My mom passed away 2 years ago. My parents RV'd for the past 15 years so they had no permanent home but at the end, they had rented a home in Arizona. My parents spent the last 20+ years living on the west coast.

At the end of 2015, my dad - who is 80 with no health issues - was living in Washington state at an RV park. He liked it in the summer but the winter was cold and rainy. And he was tired of being so far from me and my brothers (I live in North Carolina, my brothers are in Massachusetts). The winters are too rough in New England so I told my dad to come live with me and find a house rental here in North Carolina. He sold the RV and his truck, put stuff in a storage place and came to NC (he also has a storage unit in Arizona). He's been living with me and my 2 teenage children for about 10 weeks.

Here's the issue - we've been looking at homes to rent (my dad has bad knees so he needs something without stairs) and we've seen many but every one he looks at, he finds an issue with - usually the issue is cleanliness - he wants it spotless. We finally found a decent rental and he signed a lease. The day after he signed, he called the woman and said he wouldn't be moving in because the fan above the stove was very dirty.

That was about 2 weeks ago and now he is just a mess. He doesn't know what to do, where to go, etc. He's had a rental car while at my house, which he is returning tomorrow so now he will be without a vehicle.

And to make matters worse, my older daughter got out of the army and is living with us too. And my dad and her do not get along so there's a bit of tension in the home, which is affecting all of us.

Honestly. he could stay with me forever but I know he feels uncomfortable. I have a 2 story home and his "bedroom" is the dining room and although it's off the main area of the home, he has to go upstairs to use the shower.

I try to spend as much time with him as I can. We are not the "sit at the table every night to eat" type but we have been since he's moved in with us, because he likes it. But if I don't spend time with him at night watching sports (that's all he watches), he gets upset. I work and it's usually 50+ hours a week. And sometimes I just need time by myself. He has a hard time understanding that because after spending time in my room watching tv alone. the next morning I'll get the "I'm sorry I'm bothering you" speech.

I don't know what to do next. My kids are upset, I'm tired of trying to please him 24/7 and he's upset. He told me last night that he hasn't been sleeping and just doesn't know what to do with the rest of his life. And I don't know what to say.

Any advice would be wonderful.


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Dad may have to make some compromises. If a rental has a dirty fan but a great area for planting your dad may have to compromise. No place is going to be perfect with every amenity your dad wants. What are his deal-breakers? Are they reasonable?
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I think I would be a little bit more demanding with the daughter. She's been in the Army, she would have been taught discipline, respect for the command, so act like her CO if you have to. Frankly, I think someone with her attitude needs to grow up, especially if she plans to live in YOUR home until the fall.

She wouldn't get away with that behavior in the Army.
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Correct, bad knees is a health issue. Sorry. He can walk up stairs but it's difficult for him. He has no issues cleaning his own home, I think he's just making excuses.

Wow. I did not know about the early signs of dementia - thank you for that info! I did take my dad to the doc as he has had issues with his bladder - and I didn't say a word while the doc was talking to him - but when we left, he said the doctor didn't have a clue about what he was talking about. That was the end of that. lol

As for my older daughter - she's a handful for me and because she does not like my dad, her grandfather. she refuses to lend a hand. She spends as much time complaining about him as he does complaining about her. She does small things for me but it's a chore to get her to do anything. She plans on going to school in the fall, near the army base she was at (about 2 hrs from me) and no, she is not looking for a job as she is technically still in the army till May 5th.

I've read some stories on this site and I'm a bit embarrassed that I was even complaining since many people have been doing this for years. Kudos to them!

I would love him to consider an independent living arrangement but the costs are a bit high. I did the cost calculator on one site and it would be about $200 more than if he rented a home by himself. He keeps telling me he wants a work bench in a garage and wants to be able to plant flowers so the independent way probably won't work. He has been doing a few things around my house like weed wacking and emptying the dishwasher. He definitely tries to help out but it's not his home and I know he feels like he's intruding.

I have looked at homes before him and unfortunately, I look past the dirt. I recently bought a home and the frig was disgusting when I moved in. He asked me why I would have gone through with the sale if the frig was dirty. But, my thought is that once you move in, you can clean it - as long as it's not an absolute horror. Yes, I understand that the house should be clean when you move in but everyone's idea of "clean" is different and sometimes you just have to say, I'll clean that when I move in, especially if you love the place and the cleaning is minor items like the frig or microwave. That's just me I guess.
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He does have health issues. Bad knees affect mobility. He may have difficulty cleaning the apartment and preparing meals. He is indecisive and changes his mind over trivial items, which hints at early phase of dementia. Early phase is constantly changing his mind, bursts of anger with the daughter, needy for attention. Consider an Independent Living center, where meals are served in a social atmosphere and housekeeping is provided.
Get him to a doctor for a complete physical and go with him. You don't say anything, just listen, be there, have him sign the health care proxy. Take it one step at a time.
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I feel for you - this situation just seems to have no good solution, does it? But there are a lot of helpful people here who can offer suggestions.

Trying to get to the bottom of the rental issue first:

1. If your father continues to find fault with cleanliness issues, and he's only looking at houses, perhaps you can change the parameters. Look at lst floor apartments in well maintained complexes, ask for a sample lease and see what it provides for in terms of maintenance.

Another option is to consider renting a townhouse, or perhaps even a house in a retirement community.

A third option is to address the "dirty fan" issue up front by discussing it with the landlord, working out a maintenance agreement, and simultaneously looking for a cleaning service.

2. If there are other issues besides cleanliness, approach them in a similar manner - try to work out an agreement (obviously in writing) before making any decisions. These kinds of issues would be contingent ones - if they're resolved, your father would sign a lease. If not, keep searching.

3. Contact various realtors and ask them about rentals. I think one in a complex with a professional management company might be the better solution than an individual house.

4. Inquire at senior centers locally if they know of any good apartment complexes, run by competent and reliable management. Who knows? Maybe some of their clients live in apartments or townhouses already.

5. Knowing how much activity there is in an RV park, and how many socialization opportunities are provided, I think he might be comfortable in a retirement community. Even if you can find one an hour or so away, it's still w/i driving distance.

6. He can easily get another rental car; I believe AARP and AAA offer discounted rates for use with a particular rental service, but I don't recall offhand. I assume cost is an issue, so perhaps the better option would be to identify other places to explore as rental possibilities before renting another car.

7. I do understand that there's tension in the house. Your daughter presumably had a specialty in the Army; what are her plans? Is she looking for work?

8. I also understand that there's friction, but everyone has to remember this is a temporary situation and not a permanent one, and the family needs to understand that this IS your father, that you're trying to appease everyone, and they need to reciprocate and cut you some slack. They also need to pull together and help with solutions.

9. If your daughter doesn't get along with your father, why doesn't she help accelerate his finding a place and do some research, perhaps even do a pre-inspection before he does and save him some time as well as concern that he doesn't have a vehicle.

10. You might also consider listing what needs to be done in the house as well as to find a place for your father, sit down at a family meeting and let all the adults choose functions they can perform.

You're handling the brunt of the issues now; there's no reason the other adults (including your daughter) can't pitch in and help work toward a solution.
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