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My mom passed two years ago from cancer and shortly afterwards, my 81 year old dad got into two car accidents, totaling both cars (thankfully no one was hurt). He decided not to drive anymore. I was supposed to drive him around temporarily until he could find another solution, but 14 mos later I'm still driving him everywhere. He has had countless doctor's visits (he seems to love going to different doctors, and each appointment creates 3 more), all of which have confirmed he's in pretty good health for an 81 year old. I work as a self-employed nutrition coach and have put my work on hold this last year while I helped him. I have to start working again, financially, and have asked my dad to hire a driver. He can afford to hire help. No matter how I explain it, he doesn't get why I have to work or focus on my own life (I'm a single mom to a 13 year old). He feels I've "cut him out of my life completely." I feel so hurt -- I've done so much for him! I have a brother who lives 90 mins away and he has come up to help my dad only twice since all this happened. It seems so unfair to be turned into the bad guy by my dad after all I've done. Should I just accept that he will never be able to put himself in my shoes? How can I shed the guilt trip he's giving me?

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Survival mode is exactly what happens to many elders, and sometimes to their caregivers. Good choice of words, Jessie.
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What my mother did before I came was to find an assistant she could call when she needed to go somewhere. She found a woman who would take her to the grocery store and doctor, usually for $50-100 a trip. The amount depended on the amount of time. My father wasn't driving anymore, so it was very handy. It sounds very expensive, but it isn't when considering the alternative -- you not being able to work so you can drive him. The cost of that is thousands a month out of your bank account.

I don't know why some of our parents expect so much of us. I doubt that your father quit his job to drive his parents around. I don't think he should expect you to do it, either. He is probably living in survival mode and trying to grab hold of someone to help him. When elders are in survival mode, they are not seeing the hardship they cause for their children. We do have to take care of ourselves. I hope you can find someone dependable to help him do the things he needs to do.

This is the reason I like independent living communities. There is usually transportation services for the residents. I really don't understand why more seniors don't move into a community when age takes a toll on their abilities. No household maintenance, transportation, gym, people their own age... what is not to like? I personally don't want to spend my life doing lawn care and house maintenance. And it will be great to hop in the short bus to go to the store. I'm going to have the coolest rollator on the block.
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Added thought - go with him on a few trips to help him acclimate to using paratransit, small bus or dial-a-ride services. That way he won't feel so lonely and abandoned, or faced with a drastic choice with unknown people.

I think part of the dilemma of older people using public transit is that they know their family member but don't know bus drivers, until they become acquainted with them. So it's kind of a traumatic experience at first.
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Check out small bus or dial-a-ride services as a service line within your local transit company. I googled "Santa Rosa, transit companies, small bus service" and got some hits, the first of which is a paratransit service for people with disabilities.

Read the website to see if this would help:

http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/departments/transit/paratransit_services/pages/default.aspx

Or this: sctransit - check out the paratransit section.

There are also other posts on this subject on this forum:
https://www.agingcare.com/search.aspx?searchterm=small+bus+transportation

Our local transit company has a small bus line which only charges $1.00 one way for anywhere in a 10 mile radius from the pickup point.

I've met some of the drivers of these buses; they know how to operate the vans to use the wheelchair lift, and they're elder friendly, unlike the linehaul bus drivers.
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Oh, please. Don't take it to heart. Let him call a taxi. He saved allll his life for this very moment in time. ;) His town may even have a transportation program for seniors.

Don't fall for it. Let him know you're not leaving him, but your visits have to be around your career instead of his doctor appointments.

Most old people don't want to spend a nickel. Believe it. Ha!
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AmyGrams, I know what you are going through, I was driving Miss Daisy and her husband [my Dad] for close to seven years. I should have set boundaries back then but I didn't know about doing that until I came to this forum last year.

What become really rough for me was I was starting to get panic attacks driving my parents, part had to do with trying to schedule time off from work which wasn't easy.... just so much stress. They would never ride with a stranger doing the driving.

If I would say to my parents I can't drive, my parents would look at me like my hair was on fire, and then would say "who would drive us?" Guilt trip. My mistake was I kept on driving them :P

Back then my folks should have started to look for a retirement village where transportation is available to the residents.
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Tell him what you have told us, that you have to go back to work. BUT, if you can, also promise him you will see him just to go out for lunch or dinner, or a movie or even just a visit at home. You would demonstrate that are not abandoning him and you don't need a specific medical reason to spend a little time with him.
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Your dad does need alternate transportation, but I would consider why dad may be relying on you. Sometimes, it's a little intimidating for seniors to read an address or arrange the ride time. He may be having a little confusion. To have to relate that to strangers might be scary. I'd see if someone could help him schedule the transports, so they can be there and know where to take him in advance and let him have it written down, just in case.

I know that my cousin could travel with a senior transport company, but it made her nervous. I'd consider that could be what is going on with your dad.
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Yes, work towards accepting that he will never put himself in your shoes. And the other part, the guilting, it helps me to frame this as a dagger or aggressive shot or weapon deployed upon me. Thats cruelty to me not longing for my love, because I am really giving all I can. I survive by asking myself 'am I doing what I can? and am I being fair? Am I treating her fairly in this? She would take the final drop of my life blood if she could, and when I dropped she would be angry that I was not there to help any more, but thats just my mom.
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Don't they have taxis in Santa Rosa? Or Uber? Or a service for the elderly? It's time pops found his own means of transportation. I think some men "of that age" look at females as being there for their comfort and need. Don't give in!

Your son needs your and you need to build your nest egg so you can take care of your own needs when you are your dad's age. Your dad needs you more than you need him (to be blunt), so he'll come around. And I wouldn't expect your brother to drive 90 minutes to take your dad to the doc's office if dad has all of his faculties. But ask brother to do other things for your dad if you can't. Good luck and hold firm!
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Thank you so much! I appreciate the support.
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Very well said Mince.......
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This is fairly normal for men that age to lay on the guilt in a passive aggressive bombshell. Stick to your guns! Find a driver....call your local council on aging to see what van services are in your area. Schedule the ride and make sure he has the cash on hand to pay for the ride. He will get over it! (Eventually!) How will you make a living to support a teenager, potential college fund and your own retirement. Your priorities as a single mom have to be: 1. Child, 2. YOU 3. Dad
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