It has been 6 months since I posted about my Dad. He lives alone in a small, rural town in Montana. It's a 70 mile drive from my house to his. He steadfastly refuses to move closer to me or to consider living in some sort of senior living facility. He is pretty healthy for 95, but I can see his mind is not as sharp as it used to be, but he is still legally competent. There is a small medical clinic in his town, but he dislikes and distrusts the doctors there and refuses to see them. There is no dentist in his town so any doctor/dentist visit requires driving him to some other town. That means I have to drive 70 miles to pick him up, drive him to his appointment in a larger town which is usually a drive of 100 miles plus. Then put it all in reverse to get him and then me home. It's not uncommon for me to rack up 350 miles in a day doing this. All this for something as simple as a check for a UTI!!
Needless to say, this gets old, really old, especially in the winter when rural Montana roads are treacherous. There are miles of empty highway on my drive where there is no cell service. I just make sure my husband knows when I'm leaving or going so he can sort of keep track of me.
So, I've come to the realization that nothing is going to change until my dad has some sort of health or life crisis that will force him to move. I'm limiting some of what I used to do for him so I'm not enabling him to live alone. I no longer make the drive in the middle of the night. If Dad calls and 'needs me right away' I give him the option of dealing with it himself or I will call 911 for him. I visit him usually once a week. He can still drive around his little town so he can go out to a restaurant to eat a meal. He doesn't like to cook or to clean so his house is a disaster area. When I visit he only wants to talk and gets irritated if I start cleaning.
I feel like I'm neglecting him for allowing him to live in chaos. It doesn't bother him but it bothers me. It bugs me that I can't do more for him, but there is only so much I can do for him.
What can I do to not feel guilty????