Ideas and Support | Caregiver Action Network

Ideas and Support

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Ideas and Support

I am tapped out. My 85 year old father and his little yappy, untrained dog moved into my house in April after my mom passed in January after a really short illness with pancreatic (pretty much everything) cancer. I have two kids, a husband, work from home, but travel for work often. For the most part, the arrangements have worked for him, but I am having a hard time dealing. Hoping you guys can give me some advice and support. I have a really good attitude, but sometimes the situation really gets to me. I need to make sure that I am doing him service and me too. My father is very healthy with the exception of some arthritis, loss of vision and reflux disease. He does nothing but complain about his ailments, creates new ones daily, hacks up a lung all day long, wants to see doctors and is grouchy most days. We have exhausted doctors, websites and over the counter medicines. He has many activities. He is in Church and then for breakfast 4 times a week (most weeks). We go shopping, run errands, attend social events. I can't seem to give him enough activities. My house is very disrupted. Here are some issues: 1. He's a slob, even though he has been talked to about it. He spits in my sink, electric shaves in his chair, has to change his clothes a lot for food stains, messes the bathroom (likely vision). His sloppiness is not just being messy. It's disrespectful...spitting mucus in my sink? 2. He yells and curses at the TV, also disrespectful. While he watches the news, his mouth is out of control. I close his door, but can still hear him. Working from home is difficult, besides that my sons can hear him. 3. He has an ailment every day. This might just be boredom, but I don't have the time to deal with it. Remember, he can't see, so books, games, puzzles are not an option 4. When not active, he is sleeping. Most nights I have to put him to bed because he'll sleep in a chair. He refuses any exercise and his days and nights are mixed up. 5. His dentures make me crazy. He constantly makes noise with them (sounds so trivial, right?) 6. He rides me, the kids and my husband. Today, he was hacking so bad (unproductive, more habit), I told him about it and he told me that he would sing too. Also told me to move out if I didn't like it. 7. He was very disoriented this morning when I woke him, so he came out swinging at me. Took about 15 minutes to get him back to reality. 8. He told my sister the other day that I wasn't feeding him. Really? (I worked in a cooking school for 6 years). Not only is he getting all three meals, he's getting three really good meals 9. I don't have any family within 700 miles of me and he will not travel to their homes...California and St. Louis. They really don't want him and are only available to me via phone calls. 10. He adores his little dog. She is untrained, yappy, doesn't get along with my dog (a 110lb Lab). He stays outside most days because he can't tolerate her. My husband is good, but this is all taxing on him, so I don't get much relief. This has been building more since my husband has been away for the past three weeks tending to his own mother, so I have no relief. I have no issue taking care of my father. It's definitely not ideal, but we can get through this. While he is a little unstable on his feet, has vision issues and the rest, he is not nursing home material. I have made some adjustments: 1. Patience - although losing it. 2. Play dates, although exhausting them 3. Limited the number of doctor's visits, of course unless he needs them - he uses them for socialization 4. Constantly clean up after him (so it's not in my face all the time) 5. Refuse to argue with him. If there is no value, then it's not worth it. How do I get him to have a better attitude, better respect me, get him to exercise (he flatly refuses), stop screaming at the TV, stop complaining about the ailments? Anyone have this stuff too? Nothing worse than having an unhappy environment. Yes, he is frustrated. Not sure how to limit that through any more activity. Yes, he misses my Mom. I support him and we talk about it. The above though is not an excuse for making it a miserable household. Ideas?

((((((((((Valerie)))))))))) I can truly understand why you're tapped out. You are doing the best you can to take good care of your father, and he is being flat-out disrespectful. For sure, it's throwing your house into chaos, and that's not fair to anyone. As time goes on, you will tire of always running behind him with the pooper scooper, so to speak. You cannot forever be filling in the blanks, running interference, and cleaning up after him... :-( You will most assuredly burn out, and he will keep right on rolling. As I understand it, he has moved into YOUR home. You need to state your expectations and boundaries clearly (which I am guessing you already have done, numerous times), with consequences if they are not adhered to. Pardon me for being blunt, but if there are (for example) 5 people in the house, and one is single-handedly creating a whirlwind of disruption, then the whirlwind either has to change direction or go. You have a lot on your shoulders, with trying to work, raise children, nurture your marriage, and now take care of your father. That's an awfully full plate. It's a shame that you don't have family nearby to pitch in and help you keep Dad busy. And as you said, it sounds like he is exhausting his local options. There is some writing on the wall - if others have a challenging time spending just a few hours with him, then he will most likely sabotage this outlet by his continued behaviors. Have you considered looking into assisted living, or independent living options, for him? He could have his own place, yet be in a supportive environment should he require additional intervention. You cannot make him change his behaviors - that has to come from him. But you can outline his choices, and stick by consequences, and then it is his to choose. Being a good daughter does not mean swallowing (or choking on) whatever he chooses to dish out. You and your family take priority here. I wish I had more solid advice. Caregiving within the household is a give-and-take situation. He may have areas in which he cannot "give", but there enough in which he can and should work with you to create the most workable and peaceful living situation. Good luck to you and your family as you move forward.
RE the yappy dog . . . Pet
RE the yappy dog . . . Pet stores sell "bark" collars. The dog receives a gentle "reminder" when it barks. The one I use is controlled by remote. When Ripples is outside & begins responding to other animals, I press the remote to activate the collar. Ripples now knows that when the collar is on ( now w/o batteries) he does not bark w/o consequences. Check out this link also. Read it; print it out & post it where you will see it everyday; take it to heart. Keep posting. Gaby & I will watch for your comments. Colette