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My mother recently passed away and my father expects me to do all the cooking and cleaning. He does nothing for himself. He will not eat unless I eat with him and will not prepare anything. He's physically able to do it but he doesn't. He's 75. I don't know how to motivate him to be independent. he still works and drives but he can't take care of himself. He refuses to go to any type of counseling and the stress I am feeling is increasing.

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How recently did your mother die? I'd cut Dad some slack during the earliest stages of mourning. But then you have to set some boundaries and expectations. Explain what you are willing to do (eat with him twice a week? Invite him for Sunday dinners? Show him how to prepare a few simple things?) and then stick with it. Set boundaries carefully now, because they might have to last 15 or 20 years!

I can kind of see this from his perspective. Many women when they are widowed after living in traditional roles for decades delegate the house maintenance tasks to another male -- a son, a son-in-law, a brother, a grandson, etc.If their faucet leaks, they call Carl. Your father probably lived in traditional roles for decades, too. So now he wants to delegate the "female" tasks. But, hey, you don't want to be the delegatee -- nor should you. He drives. Maybe he should find an interesting place to have breakfast each morning. Maybe you can introduce him to some cafes. Is there a community senior center that serves lunch? It seems lonely to him to eat alone. This would give him a chance to interact with others (and maybe find a breakfast partner.) A program like Meals on Wheels is also great for seniors who would otherwise not eat a hot meal.

I hope that we all have taught/are teaching our sons to be self-sufficient for their daily needs (and our daughter to be responsible for minor maintenance tasks). But it is really hard to teach our parents that, after decades in a different tradition.

It is necessary for your father to eat, but it isn't necessary for him to be a cook. He just needs to understand that you are not going to be his fulltime cook, either.Help him explore oher choices.
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My mom died 7 months ago, and after 63 years of being taken care of by mom, my dad has started cooking for himself. It's so funny how much he talks about what he's cooking and what he's finding out will and won't work. Before my mom died she started showing him a few things and getting him prepared to be alone. I think it's all in the attitude. If your dad has a negative attitude, then he's not gonna make the effort to do things by himself. Maybe you should have some 'cooking classes' so to speak with him. Work out a recipe together and make him do most of it. If he refuses, then tell him you're going to sign him up for Meals on Wheels or Loaves and Fishes because you're not doing it anymore. See what he says. But until his 'take care of me' whining stops, he's going to be a bear to change.
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