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Recently, mother was moved to a nursing home. Father of 90 year is left to his own devices to continue every day living. Problem is, he is blind and almost deaf, mobility is extremely limited and he refuses to leave his home. He's never seen a Dr. in his life and refuses to see one when it is suggested. I don't think he has insurance. Recently, he took a bath but could not get out of it for several hours. I've offered to assist in this matter but he refuses. He also refuses to purchase a life alert system in case of an emergency. I do my best to see to his meals but often he refuses to eat them and refuses to tell me what he likes or to agree on a set time for mealtime. My routine now is to prepare meals whether he eats them or not, clean house, ensure his laundry is clean, pay his bills and purchase groceries. We live in a small rural community so assistance is all but non-existent. I work and am finding this exhausting. I worry about neglect charges should something serious occur with him. What options do I have?

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Another option might be meals on wheels to keep you from having to go there every day.
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Blannie, it sounds like we are in the same boat. I will be 60 in November and my parents will be married 65 years. The thing that gets to me is my Mom always made me think that I had to protect her from my Father. Which I did for about 57 years before it occured to me that she was using me and then turning against me. That's right it took me 57 years to wake up!! Guess I am kind of slow. Anyway I just found out that I can not protect her and you are so right about it being a losing battle. I have a feeling that my Mother is doing to go first and I will be up a creek without a paddle. God help us all. Thanks!!
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126Cher, one of the things I had to realize with my parents is that they had their own "scripts" for life which was very different than mine. My mom waited on my dad hand and foot, particularly after he had a stroke, even when he was fully capable of doing for himself and should have to retain his strength and mobility. I think it gave my mom the feeling of being needed. I tried for a while to change that scenario and then finally realized I had to accept that they were married for 60+ years at that point and I wasn't going to change either of them.

Luckily for me, my dad went first. My mom is very independent and used to doing for herself. If it been my dad, I'd be living the nightmare that Goose333 is dealing with right now. So relax and let it go. You're fighting a losing battle that will only make you crazy and won't change your parents at all.
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Nancy, great above answer. My Dad was always a pain and at 89 soon to be 90 his personality has increase 1000% full blast. Real thing that bothers me is he is taking by 89 year old Mother down with the ship. Worse yet she defends him 100%. Very, very depressing. I am at a loss. Goose, I will pray for you because sometimes there is no solution. If you asked this question before 2012 my answer would be different. But, after living it for more than 2 years I am at the end of my rope.
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goose, I'd like to know if your dad's always been a stubborn pain in the rear, or just since your mom was taken away. If he's always has been this way, then you're out of luck trying to help him I'd think. But if it's only been since mom left, then that's something else entirely.
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You have to make a decision. Do you want to go to war over this with him? Or do you want to give him the independence he craves until he caves? You'll get a lot of suggestions on this site. Some will be meaningful or have a kernel of helpfulness; others you'll discount out of hand. My answer will be one of those two. Ha!

Cut your visits down to no more than twice a week (at most). Call him every day to make sure he answers the phone. When you're concerned because he doesn't? Don't go over there. Call 911 and ask them to do a wellness check. This'll do two things: let dad know that authorities will look into his well being (which may make him nervous-good) AND let law enforcement have a look at his living conditions.

Bring him healthy soups, stews, lasagna to pop in the oven, fried chicken, finger foods. Explain what you've brought and how to fix each one. Have peanut butter, bread and hard-boiled eggs available. Then close your eyes. In a week, throw out what he hasn't eaten and bring more.

Stop cleaning his house. Take his dirty laundry home one trip and bring it back clean the next. If he can't keep his house somewhat sanitary/clean by himself? He needs to pay someone to do it. If he can't afford it? You can apply to Medicaid on his behalf. If you live in a rural area, it's highly likely there'll be someone who'll clean (AND do laundry) twice a month for very little in the scheme of things. (Put a lock on one of the bedroom doors for any valuables or remove them from the house.)

As long as you're doing everything FOR him, he'll do nothing for himself. No pain? No gain. Back off. Give yourself a rest. And don't feel guilty.
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thank you all for your comments and good advice. We had a little miracle the other day, he agreed to a life alert system. I decided to take a little step back this week to see what he does. Bought some simple supper meals he could prepare in a microwave. I did though, prepare his favorite - pancakes and sausage patties for his breakfasts. I just couldn't leave him completely to his own devices. Thanks again
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Sherry1anne, I believe that you are 100% correct about health and willingness.
I think that health comes first or should I say goes first and then the willingness goes in the waste pile. Even if willingness is there it can not sometimes be exercised. I want to retire in a state where assisted sueicide is legal. All my 90 year old parents do is eat and watch TV. They have trouble with the mail and do not know how to use the stove. They need help but become nasty when someone tried to help them. Even if you have POA you can not force them out of their home. Sorry
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My mother lived alone and worked in her salon that my father put in their garage until she was 99. I realize that not everyone has the same good health as my mother, but she made a garden that fed all of us, canned the food, worked in the salon 2 days a week and took care of herself until she was 97. She was misdiagnosed for hyperthyroid, had a stroke then started going down hill. She continued working for 2 more years, but had to stop cutting grass and gardening. I'm not blowing her horn here, but stating that age has nothing to do with ability to look after one's self. It is more health and willingness.
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126Cher, I am starting to be a *bystander* instead of more *hands-on* care for my parents who are in their 90's.

I, too, am an only child, since it was my parents choice to remain alone with their own home [which has a lot of stairs] I have to abide by their choice since they are still of clear mind. Do I like it, of course not, as I rather see them in independent living where they would actually have MORE choices then waiting for me to help them. My parents main needs is someone to drive them places, and I finally had to limit that to doctors appointments and groceries [I order on-line which has been a life saver]. But those appointments have to be scheduled around my work schedule as I cannot drop what I am doing unless there is an emergency.
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It sounds a lot like my dad. Mine was passive and I could make him do things, but it was like doing bad things to a rabbit when I did. Dad was deaf, nearly autistic, and didn't walk well. He would not see a doctor. In the last years of his life, he wouldn't leave the house. There were a few times I got him out to go to doctors, but he would go into meltdown. It was a tough situation.

My mother took care of his physical needs. He didn't want to eat the meals we cooked for him if they were too heavy. What I did was to make lighter meals. He liked eggs and many finger foods. His stomach was touchy, so heavy foods weren't appealing to him. I also kept a lot of snacks on hand so he could raid them when he was hungry. Single-serving cakes, ice cream, cookies, yogurt -- anything he liked. I think these snacks kept him going for a couple of years.

I wish things had been different for him. I lived with my parents, which made it easier to make sure things were there as needed... and more difficult because I had to watch Dad's descent as he chose not to keep living. I respected his right to make that choice. We did what we could in a losing situation to keep him fed and clean.
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meant tell me not (teel)
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I understand you live in a rural area but county government should have an adult protective services division. They can get him health insurance and support you in getting assistance. Go to your county website or your city/county building and ask for help. They will send a social worker out to do an assessment on this ability to do his activities of daily living and his independent activities of day living and help you as best you can.
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Lizann could not be more correct about forcing help on an elderly man. I did this with my parents who should not be alone and are both about to turn 90. As an only child my heart is broken because "loving relationship"' between us is dead already. Been this way for over a year. I don't even think that he would teel me if my Mother died. I do have a visiting nurse coming to see my Mother who is great and will report back to me about her care. Goose333, I know it is easier said than done but a social worker told me to back off from my parents care because I am making them look too good. Now I have to back off because my husband has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, May 2014 and it is hard to make the hour trip there and back from their house. The above 3 posters have great ideas.
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If he is 90 years of age, he has Medicare, so he has insurance. Since he is blind, tell him you are taking him somewhere other than a doctor's office to get him evaluated or call Adult Protective Services and they will make a house call, submit their findings and recommend to the court he must be removed or other arrangements must be made in order to provide a safe environment for him. If you have meals on wheels, they can deliver two meals very cheaply and you might contact the Blind Society to get him a dog or other help. If he is a veteran, he is entitled to one set of hearing aids every four years. Keep trying to find a doctor who might make a house call to evaluated his mental status. Once you get that, you can file for guardianship, power of attorney and get the services you feel he needs. It is a long, hard road, but keep being persistant. My best to you and your father. You also need breaks, so take them. Do not let his health destroy yours.
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I to complement you on all you are doing for your dad. He is obviously proud of doing things on his own and has not been able to accept help even from you.
I would get a medical alert button on him, put it on your credit card so he does not see the bill. I suspect he has limited funds and seeing those types of bills frightens them. I had my father's medical alert on my credit card for at least 10 years starting about age 83 years because I worked also.

He needs help with the highly risky things like bathing --a fall in the bathtub will put him in a nursing home or grave. I would try to reason the need for safety on these issues and give him time to think about the consequences. Perhaps a home health aide a few hours each day for bathing and dressing would be workable.

Good luck, he does need a doctor and if you could find one which makes home visits or at least takes phone calls when he gets sick at home, that would be the best.

As for suggestions to ignore his needs at 90 to show him he needs help, he knows he needs help but he wants to do for himself. Being too forceful with elderly men normally does not work--even if you prevail by forcing him to comply with what you think he needs --- he will resent it and your loving relationship will be dead way before he is.

If he was a veteran see if he can qualify for the aide and assistance program to provide money for veterans to stay in their homes with home health aides and other help. I would consider getting him meals on wheels to take that request off your must do list.
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I sympathize with your problem. It is understandable that your blind dad doesn't want to move to an unfamiliar environment. Check if there is homecare available in your area where a caregiver could come in once a day to prepare meals and look after your dad's needs. Your local hospital may be able to direct you to homecare services. For your own health ans sanity it is important that your dad's care does not entirely rest on your shoulders, especially if you are working and have other responsibilities. Good luck to you!
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goose333, of course your Dad refuses to move, he has you doing all the work.

Let your Dad make his own meals once in awhile, he won't starve, any guy can pour himself a bowl of cereal. If it is ok for breakfast, it's ok for dinner, too.

Cut your chores at his house in half. I can see you helping him with his bills and his groceries, but come on, a grown man can just as easily use a vacuum cleaner as a grown woman, unless he hides under the bed when you vacuum, and the washing machine isn't that complicated for him to use. My 96 year old Mom is almost blind/deaf and she still does household chores.

Your Dad grew up in an era where housework was women's work.... good heavens, how did bachelors survive :0

My Dad also refuses to purchase a life alert system in case of an emergency... so be it, that is his choice to say *no*... and it will be his choice to lay in the dirt in his backyard should he fall until a neighbor see him down. My Mom won't be able to see him.... [sigh].

How would there be neglect charges should something serious occurs? He's a grown man, who is making his own choices. Sounds like he still has a clear mind. You can't carry him kicking and screaming into a retirement facility.
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