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My dad is 90 and my mom is 72 and I am an only child. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is struggling with short term memory. He has become her complete caregiver and he is very stubborn, Private and prideful. They have regressed on anything electronic, so don’t use internet or cell phones. They also have decided for fun they like to just get in the car and drive. I know it is dangerous, but he will not listen. I am about to put a GPS on their car. He also doesn’t want to tell me anything and says he doesn’t call me when things happen (like he falls) because I am too busy and he doesn’t want to bother me. No matter how much I assure him otherwise and tell him it is more of a burden that he doesn’t call me, he just will not. His new thing is becoming obsessed with something until it is done. Like he needed his shrubs trimmed and I told him we would do that but before we could get it done he found someone that ripped him off. He is currently obsessed with his tv/phone. He must talk to ATT 3 times a day And keeps getting people to come to their house. Then he gets a cable advertisement in the mail and calls them. He finally tells me because he is in a big mess and doesn’t even understand that he is paying for 2 services. People continue to rip them off and he will not listen to me because he’s so much smarter. I am beyond fed up. I’ve dealt with a back injury from a fall with him, a surgery with her that led to me staying in the hospital with her for 4 nights and her completely losing it, to now him simply not listening and making my and my sweet husband’s life harder. Not to mention that they will do anything possible to keep from going to a doctor’s appointment- even get in the car and hide from me. I am currently torn between telling him that if he won’t tell me what’s going on then I won’t help (we all know that won’t work) to literally making them go to assisted living. I can’t help someone that is constantly working against me. Thoughts? I’ve tried talking and rationalizing, but that just doesn’t work.

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My father was like that. He’s still like that. He kept on calling himself taking care of my mom. He didn’t keep me updated but my daughter knew his story already. So when mom began lashing out at him it was an emergency. Up until then he was the big man. My daughter and I went to see what was going on. My mother, who was always a fashion plate had lost twenty pounds (she’s tiny), was locked in a bedroom, knotted hair, filthy nightgown, bruised around the wrists...she heard my daughter talking and bolted out the bedroom into her arms crying. My heart broke and my determination to get mom in AL where she’d be taken care of galvanized.

I’m an only child with an only child. At that point my father trusted her so I really didn’t know how awful things were. Only children have parents who lie and worse. I wouldn’t have known a thing except for her passing it on.

Mom said she wanted to go to a hospital. So that part was relatively easy. After six days and attention from a psychiatrist and being put on a geriatric drug and stabilized my daughter and I pushed the AL and my dad agreed. Mom wouldn’t ride with him in the car so she rode in an ambulance to her new home.

The staff is so sweet to mom and she gained weight, goes to the beauty shop, has a few girlfriends, she just seems happier.

Dad is still announcing regularly that my daughter and I have no say so about mom. He thinks they’ll fix her broken brain and he resents paying for the AL which is half the price as some bigger homes but being small and rural, it meets its clientele’s budgets. And service is great, my daughter spent days and once all night after mom came home from an ER visit.

I’ve been ashamed of the condition my father let my mother get into. She was going hungry! I’ve never repeated this except to my daughter and husband. Our parents can lie and act as well as Elizabeth Taylor! I don’t know how you’ll do it but find out how much money your father is spending. Find out if they’re paying bills or in debt. See how your father is running the home.

But these surprises keep coming. It’s the nature of this nightmare. I’m saving my evidence for court to get conservatorship or guardian ship of my mother. I don’t care what happens to father. Our relationship has disintegrated from poor when I was young to non existent now.
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I have a dear friend who is a social worker with the elderly. She’s told me many times “events will naturally happen that will make the decisions for you” It’s very hard to watch, yet it’s true, sometimes there are situations where we can’t change it or fix it. If your dad isn’t mentally incompetent you’ll have to wait for an event that will change the picture. I’m sorry you’re walking this uneasy path
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If your parents refuse to even see a doctor how will you make them go to assisted living?

We can't force people to accept our help regardless of the circumstances. Stop banging your head against the wall and just brace yourself for the call from your dad who will have a huge mess on his hands and will finally accept your help. But he's got to get there in his own way and in his own time. Of course it would be so much easier if he welcomed your help now before things turn into a mess but there's nothing you can do now since he is refusing all offers of assistance.

One thing to consider: Your dad came of age at a time when men didn't accept help, especially from women (even if it's his own daughter). In your dad's mind it's his responsibility and his obligation to take care of your mom and the household now that your mom is ill. I've seen this before in men his age. This is how your dad is built and he's going to hang onto the way things were as long as he possibly can).

I have no doubt he will accept your help at some point but not until he has exhausted himself in trying to do everything on his own and is faced with a crisis of some sort that could have been avoided had he accepted your help to begin with. But when this happens be gracious. No "I told you so". It will be a terrible blow to him when he finally has to ask for help. Once you've got your foot in the door defer to you father on as many things as you can even when it's not necessary. He'll need to be needed and asking his opinion on things will help him feel more in control.

When my dad lived with us I knew he felt useless. He told me as much. I began to encourage my teenage daughter to seek out his opinion on homework from time to time. I would ask for my dad's opinion occasionally. I made sure that he felt he was still useful and had something to offer. It's been my experience that elderly gentlemen have difficulty with that.
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