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Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 11/19/09

I've been taking care of my parents for going on three years. Two years ago my son was in a car accident that required being transported to shock trauma. One year after, my Mother died. My Father relied on my Mother for everything. Moral support, etc. to the point of being obsessive about being alone.

Now that she is gone, he has transferred that to me. I have no siblings to speak of. It's just myself and my poor over-worked husband. If I don't call him during the day, he doesn't speak to me. If I'm five minutes late, he calls my husband. He doesn't do anything but sit in a chair all day at the computer. No friends - he never wanted them when he was younger, and not now. He doesn't want ANY outside help. Won't go to the doctor. He is a shut-in. Has anyone any suggestions caring for someone that is extremely difficult? I have told my doctor (which is also my Father's), that I will be dead before he is. Any information that might be helpful?

Thank you for letting me vent.


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Name: Cynthia
Location: Wichita
Date: 11/19/2009
Time: 07:26 AM


Hi Ventor< You need to vent. And you have some choices in front of you that are not easy and may not feel at all good. First, you said your father is not all that different now than when he was younger regarding his approach to life. That means it was his choice and still is to be demanding, dependent and manipulative. Regardless of what may have come to him in life, he has made choices about how to respond and you are experiencing the results. Please learn from him and recognize that you can make choices. There is nothing evil about deciding that your life and your relationship with your husband are worth protecting and nurturing. It sounds as if your father will be absolutely the same whether you are jumping through hoops to try to help and please him, or if you are not. No matter what your relationship with him is, you do not owe him the kind of grief and stress he is putting on you and your husband. If you are of a faith tradition that calls you to "honor your parents", you need to realize that honoring your father does not mean supporting his selfish and self-focused behavior. I recommend that you have a serious discussion with your husband about changes that need to happen. The two of you then decide what you will and won't do for your father. Then you have the discussion with him. Regardless of his response, you follow through. Be in one accord with your husband and you can support one-another when pressure comes. Maybe solicite the help of a trusted friend who will remind you of the reasons for your decision and behavior. You are a valuable person, your relationship with your husband is valuable, if your faith tradition supports the thought, it is the only covenent relationship you are committed to. Please see this "venting" you did as the first step to making a positive change and being in charge of your own life in a positive way.

Name: A Daughter Too
Location: Texas
Date: 11/19/2009
Time: 08:26 AM


This is a difficult situation for all involved, but you feel the pressure most of all since you get it from all sides. Your father needs a purpose (a reason for being) and right now you're it. You need a break from being the "anything & everything" for your father. Here's what worked for me when I was in a similar situation: 1)If your father will accept it, get him a small pet. Having someone who needs him will help alot - plus it will also give him companionship in return. 2)Give your father a job or task to take care of, even if you have to "invent" one. Since he uses the computer you might start by asking him to research a particular topic for you. Once he hears the words, "Dad, I need you to help me with..." his sense of purpose will begin to expand beyond you and then maybe you can gradually increase the tasks to include things outside of his home. 3)Just like our parents did for us when we were dependant on them, you may need to set some limits and boundries as to when you are available. 4)Contact other relatives and tell(don't ask) them that you and your father need help. It works best if you can give them specific duties to choose from. You and your husband are to be commended for sticking with your father during this tough time. It's not easy to go through the difficult losses that you have experienced during the past two years -- yet you have managed to care for your father through it all. Please remember to take care of yourself first - that's the best way to care for others!

Name: Erica Gower
Location: Seattle
Date: 11/19/2009
Time: 11:13 AM


I am so sorry you are going through this. Would he accept a caregiver in the home to take over some of the tasks you are doing? Or what about a care manager who is an RN or MSW advocate? Sometimes you need to take a tough stand, your doctor is right you are going to burn out!

Name: Susan Jennings
Location: Indianapolis
Date: 11/19/2009
Time: 11:30 AM


Perhaps if your father was closer(logistically) to you it would give him more comfort and he would be less anxious. You could convert your garage into a complete apartment for him. He would still be independent, have his own space including bathroom and kitchen, and yet be so close to you that he wouldn't need to worry. You could include him in mundane things such as watching a football game with your friends. He could go home whenever he wanted. It would be convenient to bring him along on YOUR doctor visits, etc and perhaps he would consider seeing the doctor since he was already there. There are a miriade of opportunities to deal with his loneliness when it is so convenient for both of you. check out: Good luck.

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