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How do I get my dad to be realistic about his abilities?

I am a full time caregiver for my dad who has had a stroke and a recent heart attack. He has fallen a couple of times because he attempts things like shoveling snow or riding a bike with his grandkids. Luckily he has never seriously injured himself. Last week he decided he was going to clean our gutters. I tried to tell him he shouldn't be on a ladder or on the roof but he wouldn't listen. I also tried yelling at him to go back into the house but he was determined to be useful. I have never yelled at him before, but I was so scared he was going to fall, I yelled out of frustration. What should I have done? I thought about calling the police or 911, but it wasn't an actual emergency. Am I underestimating his abilities or is he overestimating them? He did successfully clean the gutters without a problem although he was stiff and sore for a few days after.
Status: Open    Dec 19, 2015 - 12:24 PM

Caregiving, Senior Health & Nutrition

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Dec 22, 2015 - 09:44 AM

It sounds as if your father wants to prove himself still useful by taking on tasks that he really shouldn't do. You can possibly minimize this behavior by giving him a list of things to do that he is capable of completing successfully. For instance, sorting & folding laundry. Try to come up with a list of chores that will give him a sense of contributing and being helpful.
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By bulleit on Oct 15, 2016 - 05:17 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

I applaud your wisdom and wishing to keep him off a ladder. The advice to find an alternative chore is good, but your example of an alternative task is poor. This is likely a man with a perception of specific chore roles. If this was my 84-year-old father, he would consider being sent in to fold laundry an insult, a job better suited for a child. Cleaning gutters has probably always been the man's role throughout his life.
Make the alternate chore a "man's job" like edging the lawn or raking leaves. When he tires of those, perhaps there is a low energy job to consider? Perhaps he can he safely sharpen knives and scissors, check on a running toilet, toss a ball to a child, referee a backyard soccer game, or accompany you to the hardware store to provide advice on a purchase? Can he still go fishing? My point, if you want to provide him with a purposeful chore, please consider his personal mindset. His not yours.

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