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I live in Williamsburg, VA but have been living in TN caring for my father since early April when my mother passed away. I am an only child and the responsibility for Daddy's care is mine alone; we have no other family aside from a distant cousin on my father's side. Daddy is only 75 but suffers from dementia, stage 4 COPD, stage 4 congestive heart failure and is an alcoholic. Thankfully, he is a very mellow drunk... but he is still hopelessly addicted.
My problem is that he refuses to move to Virginia (where my husband and son reside and where my HOME is). I have been living here in TN caring for him for four months now without a single break. He is convinced that he can care for himself and doesn't need me here. However, all of his docs have confirmed that he requires care 24/7and must not be left alone. He is becoming combative and blames me for what the doctors are telling him. For example: he has had three strokes in the last two years and had a TIA one week ago. His primary care physician has told him repeatedly that he must stop driving (he gets lost in his own neighborhood!). Finally, his doctor wrote the DMV requesting that his license be revoked. The letter arrived in today's mail and resulted in Daddy yelling at me and insisting that he will continue to drive, even without a license. I have disconnected the car battery but it is only a matter of time before he figures that out and sneaks off to drive to the liquor store. Same thing with the drinking. After he had two bouts of internal bleeding due to excessive alcohol ingestion (6 pints of blood in 24 hours last time this happened) the docs instructed me to dump all the bourbon and told Daddy he could never drink again. That went over like a lead balloon. He says they "don't know what they are talking about" and that a few cocktails never hurt anyone. He has periods of lucidity but is increasingly detached and demented.
In addition to refusing to relocate to VA so I can care for him he refuses to consider assisted living or a nursing home. Again, insisting that he can "take care of himself." This is a man who cannot cook, cannot clean, cannot manage his medication, heck- he cannot walk more than 12 steps without assistance and has fallen multiple times in the last year (fracturing his back in November!) I am at my wit's end. I don't know what to do... if I leave he will most certainly die from either a medication error or internal bleed due to drinking. If I go to court and have him forced into a nursing home he will hate me forever. Do you have any advice? Thanks so much in advance.

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Chealbelle you are in a dilemma. You have two equally unattractive choices as regards your father. One, that you've already rejected, is that you leave him to it and he (probably, but I wouldn't actually bet on it) will die soon. Or, two, that you bundle up all the information, get his doctors on board, go to court, get guardianship, put him into whichever setting seems best to you and take his rage on the chin.

I agree, both are horrible choices. But they are your choices as regards your father's care, only: looking after him is not your only priority in life. You have a husband, a child, a home. And, others will remind you, you have your own life to consider, which is no less important than your father's life.

This is about how much responsibility for your father's unhappy situation is truly yours. He is now in poor mental and physical health, but he wasn't always, and it isn't news to him that he was going to get old. The loss of your mother must have been a great sadness to him as well as to you (my condolences - four months is early days); but you didn't inherit her marriage, her commitment to him.

Look, you either pass the buck to 'the system' or you take charge. If you take charge you will get nothing in return but your father's resentment. It still can be the right thing to do, but be very clear-eyed about what thanks you'll get for it. Having said that: no, he won't hate you. He will be angry, and you will hear all about it, and it might feel and sound like hatred of you; but it isn't. He will hate the change that is being forced on him.

Looked at the other way round, HE has a choice. He can let you take charge, or he can let Fate take charge. You're less fickle.
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I just had to wait it out, with my mother. When she finally went to the hospital, she was told she could no longer live alone. She tried AL, but she was not in good enough health. She is doing well in the N.H.

I am afraid you are going to have to leave. He may live another 10 years. What about your own health? You have done the best that you can.
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Has he been tested for a UTI (bladder) infection? UTI infections in the elderly can cause great confusion and if he indeed does have a bladder infection (very common in the elderly) it may contribute to his dementia problem. Most drug stores sell at-home UTI test kits.
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Hi Captain... he is a danger to others with his driving. A serious danger. And he has the strongest will to live of anyone I know- he is not ready to give up by any means. He just will not accept that he needs help to manage his meds/ daily living. The dementia has completely taken away his mind. He is a phd who used to do the NY Times crosswords in ink. Now he cannot even figure out how to make a cup of coffee. I hope you aren't suggesting that I leave him to his own devices- he isn't in his right mind and would die.
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our more primative ancestors would curl up in a snow bank and bid the tribe farewell . no one argued with his / her decision . he had not the strength to treck on and live the hard physical life any longer . hypothermia , starvation and dehydration created a euphoric state of mind that was every bit as humane as our modern comfort meds ..
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my aunt , more than a few times has mentioned that shed like to close her eyes and not reopen them . she isnt in much physical pain she just dont relish the thought of getting deathly ill and playing out death and organ failure . the productive part of her life is behind her . perhaps your dad wants to live out his remaining time on his own terms and doesnt want intervention designed to " save " him .. someday i want to live it out up on my hill and shame on the sob who tries to fix me at that point .. respect your dads wishes unless hes endangering someone else .
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Possibly your father would agree to a live-in caregiver, or at least someone that could come in for a few hours a day to check on him, cook his meals, etc. Another thought is to mention to your father that he could stay with you for a few weeks in VA, and then when he gets used to it (being in VA), he may at that time agree to live with you.
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I agree with JessieBelle about getting Adult Protective Services or the State involved. Most people, including an elder law attorney I spoke with, say that the process of getting guardianship is just too exhausting, emotionally and financially for all parties involved.

I'm in a similar situation right now with my father and I wish I had done somethings differently. I moved both of my parents from a small town in Utah to Portland, Oregon last year so that I could "help" them. I moved them into an apartment and quickly figured out that they needed assistance. I then moved them into an assisted living, which my mom loves, but Dad hates. Now his dementia is to the point I have to move him again to a Memory Care or Nursing Facility. Everything I've done just seems to have made things worse. I'm thinking I should have left them in their small town and relied on the government agencies, senior center, meals on wheels, hospital, private caregivers, churches, etc to help them. I think it would have been much less disruptive to their physical and mental states. The truth is, I selfishly moved them here with me, so I could enjoy time with them, plus I didn't want to live there.

I've seen a lot of posts on this site advising caregivers to "do whatever it takes to keep them safe". I'm not sure now that sacrificing their happiness and freedom is a fair exchange for "safety", if it means a small, dark, shared room in a locked facility in an unfamiliar town, with little stimulation, bland food, and strangers giving you pills and showers. I realize every situation is different, and I don't know anything about him, or you, but I would consider leaving him in TN. If he yells at you and hates you now, he may doubly so after the move to VA. We all want what is best for our parents but sometimes we don't know what that is. Like children, we can't protect them from everything, sometimes they will fall off their bikes or touch a hot stove, but that is life and life is risks.

I'm blathering and I don't know if I've made my point, but I hope you can get to some place of comfort and clarity with your decisions, whatever they are.
Hugs.
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There doesn't really seem to be much you can do for your father at this point, so you need to do what you can to pull yourself out of the situation. Alcoholism is not something someone can just stop, but with all the health problems, he may be beyond the point that it would do any good to stop. Still, you don't have to be involved in him getting the liquor.

I don't know if there is a way that you can personally handle this situation. What I would do in your situation is to call human services for your father's county and have the situation evaluated. For you to have guardianship over your father would be hurtful and messy, I imagine. I wonder if it would be better for the state to assume guardianship. He does sound like he is at that point.

He will be mad at you, but he stays mad at you already. You can't live like this and need to get yourself to a safe shore before you drown. Call human services and see what they can do to help.
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