I recently went to visit my 88 year-old-father in NY who had a stroke back in Oct. I extended my trip while I was there and stayed a month to help him out. He lives in a studio apartment and has around-the-clock aides.
I have 2 sisters who live in the city/ nearby suburb. There are plenty of supermarkets and banks all around his place. I live in Cali.
My Dad has no furniture except a couple of swivel chairs, a fridge that does not keep food cold and was about to have a major leak; he lies on a mattress all day long that is completely sagging in the middle. He does not even have a dining table or stationary chairs. He sits crouched over a super low coffee table in one of the swivel chairs to eat his meals or sort papers. He is now a fall risk, so chairs with wheels that can take off are not a good idea. He does have a small desk but rarely sits there.
He leaves his heat off and his aides complained to me on a number of occasions that they are freezing. I told them to sneak on the heat when he is sleeping. He also is in the dark all day watching news.
He complains incessantly about excruciating back pain. He spends at least 90% of the day in bed, lying in the same sagging spot. No wonder why he has back problems.
He takes anti-anxiety/ anti-depression meds. I alerted his geriatric internist that he spends most of his time in bed. He calls me on average 2-3 times a night. He sleeps all day, and then gets a second wind at night; because I am on the West Coast, he calls me instead of my sisters.
He had stacks of personal papers all over the place; I set up files for him while I was there. One of his aides told me that she had never seen such conditions in her many years of home care. It was that that prompted me into buying a fridge, filing cabinet, decent chair the aides can sit on during their 12 hour shifts that is not broken and horribly uncomfortable, a dining table & 2 chairs where he can eat without crouching down to produce further pain in his back. I called an exterminator for roach problem. Just human basics.
He still needs a new bed, but I am maxed out on spending to make his place livable. Wish I could afford all he needs, because he would never buy these things for himself. I also had a lot of travel expenses myself for plane tix/ a shared Airbnb. I have been unemployed for the last year and a half. The only way he would accept the deliveries was that I told him it was a gift.
The thing is that my Dad has the money to afford these items. My sister tells me that he does not want to do laundry because it takes too much $$$. He would insist his fridge is not broken though we told him it would cause major flooding, which would cost a lot more.
But he didn't complain when things started to get delivered and he didn't have to pay for them. Why did I do it? Maybe a bit of guilt mixed in with my strong sense of taking care of things that need fixing. I could not see him living like a pauper crouched down over his dinner and seeing a fridge that was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
During all that time I was in NY, I shopped and spent several hundred dollars on groceries and supplies. Soon after I arrived back to Cali, his aide called me to complain that he had no food in his apt; apparently after she asked for some money to go down to the supermarket, he refused. She asked if I could order food online. This was a few days ago.
I did but, fury took over me. I am not my dad's bankroll though I don't think he specifically asked the aide to call me. The next day, I told him that I am happy to order groceries online but that I needed his credit card info. I said very firmly that I can't spend any more money. He flipped out saying he didn't want that, that he would give his aides money for shopping.
I have heard old people, especially Depression era, are miserly.
I'm sure that I could have handled this better. Would love your ideas on how to handle his miserliness in the future. I'm not waiting to be reimbursed.