Need Advice Helping My Dad

I'm not exactly doing what the title of this group says, but my situation is a similar one. My dad lost his job back in January. He now only gets unemployment. We used to live in the same apartment complex, but different apartments. When our complex got bought the rent went up and the management of the place was very poor so we left. My dad said he didn't think he could afford to live on his own. Also, he had a a cancer scare right after, he thought he may have had colon cancer, but it turns out it was just an ulcer. He has high blood pressure as well and has been having problems with that as a well as Bipolar disorder.  My husband promised that we'd house him in a two bedroom apartment until he found a job.
My husband and I thought that we should help him out, since he let me live with him when I was younger when my mother kicked me out. I decided since he was easy to live with then, it should be easy now. Things have changed a lot, or maybe I just didn't notice how strangely my Dad acts sometimes.
The first red flag was when we wanted to move him out. We wanted him to be packed up the weekend before the end of the month since we worked on the day he was supposed to be out of his apartment. When we rented the uhaul and paid for someone to help, all costing around $200, we found out that almost nothing was packed! He doesn't work so he had all day to move everything. He begged us to help him the last day and we did, but I got very little sleep since he was still packing when we got there. We didn't get finished until about 3pm so I only got about 6 hours of sleep since I work at night and so does my husband.
It's been about 3 weeks since he's moved in. And he still hasn't unpacked. His stuff is taking up half our living room. Every time my husband and I asked for him to unpack or perhaps get a storage unit he'd have an excuse; his blood pressure was too high, or he didn't have enough money for the storage unit (not true).  The next thing that scared me was, we were talking to a friend about how after this lease ends in a year, we want to get a studio apartment so we can power save for a down payment on a house. My dad said that he doubted he'd have a job by then. I don't want to have to take care of him for much longer since I want to have kids and buy a house in a few years. I hate the idea that I have to put my life on hold for this. I know he can find a job, he just needs one that will pay him more than unemployment does, but it doesn't seem like he is trying, or even wants to.
Yesterday, I was disturbed when my husband said that he saw my dad kicking my small Siamese cat Weezer into the closet. She was in a corner when my dad came in with groceries and away from the door. My husband was standing behind my dad, who was unaware at the time that he was being watched. My husband immediately confronted him on it. He said "Oh, that was Weezer?" Like he didn't know what he was kicking. I have never known my dad to abuse animals, but he didn't deny that he kicked my cat. He admitted to us he kicked my other cat for love biting him. We told him that we don't physically abuse our cats and he shouldn't either. He shrugged. I'm scared that he is going to hurt my cats when I'm not around. Weezer wasn't doing anything annoying or even in his way, and he just kicked her. I'm very disturbed by this.
He has been doing online karaoke lately and sings when I'm trying to sleep during the day. We've told him not to sing when we're sleeping and he seems annoyed at our request, but does stop. I'm not sure what to do because it feels strange telling my dad the rules of my apartment, and having him act like he doesn't want to listen since he is the parent.
LivDragonfly LivDragonfly
22-25, F
8 Responses Jul 20, 2011

Its very hard to say no to our elderly parents when they need help specially to live with us. I think 80% of us adults will have to deal with this issue. I personally had my mom move in with me for 8 years and it was the best thing I could have done for my mom. I have 2 brothers and they could not help me with her but again I would not have had it any other way. This time was so special for both of us we were so blessed. My mom passed away from cancer. So it's like this she took care of me when i was born and i took care of her when she needed me the most the last years of her life. GOD BLESS YOU just do the right thing and you will not regret it ever i promise.

I didn't see how old you dad is. My dad changed too and for the next 10 years it was very bad. He had Alzheimers, Dementia, Schizophrenia, Paranoia, and prostrate cancer. Each shows up in its own way and then over time melds together and it became a living hell for both of us. Have your dad checked out, you may be able to modify some of his behaviour with meds. These conditions can hit at any age--take my word. He may be depressed about his job loss and future prospects, you need someone who specializes in this and not just get their opinion but see other doctors as well. I know it sounds like a lot and it is but there are conditions here that need to be addressed by someone who is compentent in this field, the earlier you know the better you can prepare for it. My whole life changed dramatically and even though he has passed on my lifes course too has changed forever. I wish you the best of luck and hope you don't have to go through what I did but both you and your spouse should be prepared and you should have the tools to deal with this.

I understand your frustrations. I wanted to tell you that as another poster said, meds can change one's entire personality. I'm on anti-anxiety meds and have been for 20 yrs. They saved my job and a lot of my friends from leaving me. BUT... they also calmed me down to such an extent that I have a hard time being strong in personal matters. I don't take up for myself the way I use to and I don't have the grit to stick by my guns. The drive I had for caring for the house and yard has long gone. All my body wants to do is sit and eat and watch tv. Once in a while I'll get busy on a craft project, but if I don't finish before people come home from work, all the stress of them being around just makes me want to close up and forget adding more stress with the crafting divisions and etc. It seems like my physical body wants to do nothing, but inside me is a constant voice telling me to get on it, causing a huge stress that often I choose to run away from. Only those who take meds that act like this can know what I'm talking about, but I assure you it's real and is as troubling to them as it is you. Good luck.

Do you know anyone with an empty garage that you can put his boxes into temporarily? Or maybe rent a storage shed. Even if these boxes contain things he wants at hand, it would be good to get them out of your unit. Without them, the place would be easier to keep clean, and less for him to get into while your out. You need to talk to him about drinking and smoking weed constantly and let him know its making you crazy. He seems to be trying to drown everything out, which is making it worse for you. Let him know what he's doing and how it affects you. Get some help with him. Be it AA or the drug one, or a social services person, or a priest - anyone who will help him. It must be so difficult for you to tolerate. I wish you well.

Youve been urged to get your Dad meds for bipolar. Possilbly he already takes them. I've taken meds since 1986 and I can tell you from experience that they change your life. I went from a very effective executive secretary who raised a family to someone who really can't cope. I lost my job. I pretty much lost my will. The meds keep me so doped up. Yes, I'm grateful to have them. I tend to psychosis without them and can be dangerous. I didn't choose bipolar, but it's a tough row to hoe.

I told him that he was acting strangely, and he went to the dr and they changed his meds. His angry outbursts have stopped, but since then his messy habits have not.
He is drunk now all the time and keeps smoking weed even though I have asked him not to repeatedly. Its getting really hard to deal with. I can't even have friends over because he has filled the apartment with boxes and still not unpacked them after 4 months!

If your dad has bipolar, he needs to seeing a psychiatrist, and very likely a psychologist, too. You should try to find a qualified support group that you can all be involved in like NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) Bipolar disorder can make dealing with life very difficult and disorderly, but with proper treatment, things could go much more smoothly for all of you. Don't ignore this, because it could be the root of all your problems.

Dads can be difficult and unpredictable. Even if you have lived with them all your childhood, the role reversal that tends to happen when they are older is difficult to adapt to. My Dad was a strong, leadership type man when I was a child, but after losing my mother, he changed so much. I was the only one in the area so I am the one who looks out for him. I didn't have a chance to grieve my mother's passing as I was contending with Dad's grief for so long, and still after 5 years, he can go downhill so quickly with grief. My husband and I offered to extend his house, as he didn't want to move, and move in with him to take care of him. He can't cook, clean or do most domestic chores or maybe he simply doesn't want to. We spent a couple of thousand levelling the ground in preparation of the new extension. Then one morning about 4am, he comes over saying God had spoken to him and we couldn't go ahead with our plans to move in. I was devestated as we had already bought so much for the building and couldn't return it. We had no choice but to accept things and we extended our own place. Since then, the Doctor has adjusted his meds, and he seems to think the meds were the main reason for the change of mind. Personally, I think it was the fear of him losing control over things, coupled with the meds at the time. Yet, he still wanted me to run after him. I was working full time, running to his place and making a meal at night and going home and making meals there too. I was taking him shopping etc and my time was so full I could hardly breathe, it seemed. <br />
<br />
Once he made that decision to stay on his own, I stopped going over and being his replacement wife. I still visit and when there I'll wash up dishes etc, but the main carer role I played has diminished greatly. He has had to accept this as consequences of his decision. I didn't have to say anything except that I don't have time as I work as well. He accepts this.<br />
<br />
I guess what I'm trying to get across here is that you can't predict your father and maybe there's meds involved or physological problems, but you can't be responsible. You can offer to get help, and maybe there's some group that can help house him with other men in his situation, but you can't take on the role of "wife"or "mother". You don't öwe"him. He did what all fathers should do when he took you in. You were the child and although roles change with time, there are other options you can take. Help him find a job and help him look for other places that he can afford to live in. By doing that, you're letting him know that it's time to move on. <br />
<br />
He may have underlying anger issues that he takes out on your cats. I don't think the cats will be safe left with him. I don't think he would purposely really hurt them, but he probably will continue to be quite rough with them. He doesn't feel about the cats, the way you do. <br />
<br />
I hope the situation improves for you soon.

it seems the situation with our cats has improved since the dr changed his meds. One thing that hasn't is the constant mess I have to put up with. I am at wits end because its been at least 4 months and my apartment is still filled with boxes. He doesn't clean up after himself. I started cleaning up and it seems when I return from work, the mess is back in place. when I ask him to clean up he acts like he'll do it, but usually things don't change.

When you lived under his roof, you lived by his rules. This is now your roof. Don't put your life on hold. He sounds like he's being a little unreasonable... maybe fraying mentally at the edges. Tell him he has 1 month to get a job and 6 months find a place. You are moving when your lease is up regardless. I've seen parents do this before... he may just be broken by the current economic state and losing his job. Old men get so comfortable and stubborn, it's hard to move them but... make it so you stand in your place and will not be moved.