Caring for Dad has become more than I can handle. What should I do?

4 answers | Last updated: Oct 15, 2016
Roger t asked...

I have returned home after leaving a position with the federal government. My mother and father are in their 80's. Mom is in fair health, but dad is in failing health with Parkinson's which is very acute and Alzheimer's which has thankfully not progressed.

We just brought dad home from a rehab facility where he was dismissed for no improvement over a 3 week period.

I have meals coming in, visiting nurses and also some home aids through an agency.

My father in the last 6-8 weeks has become 100% wheelchair bound and even with making changes to the home he lives in it is just not enough.

My mother is in complete denial, and this frustrates me so much at times. I know she loves her hubby, but it is clouding her judgment at times.

As of this moment I have been up 5 times for potty issues. 3 urine with a urinal and 2 BM's, one in the bathroom and one in his briefs I have for him. It is nearly 4am and I have had no sleep, nor my 82 year old mother.

I feel so over my head. I have had to put business to the side, my personal life, and everything else. This can be very frustrating, but I don't have any regrets. I just wish I had some real idea as to what to do next.

I have folks come in, but there is a limit due to cost issues.

Any ideas or thoughts would be much appreciated.

Expert Answers

Mary Koffend is the president of Accountable Aging Care Management (AACM), an eldercare consulting and care management firm that works with elder clients and their families to find the best care providers and services to meet their needs.

You are doing a wonderful job as a caregiver for your father. However, you are his son and this is the role that you perform best. Family caregivers wear out quickly because of the physical and emotional demands of the role. It is smart of you to reach out for expertise in how you can take care of your father.

What I would recommend is contacting a care manager who is trained to assess the situation and make recommendations to your parents for the best care situation for their needs and finances. A care manager is an expert in eldercare issues and local resources. There is a professional association whose members are trained and certified. has information about geriatric care managers on their website so I would encourage you to look at the other answers about care management services as well as to review the association website Both websites can help you locate a care manager near you and your parents and describe methods for finding the right person to work with you and your parents.

There is real value in involving a third party expert to help you plan for your father's care. Your parents will always see you as their son and discount some of what you tell them even if you are exactly correct. Particularly since your mother is experiencing some denial about the severity of the health issues and needs for care for your father, having a professional coach your mother and you could remove these issues. The cost of hiring a care manger to evaluate and to guide about the best care for your parents is easily recovered by having comprehensive choices and making the better decision first. Your parents are very blessed to have such a caring son.

Community Answers

Hjw answered...

I empathize with you Roger!My father, however, is in a nursing home and the frustration comes when we realize he could live at home with help...but we cannot afford it. Medicaid is currently paying but we are trying to get him home after 4 months. I live out of town and have the best job anyone could ask for. I have considered quitting to take care of him but my father will not want that.There are home care agencies but they want up to 20$ an hour! I commend you...but you need to take care of yourself! Find a respite in your office of the aging in your county or city...they will give you information. My father has accepted the fact he needs a nursing home right now, whether it financial or much as you may be against it...look into some in your area...we have the best in our city and they take very good care of him. Good Luck...BREATHE...!

Sho b answered...

Hello Roger, Thanks for posting your caregiving question to our community. Thanks to Mary and HJW for your words of advice and support.

You can find Geriatric Care Managers and local Area Agencies on Aging near you in our Senior Care Directory: When the time is right, you may also rate and review care providers, area agencies, and geriatric care managers with which you have had first hand experience in our Senior Care Directory. We believe reviews are valuable resources for caregivers who are seeking senior care.

If you are approaching the feeling of caregiver burnout, you may find our Caregiver Burnout and Caregiver Wellness Resource Centers to have some helpful information as you care for yourself.

Best of luck on your caregiver journey. We're here for you!

Ca-claire answered...

Hi Roger T. Congratulations on your reaching out for advice. You are a wonderful son to try to work with your parents while their health is out of their control. Your Mother probably doesn't want to be separated from your Father - very common if they have been married 'forever'. You might be able to find an answer in Assisted Living. Nursing home or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) can be cold and clinical.

Assisted Living could house them both in the same apartment, with their own furniture (or at least some of their own furniture), and the facility caregivers would do what is currently wearing you out.

If Assisted Living in your area is too expensive, check out Board and Care homes in your area. A lot of the time, spouses may be there living with their loved one, and receiving care themselves.

Call both types of places, go visit them by yourself first, ask to have a meal there to see what the food tastes like to you. If the food is so-so - RUN. Food is very important to seniors, and if it's so-so to you, they will hate the place. A lot of times, you can eat a meal or two free as part of the marketing program. Talk with people in the community or Board and Care home - see if they like it. Watch how the caregivers interact with their residents - it's important.

Best wishes to you - get some assistance before you burn yourself out! If they insist they must stay in their own home, hire a caregiver to take care of the nighttime for you, so you can sleep.