I can't live like this!

I’m not sure if I can carry on with how things are, not in a suicidal way before anyone thinks the worst.

My dad who is 68 had a major stroke three months ago and is due to come out of hospital in the next few days. I have no family to help out as my mum died five years ago and I am an only child. Before the stroke I hadn’t spoken to my dad in almost a year. He is not a nice person and can be very nasty and selfish and hadn’t been a dad to me for many years. It got to the point where it was making me Ill continuing my relationship with him so I decided to cut ties.

When the hospital called to say dad had the stroke I put the past to one side and have been at the hospital at least 4 times a week every week for the last three months. Dad can’t live in his house anymore as his stroke has affected his left side and he now walks with a stick. I have organised for a flat in sheltered housing (at his request). We got the keys two weeks ago and I have decorated the whole flat, had carpets fitted and moved in all his furniture and belongings. I have organised for the equipment he needs and the carers he will need, all over christmas and whilst working full time. I have looked after everything and done everything that he has wanted and he has never once said thank you. He is so nasty to me and complains about how long it has all taken. I even fainted in a shop because I am exhausted and when I told him he didn’t seem to care. My dad seems more selfish and nastier than ever and I just don’t see how I can maintain a relationship with him as things will be 100 times harder when he comes out of hospital. He will demand that I do x,y and z for him, It has already started and quite frankly I can’t cope with being treated like this.

I have tried talking to him about how he treats me and he says he isn’t doing anything wrong.

Where do I go from here. I don’t want to spend my life being treated like a doormat.

You have done way too much already! Make it clear to the hospital and dad that you will not be doing ANY caring for him on discharge, that Social Services must meet his care needs in full.Residential care is the other option. Be very firm.

Dad will be having carers several times a day upon discharge from hospital, he doesn’t think he will need them though, in his eyes he is fine.

I don’t want to come across as selfish, I looked after my mum when she was diagnosed with cancer but my relationship with my mum was different to the situation with my dad. I feel like I should be doing the right thing and caring for him but his behaviour is impacting upon my mental health. I come away from the hospital visits feeling useless, angry and upset.

You have a duty of care to yourself as well as your Dad. Even if you had a wonderful relationship with him you can’t expect to provide care and have a full time job.
I would start now as you mean to go on and make it clear to social services that you are not able to be part of his care package.
I would let him know that you will visit him X times a month but if he needs anything done or organised that would not be you and give him the contacts he needs.

Make sure he is given a lifeline pendant so he can summon help if he falls.

He has pull cords throughout the flat and a fall detect device that goes on his wrist.

Thanks for the advice and reassurance everyone. X

Joanne, we will give you all the support we can. It will be a difficult few weeks, come back whenever you want to ask us anything at all. You are NOT being in the least bit selfish.
Now the retirement age for women has gone up significantly, it’s vital for your own wellbeing in later life that you keep working any paying NI contributions for your own pension. Dad will probably be long gone well before you are of pension age, so keep your career, keep working.

There’s a saying … you can choose your friends, but not your relatives. Would you have “chosen” your father as a friend? I suspect not.

There is no legal obligation for you to care for your father (something you need to impress upon the relevant authorities) and I think you have already gone “above and beyond” what would have been expected of you, given your past and current relationship with him.

Haven’t got much advice as such but all I say I know exactly what your going through
I am caring for a toxic mother and not sure how much I can take with no other family to rely on.
Your not alone

I agree with bowlingbun!

Hi Joanne (and Tracey!)
I really feel for you in this situation. To me it sounds like you already have cared for him and have set him up to be safe and secure. Of course it would be so much easier if he was actually nice to you…easier to continue as you have been. I understand the complexity of your choices a little bit as I care for my 84 year old mother and she can really be quite testing, though I am getting better at understanding her difficulties. Importantly I am learning to protect my wellbeing 100% more than I was and this forum is the reason, so you made a good move by posting on here : )
Only you can decide how to proceed, but your father has made his life choices, eg. how he treats you. You don’t have to treat yourself that badly. Getting sucked in to running around after him when he has a perfectly good solution is not fair considering your relationship. Perhaps there is a middle ground?
I agree with bowlingbun, especially as you have carers in place. It’s important to set your boundaries early on. It might be harder to change them later.
Good luck with finding solutions that feel right.
Take care : )

Here is the relevant part relating to the Care Act. Read it carefully and then throw the book at them!