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How do I manage living with a depressed and reclusive father?

2 answers | Last updated: Jun 18, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

How do I manage with a depressed and reclusive father who cannot live alone since my mother's sudden and unexpected death? I am an only daughter who moved into my parents' house (at his request) to care for him two years ago. He is 89 years old and in failing health with mobility/balance problems but refuses to accept outside assistance from "strangers" or to use a walker or cane at home. He does not leave the house except for medical appointments and he has NO outside social contacts. There have been several trips by car or by ambulance to the emergency room because he has either fallen, been ill,or threatened suicide. I'm 62 years old and have essentially put my own life on hold during this time. My father is upset if I'm not there for him 24/7 and he resents any time I might take for myself. I'm feeling really worn down mentally and physically and don't see an end to this situation in the near future. Is it time for a nursing home? ( I have Power of Attorney and would probably need to finance long-term care with a reverse mortgage.) My only sources of income are a small retirement pension from my ex-husband and one from my own employment--with the two totaling less than $1000/month.


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A fellow caregiver answered...

You're at one of the most difficult points in life when caring for a parent. I can feel your worry and exhaustion through your words. And I have been right See also:
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where you are. I think you go on autopilot just to get through the day.

One of the benefits of putting him into a nursing home OR assisted living is that he gets a chance to be around people going through the same thing.

I moved my father into a private assisted living home where it was a home, but set up to handle careging and assisted living in a home environment. This might be an option. The normally run a little more since they get better service.

Or you can check with the larger types where they have functions available. I would take a trip to the local Senior Center in your community as they have unlimited information for seniors. You can also contact your doctor who can work with you and his care might be covered under medicare or through his insurance if he still has it.

I enrolled my parents with Scan which provides many benefits to seniors in their later years. Plus they offer respite care for you.

Bottom line, doing what we can for our parents is something we never think about, and when it happens, we always step up to the plate. Our parents raised us well. But we forget in the longrun what it will actually cost.

Make this a good time in your life for both of you. There are options, assistance and information available; don't get discouraged and the sooner you do know what your options are, the more in control of your own life you'll be.

Good luck.


More Answers
A fellow caregiver answered...

Anonymous Caring should please consult an "elder care" or estate planning lawyer before going forward with anything. I am in a similar situation and find finances the crux of my heartache. I have lived with my 93 year old mother for over 30 years and she never put me on the title because she said, "No one will ever be able to put me in a nursing home." I have her power of attorney, too. I consulted an estate planning attorney who advised against a reverse mortgage. Check with your nursing home and find out what their policy is about putting the family home up for payment of his care (when the time comes) and whether they will accept him as a medicaid resident after the equity of the home is used for his care. I know this is not what you want to hear. (I, too, was to inherit the family home.) All of the ads for "in home" care profess that the elderly would be happier in their own home--the problem is the cost is equivalent to nursing home care--and if the family doesn't have that much disposable income, it isn't even slightly possible. There is a lot of guilt directed towards customers (families of the elderly) attached to in-home care ads. ..but no financially viable answers to help us keep parents in their own home without going broke. The fees are often prohibitive unless a child has a CEO's income. Keep doing what you can. You are doing your best. Love is Hard