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Helping my dad who won't help himself

Community Member

Hi All,

I am new to this but hoping for a little advice.

My dad suffered quite a severe stroke several years ago . After my mum and him had a divorce, depression led to drug use, which then also led to a large contributing factor of the cause of the stroke. After the stroke he had regular physiotherapy and ended up back at a pretty good place with quite good recovery.

Fast forward a year, he ended up in a corrective facility and in that 12 months did no physiotherapy, moving around etc and ended up almost at the same place he was first after suffering the stroke.

Since his return home, he has been in a depressive state of mind, not doing anything, in bed all day, constantly down and returning to old bad habits. I have tried as hard as possible to help him, offering assistance with organising NDIS, organising him groceries and also Lite n Easy meals he can just heat up, helping him sort his medications, reminding him of medications, coming over and cooking him dinner sometimes, offers to come after work to go for walks and do physio together. And he doesn't want any of it. He doesn't help himself at all. He instead sits in bed all day, sleeps, smokes cigarettes inside, doesn't take his medications correctly, does not do any physio, does not organise or help organise some assistance for him, does not eat all day or otherwise orders takeaway meals regularly after buying good food for him. He says he has a psychologist, however I know he cancels his appointments regularly and has maybe visited her twice this year.

He regularly plays a guilt trip on me. I only get calls when he says how horrible he is and wants me to come over and practically work for him. I go to his house to visit and he demands me to make him food, mow the lawns, bring him medication, vacuum, take all of his dirty glasses out of his room with cigarette butts in them, go and get groceries he doesn't even eat.

I guess I am just wanting some advice on how to handle a situation like this. I am constantly feeling negative myself now, worrying about him yet knowing he is doing nothing to help himself. I also feel guilty I am not helping him more, however I work full time and do uni full time also. I do not have the energy or time to be his carer, nor do I feel I should be when there is so much support services available to use.

Any ways I can offer help and convince him to help himself? Or what should I do?

3 Replies 3

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Cv,

Wellcome to our forums!

Im sorry for what has happened to your Dad and yourself.

I understand it would be so hard because he’s your Dad and we love our Dads but your Dad really does need to realise that he needs some help.

Could you encourage him to see his gp so he can discuss how he’s feeling?

Do you have any other family that could also check in on your Dad and encourage him to see his gp?

If your dad does need a carer is this something you would look into so they could help take the load off you?

Community Member

Totally agreed with Petal22. It's important to seek help from the GP and get diagnosis. Getting a carer for your dad could also provide you with some support and help.

Have you think about therapy and involving your dad in communities or social groups which are also dealing with same type of issues? Communicating and getting involved in these groups could also encourage him to lead a life more independently.

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi Cv

Welcome to the bb forum and congratulations on having the courage to share your story.

You sound like an amazing daughter and you have certainly moved heaven and earth to help your dad. Well done.

Trouble is, he doesn’t want to accept the help. And right now he doesn’t have to step up to help himself because he’s got you on speed dial.

My suggestion is that perhaps your willingness to help on his terms is in some way enabling his uncooperative behaviour. This is in no way a criticism of you, just an observation.

You know him best, does what I’m saying make sense to you?

I’d like to suggest you try something different. Perhaps the next time he calls for your services, you politely decline. But, at the same time, offer once again to come over and do Physio, book and accompany him to his next psychologist appointment, help with NDIS, etc.

I think you need to be really clear with him about what you will and won’t do at this stage. Because if you don’t protect yourself you will become exhausted and perhaps fall ill yourself and that won’t help anyone.

If you try this, expect push back. But wait a few days and then check in on him, while maintaining your boundaries.

Kind thoughts to you