by Catherine M.
My father isn't very elderly - only in his late 60s. A diabetic, he lives alone, in a house he bought after my mother died, many years ago.
He's about 20 minutes from my home (husband, 3 small children). My younger brother lives in another city, about 4 hours away. He's had a heart attack and TIAs, but still functions on his own. We visit him, at his preference, once a week, and my brother comes down for holidays & birthdays.
Now, however, I'm noticing changes. My dad used to travel, and now he doesn't go further than the next town 15 minutes away. He's had his cataracts done, so he can see, but he just says he's not interested. He lies about his blood sugar and health (although that's been going on for years). He's stopped even trying to groom himself - he doesn't shower, is often stained, wears stained, ripped or unwashed ill-fitting clothes. He has ants all over the house but doesn't do anything about them because, he says, they don't bother him. A couple of weeks ago I dropped by unexpectedly and caught him outside in his front yard/driveway in his stained underwear, obviously not showered.
I discussed this with my brother, who then talked to my dad. Now when we come over, he's somewhat groomed but he's started to be hurtful and rude to me. He takes "shots" at me, and tries to "get" me - comments that are designed to make me feel upset, embarrassed or insecure. And he seems to take great pleasure in this - I've caught him laughing when he's actually been able to make me upset. He says inappropriate things in front of or directly to my children, and then watches for my reaction. 90% of the time, I stay cool. My husband leaves the room as fast as he can, and brings the kids with him, because he doesn't like how my father is treating me.
My dad is doing it now even when I call him to see how he's doing or give him an update on the kids or whatever.
We're taking a couple of weeks off, at my husband's request, to cool off. But, I'm very concerned. I love my dad, at least the dad I thought I had. This guy - I'm not so impressed with.