I have become full time (live in) carer to my 90 year old father since July. He had been living independently up until then, but his (physical and mental) health deteriorated during lockdown and he had been having many falls. (He also has prostate cancer, but says he is not in pain, it is slowly spreading.)
I have taken on the job without complaint and always tried my best for him, but sadly he has never been good at complimenting me, but readily says others are better!
He has mobility, sight and hearing issues, all of which I am trying to address, get some improvement (exercise classes, cateract operation, hearing aid), but his outlook on life (in general) has always been negative. I.e there is always a reason for him not to do X or Y. Instead he seeks solace daily in a bottle of whisky… Even though I try to keep him on a limited ration… (but I am fighting a losing battle.)
His other main gripe is his incontinence. Again, I do my best to make him comfortable, assisting him through the day if he needs it and at bed time, but he is not happy….
I am happy attending to his daily needs (cooking, washing, incontinence management, hospital/other appointments and arranging whatever free support for him I can…) BUT… I know I will go mad if I listen to his negative stuff day in day out… Currently I survive by going to my room when I have had enough. He has good mental capacity and has commented to others that I leave him to his own devices often through the day, but they also know how negative he can be.
He cannot read at present so I got him a cassette player with audio tapes, but is even bored of that now…
I am going to take him to his first seated exercise class tomorrow, but he is finding reasons that he will not like it…
We go out in the car for short local trips, but he is hot and cold about doing this.
My question is, how much time do I spend with him and be guilt free and make sure I am looking after my own well being too.
We don’t really seem to have found the balance yet… And I am getting burnout very quickly.
I have tried to talk to him about the above and he sometimes calms down for a day or two, then is back to type… Even his good friends no longer come round as they cannot bear his negativity which seems to have got worse in recent months.
(NB He raised me on his own from a small child as my mother left us, so I feel I should return the favour now, we also had a good relationship in the past, but there was a huge gap as he got together with a woman who drove us apart, although she has been deceased for 16 years now, but she is ‘still there’ if you know what I mean… I do not feel I can say anything bad about her, as it is in the past…)
I am an only child, but at least I have good friends for support and a morning wake up carer we pay and a family friend who takes him out twice a week. But it seems he expects me to sit and listen to his negative talk morning to night, when he can barely hear me with his hearing issues… (I am praying the hearing aids will work that are due in just another week!)
Sorry if I am rambling now… It has been another long day….
PS My father didn’t ask me to move in with him/do these things, but it was obvious he was going to pass away from neglect if I didn’t. (I was stuck abroad during lockdown and I think I got here just in time.) But he feels he can live alone, when everyone knows he would only last a few more months due to falls/other issues. (My long term partner also left me and I was going to be homeless, so it all seemed to fit into place, from my perspective at least.)