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I'm so worn down and stressed out from looking after Dad for the past three years that I really need some relief, as does my husband. I'd like to have Dad hire a caregiver to take him on some outings so that we wouldn't have to be his only source of transportation for recreational outings, lunch out, and so on. However, I know from past experience that Dad will refuse to do that and will sit home indefinitely rather than spend the money. Should I make the suggestion anyway and back it up by scaling back on our trips out with him? I don't want to be unkind; I just want a break from some of the responsibilities.

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We had to learn to say "no" to my mom. "Call the staff, Mom". Nope, can't get there till next week, mom.

Arrange doctor appointments at YOUR convenience. Examine why he has to/wants to go to the doctor so much.
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Even though I said I didn't want to do anything at all for Dad, I couldn't completely give up taking care of him. I just want him to start using other sources of help in some instances instead of automatically turning to us. For example, I don't want to be his only source of transportation for recreational shopping. I also would prefer not to take him to all of his medical appointments, but I haven't found any transport service that would wait with him during the appointments. I don't think that someone his age should be expected to attend medical appointments alone.
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Start now weaning yourself off from your father's needs. Concern yourself with only his medical transportation until other arrangements can be made. If you do not wish to be his social outlet, tell him he needs to find his own form of entertainment. Hopefully you will still visit him from time to time.
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I had to pay a caregiver to come over with me...spend time...as if she were an old friend of mine...Then Dad was willing accept her. It took a couple weeks, and about 5 visits.
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AngieJoy, tell your father that you and your husband are planning a lengthy sabbatical in a distant place; and ask him what provision, then, would he your father like you his daughter and Son In Law to make for him during your protracted absence.

The "plan" can be hypothetical or real. That bit I leave to the two of you :)
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Here's an update. I've reached the point where I'd prefer not to do anything at all for Dad. My husband and I have been assisting him for three and a half years (he currently lives in independent living with a great deal of help from us), and we need a lengthy, if not permanent, break from caregiving. I really don't know what to do. Dad can afford to pay for a caregiver (we would hire the person through an agency, with his input), but thus far he has refused. He is in relatively good health for a 95-year-old person (he does have several chronic conditions), and his need for assistance could continue for several more years. I don't know that I'm able to provide one more year of caregiving, let alone several years. Any suggestions on how to move Dad toward using paid caregiving?
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AngieJoy - I was thinking that if he had friends in the facility, they could go on outings together. But I'm guessing that, like him, the other residents no longer drive.

I think that as long as he's not starved for company or activities, you needn't feel so bad about not taking him out on outings. You are already doing a lot for him. He needs to adjust to the change in his circumstances. You can't make it all better for him, and you shouldn't have to.
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Carla, There are two trips to grocery stores every week, and I've seen people in wheelchairs being assisted out of the van. Dad isn't interested in those outings because he doesn't need to go to the grocery store. He did take a trip last year to see holiday lights. He also went on a trip to get ice cream, but on that occasion, they parked in a parking lot that had a gravel surface. Dad was afraid of falling (understandably), and that has made him reluctant to go on any more van trips.

I don't think that the problem is so much that Dad doesn't have activities and associates in the senior residence. He plays Scrabble frequently with a friend, and he spends a lot of time reading and watching movies (my husband keeps him supplied with DVDs and large-print books). It's just that he has been used to getting out of the house and being active, and now he can't do that without substantial assistance.

On the other hand, there may be other activities at the residence that he would enjoy. I'll take a look at the newsletter tonight (it's available online) and see what's on the calendar.
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AngieJoy - Does the facility provide any outings for the residents that could help your father get out and socialize with other potential friends? Or is the problem that those outings are geared towards people who are more mobile and can get themselves into the van or bus without help? If those outings are offered and if they're accessible for someone using a walker, I'd encourage your father to join up and go out with the group.
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What we did for mom was to celebrate birthdays and holidays at her facility, in a small reserved dining room. Would that be possible?
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Only one way for the paid assistant to become a familiar face! Maybe it might be worth paying for an hour or two of an individual's time just to come and meet him, break the ice, perhaps even have a quick game of Scrabble? Then take it from there.
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Churchmouse, I did talk to a caregiving agency several months ago, and they have some pertinent information on file about my dad. Maybe I should talk to them again and ask for tips on getting Dad to accept their assistance. I really do understand his reluctance. Who would want an unfamiliar paid assistant to take him/her on outings when a well-known (although increasingly unwilling) family member is available?

Carla, Dad has made a good friend in independent living, and they play Scrabble together at least a couple of times a week.
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You've done well to get him established in a nice place of his own, and to give him back his independence. That is very good news for him, as well as you.

So there are the foundations all ready. Now for the next bit - making independent mean independent!

Do you have a good idea of who you might ask to accompany your father on these outings? If so, why not get in touch with those people and ask them if they can pass on any tips about making their assistance acceptable to a "fiercely independent" (but quite happy to lean on his daughter!) elder.

Doing that would also give you a chance to introduce them as people, rather than faceless service providers, when the time comes. Saying "Fred will be driving you today" or "Monica is going with you on the outing" might go down better than saying "Acme Care Agency will be sending someone."
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Dad is ninety-five years old and has no cognitive problems of any kind, although he has heart issues and is frail. He uses a walker. He no longer lives with us, although he lived with us for almost ten months while he recuperated from serious medical problems. He now lives in an independent living apartment nearby. We provide all of his transportation and lots of other assistance. I have three siblings but none of them are local.
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Wow, this is a tough one! It's hard enough being responsible to drs visits, shopping trips and all the little errands; it seems very unfair to have to be the parent's only source of social engagement too. Yet I can see him not wanting to go to lunch or other social functions with a stranger. Does your Dad have any friends he could go out with? Can he make any friends or join any groups where he's living? Does he have any hobbies that could form the basis for a social activity? Any church group where he could make some friends?

We had this problem with my mother too, but a few years ago she began playing bridge with a bunch of ladies in her community. They have lunch before each card game so it's quite the social outing for her, once or twice a week. About 6 months ago she got a housemate who now drives her to bridge and occasionally for shopping trips, lunch out, etc. The housemate gets free lodging (private bedroom and bathroom) in exchange for this companionship and assistance around the house. She has been a godsend and is very good with my mother.

It has taken a huge burden off me and my other local sister, although we still each see Mom at least once per week and take her to all her medical appointments so we can keep track of her health issues. The housemate was a friend of mine before she moved into Mom's house, and I invite her for holidays and other get-togethers when I can, to make her feel appreciated and more like part of Mom's family.

I guess what I'm saying is: I don't blame your Dad for not wanting to attend recreational activities with paid strangers. But he needs to make some friends and develop a social circle. He can't rely on you and your husband for all his social activity as well as his caregiving needs. Try to find activities or groups locally that would interest him and urge him to participate. Eventually I think something should work out for him.

Good luck!
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It sounds like a great idea if you can find a way to get him to go along with it. I know how you feel about this. I would love for someone else to take my mother somewhere. I could have the house to myself while she's having fun. The bad thing now is that she won't go anywhere without me. I am her security blanket. Even if I found someone to take her, she would insist I go. If I didn't, she wouldn't go, either. Sigh.

What a great community service it would be if someone picked many of the elders up for a day to give them an outing and their caregivers a break!
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What is your dad's condition? Does he live with you? Is he mobile? Is he mentally competent?
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