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I care for my elderly dad

Hi I'm Mandy, living in South West Wales. I gave up my full time job just over a year ago to care or my elderly dad - he was discharged from hospital after an eleven week stay and a rehabilitation programme was put in place so that he could work on building up his mobility and strength and eventually walk with a stick rather than a frame. he didn't listen to the advice of the physiotherapist and has gradually deteriorated. Due to his obsession with food and lack of mobility he has gained in excess of 5 stone in the last 12 months. This coupled with his COPD makes it very difficult to get around his small bungalow. yesterday I had the COPD nurse out to see him and assess him, he recommended that he moves about the bungalow throughout the day and carries out some breathing exercises which will help him. Today he has told me hes not going to bother - just as he didn't do his exercises for the physio. If I challenge him he becomes verbally aggressive, I have very little support within my family and I'm beginning to feel very frustrated. Has anybody else experienced similar with an elderly parent or somebody you give care to? or any ideas of how should be handling it in a way that wont make my father so aggressive

Many thanks for taking the time to read my post

6 Replies

I think sometimes you have to be hard. There is absolutely no reason why your father should be allowed to treat you like this when you have been such a support. What would happen if you stop visiting him for a few days? If he didn't like that, you could tell him that if he didn't do what the medical professionals told him, you would go back to work and leave him to manage, perhaps with a carer coming in daily. If he wants to hasten his death, that's fine, but he shouldn't expect you to sit back and watch him do it.

He is so lucky to have such a caring daughter.

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Good luck with everything


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That's tough Mandy and good for you that you keep encouraging him. I wondered if anyone has spoken to him about why he is being like this?

Perhaps the Dr or COPD nurse can refer to a counsellor. Your father isn't the only person who presents like this when faced with such a difficult condition. Having to lose weight and exercise can often feel overwhelming for people. Is there anything you can think of he enjoys doing, such as trips to local parks / shops. Can you park a little further away each time? Just subltle changes perhaps but without forcing the issue.

I suggest talking to the nurse again and asking for their help. Carers coming in may help as you are too close and an easy target to be angry at.

Does he have any finances to fund someone like a physio or personal trainer to come in on a 121 basis?

Just thoughts, but please talk to someone and also request a carers assessment for yourself.


I do sympathise. I am the carer of my much older husband and getting him to do what the medical staff tell him is a nightmare and he does become abusive too. I think it is partially due to the loss of power with elderly males - they do not like being told what to do by younger women. I agree try to get the GP and the nurse to stress what he should be doing and tell him his condition will deteriote if he does not. My husband lives off Fortisips and will not take the fibre sachets. He has also stopped doing his teeth despite a new toothbrush and me prompting.

At the end of the day, if your father is an adult with 'mental capacity' you can only go so far to prompt and help. I personally would think about writing to the surgery manager outlining your concerns and asking if they have any suggestions. I am now just leaving my husband to it - but yes it is hard and I do understand how hurtful the verbal abuse can be.

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Oh dear, it is difficult when a person has 'given up' like this, it increases the burden on the carer, especially a family member. I am disabled myself and my son is my carer. He is also Agarophobic, so I have to remain as independent as possible, as I cannot always guarantee he will be there for me, although it is getting more difficult by the week!

As a former nurse, sometimes you have to employ 'tough love' to stop people feeling sorry for themselves, and coerce them into doing stuff for themselves. Not a nice thing, but your dad has lost his motivation I feel. As he is food oriented, perhaps insist he comes to the shops with you as a start to choose the foods he wants.

Also call the doctor, your Dad might also need a course of anti-depressants.


Oh dear I am afraid the aggressiveness will continue, it is attention seeking. I have the same with my mother, she sits and cries like a little girl if I say anything she doesn't agree with. I have had to come to terms with this, and now dont say anything out of turn, it just isn't worth it. You dont say how old your father is...my mother is 95, I stopped full time employment to care for her, this was 12 years ago....never thought it would go on this long. Try speaking with his social worker...

Good luck dear...


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