How do I help my dad?
I am so worried about my dad and don’t know how to help him for the best.
My dad lives alone and I know he gets very lonely and is depressed. He had an accident at work many years ago and shattered his leg from the kneecap down which still has not healed properly to this day and he is in pain with it every day. Since then my dad has gone downhill, he doesn’t take care of himself he looks very ill and is so thin and he drinks every night.
I know my dad gets lonely so I try and visit him as much as I can but his bungalow is messy and smelly which is hard for me to see him living like this. I try and do some jobs for him like washing up or having a tidy up but he hates me doing this and always tells me to stop. He chain smokes so everything is smoke stained and i leave his place with my hair and clothes smelling Smokey and musky. He also tells blatant lies a lot or makes up stories that i know are not true.
I try and get him out when I can but once we were in a cafe and people were turning around and holding there noses because he smells and the people on the table next to us got up and moved away. I came home and cried my eyes out because I don’t want people making nasty comments about him it’s heartbreaking but I also couldn’t eat my food because of the smell. My sister has tried to speak to my dad as kindly as she can and told him we are worried about him and that he’s not taking care of himself like he used to but he just seemed confused and said he was fine.
My dad is in his late 50’s and has no social life at all he has one friend who he sees every few months but this friend always asks him for money.
My dad lives right next to a social club which i encouraged him to join hoping he could meet new people but he went there once and said everyone in there was moody.
He only visits me and my sister and he occasionally visits my aunt but she has stopped him visiting as much and has told family members it’s because he smells. I’ve been in shops with him and noticed the workers spraying air freshener as he leaves which hurts to see people treating my dad this way but I do know how bad the smell can be.
I worry about him so much because he spends so much time alone and he drinks every night and has bruises from where he has had accidents after being drunk. He drinks big bottles of cheap cider.
He can be very stubborn and always says he’s fine and don’t need help but I can see he does
It’s breaking my heart seeing him like this I don’t know how to help him so I would be so grateful for any help or advice.
Bottom line, your Dad would probably be diagnosed as an alcoholic by an actual medical person who actually met with him. I'm not a doctor, I don't play one on TV, no genuine medical professional would make that diagnosis without examining him, but let's look at the situation. You know he drinks - a lot. He has injuries and bruises from falling down when he's drinking. He doesn't shower or clean his home. Is he self-medicating his depression, or is he depressed because he's drinking? That's hard to say, but obviously the booze doesn't help. The problem is, you can't MAKE him stop, either way.
I'm a little older than your dad, and honestly even my man-friend straightening things up while I'm home annoys ME, even if it's just because he's not doing it the way I would. I don't know where you live, or if there are services for the disabled / elderly to help them with housekeeping or get them out among the living. I rolled my eyes at your father's comment that the people at the social club were 'moody.' I'll bet they are - especially if the 'social club's' main activity is ...drinking.
His sense of smell may not be what it used to be (happens to many as we get older) plus he's used to the smell. It may not register at all. But I'd agree that cleaning the home and straightening things out might make it safer for him. Can one of you take him out while a cleaning crew tackles the home?
Does he qualify for some kind of assisted living? I KNOW he'll say he doesn't want to move. (Neither did my Grandmother, when it was time) But people trained to deal with depressed or elderly folk may have some expertise that we mere mortals don't. (My grandmother didn't want to bathe, either - she told Mom she 'never did anything' and therefore didn't need to bathe. She was senile, but she wasn't stupid.) Maybe a male at-home health aid could help him in the shower, or give him sponge baths a couple times a week?
I don't know your father like you do - has anyone actually *said,* "Dad, it makes us sad to see your home like this, / We don't like to visit because everything smells bad"?
It sounds like your dad is in a very difficult situation and it must be very hard for you to watch. It is natural to want to help him, but it is important to remember that you cannot force him to accept help or make changes. The best thing you can do is to continue to make an effort to be there for him, to provide emotional support and to encourage him to make changes.
Try to talk to your dad in a non-judgmental way to let him know that you care and want to help. Ask him open-ended questions about his health, lifestyle, and needs to get a better understanding of what he is going through. Offer to attend doctor's appointments with him or to provide transportation if he needs it.