So is it wrong for me to make Dad do things by himself now that he is living with me? - AgingCare.com

So is it wrong for me to make Dad do things by himself now that he is living with me?

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Dad moved in a year ago after mom died. The first 6 months were difficult. Then the surgery..... 2 months of back and forth to the hospital and rehab then PT at the house. Finally he is moving about much better. Its hard to deal with some days. He is much more up and around now. Finally going to lodge by himself, going to church by himself. Still not 100% but getting better. I have been pretty tough on him making him do things for himself, laundry, bills etc... I help when needed (computer, cars). For me to deal with it I have had to take a tough approach. I feel so much guilt it is unimaginable. My wife tells me I have to let go but I can't. I work at home and am here 24 hours a day. I get out for work not as much as I like. I used to hate travel now I love it as I can get out!

He is lonely, I get it and he craves talk but it is only talk about him or the stories I have grown up with. I try to be nice and agree but then he goes on and on. I am respectful but there are times. He tends to make the fish a little bigger each time. I know he has complained to others that I am grumpy but mom did everything for him. I refuse to unless it is necessary. My big issue is trying to give my wife attention without all the guilt. We try to go out once a week for us time. I feel bad leaving him at home and not taking him to dinner but I make dinner every night. If we go out he orders the best of everything and I cant afford it nor can he. If I go away for a weekend with my wife I have to make it a business trip, be sure someone is here for him and board my dog as he wont pay attention to her (his OK, my dog, no). We were all set to be empty-Nester's, lasted 1 year. Am I a bad guy for making him do his own things, laundry, bills, church, lodge? I don't want to go to church every Sunday, I am a church going guy, I deal with funerals with a group I am with all the time so I get good with God on my own terms. I want him to develop his own friends and people to associate with but he isn't seeming to make friends. I have introduced him to people but he will only go out if it is an event. He doesn't listen, he talks so there is not a lot of back and forth unless he is in command of the conversation.

I look at it as I have given him a place to be and made sure he is cared for. As far as siblings, they're are non existent. One I wont even talk to anymore, I wrote him off the way he treated Dad (and other childhood issues), the other I call and am told they will call back but never hear from them. They have plenty of time for social media but not enough to even call me to say hi, hows things, anything we can do?.... Oh, they will certainly take a shot at me on social media (I am done with by the way, being bullied when you are an adult is not a good thing, I had enough of that as a child, I certifiably don't need it from my family and so called friends). Sorry, just venting here I guess, there are days when I want to put my head in the oven, turns out I have and electric oven, my luck (just a metaphor people don't get crazy).

Am I the only one to dole out tough love (this may be a in-correct term)? Am I wrong? Is it wrong of me to give my siblings the kiss off when they don't support me?

I'm trying here.

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Thanks for all the good comments (and the thump on the back of the head). I do try to get out a couple times a week w my wife (errands we call them and social events with our friends). I plan to go away for our anniversary this weekend (work involved too) and asked my daughter to visit to keep him company. I have asked him to do a couple things around the house. He responded very well but I doubt he will do it unless I gather all the material and tools and start it myself. Generally that is the way it goes. he is good at supervising and getting others to do the work (his forte' as he has been in business so long). As far as his living on his own that wont and cant happen, for one he does not do lonely well and he does not have the finances to do so. He has just enough to pay his monthly bills living with me and I cover all living expenses (I don't mind it is not much extra out of my pocket for now). I have been pushing him to get out more. He is supposed to go out to visit with a new friend for dinner (finally) this weekend. I know it is tough but it has just been a long year and a half. He has finally admitted he can't drive far due to his knee. So that leaves him with no way to visit family unless I do the driving (many hours) and I don't have the finance to fly him.
As far as siblings I have tried to reach out (brother? No, that ship sailed a long time ago), my other sibling I have extended calls and text but "I'll call in a bit" and never returns a call. So I get the message loud and clear. Not that I haven't tried, I have and am tired of reaching out. I am working on the guilt thing...... it is hard to overcome..... not sure why..... Trying to be happier, guess it is all the stress........
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It sounds like your Dad if very lonely. Is there a local Senior Center he could go to every week day for companionship, activities, trips, etc.? Maybe that would take some pressure off of you. Txcamper hit it right on the head. The resentment is coming through from you loud and clear, and I'm sure your father can feel it every day also. Imagine how that feels. Being old, lonely, useless, and not knowing where to turn to except your children. Your a good guy for making him independent. That way he won't feel like such a burden. You need a support system in place. See if there is an Agency on Aging. Inquire to the church to see if they have any groups he could join. Maybe he could volunteer at a local animal shelter. See if there is a local chapter of "To Live Again", or TLA. It's a group just for widows and widowers. Maybe he'll find a companion. If he gets involved in the community, and stays independent while living at your house, maybe you can feel less resentful. It would be great if he finds purpose in his life again, this way you can enjoy your father in his last years. If you can't stop resenting him, it's inhumane to have him living where he knows he's not wanted. Get a social worker to help find him a place. If you can re-direct his loneliness and don't mind him living there, it's time for him to update or write a will. It's not fair that you have siblings that don't help. You should be compensated for your time and energy.
You sound like you have good intentions, but are just overwhelmed. Seek out support for both of you. Good luck.
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If you can find a good assited living for dad he would thrive. He would be around people, have activities and be cared for. You shouldn't feel guilty about helping him have a better life. I plan to get my parents in al when the time comes. I'm sure they will b*tch and wine for a while but it will be such a relief to me to know they are being cared for 24/7. I'm already over the guilt.
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I hear the resentment in all of your posts coming through loud and clear. If you feel that way, why don't you suggest he move to assisted living? Now that he's more mobile, it would be ideal for him. I'm sure he can tell you aren't happy he's there and is trying to become more a part of your family, he enjoys spending time with his son. He was probably like most dads, busy with their jobs and not really raised to be a hands on father. Now he's got time.

You are absolutely within your rights to expect a family member to pull his own weight in the house. However words like make him do things, tough love, grumpy, refuse and bad guy come across as resentment of the situation. Even a year later, you haven't come to terms with it. For your own marriage, and your own peace of mind, I'd make other living arrangements for Dad. No one says you have to have him live with you when he's capable of living elsewhere.
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It's very difficult to watch a parent grow old, begin giving up things, see their world shrink. While it's life, it's sad. Many of us deny it in our folks as long as we can. You're a good son. Plenty of evidence for that . . . Including giving dad a safe and loving home and encouraging him to be all that he wants to be and CAN be. A little tough love is a good thing, I think. You'll intrinsically know when you're taking it too far.
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tg, do you watch NCIS - if so, you know how GIbbs does that little thwap on the back of Dinozzo's head - ok, I'm doing a good natured virtual thwap to you.

Going to dinner alone with your wife is a normal, natural thing and quite necessary for your marriage, your emotional health. She's been a trooper, working with this huge life change that you put into place. But you have to make time for the two of you. I've been thru the guilt trip because I chose to do something with a family member (husband, daughter, granddaughter) without including my mom. The sighs, the looks, the comments. And too often, sadly, I caved in until I started realizing that there were other relationships I needed to nurture. But you know what - you aren't doing anything wrong, the parent trying to make you feel bad is. PLEASE.....throw off this guilt. Speak in declarative sentences -" X and I are going to dinner this evening. I've left stew in the fridge. See you later." Show your wife that there's no tug of war in your heart - happily have dinner with her with NO conversation whatsoever about your dad for the evening.

As for guilt because you're asking him to contribute to the household - lose that, too. It's only fair and considerate for a family member to pitch in on laundry, cooking, clean up after themselves. You expected this from your kids - it's part of what members of a household do. You even expect houseguests to pick up after themselves. You're not doing tough love, you're simply saying that you all live there and everyone does their share.

Those of us with difficult parents need to remember something - when we endeavor to make their needs and wants the primary focus of our lives, we do disservice to ourselves and our families who are also greatly impacted. It is a zero sum situation in that when we do what they want 100%, everyone else has to compromise or give a disproportionate amount. Decisions need to be made factoring in your dad's needs, yours and your wives in more equal measure, knowing it's fluid.
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If your dad is capable of taking care of himself then he should be taking care of himself. You're not his mommy or his wife.

And since you're in the house 24/7 with your dad don't feel guilty about going out to dinner one night a week (for what, 2 hours?) with your wife. If you don't carve out "us" time there will come a time when there won't be an "us" unless it's just you and your dad. So take care of that marriage.

It's not "tough love" as much as it is creating boundaries which are necessary when we have an elderly parent living with us.

As far as your siblings go, if they want to know how your dad is doing, be a grown up and tell them. Here's what happened with me and my brother while my dad was living with me: I thought my brother should automatically assume that I needed help and I resented the fact that he never offered. My brother, on the other hand, assumed that I would ask for help if I needed it and since I didn't ask he never offered. It was a total misunderstanding and once we figured it out we made quite a team.

If you've asked for help from your siblings and they haven't helped you then forget about them. Try not to resent them too much because the only person who's going to get hurt by that is you. Resentment is poison.
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You are doing things exactly the right way. You are teaching him independence and adding to his longevity. Ignore the critics. Be the drill sargeant. Too many well meaning children move in and do everything for the parent, then wonder why dad is dying slowly in the barcalounger.
He does sound ideally suited to Assisted Living. Let's say you find a nice place with 80 residents. They will be his age and have common interests. The population will be 90% women who will fawn all over him. Lots of activities, bus trips, entertainment. He would live like a King, and you can return to a wife who misses you badly.
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