My father lives several states away from me and used to take very good care of himself. He has been diagnosed as having Parkinson's, is on medication for it and is showing signs of Dementia. He has a bad hip and it is difficult for him to walk so he uses a wheelchair to get get around where they live - in a retirement community that offers assisted living services when needed. They recently moved from the 2nd floor to the 1st floor for convenience but when it came time to unpack he didn't provide or offer much help. His wife of 4 years was left to do all the unpacking so she asked for help from others living in the community who were men they both knew. My father was not happy about the men being there and later told his wife about it. He believes they, or one of them, was looking at her to take her away from him. My step-mom is a very wonderful person who loves my dad very much and would not consider leaving him. I have met her several times and she is a beautiful person who I lovingly call Mom. She is loyal to my dad and protective of him.
Recently my dad has changed his behaviors. He stays in bed much of the day, does not get up for all the meals served in the community dinning area and doesn't bathe or shave. Mom cannot do all the things he wants her to do because of her own physical limitations. She wanted to invoke the available assisted living services but he refused. She had to buy an electric razor to shave him but he didn't like it. He just wants her alone to take care of him and no-one else. He has also begun getting grumpy and angry at her which she is not used to.
Some background info;
My dad and bio-mom were married for over 50 years before she died in 1999. She had a stroke in 1961 and became a quadriplegic. My dad was her care giver until her death. He retired as a postman who always had a walking route. He was an avid golfer until his late 80s. He is also a very proud and stubborn man. He served in WWII in the Navy. He has always been in very good health but had triple by-pass surgery about 10 years ago. He does not have Diabetes. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, I am the oldest. Both sisters and one brother are estranged from my dad.
I am concerned for the both of them. I know how cantankerous he can be and when he gets that way he is very difficult to deal with.
What can his wife do? Due to the distance between them and me I can only offer short visits as I am working full-time.
Thanks for listening.
Your dad is angry because of his decline and limitations. It's not unusual for this kind of anger to extend to the closest person. In this case, your stepmom. She doesn't have to run around all day everyday but it would be good for her to put down some roots in the community and make some friends.
Take a few days and go there. Take stepmom with to talk to the facility. Help her move and get situated. You. Be the heavy, as hard as that's going to be. "Dad, enough! Stepmom needs help. This is the way it's going to be. Period."
Then, when it's all over, collapse into a chair and cry. But, be sure to tuck in your angel wings or they'll get wrinkled.
As for your mom, just like the other comments above, encourage her to stay as positive as possible in her outlook and interactions with your dad, and to get out and enjoy what the community offers.
I wish you all the best!
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