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My father is 77 years old. He lives alone (hasn't been married for 45 years), walks with a cane (from surgery 3 years ago), and as far as I know - does NOT have dimentia.


For the most part, he means well... but he's not happy and that has become a reflection of his personality. He's angry and unhappy most of the time. I think it's because he's lost his independence (he was forced to retire from his part time job 2 years ago.) He drinks A LOT - in fact, I'm pretty sure he's an alcoholic.


Lately (out of boredom I'm sure) he has reached out to be daily (for most of my adult life, I only heard and saw him once a week). I feel sorry for him and the life that he lives (although I have tried endlessly to help him to change like introducing him to community programs where he lives, encouraging him to go to PT - with my help, try out transportation services in case he doesn't want to drive, and just have his own life,) He has refused everything. I don't understand him - although for all I know, he could have been this way forever (considering our past once a week relationship). Lately I've been talking to my father everyday on the phone - sometimes several times a day. In addition, I drive to his house (1 hour away) 2 - 3 times a week JUST to have lunch and then try like hell to fill the time with running to the grocery store etc.


I'm losing my own life little by little. There isn't a morning that goes by that I don't think - should I go to his house and sit with him? I feel guilty doing anything else even if I'm pulled in another direction. HOW can I pull away and help him try to find his own independence again? He wants nothing to do with any new suggestions, new hobbies, or new friends. Whenever I say to myself - you can't do this anymore... I feel so guilty - like I'm walking away from a wounded animal on the street, but I really don't think he's a wounded animal - I just think he's become spoiled and dependent. Help!

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You basically answered your question at the end. He needs treatment and he needs to stop drinking but if he refuses any potential positive suggestions from you than you are just spinning wheels. You need to give him an ultimatum. If he refuses than you need in my opinion to walk away difficult as that may be. It doesn't sound as though he was ever there for you. I believe you will spiral downhill if you continue the pattern in play. Then you will be rendered useless. Your life has value. He doesn't care about that and never has. So ask yourself seriously what you want for yourself.
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I would make him an appointment to see a geriatric psychiatrist. Go with him to the appointment and send the doctor a list of your concerns beforehand

Your dad sounds deeply depressed.

There's treatment for that.
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You are making it easy for your father to avoid taking responsibility for himself. The more time you spend visiting and phoning him, the less incentive he has. If you go back to ‘once a week’, the situation may change for him – it will certainly change for the better for you, once you stop thinking about him all the time. And Barb is right, get him to a geriatric psychiatrist so that you know you have done everything you can.
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Really, you think hearing from him once a week was not enough? Was it just to ask u to do something for him or was he interested in what you were doing? If its the later, some people would appreciate that much.

My Dad was born 1927. He worked doing something from the age of 12. Thats all my Dad had was his job. He had no hobbies and was not interested in starting any, Maybe thats ur Dad, his job is what made him. Yes, there is probably some depression. But there r people that will not do for themselves. I have a friend like this. Complains she has a trouble finding rides to Dr. Appts. There is a Senior bus. Needs an aide but doesn't want a stranger in her house. I could go on with excuses. Why don't I help. It this point of my life I am not volunteering. For 3 years my DH and I drove for a family taking them to appts. We helped this friend too. Then I babysat an infant for 18 months right into 24/7 care for my Mom for the next 3 yrs. I have a disabled nephew I am just getting set up to be on his own after living with my Mom. Then still dealing with my Moms house. Just want a break.

What I am trying to say is Dad has to do things on his own. 77 is not ancient. I know a man 20 yrs older and still going strong. You can give him the resources but he needs to do for himself.

I think once a week would be OK. See if the local grocery delivers. If not, just do it all in one day. Maybe breakfast or lunch out with running errands in between. Tell Dad the traveling is really getting to you. He needs to do for himself. The local Office of Aging should have a list of services available. We are not responsible to keep someone entertained.
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its true. My pate ya divorced when I was 5 and after that I was with him on weekend then when college started - and by the time I got married , it was literally once a week. I’ve tried to convince myself that he didn’t want to bother or interfere with my adult life but really - I think he just had his own life and really didn’t need to be that interested in mine. It’s aad.
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