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I am 71 years old, a widow and also an only "child", caring for my 100 year old father in my home. He is in full possession of his mental faculties and still does some things for himself such as bathing and dressing, though it takes him forever to do so but he won't accept help. Basically, though, my life belongs to him. I cannot be gone overnight or even out on an evening because he goes to bed so early and there are a number of things I have to do for him to get him ready for that. He could go to the best nursing home in the area which is for veterans only and has a sterling reputation. If I mention it, he starts crying and saying he would rather be dead. Meantime, my stress, frustration, and resentment are growing every day. I guess I'm looking for ideas to make him accept that I cannot keep this up. Oh, closest other relative is 200+ miles away.

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Your dad is so fortunate to have you looking out for his best interest. It sounds like you are experiencing what we call caregiver burnout, a time when resentment and frustration set it. It may be time to draw some boundaries, hard as it may be. Looking into home care services in your area where someone comes to your home to sit with, and assist him, while you get some “you time” a vital part piece for all caregivers mental health. Although it can be a process, contacting the VA for such services may be an option, if he’s eligible. In the meantime, give us a call and we can at least see what other option may be available while you look into the VA.
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Reply to Dianne Stephens
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You say Dad’s mind is sharp. Do you think it’s sharp enough that he could be using tears and a death wish to manipulate you? Have you leveled with him and in a no-nonsense manner told him “I can’t do this anymore.”

I’ll bet he would be surprised if he gave a facility a chance. Especially a Veteran’s Home. He would be among people who have “been there, done that”. Can you arrange short visits for him to scope it out? Have lunch there; maybe attend an activity?

If Dad persists with the waterworks and threats, you will have to be very strong. You can do this! Good luck. Come back and let us know.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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Lspratt Oct 21, 2018
I have hinted that I can't but not forcefully said so. Physically he's at a point where getting him out somewhere is very very very difficult. I do think he's sharp enough to be using this but I don't consider his statements as death threats. He's a retired minister and believes suicide to be a mortal sin. I think you're right that the only way I will get relief is to state that this is how it's going to be. Just so hard to do.
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I actually had this same talk earlier today with my ex. We are both in our early 40s and long story short I left because his mom wouldnt go into a facility and he would not force it. Due to the situation, his son will not even acknowledge his existance.

No one has the right to expect you to care for your father. As harsh as it sounds, he lived his life while you are still living yours. Some of the best times I had in my life were with my grandparents and your grandbaby deserves the same.
You are lucky you are financially secure, many people gave up financial futures to caregive.

I would give yourself a reasonable amount of time...90 days max to get him set up with services and into a facility. You have the right not to daily caregive but I believe a moral responsibility to get him to a safe place. A no from him or guilt trip is not acceptable. Place him and you will feel better seeing to your future.
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Reply to tacy022
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No one wants to move to an assisted living facility. 100 is a remarkable age but living to be that old has consequences. I did recently read Atul Gawande's book, Being Mortal after seeing it recommended here. If you have not read it, get it. (I actually listened to it on Audible). What it did, is give me a different way to approach my father in law; since his kids did not seem to be able to do it. My husband is the POA but I am the "family nurse". I started asking questions, not the exact questions in the book but questions that got him thinking and us talking. He is 93, MIL is 92. She has ALZ dementia and he is now losing his exec functioning, and problem solving ability due to early vascular dementia. I asked him what his "plan" was, what would cause him to be willing to move. He did not know. I asked a lot of questions and suddenly he agreed to go back and look at a place and then agreed to move; not sure why but we ran with it. He back pedaled a couple of times but the movers came yesterday; they moved to Independent Living but we can add care as needed which will be soon. My MIL is not so on board but he is dealing with her. We will see later today how their first night went; hoping for no meltdowns.

At 100, it seems unlikely that your father is in full possession of his faculities. He may be, but I would guess he has some slowing cognition. And difficulty with decision making and multiple step processing. He is fearful of any change, probably cannot fathom change and could not begin to think of how that change could be initiated. You have to be the one to initiate the change. Or it will not happen for you. I would suggest you ask him questions about how he sees the next 3 months or 6 months or one year playing out. What is his plan if he needs more help than you are currently providing him? What is he becomes unable to take care of himself? They all do think about it, (as we do). They just don't tell us so you have to ask. You will be able to see if his plans make sense. They will never take into account the impact any of this has on you, so don't wait for that. But you can ask him those questions too. Ask open ended questions so he talks about it.This generation did not care for old people, rarely did any make it to 90+. so they have no history with it. You need to tailor your approach for your problem depending on what you want. And don't ask him "wouldn't you like to go to the nursing home? That answer is no so don't ask any questions that will lead to no, since no is not an option. My husband and I did not want to care for our inlaws in our home; they might have agreed to come but we both agreed this is not what we wanted and they have the money to pay for care. You really have to put your foot down to say, that you cannot take care of him any more as he is needing more and more assistance and you physically cannot do it. He is not going to go willingly but in his heart, he knows he needs to. And he knows that he is causing you anguish and physical pain but he is stuck and does not see an option. My father in law said, after agreeing to move that, "No, we cannot move because we have too much stuff". Not because he wanted to take it all but because he could not put the process together to get themselves and their stuff moved. We had to help with that but without the dialogue I started, I would never have know what was in his thought process.
You need to do this for you; your duty to your father is honorable but realistically, you are doing more than you should and injuring your health. And possibly impacting your own ability to have a happy healthy retirement.
Please keep in touch here as we will be interested in how this works out for you.
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Reply to dogparkmomma
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gdaughter Oct 23, 2018
Beware that just because someone passes the age 100 point to not become ageist as we may be the next generation to be thought of in the same way! We must guard against making assumptions. A support group facilitator last week, never having met my father who is 101 and does not have dementia btw, was quick to conclude that because he opted not to tell me about gently bumping the bumper of the car ahead of him (yes, he does drive in the area)--an issue that the police arrived at and did NOT issue a ticket the impact was so minimal--that he had mild cognitive impairment. This facilitator is not well-received by our group (she's new to it) and extremely negative in her perspective. She was SURE about many things that were found to be untrue when I investigated. That said, much of what you have pointed out has relevance. I wrote my dad a note the other day discussing all of the issues he has generated at this moment...because it is an easier mode to communicate. I head learned about a respite program and had mentioned what I would do with the funding if we received any...personal care for mom, maybe some light housekeeping. I initially wrote "I can't do it all" and deleted it. But it's true. I have no other family, mom has dementia, I work part-time and there are only so many hours and so much energy in a day.
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Have you talked with your father's doctor(s) privately to explore moving him to the Vet home?
I met privately with my mother's doctor, and he is willing to speak to her when the time comes to either get in home care or move to a nursing home. She is 91 and lives independently with my help, but the time will come when she needs more care and she is not the personality or temperament I could tolerate in my home and to say she is difficult is an understatement.
There are also senior social workers to talk with and lots of information about how to broach the subject of in home care or moving into a nursing home.
It seems like you are struggling with this decision, and it is a very difficult one. You may want to make a connection with someone at the Vet nursing home to help make the transition. Take your father to lunch there and see if you can have lunch with a few of the residents so he can get to know them. I'm sure he would enjoy visiting with people who share many of the same interests, too.
My friend's uncle fought going into a nursing home, but within a short time loved it. He wavered a bit but eventually settled in.
If there is no way you can make this transition, in home care can be set up through your father's doctor since he is a fall risk. You could explain to your father that you need the help and maybe he will accept it better in that light. Hopefully you can then increase the staff as needed and get some respite time for yourself.
I wish you the best!
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Reply to pattiac
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Where are all the recommendations for in-home care?? Geez, people. Give him an ultimatum. Tell him you will be out for an evening and ask if he'd rather be home alone or have some hired help. Then hire someone and say s/he can sit in the living room or clean the kitchen and will just be there in case. You're allowed to have someone clean your own house, right? Just so happens to be there.
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Reply to paulalovescats
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Oh how difficult. I am 71, and am enjoying retirement. I am so sorry for you. ‘He can’t live all that much longer’ isn’t a pleasant comment in more ways than one. He sounds in remarkably good shape for 100, though everything is so slow.

Is there any chance of you getting out in the daytime? If he rests and isn’t a major fall risk, perhaps a couple of hours on his own could be a possibility. Could you get in-home care? I would assume that you've been through that option.

Is there any chance that the vet nursing home would let you move in with him, even for a week or so? It might make it easier for him to accept the move initially, and then perhaps he will accept it permanently. It isn’t in the rules for the vet home, but this really is an unusual situation. If they had a spare room during a change-over, they might be compassionate. Even if it wasn’t a success for him, a couple of weeks would give you a rest that might help you. You could ‘sell’ it to him on that basis.

Best wishes to you for all you do, for your courage and your determination over such a long time.
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Lspratt Oct 21, 2018
Thank you for replying. The short term moving in isn't possible. They will not allow. He also is a definite fall risk. I can get away some during the day because we do have Lifeline. The hardest thing is that my only grandchild, 22 months old, lives 800 miles away and I cannot go visit. I've seen her 3 times, and one of those for my husband's memorial.
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I am so sorry you are not able to enjoy your retirement and see your grandchild. As someone else said, your dad lived his life...he is one the end of the trail and you haven’t begun your retirement yet really. Your dad could conceivably live another couple of years. I know of two friends parents who just died at 102 and 103. Of course he is using tears...that’s what the elderly do. Their emotions are much closer to the surface than used to be. My dad cries a lot as he remembers the past. He too didn’t want a NH. I mean, in reality who does? It means accepting that this is it and where you will end life. When he cries, do remember that it is normal and do not allow it to overcome what you know is in both of your bests interests. It will be an adjustment at first for him, that’s a given, but adjust he will. And as he declines further in time, you will be glad he made the move now while he’s in better health. Be strong and know that what you are doing is for the best and that he will have care and watchful eyes as well as activities and perhaps some friends. I wish you peace in this decision.
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Reply to Harpcat
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When at 89, my wonderful mom fell at home and broke her hip, I left my job to care for her. After about 9 months in my home, her risk of falling had dramatically increased, and between dementia and a language disorder caused by a previous stroke, (as well as her Innate stubbornness) we came to make the difficult decision to place her in the very good NH.
We had attempted round the clock 7 day per week in home care, but it was also unsuccessful.
Given her age and her status as a survivor of a severe stroke, her sisters expected she’d never “last 6 months”, and she lived 5 1/2 very happy years before dying at 95.
Had my mother been asked, I’m certain that she would have cried and resisted going. Because I KNEW she needed professional help that I couldn’t provide at home, she went, and thrived.
I am presently caring for her last “baby” sibling, who is 90, and also has dementia, and at a relatively advanced age, I myself have three grandchildren, ages 2 or younger.
I am able to maintain a balance because of our very good Assisted Living, and at least at present, everybody is happy. Including Grandma.
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Reply to AnnReid
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I was like you until my cousin said "but it's not fair to you." And it hit me... "you mean I get some consideration in all this?" We have to think past our lifetime of parent-child interaction. Roles have reversed, you're the parent now. Assisted living provides private apartments with people to help when and as needed. My mom has three meals a day in a five-star restaurant dining room and wonderful activities. She misses home and I take her there to visit but she has no complaints, is happy, and participates in activities. She left heel marks in the pavement getting there. Don't ask, just tell your Dad that's where he's going. He'll get over it.
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Reply to KayBorden
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