I know the answer to this is different for everyone and I think the simple answer is, "when you can no longer care for the person, that's the time." But it's never that simple is it? Those of us who have taken on this role are racked with guilt even while doing the best we can and often better than many others.
In my case, my dad isn't *that* bad. I mean, he has moderate-severe dementia and gets aggressive at times (I've written about that elsewhere), but he's managing. I'm managing. Sort of. I don't live with him full-time. I'm in his home during the day, usually 8-5, during which time he sits on the back porch (more often in his room at the door to the porch) chain-smoking. He'll microwave food I leave for him and sometimes fix a bowl of cereal, but he doesn't do anything around the house and incontinence is now a daily event. He doesn't bathe himself unless I force him to (and I'm not about to start helping him shower!). I don't spend the night here most nights. He's had a couple of falls recently, one at 3:30am and I had to meet him at the hospital for minor skin scrapes. He has an emergency alert system, but he doesn't remember to use it. He now says he doesn't know how to call me when I'm not here (I'm 10-15 minutes away when I'm not here). I don't know if this is true. It seems to me he fakes some things to get attention. He often complains of being lonely and bored, but he's never had any hobbies. He threatens suicide (but he's been doing that since I was a kid) and tries to "kick me out" of his house. I'm lucky because I work for a tech company so I've been able to work remotely and look after him. It's been 2.5 years. I'm 40. I have a domestic partner and he's very patient with it all, but we need to live our lives. My siblings are in the UK and rarely call so it's all been on me.
At the end of the day, he probably could go on for a while in his own home, but that would mean me giving more than I already am and I just can't. He was abusive when we were kids, which is one reason my siblings don't care. I don't like him. I can't stand the smoking - I stink like smoke every day. I hate it when he gets mad at me and says mean things. I worry every night I'm going to get a call that he's fallen again. The neighbors are starting to make comments about me not being here 24/7. We can't afford to pay someone to be a full-time care-giver.
I saw a lawyer yesterday about getting guardianship because I know he won't go into a home (and I've found a nice one) without a fight. That's going to cost $1200. I don't want to do it through Adult Services.
I know I need this. I think it would be better for him in the long run - more people, more activities, better care, help if he falls etc, but in the short-term I can't help but think how sad he's going to be. It's another loss of freedom and I would hate that for myself. But still, I struggle. What if I can make it another couple of months? But what if he falls? What if the neighbors call adult protective services? I don't want to change my life more than I already have and some may say that's selfish, but I've looked after a man for 2.5 years who terrorized me when I was a child. I've done more than many, but still I feel this terrible guilt.
I'm wondering if lying to him would help. If I tell him I'm getting married, adopting a child (not true), and can't do all of that and look after him. I did think about telling him I was sick, but that seems too big of a lie. Thing is, he might agree to it all and then 5 minutes later he'll forget and be angry again.
This decision is harder than the one I made to take my mom off life-support when her cancer won. Isn't that crazy!
If I start the guardianship process I have to move forward and put him in a home because once I have that, I can't leave him alone ever and I can't be here 24/7 and can't pay for care.
I think there are questions in there somewhere!
1. Is it the right time? Am I a bad person for now wanting to give up more of my life.
2. Is it okay to lie if it gets him to go into the home and stay?
3. How do I deal with the guilt of making this decision?
Thanks for reading!