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I feel like a horrible person. - Carers UK Forum

I feel like a horrible person.

Tell us a bit about yourself here.
Mum died just before Christmas,dad now lives between me and my brother. I campaigned to keep him with us rather than dumping him in a home but he's not being particularly helpful. My husband has been a saint really; he so loved my mum and she him and he was very accepting of having my dad with us but is getting a bit frustrated by my dad's self interest. My brother and his wife really didn't want initially to share my dad's care but have done so for the past couple of months but I live in fear of them saying they will not continue. Dad can't get up our stairs completely safely on his own but otherwise is not much different to when he was living in his own bungalow and was the main carer for my mum except now he seems to want everything done for him. He makes us feel so guilty if we want to go out and we now feel we only have a half life. I do feel very sorry for him, his entire world has changed and at the same time he battled a brain tumour which has been operated on and he's just had a scan to confirm it is all clear. I was tempted to vomit vent my frustrations but to precie I will say dad is less than considerate of the concerns of those people who have done the very best they can to stand by him. I am having to care for someone who was not especially nice to me as a child, who could be very harsh with my poor old mum when she battled dementia and whose handling of her caused her great distress resulting in her suffering injuries because she ran from him. Not I would hasten to say because he would have physically hurt her but in her mental state because he was short with her she didn't understand and thought he would.
I'm so conflicted my emotions are all over the place and I have got so angry with dad's attitude towards me I have ended up yelling at him a few times. I'm not going to change him, he was never really the father I would have wished for and though I want to do the best I can for him it's very hard because it sometimes feels like I'm working very hard to help someone who doesn't much appreciate it. I have to be a reprehensible nasty person because I feel resentful of him at times, what is the matter with me? I'm so nasty that I know that if he died I'd be very sad but it would be a relief. I have become a monster.
No, I don't think you've become a monster - you're an ordinary person coping with a LOT of stress.

You're still early on in bereavement, and 'raw' emotionally over your mum. Your dad might be as well ,but even if he is or isn't, the main problem is that his arrival in your daily lifestyle has been very difficult, and not surprising.

One of the depressing things about the very old, it seems from reading these posts here on the forum, is just how 'self-absorbed' they become. This can happen to even the nicest kindest parents - let alone any that have not been all 'sweetness and light' before they needed care.

I take it your dad is living with you 'en famille' - ie, that he sleeps in one of the bedrooms, using your bathroom, shares your mealtimes with you, sits in the living room with you in the evening, basically 'shares your life'.

I suspect this is the problem! That he is 'on top of you'. If it had been possible for him to move into, say, an annexe, or a 'wing' of your house, where he could be kept an eye on, but wouldn't be living 'on top of you' then you might have found it easier. Having someone else in one's house is difficult, let alone when it's someone very elderly who is not at all 'contributing'. It's like having a permanent houseguest who is not even appreciative as a guest!

If you feel you cannot keep going 'indefinitely' like this - and remember, his care needs will only increase as time goes by alas - then maybe it would be best to start thinking of supported living/ residential care homes. You could, maybe, say to him that you only took him in 'for the time being', ie, temporarily, in the immediate aftermath of his wife's death, but that it was never intended to be 'for ever'.

Would he be self-funding for a care home (ie, does he have property or savings worth over £23,500). If he is, then there is more choice around, but if he is under that limit then the local authority should be funding him, but that may mean less choice.

You could make a start checking out some of the local care homes for suitability and vacancies -the good ones may well have waiting lists!

All the best to you at a stressful time. DO bear in mind that many members here report that their relationship with their elderly parent improves dramatically once they don't have to do the everyday care 'living together'. They say they have 'got their mum/dad back' now that 'someone else' (ie, the care home staff) are doing all the looking after. I certainly found that when I chucked in the towel and moved my MIL into a care home....
You could also look into sheltered housing for him, depending on what level of support he actually needs.
Also day centres and other activiites he could go out to
Why couldn't he manage in his own house with carer support? Did he try?
Your dad sounds like a flawed human being - but one in a difficult situation. If he was the main carer (live in, day in day out) for your mum with dementia, then that of course will have taken a toll on him. Maybe he feels he's given so much of himself to caring for his wife (even if clumsily), that he now feels it's 'his turn' to be looked after?

Additionally, whatever their relationship, he's just been widowed, and again, that has to take a toll.

I think, when we are the children of an 'uneasy' or 'unhappy' marriage, it's almost impossible for us to decipher exactly what the relationship was, and how each of them felt about it, or dealt with it. Our parents' marriage so often remains 'mysterious' to us their children, in many ways.

I'm saying all this to I guess put a more 'sympathetic' slant on your dad right now, and trying to see it from his point of view??

However, in the end, it all boils down to exactly what care he himself needs now, and why, and what the future is likely to hold - and then the question of 'how is that care to be provided' can be addressed.

On top of everything in his situation, is yours - you, too, are freshly bereaved, and so no one is 'firing on normal' at the moment, so all your emotions will surely be very, very raw. They can't but be, can they, at such a time.

One factor that might also be playing here is that your dad simply doesn't want to be alone in the house his wife is not longer in, irrespective of whether he can look after himself there any more. That wouldn't be unexpected I guess.