So Sad and Frustrated with Dad

Dad is 88, still living on his own and driving. He retired years ago from a very important position with a very huge corporation, and is financially secure.


Mom has been gone almost 10 years. He won't let me clean, ( mom was meticulous!). He is frustrated by his "piles" of papers to share with others, his piles of junk mail(which he feels an obligation to read), his piles of clothes (which he has in the bedroom and gets upset if they are put away).

He is embarrassed to have me come over...and I feel he is choosing his piles over me. He is faced with the sad reality that he has outlived his friends, and those who are left have little independence. But he doesn't want to go places with me, because he feels he is a burden. He has given and given to others his whole life, but will not allow us to give back. He doesn't want to disrupt my life.

I am retired...and retired early so I could spend more time with him... I do live 100 miles away, so he thinks my coming to spend time is a burden.

This is so sad because he has become negative about just about everything in our world. He probably has quite a few good years left, because he enjoys pretty good physical health. I thought perhaps a doctor could discuss dealing with depression with him...he is experiencing loss of his world every day...but my brothers feel strongly against this. They say this is just what aging is! I can't deal with stress with them, too....so I am just backing off that idea.

Do aging parents ever have a reversal of this negativity? Or have I said goodbye to my dad?

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Dear Frustrated
by: Anonymous

Oh, that is so sad about your feelings of losing your dad. Too bad you don't live close enough to slip some kind of herbal remedy for depression into his tea or something!

If you do not already have power of attorney over your dad's health care I strongly suggest you get it; then you would be able to discuss your father's health with his doctor and the doctor could bring up the depression subject without it seeming to come from you.

Why do some people (I've noticed a lot of men especially) refuse to discuss or try medicine to help with depression? Your dad may have anxiety and not depression, that's why we have doctors to help us help our parents. I wish your brothers were on board with this.

Will be thinking of you, let us know how it turns out.
mary in santa rosa ca usa

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You are Right.
by: Anonymous

Depression is a common problem among the elderly and because so many think that it's simply because they are old, they often don't get the treatment and help they need.

Being old does not mean naturally being sad or miserable. Being old does not naturally mean being in physical pain either. Old people get sick too. Old people can be helped too. Happiness and feeling good isn't just for the young.

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Integrity vs. Despair
by: Anonymous

Don't mean to get technical, but it's just my training! If you are familiar with Erikson's psychosocial life stages, the elderly are the "Integrity vs. Despair" where they are reflecting on the lives they lived and experiencing any regrets they may have.

Typically those, such as your Dad, who have had successful lives in terms of productivity, family, etc. have peace during this stage. It is quite possible your Dad is depressed. Don't listen to your siblings--encourage your Dad to discuss the situation with his physician.

It could be that a short-term anti-depressant or other intervention suggested by his physician is indicated. There is no need for him to suffer when help is available. Good luck!

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