Hello! My elderly father is staying with me for awhile, I'm single-divorced, no kids. His wife passed away in March 2013. He's been with me for two months. He's got memory loss, and is willing to go to a doctor to see about it. He asks for help for many things, to the point that I'm struggling to help him. He doesn't have a good sense of his finances. His past two major purchases, I had to front the money. He told me recently that I "was in his business too much". This kind of prompts me to back -up from helping him, as he seems to be on the proud side. Also, he seems content with staying at my place. I don't think that would work well long-term, as I think it's be too much on me.
A big factor in this will be what is causing him memory loss, he might need a memory-assistance facility. Also, would I be alright in backing up some assistance to him, that I think he can do on his own?


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I agree with @margarets. Caregiving and even long term care - has basically been a women's issue, even research shows that gender determines potential family caregivers. And the result - daughters are the one who are most likely to provide caregiving to family compared to sons. Your father needs medical attention, just so you will be able to determine the cause of his memory loss, you can never tell, this might lead into something serious. Let's just hope that it's just his age that prompts the memory loss. At least he is willing to see a doctor, a lot caregivers are stressed due to their parents not willing to do such thing...
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@margarets - you hit the nail on the head!
My mom hosted my grandfather in our guest bedroom for weeks after a heart attack in the 70s. Mom wasn't working then, so.... And her mother moved in with the youngest sister to have her final decline smack dab in the middle of the living room! My aunt didn't have a job. It lasted a summer.

My mom definitely doesn't understand that she isn't going to die tomorrow, and we are looking at the 8-12 year process here. I don't work to pass the time. I work to pay the dadgum bills. I have a professional career that I have put a lot of years into. Heck, I didn't even take off more than the 6 week allowance we get for maternity leave for any of my babies because I couldn't go without the pay!

It's funny - she calls to complain about all the old people around her. Mom, look in a mirror. She's 76 but everybody who sees her thinks she's near 90.
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@sandwich42 - I think there is some generational gender attitude stuff in play here too. It seems like there are many elderly women (some men too, but it does seem to be mainly women) who expect their adult daughters (pretty much always the daughters) to drop their lives and become a full-time caregiver for them. I think it's probably because when they grew up in the 1930s/40s, that's what women did. They haven't cottoned on that most women now MUST work outside the home just to pay the bills and god willing have something put away for their own old age. They also haven't factored in that caregiving has changed a lot. Back in the day it was often a matter of keeping someone as comfortable as possible for a relatively short period until they passed. Now it can be a matter of decades, trying to find a balance between the person's health limitations and their need for a decent quality of life.

Not that caregiving was ever easy, but it is much more complicated now. And our society/culture does a terrible job of preparing people for their old age - we're taught to believe we'll be young forever if we buy the right products - so people leave it till the last possible moment to deal with it, if ever. It's tough.
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Let me second what margarets said. DO NOT WAIT until it's a crisis to act. You are an adult who can decide what is best for you and your family in your own home. Don't ever question that.

My mother boo-hood her way through the entire process to make a will, a living will/healthcare directive, and power of attorney documents, but being ornery and stubborn about it changes nothing. I asked her to choose - do you want to get this paperwork in order now, or do you want the state to take everything because the paperwork made you uncomfortable? Either way is fine with me. It will be much less work on me if you let the state take everything.

My mom wouldn't make a plan with me for her future. She was adamant that she'd be 65 forever with manageable health problems and that nobody would make her change. So I had to make my own plan.

She had herself convinced that she'd live in my house and I'd quit my job to wait on her hand & foot 24/7/365. I never promised that. Almost four weeks in my home showed her that she can't handle stairs, the comings & goings of a four person family, the musical instrument practicing, the general hustle-bustle of life. My kitchen is not a restaurant making orders on demand. She had to eat what we ate, when we ate it. She had to deal with being there alone while we were all out at school & work. She had to cope with not understanding how to work the TV, the coffee maker, or even the phone.

I did the research and legwork to find her a place, and it wasn't an option about where and when her move out would happen. It was arranged. I didn't give her choices about "do you want to live here or there". Her one choice was do you want the apartment on this side of the building, or that side. Ultimately, I think she wanted me to just take care of it all and leave her out of it. She doesn't deal with choices or changes or anything with deadlines. I arranged the movers and wrote the check out of her checkbook. I unpacked her. I took her over for lunch in the dining room, and left without her.

Some people get lucky and have a nice logical, rational, understanding and supportive elder to partner with. Some people get an elder who expects life to change and that they will change right along with it. Some of us don't get that magical elder. If you read this site enough, you'll start to understand those people are as rare as a pink pony.

If you don't have one of these nice TV-elders to work with, who will help you along the way, then you have to take the bull by the horns and line up next steps, fill out the paperwork, talk to the coordinators, and make it happen. This site will be a ton of help along the way!
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The fact that he recognizes his own memory loss and is willing to see a doctor can be a very helpful first step. Have you made an appointment yet? Is the memory loss what prompted him to move in with you?

First he asks for your help and then he says you are in his business too much. How frustrating for you! But I think his attitude is understandable. He both fears that he is losing his abilities and wants help, and resents that this is happening to him and doesn't want to need help. This must be a very confusing and frustrating time for him, too! Try not to take his comments about being in his business too personally.

In general I think it is a good thing to encourage our loved ones to do for themselves everything that they can do. Dad may progressively need more and more help, but I'd try to resist providing help until/unless he really can't do something unassisted.

You are right that a big factor is what is causing his memory loss. I wouldn't make any plans such as giving a deadline to move out until you know that (as much as it can be known). This may take more than one appointment and Dad may be referred to specialists, such as a behavioral neurologist and/or a geriatric psychiatrist. The sooner you start this process the sooner you'll have some answers.

After you have a clearer picture of Dad's medical condition, you can decide you'd rather care for him while he is living someplace other than your home. You can help him figure out where that should be, and take steps to see that it happens, including setting deadlines.

But first things first. Get the diagnosis process started.
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I think you need to act on this right away, while he is still able to express his wishes, make some decisions, etc. Get him properly tested, get the PoA stuff in order, start shopping for a facility, etc. Tell him frankly that you cannot support him financially or practically on a full-time, full-cost basis, so he must think about how he wants to use his own assets for the living arrangements he prefers.
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