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I moved my dad and his wife closer to me. They have been independent all their lives, so I figured once I got them here, in a safe, clean place near all the essential goods and services, they'd be able to function much more easily.


It's been a month now and they're both...becoming more and more helpless every day. It's gone from exhausting to utterly frustrating. It's like they've both collapsed!


Example: a month ago, in their previous home, they were able to get to the nearest grocery store 30 minutes away, cook their own food, make their own doctor's appointments, get to the toilet. Now, none of that is happening anymore, even though the store is literally 5 minutes away. My dad wants to pee in a bottle so he doesn't have to walk 15' to the bathroom! OMG.


I am losing sleep, losing patience and losing my desire to help them at all. Any guesses why this sudden abandonment of all functionality is happening? Suggestions?

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Maybe the sudden abandonment of all functionality is because you are at their beck and call 24 hours a day to wait on them hand and foot. That's not helping. That's slavery. Set some boundaries and stick to them as best you can. If they are able to do their own shopping then refuse to do it for them. They will become functional again and go to the grocery store very quickly when there's nothing to eat at their place. If your father wants to pee in a bottle, then let him. When the house starts to smell like piss his wife will get on him about it and he'll start using the bathroom again. Do not make their doctor's appointments or go with them. If they're still able to do for themselves then they need to be. This is senior manipulation and it is not rare. Many seniors who are competent still and able to do for themselves will often manipulate their family members into doing everything and waiting on them hand and foot. Don't fall into that trap. Maybe your step mom doesn't like cooking and cleaning. So, when you moved them closer the reasoning could be that since they're not in their old home anymore they need help. So she stops cooking and cleaning. Maybe they didn't like grocery shopping. So now there's a reason why you have to do it. Helping them is different then serving them.
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Reply to BurntCaregiver
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SS, I'm glad that things seem to be improving! Especially glad the poor dog has gone to a better home.

Beach? That sounds heavenly!!
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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You have taken 2 people that are older and moved them
They KNEW how to get to the store. (turn right at the red house, turn left at the house with the white fence....no need to know the names of the streets, you just know how long it takes to get to the red house, the one with the fence...)
They have been moved from a house that they knew "blindfolded" now the rooms are all in different places and it can get confusing.
It takes a while to get to "know" a new stove or oven, it takes a while to "know" where the dishes are, the glasses are, the pantry or cabinet that held all the canned goods is different.
There is a list of major stressors that people go though that can cause health problems. Top on the list are Death of a Spouse or partner, a Divorce and a MOVE.
If they are living by themselves it may have been better to move them to Assisted Living so that a lot of the tasks could be taken care of by the Facility.
Transportation to shopping, meals provided.
the functioning might get better given time but maybe not. It might be easier for him to use a urinal. Maybe he would be better off using a pull up incontinence brief.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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I missed your post about the dog being now gone. I am so relieved for the dog. I hope it has found good placement.
I think on some level you did understand your folks weren't functioning on their own? You did move them to be near you, and there had to be some reason for that; I believe you told us in earlier posts that your folks were living in a hovel and in a mess. I am certain now that they are so close it is all so much more apparent how non-fuctioning they are overall.
I am sorry. I really don't have any idea where you can go from here but to do what you ARE already doing. I agree that things are greatly slowed by Covid-19. Have to any ideas where to go from here?
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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SeniorStruggles Nov 5, 2020
Thanks a lot. I really thought it was merely overwhelm (for my poor stepmom) and lack of access to services like the doctor's offices and even grocery stores. They lived in an incredibly rural, inconvenient place. Now, every doctor they need is less than two miles from their front door; they have a housekeeper; I am there daily; I'm handling all their paperwork; I order everything they ask for, from computer ink to Poise pads to liverwurst. I have taken grand care of them...and still, my father complains 24/7 and threatens/bluffs that he'll kill himself any minute. He IS bluffing, and I scolded him again today for his idle threat. He does it for attention. The fact is, she's sick and he's a big baby. I had no idea how narcissistic that man is! But we are getting through it. I'm 1000000% grateful he didn't raise me! Whew! Dodged a bullet! I'm so glad he had no part in my life for 28 years. That was the real gift! As an adult, I can cope with him,. but boy, I don't find much to respect about the man.
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I'm not sure how this forum works technically - I think I answered this publicly, but perhaps not.

1. Thanks to all who have given me advice. The dog is gone. The social services came in, did an assessment and went AWOL. I call 2x/wk, keep getting told they're backed up due to covid. Oh well.

2. I have MPOA and POA and I'm therefore handling ALL their financial stuff, selling house, closing accounts, stopping bad checks, etc., etc.

3. I spent hours today moving things to their storage, helping my dad get the dolly back from my garage to his place so he (cannot) can move a cheap, crappy, filthy old dresser he bought into his formerly lovely, clean, perfect condo; helping him find the backyard in which to buy the dresser; returning the leftover tiles from the bathroom remodel they asked me to do, I did, and then they changed their mind about (all on their dime); and teaching her again how to turn on her computer (she couldn't find the on button!) and him how to print (he had no ink in the printer) and listened to him announce he's going to buy a "new" 1993 Buick he found online to add to/replace the truck that he cannot drive unless I go to the parking lot, drive it to his front door, hold the door open and help him get into it. He's allegedly driving from IL to SC to go pick it up. (I have his money, so he isn't actually going to do that at all!) OMG! And that's 1/10 of just one day's slavery!


I fully and completely intend to get them 100% situated within the next 3 weeks because I am leaving, going back to my home state to see the people I love and relax on the beach for the entire month of December.

Thanks again for the advice here, everyone.
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Reply to SeniorStruggles
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NeedHelpWithMom Nov 4, 2020
Enjoy the beach, honey! Wish I could join you. I love the beach. We went to Florida every summer as a child. It is so relaxing watching the waves roll in, hearing the seagulls overhead and feeling the sunshine!

You have been more than generous. It’s your choice and decision to make so I respect that and wish you well.

Make sure you set and keep boundaries if you remain in contact with your stepmom and dad.

I am glad that you are going to reconnect with those that you love in your life. They will be happy to see you.

Best wishes to you and your family.
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SS,

I remember your earlier postings. There hasn’t been any progression in this situation. There has only been further decline and it is negatively impacting your life.

Do you feel that your dad and stepmom are truly able to live independently in the condo that you purchased for them? I don’t.

Did you follow through with any of the posters suggestions earlier? Have you contacted Council on Aging in your area to get an evaluation on their health issues and needs? What about a social worker to make a plan for their future care? Please tell me what happened with the dog that wasn’t trained. Has he been surrendered?

Obviously, you have feelings for your father after reconnecting with him but I hope that you know that you don’t owe him your life.

Have you ever been in any sort of therapy to help sort out your emotions? I think that you will find it will help to have an objective perspective on this situation.

This hasn’t been a ‘happy ending’ in finding long lost dad. We don’t always get the fairytale ending that we desire.

I would like you to refresh your memory by reading the answers from your older posts.

Best of luck to you and your family.

I am curious. What does your mom think about your reconnection with your bio dad? Are you still close to your mom and step dad? Or should I say, the ‘dad’ that raised you. Your bio dad wasn’t even around.

I am all about forgiveness but this is ridiculous. You are not required to be a martyr for this man who is basically a stranger to you.

I am not opposed to reconnections either. I hope all reconnections have a good chance of building a healthy relationship but if it isn’t working then I would think it’s time to move forward. You’ve tried. In fact, you did more than your share.
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
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Yours is a very common issue, shared by so many here on this forum. Part of the explanation is that you had a seemingly reasonable expectation (and this is not to lay blame). The other pieces are that they were probably faring worse than you assumed plus such a big change has thrown them for a loop mentally and physically. That said, moving them close to you was the right thing IMO. I would have done the same. Please understand that they have not "abandoned" functionality. Functionality has abandoned them. Don't waste too much time pondering why this has happened (except to get them checked for UTIs since those are treatable). The most important focus now is how to deal with the rapid decline of 2 people.

Hopefully you are durable PoAs for both of them so that you can legally and more easily act on their behalves. If this isn't the case, this is the first thing that needs to happen before their cognitive conditions worsen. Let us know if you have this authority as it will determine what suggestions people provide to you. Thanks -- hang in there!
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Reply to Geaton777
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You may have thought they were OK but one may have been covering for the other. Since Dad seems to be to lazy to get to the bathroom, then stepmom may have been doing the covering. Sorry, this stuff does not happen overnight. Its gradual.
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SeniorStruggles Nov 5, 2020
All day, I thought about what you said about one "covering" for the other. I see you are completely right about that. AND my "real" parents - the ones who raised me, my mom and stepdad -they are also doing exactly that. It's like two havles, one couldn't function without the other. Fascinating. As someone who has chosen to remain single since my divorce in 1994, I cannot fathom being that codependent!
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SS, you've been given alot of advice here in the past few weeks, to step back and call APS.

Who knows "why?". Maybe the move from familiar surroundings triggered loss of function. That happens a lot.

Maybe they see you as a free ride and are using you.

Since this is a dad who essentially abandoned you, I dont see where your perceived obligation comes from.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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SeniorStruggles Nov 4, 2020
I've done everything advised by the more experienced people here, like you. thanks.
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