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So we've had a rough year. My mother passed away in April and while my father and her were divorced they were like best friends and did all kinds of things together. So, it hit him hard. He also suffers from macular degeneration and he has anxiety issues. He's having to deal with a lot. He's also the king of drama. He had an ear infection earlier in the year and he acted like he was going to die. During Thanksgiving he was having hearing issues so he was miserable. During Xmas he hurt his back. He called me today wanting to go to the ER for his back. Amazingly, once he got out of the house, a miracle, he can walk. I believe his back hurts but not ER pain. The thing is, he sits in his house all-day, thinks about things and gets depressed. He just wants to mope and be miserable. He's 86, mental health seems OK in terms of dementia, etc., albeit the anxiety issues are real. Also, because of the Macular Degeneration, he's facing some significant life changes but refuses to let me help him. Every single idea is, "I don't wanna". He's cheap as hell too, which is a subset of some of the problems he faces because he could improve his life a lot by spending some money. He's not super rich but he has enough money to improve his life. I can't ignore it because he won't give me any peace from it, yet, I can't help him because he won't let me do that either. There's nothing I can do except suck up all of his misery, something I simply don't have the capacity for. In my own case, I have a job that on the one hand is pretty good but on the other sucks because I work for an incredibly controlling person with all of his insecurity issues. That job has taken a helluva toll on my mental and physical health. I've, finally, gotten a bit of a grip on it, after management intervention and some life changes on my end, but controlling people don't change. But, dare I mention that I'm going to get another job away from the city where my father lives and you'd think I just killed his dog. Note: he doesn't have one. I need some advice and the suggestion box is now open.

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Dear dontgetthechees,

I hear you. There is a lot going on and it sure isn't easy. I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. I know caring for an elderly father can be extremely challenging. It is hard to be patient and understanding when our parent doesn't even appear like they want to help themselves.

Do you think if a social worker, doctor, family therapist came to the house to talk to him that would help? Or maybe Adult Protective Services? Maybe he would benefit if he lived in assisted living or a nursing home where there would be more people to chat with.

It was hard for me to understand where my dad was coming from after his stroke. He too had macular degeneration. I wonder if some of your dad's grumpiness is from the fact he has undiagnosed diabetes, cholesterol or high blood pressure. He could also be scared as well. Losing his life partner is extremely hard. I know my own father wasn't good at expressing his feelings, so maybe that is why he feels he needs to create drama to get attention.

If you are thinking of moving away, I hope there is another family member or trusted friend or caregiver that could assist him. Try talking to him honestly and see what he has to say. My dad passed last year and I honestly wished I just taken the time to talk to him. Really talk. But instead I was so wrapped in tasks and just feeling so angry and resentful.
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