Living with my Elderly Father in his Home

by Carole
(Virginia)

This year my dad will turn 89. My mom has been dead for almost 18 years. Until he had a mild stroke, my sisters and I were not as worried about my dad living alone. He still drove, worked in his garden, etc.


Two years ago he had a mild stroke and had to have a carotid artery put in. I worked in another city and realized that I wanted to be here for my dad as he is getting older. I asked him if he would like me to come back home and move in with him. He was willing that I do that so I quit my job and moved in with him.

We got along very well at first, but he has made sure that I know this is his house and I have to do things his way! I pay him rent and pay for all the utilities, plus cable TV. I buy most of the groceries and do all the cooking. Yet he still acts as though he's doing me a favor by letting me live here.

As he is getting older and more feeble, he seems to resent my being here more and more. He takes offense at my trying to help him (something as simple as taking his dish to the kitchen for him). He seems to be more and more wallowing in self-pity and acting like I think he can't do for himself. I'm just trying to be helpful. I have never told him that I think he is incompetent.

He will start an argument and then accuse me of having an "attitude". Then he'll say things like, "I'm done. I wish I would die right now."

He doesn't seem to care that he is cursing me to a life of guilt if he did up and die right now! His moods are so unpredictable - one day he'll be all cheerful, the next day he will be down in the dumps and saying how bad he feels. The doctors all say that he is in great physical shape for a man his age. He just seems to want to be miserable all the time.

I don't want our relationship to be ruined and I don't know how to handle his depression, anger, resentment, self-pity!

I have two sisters. One lives here in town, but she only comes to visit maybe one afternoon a week. She acts like a visitor when she is here - I fix the food, clean up, etc. My other sister lives out of the state and has only be here once in two years.

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Living with My Elderly Mother in Her Home
by: Anonymous

I can relate. I moved in to help my mom over a year ago. At first it was friendly, then it got rough, and now we seem to be kind of at odds.

Just this past month, I've started to suggest that at times we may need outside help, and we shouldn't hesitate if anyone offers assistance with small favors. She seemed open to the idea at first, but now is lamenting that she is a burden.

How do I argue against that? It's a lose-lose situation. Do I gleefully lie and say, Oh no, mom, giving up these last good years of my life to live yours isn't a burden at all! Or do I be honest and say, Yes, mom, this is very hard on me, but this is what you wanted.

Because if I say that, I'm going to have to live with the attitude that comment will bring. It's much better to lie and try and figure something out in order to save some semblance of my life.

I find that what I give everyday becomes mundane and when I suggest that perhaps I can't do everything she immediately goes into "burden mode". And everything I have done up to that point is forgotten.

I don't know what is worse. Actually having to do everything? Or getting an attitude when I don't do one thing? Not only do I have to do everything, but I have to suck it up and take the moods. It just gets to be too much. So much has to roll off my back.

I get to where I become rather armored around her, and she feels this, but it's so hard to do everything cheerfully and then be loving and gracious at the same time.

I'm only human too, with my own needs and moods. Mom comes first, then my job, then me. And because she comes first, she's always looking forward to her next "need", and she doesn't see me on the trail behind her scrambling to pick up the pieces of my life.

When she hears me complain about this, then it still becomes about her being the burden, then the victim, then the martyr. This is the lose-lose part.

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I am in the Same Boat
by: Anonymous

My situation is very similar to yours. I have been there for my mother through all of her ills and surgeries. She treats me like garbage. It is very painful to give a parent a commitment to care for them and have them treat you badly in return.

It sounds like it is time for you to take back your life. Look into getting in home care for your dad and move on with your life that is what I am doing. Then I can choose when I want to see him like my brother has been doing and be treated well again.

Perhaps your Dad and my Mom really don't want our help. Maybe we need to accept that and let a qualified caretaker do the job. It may be the only way to salvage our relationship with our parents?

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Reply To Living With Elderly Father
by: Anonymous

I know it's hard, but try to put yourself in his place. No one wants to have to depend on some one else for things they're used to doing for themselves.

It's even harder to admit that you have no choice. I think it's even harder for men because they're supposed to be the strong ones, the one in charge.No one wants to admit they can't take care of themselves.

I know you are past exhausted because I am. I have the same sibling problem that you do. Let's try their shoes on for size and see what we can come up with! You are not alone :)

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