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What to Do When Dad's Caregiver Is Not Meeting His Needs


I take my father - who lives with me - to daycare three days a week, and his brother watches him the other two days. The problem is that my uncle is only one step ahead of Dad. He leaves the front door unlocked, forgets about Dad's meds, and does not consider Dad's dietary needs. How do I make this situation work? Can it work? I am ready to put Dad in assisted living for his wellbeing.



Your issue is coming through loud and clear. Your father needs supervision at all times and your uncle sees it as a day out without any responsibilities. You are forced to be the caregiver with rules and routines while Uncle and Dad are having a party twice a week.

The nurse in me wants you to sit down with your uncle and tell him what you expect when he is supervising your father. I suspect, though, that you have already done that, and he has decided that your rules don't apply to him. The fact that your father’s diet restrictions are a joke to him tells me he thinks your expectations can be ignored.

It sounds like they are having “boy’s day out” and enjoying each other’s company. Frankly, I think this is a wonderful situation on one level. There is nothing better than family to keep an individual engaged and contented in life. I sincerely hope they are doing fun and entertaining things together. I bet they feel like they are getting away from it all and are having lighthearted fun.

I understand how picking up the pieces after Dad’s day out would leave you feeling resentful, especially when missing medications and poor diet choices can lead to extra doctor appointments and even more medications to manage.

What to do when your father's caregiver is not meeting his needs

  1. In your case, I want you to inwardly celebrate the fact that your father has two carefree days per week with his brother, joyous get-togethers that feel like times of old. How wonderful that your father has such an opportunity.
  2. Now, outwardly you need to deal with the uncle. In every relationship, there is a more responsible party, and in this situation it is you. Own it. Let uncle know your door must be locked when they depart. Let him know that they may have all the fun they want, as long as Uncle is responsible for any medical follow-up resulting from their activities. Then follow through with your conditions. It is much like dealing with teens, only much older ones.

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