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Last year at 78, Dad moved from his lifelong home in rural NY to CA and moved in with my family. In the last year he has undergone tremendous medical care from years of neglecting himself. We got him hearing aids and glasses. He's had surgery for 3 hernias, 2 surgeries to help with facial deformities due to Bells Palsy, fell and broke back which is when they discovered an abdominal aneurysm which he has surgery for. While doing scans for that a mass in his lungs was discovered; testing is inconclusive, a biopsy can't be done because of location so CTs will be done at 3 month intervals to monitor for change.

He still drives although he doesn't like to. I've introduced him to the senior center but he won't go. He won't do anything without me. I feel like he is taking over my life. When I went to NY to get him, I switched from full time work to part time. This summer when his medical needs were at their greatest, I went to sub work. So, having him here has taken away 2/3 of my income, the savings has been depleted and I need to return to work, full time so we have the benefits.

My big stress is that dad won't do anything without me and lays on the guilt when I don't want to go and "do something" everyday. I love my dad but I don't enjoy the casino or fishing which are his only interests.

Help!!! Please, any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

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Goldilocks, you've done more than most people could already. Considering the medical issues that your dad has had, I'm amazed that he wants to do anything at all.
I agree that if you went to the senior center with him a few times and helped him make friends, that could be of some benefit. But you need to be up front with him and tell him that you can't sacrifice financially or you will all be in trouble - including him. Let him know that this is about loving him and the rest of your family. He needs to find some activities that he can do without you if he wants a social life.

You might want to go online to www.aging.gov and find CA under state services. See what links look useful for you and explore them. You may come up with some good ideas and/or some services that your dad qualifies for when you go back to work.

Most of all, ban guilt! You have done so much and will continue to do everything that you can - if you take care of yourself. Otherwise, you won't be much help for your dad or anyone.
Carol
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I feel it’s the duty of an adult child to use his or her life to assist an aging parent. It is NOT the duty of an adult child to FORFEIT his or her life to assist a parent.
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Wow! I feel your pain. My mom moved to be near us almost 4 years ago. I have been fortunate to find caregivers that help with her and she still lives alone. However, her dementia is rapidly progressing and I am looking at moving her into a memory care facility now. But thats another story. Mom (and most other seniors, I am told)has become egocentric and self centered, like a spoiled 4 year old. Although she has 3 caregivers who rotate and take care of her, bring her out DAILY, etc she still always wants ME to entertain her. She also has refused to do activities such as senior center, church, etc, saying she is just not social, yet complains of being so bored and lonely ( not true, as she goes out every day with her caregivers or me). She is not anti-social, just spoiled and wants one-on-one attention constantly. I am truly amazed at how self-centered she has become. I have had to put up huge boundaries so that I can be there for MY family and part time job. I have reminded mom that she did not leave me or my dad or brother to run off and care for her parents 24/7 and I don't intend to do the same. I have struggled greatly with guilt but am learning not to. I have done the best I can for 4 years with NO help from my brother...I can make sure Mom is safe and healthy but it is not my job to keep her entertained all the time and I have learned to recognize and sidestep her manipulative behavior. The bottom line in BOUNDARIES for everyone's health and happiness. They have lived their lives and its not fair for us to give up ours due to worry, guilt, stress, etc when their demands are unreasonable.
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What ever you do, do NOT use any of your own money to pay for anything your Dad needs. At 78 he is getting Social Security and any other type of pension fund or had savings. Otherwise you will find yourself with very little money when it comes time to retire.

I know it is hard, as our parents want us to be Julie McCoy, your cruise director, but not all of us can do that. I remember my Dad wanted me to quit work so that I could spend more time driving him and Mom all over hill and dale.... I asked Dad is he had quit his job to take care of his parents.... his answer was no.... thus I refuse to stop working as I need my own funds for retirement, too.

Wow, your Dad has gone through a lot of medical issues. Note that sometimes the meds given for these issues can make a person feel unsure of themselves, that is why your Dad always wants you around him. Oh if only he had a buddy to take him fishing or to the casino. Ask the senior center if they have trips to the casino, some of them do. That way he can meet people and find new friends. I know, easier said then done.
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Is there some reason he has to continue to live with you now that his medical issues are behind him? He needs to be in an environment where he can socialize. That would help him become less dependent.
As another said, you need to level with him.... he had his chance in life to earn a living , now you need to do the same. You will need to keep working to pay into social security and put away for retirement and support your daily needs.
The best mantra given to me to help me when I feel any guilt is "I am responsible to, not for my dad". You have been responsible to so far. Take of the need to be responsible for his social life and happiness. That is not your role. You can let this suck you dry if you let it. Your sentence tells me you don't feel you have a right to your own life, but that he has a right to it. Boundaries are hard to set at times, but you will feel better if you do.
By the way, his SSI should be going towards your income.
Perhaps if you leveled with him and said "on this day, you and I can do something" but only then. You've set your boundary and yet you are still going someplace with him once a week. It's up to him to figure out the rest. You must get back to work.
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Don't laugh. I am getting a dog in two weeks and have been reading lots of dog training books. What do they say over and over?

Take control, be the pack leader, set boundaries, rules and limitations. This is so that life runs smoothly and everyone, including the dog, gets what he/she needs. Including a bit of uninterrupted peace.

How many people, elders and youngers, need to have boundaries, rules, and limitations. IF IT IS SO SIMPLE THAT A DOG CAN DO IT, then we all need to be doing it, too.
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We finally found a 'bridge' group at the local seniors center for my mother in law. I drop her off at noon and pick her up at 4pm... 4 hours of work (minus the drive time)... and they only charge fifty cents to play. When she wins? She gets tickets to play another day for free! The Senior center can be a terrific place for social elders.
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Thank you Mincemeat. I think I need to be reminded that it's OK to put my family first. If I don't, I know I will be a burden on my children. Guilt is a powerful thing.
And thank you for the suggestion of going with him to the senior center luncheon. I got him info on it but maybe if I take him. . .
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Those people who have children, remember nursery, playgroup, school? Those first tearful times when little hands were slipped free from yours and you walked away masking tears as desolate, tear filled entreaties not to be abandoned were made. Yet you went, because it was right and the children were safe and in time they made friends and were happy. Sometimes we have to do something similar with elders.
I read a fabulous book that I think would help many here, "Love never sleeps" I can only remember the author as ? Rains. It is about two women who have the Mother of one come into their home when she develops dementia. It's painfully sad at times, and amusing and where many of us are whether our loved one lives with us or not.
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Another thought.... there are times I believe that our parents still view us as a "child" with no adult responsibilities. Thus being the child we have all he free time in the world to play.

With my Mom I could cut short a visit at my parents house by saying "I have laundry to do" and she fully understood. But not my Dad because my Mom was a stay-at-home person for 70+ years, she had all day to do the housework.... but that wasn't my world, I have worked at a career all my life, and Dad cannot relate why I don't have time to entertain him.... what Mom did all week to maintain the house, which she did beautifully, I have to cram into a weekend :P
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