Follow
Share

My mother died a month ago. My dad is 88. We live in the same town 10 minutes away from one another. He has his own home. He doesn’t want to be in an empty house at night and doesn’t want to wake up alone. He is physically and mentally capable of living alone. He asked if he could stay for a couple of week’s at my house in the evenings. He goes home during the day and comes back in the late afternoons. He stays with us all weekend 24/7. He has been sweet but with this coming and going he forgets his meds and other things. My husband and I have no time alone. How do I set boundaries? I’m am looking for kind words to tell him to try to stay by himself. Is it time or should I give him more time? My fear is he is getting too accustomed to this arrangement. He is wanting to take time to make a decision about going to an independent living place where he would be around people. He would still have late evenings and early mornings alone.

Find Care & Housing
First off let me express my condolences for the loss of your mom.

Is he really able to care for himself?

Does he take his meds without prompting?

Did he do any housework or cooking?

I ask because his generation the men were typically the breadwinners and the women were the housekeepers. Leaving widowed men looking to a female family member to fill in the blanks left by the wife's passing.

He may be better served in an assisted living environment, they will cook, clean, do laundry, manage his meds and there are tons of activities at some.

It would also cut out one move as he ages.

I still don't know why seniors have such a hard time accepting help, personally I would love to have a cook, housekeeper, someone to do all the mundane aspects of life.

I hope you find the perfect place to meet his needs and give him a support system out his front door.

Hugs, this will get straightened out.
Helpful Answer (15)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal
Report
robinr Feb 7, 2019
You know what Isthisrealyreal...I thought so too...that I'd love the help with cooking, cleaning at least to help take care of the elders...and then, on second thought...realized the concern about strangers in the house, locking up valuables or breakables as a precaution, trusting others to hire and do background checks...someone in the cupboards, shifting things around and handling things, bringing in another source of germs/viruses during cold/flu season...and I loved the thought less...
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
I agree with the others, give him time. But I see your point too. Do you feel you have to entertain him? If so, don't. He probably just wants someone there. Go about whatever you do. If you have plans, do them. If you want, invite him. If not, that is OK. I would wean him off being there the whole weekend. Like suggested, tell Dad you r taking the weekend to do something together.

Men do take a loss of a wife harder than women take losing a husband. You say he is good physically and mentally, he could live another 10 yrs. Give him a little longer and approach the subject of independent living. They cost a little more than an apartment. My SILs mother gets meals, activities and transportation. So, yes he would wake up alone but he would have people to enjoy breakfast with. Up until bed, he could enjoy visiting in the common area.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report

This problem actually was my problem after hurricane Harvey. I lost my house of 40 years and had to place my husband in memory care. My adult children wanted me to find a new home (apt) in a month and made it clear that they needed me to go and live by myself. With the loss of my home and placement of my husband and serious eye surgery, I ended up with PTSD and now a year later I have a long road, with therapy, I ask you to consider consulting a therapist both for your Dad and you and your spouse so a plan can be made with adequate time to adapt for your Dad to find and establish a new home and life. He lost his best friend, his companion and source of support. Dig deep for this period of life so that you and your Dad will come out of this stressful time, with good health, love for each other and pride in yourself as a truly caring person. This all will take time. I’d say at least one year. My prayers are with you.
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to Nan1cy
Report
Invisible Feb 7, 2019
Also the church can help out, if he is a regular member. Talk to his minister and they will get people in the congregation to "adopt" him.
(2)
Report
I agree that you don't want your father to go in the wrong direction here, and become too accustomed to depending on you and your husband for his social and emotional support; but a month, at 88, is no time at all.

I think it's a matter of getting this in the right order: you want him to move on to a new way of life (pull) rather than having to be weaned off family (push).

Is he spending his days at home on his own?

As he is open to the idea of moving to a community, perhaps that's the place to start. See what is available, and if there are activities he can join in, or trial stays: anything that might introduce him to the positives of being in company again, outside the family.

As an interim measure, could you tell him that you and your husband are taking a mini-break and will be away for the weekend? Ideally this would be true! - and then you get a nice couple of days away, too.

One more suggestion then I'll stop: what about if you and your husband go to his home for dinner once a week or so? Doesn't have to be anything fancy, you could even take the food with you; but I should imagine that one thing he finds difficult is how empty his house is without your mother. Peopling it in the evenings might improve that.

No friends or neighbours nearby, nobody calling on him?
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Countrymouse
Report

So sorry for your loss.
Your dad is grieving. He is reaching out to familiar people for the comfort of being with someone, though he may not express it in so many words.
He very much may still be in 'shock' and thus, the forgetting of meds and other things other than putting one foot in front of the other.

At 88... this is a H. U. G. E. change for him. ( Underline and star!) Generally, males don't do very well after their wife dies, even if she was sick and death was expected. Staying by himself would be torture. He is reminded of her wherever he looks at home. (Yes, there are exceptions.) Try to be patient with him.

Are you dad's power of attorney?
Is there a plan to downsize the things in his house?
Does he still drive? (Is that safe?)
Is there anyone else that he knows to do things/ outings with?
Is there health issues that may affect where he moves to? (Assisted living or is more care needed?)
Most places need proof of being able to pay for a year or more (depending on the place) before accepting other forms of payment aid (Social Security, VA benefits, Medicaid, etc...) which selling the house should take care of, hopefully.

This is a new time of life in which he needs you more than ever. It is challenging! It may somewhat end when he moves into a place of his own with lots of things to do and people to talk to, but expect him to still depend on you for emotional support.
You can make goals with him... and encourage him... but he may grieve for years... as grief has its own time table. (Hopefully not, but expect it nonetheless.)

Wishing you the best ~
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to RedBerryFarm
Report

Intense, new grief, loneliness, boredom. Then there’s “.......he forgets his meds and ‘other things’.” As a dad of his era, it may be impossible to verbalize his sorrow and loneliness, and it’s also tough for you to gauge how he’d take a discussion about your need for space.

We tried gentle, watchful waiting, without defining what would happen next, and although LO did well at my home,in mycare, the degree of actual care was quite a lot, and she liked it. Because of situations beyond my control, she had to go home with a sleep in aide, and was never able to do as well as she had before her “visit” with me.

Since Dad is part of the discussion I think MY comfort level would be to continue the visitor status at least a little longer, with ample discussion about IL or maybe even AL, where, at least where my LO lives, there are more ample opportunities for social contact when it’s wanted.

Hard times for you and him. It actually may be essier for him to be in new surroundings, where he wouldn’t find his loss mirrored by yours

Hope that a solution emerges that can prove comfortable for all of you. Remember, there are often no “good” solutions in situations like this, so your job becomes making the best choice among a bunch of less than good ones.

Hopes and positive thoughts.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to AnnReid
Report

I'm glad you are there for him, when one loses a spouse it's like losing oneself too. Starting over is often not easy or even appealing. A month isn't very long in the grieving process for a spouse. You're right that you don't want to make him dependant on you as a long term solution, but, imagine if your own spouse had died. How long would it take you to adjust to life without them? Yes, he needs to start spending a night alone here and there. He needs to take his meds regularly too. As others have said he also needs to be able to socialize with others in his peer group because without that he may lose his will to live on without her. I would suggest gradual step down. If he feels abandoned by you guys he may feel like life just isn't worth living any more. Maybe you could leave him alone more and more, encourage him to attend senior centers. Leave him while ya'll go out for dinner. Maybe go stay at his house with him, overnight, a few nights stay on the couch or something gradually increase his alone time. If you arrive later, leave earlier etc until he's standing on his own without him even realizing it happened? I don't know what medical conditions he has but you mentioned he's on meds; you may want to chat with his doctor as well. Grieving can throw off the chemical balance in the body and he may need some adjustments to meds during this heavy emotional time for him. You are a wonderful daughter for supporting your father through this. Hang in there. :)
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to faeriefiles
Report

I’d press him to move soon. The long lonely days are making the evenings hard to bare. He has so little to distract him from his grief and solitude and, while the company of the people he loves most is a comfort, it doesn’t help his need to truly socialize.
I suspect that, after a day of engaging with peers and forming friendships, there would be a much more positive period of reflection before bedtime each night.
Take the first steps for him and set up a couple of tours. Then, do the planning for the move. It will probably be hard for him to overcome the inertia of loneliness.
Good luck! There are better days ahead for him and for you.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to IsntEasy
Report
Leonine1 Feb 8, 2019
We need to be careful when considering what is best for other people. We need to remember we're not all alike. Not everyone has the "need to truly socialize". There are people who don't have that need. In fact, some of us don't want it at all. Being in a controlled environment where socializing is practically forced on you can actually be detrimental to a person's well being and quality of life. My siblings performed a diabolical little stunt and my dad ended up in an apartment in what is essentially an assisted living community. Him not needing or wanting to truly socialize is becoming a problem. It's a great facility in absolutely every way. I honestly can't say one bad thing about it. Except that they are starting to view my dad in a bad light because he prefers to prepare his own meals and eat in his own apartment rather than eating with everyone else in the dining room. And he doesn't wish to participate in their activities. He's not grumpy about it, he just doesn't want to socialize with the masses. He is not a sheep. He is not needy. He's not depressed or grumpy. He's content. He doesn't need other people to entertain him. And they are making him feel guilty about it. Like he is a bad person. He's starting to feel like they're going to kick him out. Is that any way for someone to live? My mother is a social butterfly. She would thrive in this type of environment. But it's killing my dad. They're trying to force a square peg into a round hole. We need to be careful when we're making decisions for someone else that we're actually thinking about what THAT PERSON needs - not what we need.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
I don't know how long your parents were married, but clearly he is wounded and grieving what I am going to assume is the love of his life, who gave his daily routine some grounding, especially in the evenings when he had her for company.  It's only been a month...and to even think of making a decision about moving and leaving memories and comfort of the familiar behind...I wouldn't overlook either the impact such a move can have when emotions impact physical well-being.  But you also should be able to have some time to yourselves.  Are there any other relatives, siblings of his? Friends?  Do you need to ease into this by announcing you and hubby are taking a 2nd honeymoon, alone in the coming months?  Can you offer more security by getting him an emergency alert button and/or a knox box?  Is he someone who enjoys dogs?  Could his rescuing a pup bring him comfort...and company?  Bring him out more when they go for walks?  Have you checked with a local community center/office on aging to see if they offer programs he could participate in?
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to robinr
Report
Invisible Feb 7, 2019
The only problem with giving a puppy to an elderly person is what happens when that person can no longer care for the dog. Is the family committed to that dog's welfare? I hate when a senior's 4-footed companion ends up at the local shelter. Medical alert is a good idea. There is iPad called a Grandpad. You can make an effort to always be available at the end of a phone call and schedule a few activities during the week to include your father. Encourage him to utilize some of the senior activities available in his area - you may have to accompany him to a couple of them. Mine used to like to hop in the car to come to my house for an hour or so and then go home. Gave him a destination.
(2)
Report
See 2 more replies
This is such a difficult time for your father, without your mother - his lifetime partner. He needs time to figure out where to go from here. They suggest you don't do anything drastic such as sell your house for the first year after a life partner dies. My father lived in his home for 5 months after Mom passed and then one day sold it to someone who had contacted a realtor looking for a house in the area. I never saw it coming. He lucked into a great 55+ apartment complex and spent the next 14 years there before I had to move him into assisted living. I became his friend during this time because he really needed someone to talk to every day. I cherish that relationship and am happy I was able to be there for him when he really needed me. My advice is to give your father what he needs right now - a good friend - and he will tell you when he is ready to move on. Ask him if he wants help to check out different places to live. Good luck and God bless you both.
Helpful Answer (6)
Reply to Invisible
Report
Leonine1 Feb 8, 2019
What a sweet, insightful answer. Good solid advice I will be applying to my life with my dad. Thanks for sharing.
(1)
Report
See All Answers

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter