I was reading through comments on this site, hoping to find comfort that we are doing the right thing, I still feel troubled. And I am not handling things very well.
I have a dad who is only in his late 70's, mentally is very acute, but physically can barely shuffle with a walker and suffers from COPD. After my very capable, healthy, energetic only-retiring- at age-75 mom passed away unexpectedly three years ago, my dad stayed home in a small town 2 hours away from us.
As adults younger than 50 with small children and careers, my 2 brothers and I could not go up there every week. Scheduling and taking him to appts meant someone taking an entire day off. He increased his drinking, barely ate anything, and refused to change any of his behaviors when we confronted him. He is obviously super depressed, but refused medical help with it. After 2 falls (where I would have to get up in the middle of the night to meet him at the emergency room while trying to figure out child help (I have a husband who travels frequently), we made the decision that he could no longer stay home alone. And most falls were at 11:00 after a couple drinks, so home health was virtually impossible to find for night in that area.
We moved him to a fantastic Independent Living facility in the same town (or near to some) as us. It was obviously hard, but he seemed to really enjoy it after adjusting and his kids and grandkids could and would visit several times a week. Now, 1.5 years later things have changed for the worse. His body has physically slowed down even further, he now suffers from incontinence, he refuses to shower. He will wear soiled pants stating "they will dry". I know this is all aging, and probably a LOT of Depression. We finally have a GREAT doctor who comes to his facility (other geriatric specialists in local clinics seemed to always be in factory mode and weren't very helpful in listening to concerns). She has him on a regiment of anti-depressents. We are looking into possibility of a counselor coming to visit, but I honestly don't know if that would make a difference. And the drugs aren't appearing to make a difference.
But, when we ask him to shower or change soiled clothes he refuses. So, we added on a service that will help him shower a couple times a week. He knows he has to put on clean clothes after the shower. We go change his bedding and do his laundry every few days. But he still soils his pants, even in Depends (because he won't change them more than once per day). He has also fallen twice in the past month. The nurse at the facility has called me with concerns, (his hygiene and falls, for himself and those around him). They now want to move him to assisted living in same facility. And I agree it's probably time for more care for him. I think we all feel the same way. But, in the interest of trying to keep him in his current apt because I know change is hard for him, I had a few talks with him over the past few weeks to explain that what he is doing is not appropriate (wetting his clothes and not changing, not showering after soiling, not telling anyone if his bed is wet, setting wet diaper on top of his desk instead of in garbage to name a few). I said if he can do a better job of basic hygeine and maintenance skills and would increase showering to 3 times per week, we will lay off him.
But I told him (tough love) that if he won't try to help himself, I will no longer help him (paying bills, taking to appts, buying groceries. He only takes me serious and listens when I tell him I will not buy him his weekly bottle of brandy and don't lecture me on the brandy please- we know its not good but I can't take everything away from him). And it seemed better for 2 weeks. Now it's regressed again and I told him he really needs to try harder or we need to put him in the assisted living portion where he will have help doing the things he refuses to do. He is angry and states if he moves, it will be back to hometown, so I said fine, good luck with that and stormed out. I tend to storm out a lot lately. I really don't have patience anymore, and I know he's sad/frustrated, etc, and I'm SUPPOSED to be more understanding and patient, but I'm drained and easily lose it on him and his stubbornness.
And here I find commenters shaming adult children for not taking care of their parents in their own homes, which only adds to the feeling of guilt we children have when that is simply not an option. I still HAVE young kids at home (they are potty-trained thank god, but certainly not in double digits yet). My days are filled with sports, school functions, work. I have a husband who travels frequently. My siblings have careers and kids.
Tell me there is someone else out there who is part of this sandwich generation who gets impatient, loses their temper, does their very best, but can't do it all and has figured out how to manage the guilt. Because I'm at my wit's end and need advice!