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I am a late in life baby, only child of a 94-year old father who has always made poor decisions but is of sound(ish) mind. He believes strangers more than me (or any female), and tries to sneak in the backdoor to get things done.


His backdoor policy is a life-long thing. Every job since he was 16, he got by going to the back door, finding human resources, and sweet talking his way in (ahead of those compliant people who'd queued up properly.) He recently got a lamp repaired the very same way - parked in the back, found a back door, looked for someone doing repairs. When the repair person told him to go up front, he told them how old he was and he couldn't even wait long. She repaired his lamp on the spot and didn't even charge him. This has been his tried and true method for decades.


Last month he tried to "get around" seeing his primary physcian to see his orthopedic doc. I told him multiple times, this was not how medical appointments worked, but he had been assured by "an old vet like himself at Walmart" that if he could see the doc, his primary needn't be bothered.


When he showed up without an appt (drove himself, put an old parking sticker on his car, changed it to the current date, and parked in short term ortho parking), he was told he needed an appt through his g.p. Someone escorted him to his g.p.'s building (but same campus) where he was told his g.p. was out of the country. This escalated into the receptionist calling someone from the emergency room to get him as he was obviously confused. He refused to believe he needed his gp to make an appt (because what a male stranger from walmart says trumps a girl who actually knows.)


While there, he was told to call the nurse when he needed to get out of bed, go to the bathroom, etc. He did not. He tended to himself.


After a couple of days, they find nothing wrong but he had refused to complete the neuro and pysch tests, so they "felt" he had some kind of cognitive dysfunction, so was diagnosed with adult failure to thrive.


His grand backdoor scheme landed him in the hospital and took away his eligibility to get VA assistance for asst living. He lost his ADL designation.


Now, he wants me to "to get it back" for him.


Fortunately, a kind nurse called me and told me although he had not completed his psych/neuro tests, he scored frighteningly high for borderline personality disorder, specifically narrcissism. We spoke almost three hours. She urged me to seek counselling to protect myself him.


I have. And boy, am I seeing things in a different light.


For the past five years, every thing I did, he countered. He wanted thing a, I set it up, then he didn't want it, I had to cancel. Then he wants thing b. I set it up, then he's changed his mind, I have to cancel. Now what about thing a...


His life is simply wanting people to jump through hoops for him.


At his followup, his gp told him he was far too healthy for a nursing home, and now he is h*ll-bent on getting into one.


He's starting to walk hunched over when he thinks people are watching. When he's alone, he walks upright. (I, my husband, and friends have witnessed this.) He tells me he's so weak he can't punch the microwave button (he cancelled meals on wheels because they didn't deliver his lunch when *he* wanted it delivered.) but he's able to lift a 10lb hamper atop a washing machine. He's able to do what he wants when it suits him. He wants sympathy for things not even wrong with him. He's been telling neighbors he's blind. Nope, just this year his vision has changed from 20/20 to 20/25, and his glasses correct it! He's been crying "wolf" his entire life.


(Side note: I've heard stories since I was a child about how he had to go and fight in WW2 and this relative or that neighbor stayed home and made money, so that why they had bigger, nicer whatever. Just last week, I researched eight of these men online. Every single one of them served in WW2, most of them with a longer tour than he had. I am really starting to doubt anything he says or have ever said.)


I've worked with the social worker and availed all the services suggested. Even she said he was a tough case. He's too "rich" for medicaid, too poor for assisted living, and too healthy for a nursing home.


I know he's old, he's chased all his friends and most of the family away, so I'm sure he's lonely, and he's a narc.


I am tired of trying to discern what's real and what's not. I am tired of jumping, trying to be the good daughter. I am darn tired of the lies and abuse.


And now I am back to square one.


My questions are :
1. Does anyone want to adopt my dad?


2. Do I just now, start patiently waiting, again?


3. Is there something I should be doing?

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Thank you for your excellent responses.

jjariz: You totally hit the nail on the head - consequences. He's lived a long life of making decisions and having other people "extract" him from his actions. What a life - all the authority, none of the responsibility.

jeannegibbs: Do less. I love this, and my counsellor is helping me understand that I am not responsible for his decisions, nor am I his rescuer. It is a fine line, but at least I see it now.

cdnreader: Stubborn is the tip of the iceberg! Nothing makes him happy. My mother used to say someone could give him a gold bar and he would find something to wrong with it.

He told me last week I wasn't supposed to have gotten married, had a career, or really a life until he (and my mother) had died. I was "god's gift to them to take care of them in old age." Blanket statements like that really help me detach. It's shocking to realize someone you loved, trusted, and obeyed has never had your best interests (or any of your interests) at heart.

So thank you for your virtual advice and support, this late in life baby is learning some late in life lessons. Better late than running myself into the ground.
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Dear only01,

It sounds like you have done everything possible for your dad. It is exhausting and frustrating jumping through so many hoops even if its for our elderly parents.

I know you don't want to see your dad get hurt, but maybe its time to just let him be. And what will be, will be. Its hard. He sounds like a very stubborn man. My dad was also very stubborn. I tried and tried but sometimes I couldn't even make him happy it seemed. I wish I had gone to counselling sooner.

Maybe like Jeanne said its time some of us daughters dropped the indentured servant role.
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I am sooooo glad you have been to a counselor and now see your father's behaviors for what they are ... signs of mental illness.

The more you do, the more entrenched you become. Do less.

Wow. That is profound, huh? Doing more makes things worse. Do less.

Are you still seeing that counselor? It might be good to continue a while. Detaching from someone at this point in your relationship is going to be very difficult. But continuing without change is very difficult, too.

I am not suggesting that you abandon your father. Just stop trying so hard to protect him from himself. He thinks he can go directly to a specialist because that is what some male stranger told him. And how did that turn out for him? You need to let him face the consequences of his own behavior.

He wants thing a? Let him set it up himself. Let him cancel it himself when he changes his mind. Let him set up thing b. You enabling this unhealthy behavior is only hurting you.

Visit him. Take him out for breakfast. Play cards with him. Take him to a movie or concert. Be his loving daughter. Just drop the indentured servant role.
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Sometimes people have to live with the bad decisions that they make, even when they are our parents
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Hi pamstegma,

Thanks for the quick and great response.

I've seen an elder law attorney (and have mpoa, fpoa, dnr, living will, estate - my parents set this up without my knowledge; surprise!) but without his docs saying he needs supervision or lacks the cognition to make medical/financial decisions, the court (in this area) rarely agree to supervision finding that "bad decision skills" do not equal the lack of decision skills. Also, it is a financial undertaking that I am not able to accomplish as I am self employed and have lost several clients due to having to "care" for my father the past two years. Also APS feels a petition for guardianship is "not feasible" at this point.

I beginning to feel as if I'm stuck in tar and the more I do, the more entrenched I become.
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You see a lawyer as soon as you can and start a petition for Guardianship. You do not have to be the guardian, you can ask the court to appoint someone else. It is similar to adoption; the court agrees he needs supervision and appoints someone to do it.
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