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My mom passed 5 years ago. My dad has had cancer for 10 years. He is 84. He falls at least once a month. Each time he falls it has been when he has driven himself somewhere and fell. He insists that I stay in the hospital with him every time he has an accident, even though I have a family and job. He won’t stop driving even though he can barely stand up straight. He is very weak, but refuses to stop driving.


He is running out of money, so I have been paying for in home care for him for the last few years; however he refuses to acknowledge it. Recently he agreed to move into assisted living. I pay for that as well, at least until he sells his house. He will not go to the dining room at the facility. Instead, he has the facility bring him his food, which costs $8/meal to do. Or, he has his sitter come to the facility to bring his meals. His sitter is only supposed to come when he has doctors’ appointments.


Nevertheless, he told me that he doesn’t want to be around those ‘old people’ but then tells me that he’s lonely. He makes all of us feel guilty for not visiting more or calling him more. But to be honest, I get so stressed out with his complaining and demands that I don’t want to talk to him at all. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with him. Today, he’s complaining that his apartment is too small. Yesterday he called me 3 times because he wants a commercial free western television station. The day before, he called to find out how to renew his vehicle registration. He keeps my brother, sister and I so stressed. I know I can’t make him happy, but how do I get him to understand that???

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Re POA: a general durable power of attorney is a document stating who can make financial decisions if and when a person is declared incompetent to manage their own affairs. There should be wording about how this takes place. If the GDPOA is not "activated," your dad still is his own POA and you can't make financial moves for him. Read the document and call his attorney asking about how that document gets "activated" if it's not clear.

With regard to the driving: Check with your local police, state DMV and/or his primary care MD to find out how an elder who should not be driving can lose his license. My father in law lost his after he drove through the front door of a restaurant. Son had to pick him up from the police station. Police notified the DMV that he needed to be recertified. DMV suspended his driver's license and he had 3 road test attempts to try to regain the license. He failed all 3 tests. Your dad should not be driving. He has medical issues that impair his function. If he's having multiple accidents, I'm surprised the DMV has not taken administrative actions. If he hits someone with his car, he can lose every dollar he has.

With regard to AL: sounds exactly like my dad. He was in "home hospice status" in AL, so had hospice staff come in as well as AL staff to keep an eye on him. But he did not adapt well. He hated the food and had us all running out for lunches and dinners. I even came in and cooked meals for him there. Had staff deliver meals to his room. Called all his kids and former neighbors late in the evening for grocery and alcohol runs. Had TV turned up to max volume to drown out mom. Crabby and nasty all the time. He lived like that for 6 months and died of congestive heart and kidney failure. Unfortunately, I was glad to see him go since the last 6 months were horrible on his family as well as on him. I don't have any answers for that other than don't use your own money and don't agree to stay with him nonstop whenever there's a hospitalization.
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Sounds like moving to assisted living is a positive step, but it’s his money that needs to be paying for it. And most assisted living places offer services to take residents to appointments, check to see if this is the case and if so, even if there is a fee, it would certainly be cheaper than keeping a sitter. I don’t see a reason to keep her, that’s an expense he can do without. Your dad has trained you on how to treat him, and it’s time to do things differently. Tell him no one is paying for in room meal delivery any longer and he has to eat in the dining room. Do not accept all the phone calls, when he’s complaining or negative, tell him you’ve got to go and choose to limit your exposure. It’s either teaching him a better way to treat you or not being available to be treated poorly. Hoping you’ll find a way to sell the car and use that money toward his care. Your dad is dealing with huge changes in his life, and that’s hard. It calls for your kindness and patience, but it doesn’t need you to be a doormat or use your money, or be so stressed out you’re no good to him or anyone else.
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Carabobara72 Mar 3, 2020
Thank you so much for your response. This is taking a big toll on me.
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Carabobara72, you must. stop. paying. for. his. expenses. Can't stress this enough. Your first obligation is to your immediate family. Robbing your own future to pay for him now is not wise. You are under no obligation to jump when he demands. Stop answering every call from him. He may be calling often because of short-term memory issues. Has he ever been given a cognitive exam by a doctor? Who is his financial and medical PoA? I'm asking because his financial PoA can sell his car in order to pay for some of the expenses, then eventually his house. If no one is assigned as his PoA this will make a difficult job needlessly more difficult. Let us know some of this info so people can give you specific suggestions.
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Carabobara72 Mar 3, 2020
Wonderful advice!! I’m his POA. I just didn’t think about what I could do with that. Thanks
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I'm so sorry and deeply sympathetic. I just posted something similar but it feels much easier than what you are going through.
I am struggling at saying no to unreasonable demands. It looks like that is on your plate too.
I’m sorry that I don’t have any wisdom to impart but you are not alone.
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Carabobara72 Mar 3, 2020
Thank you for understanding.
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