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Re: Need suggestions for coping

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Hi dl6...

 

     I agree with the comments of Astaea and JaneCares. Your Dad is likely expressing his sense of loss through his critcism. As a matter of fact, we know from research that men often express their depression as anger. Heck, I know that, as a man, anger--and its milder form, irritability--comes much easier than sadness.

 

     I also agree with JaneCares' suggestion that you set limits on your Dad's criticism but with one proviso. I suggest you say something like, "Dad, you haven't seemed like yourself lately. In fact, you seem pretty unhappy. I can tell that because of how critical you have been. What's going on? How can I help you with this?" Would that amount to playing psychologist to your Dad? To a degree. It would also give him feedback on how he is coming across and let him know that you really care and want to help him. Good luck!--Barry J. Jacobs, co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers 

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Re: Need suggestions for coping

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@dl68317452 wrote:

I should have mentioned that dad was completely consulted on the tiny house build, and was all for it.  A year or so after my mom died, I asked him if he was completely comfortable and happy here, because if not, we could see about arranging to move him back where they lived before.  As he pointed out, many of his friends had passed away in the interim, and he professed himself perfectly happy where he is (our place).

 

As to my brother contributing, forget it.  He has spent his life indulging every whim he has ever had, and his sense of responsibility is low, to say the least.  He was a late in life child, and my parents fulfilled his every wish.  I don't expect anything from him other than to show up for his share of the estate when dad passes.  Sad, but true.


Astraea has addressed your issues so well. I'm just struck by how he can be both 'perfectly happy' and so hypercritical and cranky. I hope that when he's sharp with you or insulting, that you address this, lovingly but firmly. "Dad, your health care team here is competent and convenient, but new to you. Let's let them do their jobs." Or, "I'm the grandmother. If you have opinions about how I grandparent them, how about we make a deal: you stay silent about my apparent inperfections, and i won't criticize you about _____. Deal?"  I am deeply against people being rude to each other JUST because they share DNA. 

I mean, seriously.

 

Sounds like a cool 'tiny house.'

Happy New Year!

Jane

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Re: Need suggestions for coping

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@dl68317452 - That just shows that you can do all the right things, and your dad can still be frustrated about things that no one can change! Hopefully on his better days, your father does appreciate what you're doing for him, and will make the appropriate changes to his estate, to reflect the respective care & expense his two children have shown him.

 

I'm an only child & one of 4 1st cousins; my aunt had no children of her own. On one hand it was more work for me to handle everything myself, but when I hear stories about other families, at least I didn't have relatives arguing (or battling) with me, about how things should be done.


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Re: Need suggestions for coping

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I should have mentioned that dad was completely consulted on the tiny house build, and was all for it.  A year or so after my mom died, I asked him if he was completely comfortable and happy here, because if not, we could see about arranging to move him back where they lived before.  As he pointed out, many of his friends had passed away in the interim, and he professed himself perfectly happy where he is (our place).

 

As to my brother contributing, forget it.  He has spent his life indulging every whim he has ever had, and his sense of responsibility is low, to say the least.  He was a late in life child, and my parents fulfilled his every wish.  I don't expect anything from him other than to show up for his share of the estate when dad passes.  Sad, but true.

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@dl68317452 - I empathize with the situation you're in; I've been a caregiver multiple times in my life .. as a teenager for my grandmother, and most recently for a widowed aunt just about your father's age, who moved in with me.

 

There's a great expression I learned years ago: "You're never upset for the reason you think, and it may apply equally to your father, as well as you & your husband. It may seem like your father is critical of everything you're doing, but that may just be how he's expressing his emotions about the loss of his wife to Alzheimer's .. followed by her death, and having to give up his own life & independence to move into your tiny house. And after going thru Alzheimer's with your mother, he may also be terrified of developing it himself. So there's a LOT going on for him.

 

I'm sure you & your husband tried to do everything right for your parents, but how involved was your father, in decisions that totally control his life now? Was he part of the discussion about building the tiny house for them, and how it would be financed? If not, he might resent that .. even if at some level he realizes it was the best option. Change usually isn't easy for most people, especially older ones, and even worse when they feel they haven't been part of the planning or decision-making process.

 

You haven't mentioned your brother's financial situation or home life. Was he involved in the discussions about relocating your parents when they were no longer able to live independently, or how the tiny house would be financed? If possible, he should make some contribution to your father's ongoing care, even if he lives out-of-state. He may feel that the tiny house will add to the value of your property in the end, so he shouldn't have to pay for it .. but there may be ongoing expenses he could take on.

 

It's common in many cultures that sons are treated like princes, by the parents, while daughters wind up doing all the caregiving. I don't know what the family dynamics were for your family, but there may not be any reason for you to take it personally now.

 

Good luck!


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Need suggestions for coping

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It's remarkable how, when caring for your elderly parents, you begin to see them in a different light.  Three years ago, my husband and I took our a project loan and maxed out our credit cards in order to build a "tiny house" next door to our house in the country so we could move my parents out here.  My mother's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point where dad couldn't handle her along anymore.  She died seven months after moving out here, so now I am caring for dad, who is 88 years old with congestive heart failure, diabetes, and kidney failure.  It's tough to give up our independence and spontaneity, but he's a fairly easy person to take care of.  My problem is, I'm slowly realizing how critical he is.  He and mom lived 100 miles away from us before they moved, so I have had to find him all new doctors and home health care people.  After every doctor visit or procedure, he makes comments about how his doctors in their old town would have handled his case differently (and apparently better).  He has an excellent medical team, and I simply cannot afford to drive him 200 miles round trip to his old doctors.  He has criticized the car I bought, the way we spend what little money we do have, the way my grandchildren are educated, and pretty much everything I do.  I have the full burden of his care...my younger brother lives out of state and contributes no time or money to dad's care...but it seems everything my brother does is right and everything I do is wrong.  I have been trying to keep my good humor, but I'm getting to the point of thinking that enough is enough.  Any suggestions out there about handling this without being disrespectful?

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