Aging In Place

1/31/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

A family has become the unwilling caregiver for a father post-surgery. Now that Dad has recovered, he refuses to move out, despite his son’s requests and the father’s lack of manners as a guest. Ask Amy advice columnist Amy Dickinson weighs in.

Dear Amy:

I’m asking a question on behalf of my friend, “Brad,” who is in a sticky situation.

Brad’s dad had surgery several weeks ago and is doing well now.

He stayed with Brad while he recuperated for nearly two months – all through the holidays.

The dad has his own home nearby and is a widower.

He has settled into Brad’s home with absolutely no regard for other family members. Brad’s daughter recently packed her bags and moved out because there is no more privacy at the home.

Brad and I actually took the dad to a medical appointment and then took him to his house to see what shape it was in.

The home is organized, cozy and his own, but he is refusing to leave Brad’s house.

He has no concept of privacy. He took over the entire first floor living room, kitchen, guest bathroom, den, and dining room.

Brad can’t enjoy his own home anymore, and his dad won’t budge!

Do you have any ideas on how to politely and tactfully ask Dad to return to his own home?

Is there a way I can mediate this situation to take some of the burden of Brad?

– Supportive Friend

Dear Supportive:

“Brad’s” father might be nervous about returning to his home post-surgery, and since he seems to have settled into his son’s home so thoroughly, he has no incentive to leave.

If Brad and his dad’s physician are certain his father has recovered and is safe living on his own, Brad could set a quick deadline for his father to return to his own house. This should be conveyed in a neutral, no-nonsense, friendly and firm fashion: “Dad, it’s time to get you back home so we can all get back into our routines. I’m going to take you back on Friday, so let’s start getting you packed up.”

If his father balks, Brad could suggest that he needs to “give it a try,” and Brad could stay overnight with him there to make sure he can get reacclimated. The son should offer lots of reassurance.

Brad (and you) should help him to get moved in and settled and should prepare a meal and eat with him.

Brad should make sure his father has access to nutritious and easy-to-prepare food.

His father might also benefit from a “life alert”-type system, which can offer a safety net for those living alone, and peace of mind for their loved ones.

This family would also benefit from beginning their research into other aging-in-place home modifications as well as in-home care services.

Seniors Guide covers these and many other helpful topics, advice, and services for families entering their parents’ golden years.

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from when a spouse demands immediate attention to DNA surprises. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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