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We have hospice (just started last week) and Dad's refusing the respite care they offer; refusing to pay an agency like "Home Instead" (says $$ is an issue, but it's not). He complains about being tired and at the end of his rope, but will not let me find someone to come in and help. I know there are volunteers out there. Dad's 90, mom is 91 - I'm 55 and an only child (no children) and am recently divorced. I'm beginning to resent my dad's attitude. I've also witnessed a couple of instances of "mild" elder abuse, which just breaks my heart. We've always been a very close-knit family and this is tearing us apart! Dad doesn't listen to me any more and communication is starting to break down. I'm feeling mroe than a little resentful. I need advice!!

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I'm an only child as well, but my main battle has been more my step-dad vs me, because I have my mother's durable and medical POA. He hates her being in a nursing home and the time I listened to him after rehab after her stroke he and his hired off the street helper about killed her which he denies. My mother's dementia, etc. was getting so bad that her neurologist, home health, and home PT all said it was not safe, but nothing changed until she broker her hip and that was it. He also dislikes her having long term health care insurance but otherwise he would be broke. So, I do what I have to do and don't pay him any mind which is not going to change and is often too full of bear to talk with.

From what I read, I hear several things. First, your dad must be in denial of why hospice is there. Do they have a chaplain to help him work through this? He needs to hear from some objective 3rd party and not you that hospice is there because your mother is expected to live 6 months or less.

Second, he sounds so much like my 'depression era baby' MIL who complains about not having enough money, pure lie, and always being tired, but wants to work her daughter 55 and married to death like she did her own husband, but has not compassion for her despite her surviving uterine cancer since 2001.

Third, it sounds like your dad has some dementia. Has he seen his doctor lately?

Fourth, dementia or not, your dad sounds like he wants his little girl to obey him and not listen to his adult daughter. That's where I hear the resentment coming it. Your tight knit family actually might have some hardened and outdated boundary issues that keep him from relating with you as his grown adult and responsible daughter. My MIL is that way with her daughters and my mother still tries that crap with me. While, I'm not a therapist, it might do you some good to see someone.

Fifth, your dad is not being fair to you by using you as free help; instilling fear about the care of your mom by ll of his constant complaining but unwilling to get or receive help which then works to freeze you into feeling obligated to keep doing what others can and will do if he will pay them, all of which brings down this tremendous load of guilt because it is all up to you as the only child who is them self worked to death.

If i"m wrong on my interpretation of this, I ask for your forgiveness, but as others here will tell you, I tend to call 'em the way I see them. I wish you well. Keep coming here and keep venting, but also take care of yourself and find some help for yourself. To deal with this resentment, you are going to have to develop some boundaries; tell your dad what they are and what the consequences are if he doesn't respect them. Do try to avoid attacking sentences like "You this or when you do that, example, "your not using the money we have plenty of to pay for mom's hospice care and for other help makes me angry, makes me feel used and is wearing me out." That will put him on the defensive immediately. etc.instead say I type statements. example, "I am feeling taken advantage of and worn out. I feel this way because money that is available is not being spent for help that's already been sent here and help that we already need." This type of statement you are owning your feelings and not attacking him for them. Instead you're saying how you feel and why. That has a better chance of getting through. Another example, instead of saying you treat me like I'm still your little girl, try dad, I feel like I'm a little girl all over again when you--and get detailed------. I wish you well.
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Ah, thanks, Val. It's cute that your dad perked up at the idea of "volunteers". That's great! I guess, if you wanted to introduce a paid caregiver, you'd just have to tell him that Sally was coming over for lunch, and that's that! I don't know - not in your shoes. My unsolicited advice would be to make sure your dad stays on the alkaline side so that his old problem doesn't come back. Sometimes I do deep breathing with my charges - and they love that and love that I tell them it's alkalizing. (They'd rather do that than change their way of eating!) I feed them coconut oil and try to get lots of alkalizing fresh vegetables into them. Also have the gentleman drinking baking soda water, as he has prostate cancer as well.
And on and on and on I ramble. :0)
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vestafans - thank you for your incredibly insightful (and personal) experience(s) with yout parents. The last thing I want to do is call Adult Protective Services - that would be a last resort. I know dad is suffering from severe caregiver burnout and a lack of independence and social outlets. The entire family is working on him to accept outside caregiving hep, and despite his refusal to let strangers into the house, he's going to give it a try, based on recommendation of the hospice nurse. Hallelujah! Since it's just dad and me (and I live in) I am thrilled - I need to get my life back, too!
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This brings me back to some hard memories....I was so upset with my mom over her seeming lack of empathy for my dad, but found out the hard way it was a combination of her always having been a litlte on the judgemental side plus her own early dementia/mild cognitive impairment not letting her appreciate what was really happening to Dad and blaming him for it. It was also probably her way of not feeling guilty that she could not fix it and could not take care of him when it was getting hard enough to just take care of herself. My dad was getting yelled at non-stop until he was out of the home. I did not think there was anything I could do, and that was partly because I did not realize my mom was having as much cognitive difficulty as she was and she was still making all the decisions. She accepted some help with Medicaid application problems from me, but in-home help, counseling, etc. were all steadfastly refused. Social Services (Adult Protective Services) can be involved to respond to serious abuse but you might have to weigh the consequences which could include Mom being placed outside of the home also.

To sjatrackcoach - your dad's behavior on the surface does seem to be very selfish, but with any degree of dementia, he is probably really afraid he cannot cope with anything being changed in the house, but can't quite verbalize that, Plus, he would not necessariy be able to take his wife's perspective either so might need to have it explained that she just really wants to be at home for as long as she can and it might be the last thing that can be done for her. He may be afraid of his own emotions in having her home, and be telling himself that the nursing home is better for her because it seems better and less scary for him. On the other hand, he might be able to understand it is wrong to deny someone their last wish, and to be reassured that he will be helped and taken care of too, that you will make sure it is not too hard for him. I think it is really good that you are planning to be there, and once things are adjusted into a new routine he might not even want anything to be changed again.
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Again, Ruth, thanks for the insight -- it certainly helps to keep a sense of humor, when possible. I bring up the the caregiver situation daily (in hope of wearing him down). The hopice nurse mentioned today they have volunteers; he seemed to perk up somewhat at that idea. I did mention your idea of a "meet & greet." Didn't get much of a response at all. Time will tell - dad's health is okay, for his age, but is his second remission from Non-Hodgkins; last one was just two years agol I worry about the stress and fatique taking it's toll on his health. Oh well, trying to learn to take it just one day at a time! Your "family" is very lucky to have you!!! Val
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I do love what I do. And tonight as I was buttoning the Colonel's PJ top I sang "Button Up Your Overcoat" to him. There is great satisfaction in seeing both the Colonel and his wife brighten up when I come in. It probably wasn't easy for them to accept help initially either. But now it is essential. If you introduce a caregiver into your parents' home, you may just be blessing that caregiver, too!

Ruth
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Thanks, Ruth - I like the idea of having someone come in for a "meet and greet." I agree that would take the pressure off of everyone. My cousin in TX works for Home Instead and loves it. She does it, not for the money, but because she feels it is her ministry. As you know, family caregivers need a break now and again, and we've been without outside help for two years. As the Alz. progresses, it becomes even more necessary to get out and have some connection with the outside world.

Thanks again, for the wonderful feedback. I hope (and pray) I can get Dad to go along with me.

Thank to you, and those like you, who provide this much-needed service. You sound like you really enjoy what you do!

Valerie
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I am a non-family caregiver. In my opinion, you can't know how it will be until you at least experience it. What you "think", or what they "think" will happen with a stranger in their home is probably very different from what will actually happen. My sweet 90-year-old Colonel accidently referred to his wife as my "mother" in a conversation. That's what has happened as I have nurtured them gently.
I know that there are genuinely wonderful private caregivers out there. I happen to work with an agency here in the Seattle area called 'With A Little Help'. I believe the agencies have a lot of similarities in pricing and how they're run. No matter what you choose, whether to interview someone referred by a trusted friend, or introducing an agency-hired person, I suggest you have a "meet and greet" with your parents. I'd say something like "Dad, I have a lady coming over to meet us for lunch on Wednesday. She can give you some idea of what it might be like to have someone come in for a few hours a week and help care for Mom." If it's not someone coming to care for mom, but coming to discuss what that might be like, it takes the pressure off of both of you. Often these caring people will win the client's heart right away. It's worth a shot, and won't cost you anything if it's an agency. If it were me, and I was being interviewed as a potential private-pay caregiver, there would be no charge for a lunch (coffee, tea) meeting either. I'm sure there are people in your area looking for such an assignment. The fear, as you mentioned, is elder abuse. That also breaks MY heart. You, as a private individual, can do a criminal background check and require references.
Pros for hiring an agency would be the background checks are already done, references checked, and liability covered. Cons may be cost. Pros for hiring an individual privately will be the cost and lack of red tape, but don't offer the assurance of a company standing behind the employee.
I feel for you - this is a tough place in which you find yourself! I have to tell you, though, caregiving is very rewarding for the non-family caregiver. If you get a mature, articulate person, they will generally be very gentle and will be doing this job because they truly love the elderly.

All the best to you.

Ruth
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My Mother is dying of brain cancer and my 83 year old Father says the same of hospice/personal care people we are setting up for when she leaves rehab next week. He's been badgering my mom to go straight to a nursing home instead and she is beginning to cave. If we succeed in getting her home, my 2 brothers and I have decided to tag team a couple days each(even tho' none of us have PTO) staying for the first week- 10 days staying overnight to ease the transition and help him 'keep an eye on ' the care providers. We also reassured him it is only a trial for a week or two, and if it is not working out we can put her in a nursing home, which is what he wants because he doesn't want any of the things moved in the house. (Stuff or your wife? He is definitely choosing stuff- can't believe he could be so selfish and cruel) All my mom wants is some time at home before she goes to the nursing home. We are hoping once the new routine is established, he'll settle down. His slight, intermittent dementia is not helping matters. If you come up with any other ideas, please pass them along.
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