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Friday, October 29, 2010

I have been having a down week and not blogging for a couple of days. Are there others out there who care for an aging parent??? We have had my step-father down here for about 16 months - he does live alone, but I do pretty much everything for him. At first he didn't feel good and I worked for several months to get him back in decent health (for 99 he is doing pretty good). Now he is feeling better, it seems he just sits at home thinking of "jobs" for me to do-like I have nothing else to do. He is getting more and more demanding and if I don't do something almost immediately, he worries me about it like a dog with a bone. If it is something that fits in my schedule, I try to do it pretty quickly, if not and it isn't something he really needs, then I wait and do it when I am running other errands. When I do that, he gets quite demanding and constantly asks if I am going to do "whatever" he is wanting done. So far, I have bit my tongue, but the day is coming I fear when I am going to lash out and I do not want to do that. The reason to move him down here was so we could care for him and make his last years as good as possible. I have 3 brothers and only 1 offers any help. We are pretty much tied to dad and never leave him alone for more than a few hours. I guess at this point, I am resenting him and his attitude towards me. No matter what I cook, he would have done something different. If we bring him home a meal from a restaurant, it never pleases him, nor does he ever say thank you. At this point, we don't plan to bring him any meals from a restaurant anytime soon and if and when he asks about it, I plan to tell him we decided we didn't want him to have to eat something he wouldn't like anyhow and it is expensive (he never offers to pay for his meals). We don't want his $$ but it would be nice to hear a thank you or him to ask if he could pay for his meal.
On Thursday, he read in the newspaper that they are wanting veterans to sign up for a Memorial Wall they are going to build in town. Good thought, but I had to stop everything I had planned and look thru his papers to find his discharge papers. He really expected me to take it down as soon as I did, but I had a full day already going so told him I would do it today. Today, I had to take a script to the dr for him to get it faxed in for a refill, then I spent another 40 min getting him signed up for the wall (if we waited till next week, it would cost him $15), then I had to go get some stuff at Wal-Mart for him and finally go to the bank to cash a check for him so we could pay for his new steps. Now I did all this and it took me almost 3 hours and when I got back to put his purchases up he never said thanks, just that he had to warm his lunch up himself since I didn't get back by noon (he likes to eat lunch at noon and dinner at 5 which isn't always the schedule that fits my plans but I try hard to accomodate him). At that point I nearly lost it and had to hurry up and leave before I said something I would regret later.
If anyone else is dealing with issues with an aging parent do you have any tips. I know that it is the right thing to do and I will have no regrets later but sometimes I want to just throw my hands up and send him to a nursing home. I don't know if I should sit down and have a talk with him and tell him how I feel or just shut up and do it. Any advice????
Some days I want to say, Look, I am the step-daughter, my mother has been dead since 1968 so why do you expect me to care for you??? There are days I blame him for my mother's death, she committed sucicide and I do not know what drove her to it-I was already married so not there every day. I often wonder if I could have prevented it had I not been away in college. Did he drive her to it. So many questions without answers.
Well, I feel better just getting this out and maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Friends are coming to spend a few days with us and see the shuttle blast off so they will distract me and dad will be on his best behavior!
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  • FROSTY99
    Thanks again for the input. Meals aren't a big problem as I just cook enough so I can make homemade meals for him as we have to watch his salt and if I won't be home for a meal, the I get one out of the freezer and he can nuke it. That problem was easy. Also luckily we have great friends where we live and they always volunteer to help us out but the one thing I won't ask is to shower him which is where I need the help and we could get someone in (at a nice price at what they charge per hour for home health) but I am uncomfortable with all one hears of folks taking advantage of seniors and even though it would just be a short time, it doesn't take them long so that is where I depend on my brother when we do get away which we have done twice in the past 16 mo. I probably worry more about him than I did my boys when they were little and I left them with a sitter so I could work! Go figure. I know he could verbally put them down but not physically.
    Today has been a good day and he made me feel guilty for my blog yesterday but I am sure this too shall pass and he will set me off again!
    Thanks again and I am taking your suggestions to heart and looking into alternatives.
    3769 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5123585
    Pat-I am sorry that you are having to deal with all of that! I have to agree though that you should probably sit down & have a talk with him that you are doing the best that you can. You are entitled to your own life after all! A senior center or adult day care might be other options to try. Most provide meals & there are plenty of things for them to do and people to talk with. emoticon Kim
    3769 days ago
    There are other places to look to for respite care besides Veterans...check with your local senior citizens groups, look into Medicare payments for it, etc. Also your church if you are active.

    I don't think it would be a bad thing to explain gently to your dad that you have other responsibilities too, and will get to his requests as soon as you conveniently can. It may not stop his poor behavior, which is age-related and can't be helped. But it may relieve your frustrations a bit. And for requests that are outrageous, I'd just keep putting him off until he forgets about it. For the meal situation, have you looked into Meals on Wheels?

    Your blog has awakened me to the fact that I need to remember more often to thank my SIL for her care of my mother. There are only three of us siblings, and two of us live hundreds of miles away and are not in a financial position to help. Fortunately Mother is financially independent, but doesn't drive any more, and my brother has a stressful job with long hours. So it falls to his wife to take Mother to dr. appointments, grocery shopping, everything. She is a saint, and I'm going to call her right now and tell her so.

    No one should have to feel that they can't take any time for themselves. You are doing everything you can and more, but unlike a parent caring for a child, you can't put your dad into time out when he's having a temper tantrum. Or could you?
    3770 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Thanks for the support - I certainly appreciate it. I wish my brothers would offer more help, but 2 live in ILL and the one in Fl helps when he is able but he travels for his job and is often gone for 6-8 weeks at a time. He did spell me about a mo ago so we could go north for a week-God that seems like forever and it has only been a month!
    Today Dad was sweet as could be so makes me feel horrible for getting upset with him. I realize any day could be his last and I certainly don't want to feel like I didn't do all I could to make his last days as good as possible.
    I am looking into respite help from the Veterans but it is a lng process to go thru-probably will take me longer than he makes it the way it is going!!!
    Thanks again everyone. You are all the best support system around!
    3770 days ago
    I know how you feel. My parents are 88 years old. Mama is very thankful for anything you do. Daddy is never satisfied. I fine that people who are no longer independent get selfless. Think only of themselves. My Aunt who is in the nursing home after her stroke. Has no children. I'm the only niece who lives in town. So when she wants something she calls us. When the other cousins come into town. They may go visit one time. All you hear is how busy they are. So, I know how you feel. No one thinks we ever get tried. Charlotte
    3770 days ago
    You need a break and a vacation from him.Is there some way you could have a hired nurse care or something like that to help a few times a week to give you a break? You may need to talk to him and tell him honestly how you feel in a tactful,but firm loving way.It's really sad you don't get help from the brothers,you could really use some assistance.My FIl is still alive and he is in his 80's and he is like this.Never say's thank you and expects everyone to jump at his beckon call.My heart goes out to you for being such a kind patient human being and treating you so unkind is such a shame. emoticon Diana
    Hang in there,I hope all works out well for you,soon! emoticon
    3770 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7907775
    He needs to get a hobby and/or some other older adults to hang out with -- soon -- or you're the one who's going to feel like you're 99 years old. He's got no one else to focus his attention on, so you're it!

    I'm sure he's not very mobile at 99, but isn't there a Senior Citizen's center where you can drop him off at least two days a week?
    What about a place for Veteran's (who's in charge of building the wall)? Do the veterans need volunteers to help with the paperwork or something that a 99-year-old can do while sitting down?
    If you think he'd put up a fight about that if you suggest something like that, what about asking the brother to do talk to him about it?

    (There are situations like this that really need answers from Dear Abby and Ann Landers -- the current advice columnists don't really give good advice about things like this.)
    3770 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/30/2010 12:28:23 AM
    My parents are both gone and DH only has his mother left. I feel your pain and frustration! HUGS!
    3770 days ago
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