult to understand why people don’t say no to them. Your assessment could be right. But maybe not necessary to say it.
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