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I have a father with dementia and is living in a memory care unit for which I feel guilty in not caring for him in my home. He did live with me for a while but then his physical needs became greater than what my husband or I could give. My husband has had 3 back surgeries and I have back issues as well. I go to see my dad once or twice a day. I have a daughter who is married and has 2 children. She basically ignores the situation that I have unless I ask her to do something to help out. I feel like telling her how I feel but don't want to distance herself more. I usually get 1 text message a week and maybe 2 phone calls a month. She lives in the same town I do so distance is not a problem. I could use the help but hinting doesn’t work. She has an ill mother in law that she will drive an hour to visit her once a week. I feel things are very unbalanced and don’t know what to do.

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Ebgranny
I can really sympathize with you and your husbands back issues.
Thankfully you are no longer responsible for your fathers physical care.
I know that managing someone’s care is also stressful and time consuming.
What is it you need help with? A housekeeper, help with the lawn? With your health problems, is it time to think about downsizing?

I think you need to give your daughter a break.
You say she has two children, is married, has a home to manage and helps her husband look out for his mom. I assume he’s earning a living for his family? She sounds very busy to me.

Plus when you ask, she’s there for you. She even keeps in touch with you via text and an occasional phone call.

If I’m being honest it sounds like you are lonely and a bit over involved in your dad’s life. Twice a day is a lot of visits.

You brought up the word balance. That is important.

But the best way to influence our children, no matter what age, is through example.

When was the last time you made a meal for your daughters family? Do you and husband attend her children’s events? Do you call and check on her without asking her to do a chore or make a complaint about you or her dad’s health or your dad’s health? Do you use your dad as an excuse to keep you from taking part in her life and from living your own life?

Do you see your daughter as unpaid help that you aren’t getting the benefit of?

What do you and husband do to keep your marriage strong?
Maybe a few days away from memory care would help you refocus.

If you want your daughter to find balance, demonstrate that for her. You can still influence her but she’s no longer a child. You are wise not to try to shame, guilt or complain to her.

Its time you started taking care of yourself while you can. Your daughter will admire that.
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Tothill Dec 15, 2018
97, thank you for a very balanced reply.

ebgranny, what do you feel when you read 97's reply?

What do you feel is unbalanced? That your daughter goes to visit her ill mother in law and not you? As 97 asked, what do you do with your daughter and grandchildren that would make a visit pleasant?

A tale of two women.

G starts off saying I don't like to complain, then complains for the entire visit. Complaints about her ex husband, she divorced in in the 1980s has remarried and been widowed. Complains that no one calls her, yet she refuses to answer her phone, you have to leave a message, and she never calls back. Complains about her health, aches and pains. No interest in current affairs, no new conversations in 20+ years. Grandkids are adults and avoid her at all costs. She has lived in her community for 17 years and has not met a soul outside of the families that live in the other 8 units of her complex.

J, busy life, outgoing, has various aging related issues, but does not complain. Watches the news, reads the paper, socializes, calls friends, meets people for coffee, has people over for a meal. Has lived in her community for 50+ years, volunteers, exercises, goes to church. Grandkids enjoy spending time with her.

Both women are in their 80's live independently. Which one would you rather visit?

I am not saying your fit in either category, but if you have grandchildren living in the same town as you and are not making an effort to see them at least twice a month, if not more frequently, I think that is very sad.
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EBGranny, good thing that dad is in another care situation. What can you do about your frustration and hurt? Start by cutting down on visits. Once a day is more than enough, try once a week or once every two weeks. Then you would have the energy you need to take care of your own needs.

Daughter, with children is very busy with her own responsibilities. Isn't that what you want for her? For her to live her life as needed and sees fit? That is what I want for my children. I brought them up to be strong, responsible people that take care of themselves and their family's needs. That is their priority.

Helping with MIL? More than you want her to? That is her choice and what she has decided is most important. Honor that and respect her choices. And be proud that you raised a daughter that is independent and doing what she feels is needed for her own happiness and welfare.

Sorry if this seems harsh. With your very frequent visits to dad you are not allowing yourself the time YOU need to take care of your responsibilities.
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Does Dad recognize you as his daughter, or are you just the nice lady who comes to visit? Is he aware what day it is? Are his days just running into each other.

I think you visit too often. Even once a day is too much. And I think its because of guilt. But OK if you can take off a day or two here and there for you. If Dad is 93 you must be in your 60s. You and husband better take time for yourselves now. You don't know how long your days together will be. This always scared me when Mom was living with us.
Dad is safe, clean, fed and cared for. You are entitled to ur life as Dad was his. You need to enjoy your family. Those Grands will not be little long. You need to have a relationship with them. My grandson lives 4 houses down the street. He is now five and thinks he is now old enough to call me on the phone to tell me he is coming down. So cute watching him coming down the street to visit.

You may be giving up a lot for a father who, if not already, is in his own little world which will not get better.
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ebgranny Dec 16, 2018
My dad is still cognizant of family and other things. That’s why I try or my husband tried to see him everyday. One thing I have found is that the memory care unit takes better care of him when you pop in and out. My grandsons are 16 and 19. We used to be very close but now they are getting older and starting to live their own lives. You’re right about husband and I having a relationship which we are very close.
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You're right, hinting sounds like it's not working. Could you ask, in a nice way of course, for things you might need help with? Like maybe, "Hey daughter, would you be able to come by once or twice a week to help me out with some things around the house for an hour or two?" That's something that might be doable for her, depending on how much she works and her other responsibilities. It certainly wouldn't hurt to ask.

Don't be offended, however, if she is unable to make that time commitment. If not, she might still be able to help out some according to her schedule. She is probably really busy too, especially with a husband and three kids, and definitely if she has a job on top of that. But if you ask directly for something specific, she might be able to come and help. It could be that she is unaware of the difficulties you are having and thinks you are managing fine on your own.
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rovana Dec 16, 2018
I noted a hint that another poster gave: Is the help needed for house maintenance/yard care?  If so, it may be well to think about downsizing.  I saw a great deal of bitterness and misery caused by parents who had become slaves to their house and felt that kids had to help maintain it, when they were grown and gone.  A house is just a thing - not something to worship.  I believe it is wise to give a lot of thought to lowering the stress caused by clinging to a mode of living that no longer works.
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It really sounds like you aren’t taking care of yourself. I say that compassionately. I understand parts of your dilemma, I’ve got a husband with severe back issues, he needs a 2nd back surgery and it’s a workman’s comp issue so....it’s a nightmare situation at the moment. I’ve 2 children under 12. So I also understand things from your daughters side as well. You are visiting your dad 1-2 times a day. Your husbands back issues probably have you caring for him to an extent & picking up the slack around the house. So in all of this, what are you doing for yourself? Are you enjoying any hobbies? Socializing with your friends? Taking time to focus on yourself? I agree with Joann, you are visiting Dad too much.
As far as your daughter goes, how often does she visit grandpa? This may sound harsh but your grandchildren probably don’t want to visit their great grandfather in a nursing home. I remember visiting my grandpa when he was in one and it was boring. Papa didn’t seem interested in us so we didn’t really talk to him. we most ran around outside while Mom sat with him. Did your daughter have a close relationship with her grandfather? She’s got her children (and husband?) and her own life. She can’t be expected to disrupt her family. I’m not saying you expect that at all either. But whatever it is you want from her, just tell her. Worst case scenario she tells you no.
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ebgranny Dec 18, 2018
Hi. Thank you for your thoughts and insight My daughter had close relationship before we moved out of state. It’s been a long time. I’ve thought too how she might not know what to talk to him about. My dad is 4 minutes away so my visits are short and sweet. He thinks I live there which I’m glad he thinks that because he is a worry wart and this makes him comfortable. I’ve seen other people virtually abandon their parents in their old age which is so sad to me. Sometimes my husband will go and I don’t see dad for 2 days . Just wish my daughter was more responsive.
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Thank you for your thoughts. No it is not a matter of house maintenance. We are fine with our home and taking care of it. My wish is to have support from my daughter who told me that when I moved my father from out of state into my home that she would help me with my father. I guess I'm just disappointed that it's myself and husband that are looking after my father. My father is in a care facility that is about 4 minutes from my home so it is not hard for me to pop in and make sure he's being taken care of plus the benefit of getting to know the staff and they have been wonderful. It's just disappointment that my daughter can drive 30 minutes one way to visit her mother in law on a weekly basis and I barely get a phone call or text message to see how her grandfather is or how my husband and I are doing.
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rovana Dec 16, 2018
Please keep in mind that she is supporting her husband in caring for her MIL.  Spouse and kids come first.   Have you talked to her about more emotional support? Perhaps she does not understand how much you could use that kind of support from her.
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