by Elizabeth

My elderly Father and Mother have recently been moved near to me so I can look after them better. I am their main carer. My dad is now driving me to distraction and my husband fears I am close to a nervous breakdown. I honestly think my Dad could reduce the Pope himself to a stand up shouting match! I fear I will end up hating my Dad whom I have always been close to at the end of his life.

He is difficult beyond belief, unbelievably demanding completely ungrateful and completely focuses on what is not sorted yet or any minor problems in their new accommodation without any mention or gratitude of the million and one ways I have improved their quality of life and comfort - and I have worked so hard.

The minute I walk in the door - which is now obviously a few times a day he hits me with a problem /complaint. I actually felt physically sick as I walked in yesterday and at best the hairs on back of my neck stand up the minute he speaks. He will then completely wear me down on that problem or demand - badger me mercilessly till I resolve it - then when I do he immediately starts on the next thing.

Every day I vow not to have a stand up row with him and everyday I fail miserably. I am exhausted angry,resentful and very upset and guilt ridden. How do I set boundaries with him because at the moment the more I give of my time the more he wants/expects. I literally have to drag myself out the door and he always wants one more thing. He is taking over/ruining my life.

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Thank you ANON for your reply.
by: Anonymous

Thank - you to ANON for your kind reply. In answer to your questions I always got on well with Dad when growing up - Mum not so much - very very strict domineering woman with both me and Dad.

I sometimes wonder if Dad is rebelling now after years of being under thumb and I'm getting brunt of it. I am sorry but I don't understand what you mean by "are you maybe trying to prove you are better than them"?? - but if you explain I will try and answer.

But for now I can only say I am just doing my best to provide them both a safe clean comfortable home together - after all what would be the point of harboring a grudge against an 85 year old woman with severe mental and physical deterioration - she is still my mother and as for my father as I have said I always was close to him until his recent behavior. They didn't always give in to me- mum very very strict - dad not as much but wouldn't take any nonsense.

by: Anonymous

I've read the comments you already received and I wonder what you think about threatening your father with a care home? Is that likely to be productive?

You are in an awful situation and I cannot imagine how exhausting it must be for you but I wonder if setting boundaries for your parents is the answer? Maybe you should set some boundaries for yourself?.... What can you do, and what is just too much for you, be realistic, you have a life too!! When you give yourself some clear limitations it might be easier to see whether or not you are able to fulfill your parents needs and your own (it's not selfish to need a life of your own, honestly!)

You haven't said what your parents were like as you were growing up, were they amazing? Did they always give in to you? Do you now want to show that you are better than them? Perhaps you can share the care, or perhaps you really can do it alone, but consider all your options, this does not need to be your destiny!
Best wishes from England

Thank you - Two sisters
by: Elizabeth

Thank you so much for your helpful reply. I think you are spot on. It has been suggested to me by my daughter several times that these arguments caused by dads 'dog with a bone' fixations on one problem after another are a sort of attention seeking - so that fits in really with what you are saying.

I have actually "threatened" to put them both in a home (my mum is very infirm mentally and physically now and does very little interaction hence dads' loneliness maybe?) When dad has been driving me nuts and told him I can't look after mum 24/7 he MUST help as well or it won't work and he is capable after all.

I have told him a home won't tolerate this nonsense and he'll have a lot less freedom and independence. All he has to do is bare minimum care of mum when I am not there - Simple !!

by: Carmen & Suzanenonymous

Dear Elizabeth, We understand your concerns in regards to your elderly parents. We are NOT DOCTORS, but life has taught us many things.

My sister & I are trying to be objective and this is what we think, might be happening to your "dad". Is constant complaining and for you to rectify his problems, is probably a "way" to get you there, to fulfill a "void & loneliness on his life. The reason, he keeps constantly coming up, with other problems is to get you, to come back at his home all the time.

Just to give you a perspective on things, our mother who is 90 years old now, has started this new trend. She wants to go grocery shopping, and instead of getting all of what she needs, i.e., cat food, she will buy 1 can only saying there is no room in her cupboards, then calls the next day my older brother, who lives in the country and he has to come back to town to bring her to the store.

But now we can see her scheme. She needs companionship therefore, will rely on him to be there to fill in the void in her life. And if no one responds to her cries, she tells others "I have 5 children but they are too busy with their lives and not enough time for me".

Elizabeth, remember that if you are always at his beck & call there is a "Chance" that you will get sick and then WHO IS GOING TO TAKE CARE OF HIM???? It is better for you to confront him, and let him know that you are willing to help him, but some problems he will have to deal with it. Unless it is NOT LIFE THREATENING.. Maybe, again, try to find a resource in your community that helps the elderly.

Your Dad has to try and understand that you have a LIFE as well. Why not try to back off, make him wait a day or so, this way he will learn how deal with his problems. IF NOT, then let him
know; that it will not be his home, but a Nursing Home...Which, by the way, have no time for that kind of constant complaining.. Let him know, he has 2 options.

Either, he can take you when you are available, or in a good state of mind to do it.. Or, if he does not have the patience to wait, he might have to go to a Long Term Care or Nursing Home, which by no ways will tolerate these demands..
Take care of yourself, your just a "Human Being"

Sincerely 2 sisters from Ottawa

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