Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.
“A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.”
Abraham J. Heschel
by a coincidence I have just been reading a rather long letter in today's
Daily Mail written by a gentleman of 89 entitled
" I'd hate to be the only gay in the care home "
The writer is a gay man and he is rather poignantly talking about his life experience as a gay man ( with a wife and three children ) and his doubts about life in a care home
It does give some understanding about the difficulties facing a gay man in his twilight years
I sincerely hope you are able to resolve your problem and your father gains some peace and understanding
I am wondering how you are getting on Sasha, and how you are managing this horrendously difficult situation...
The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.
Goodness - what a dilemma.
I think I would have to bite the bullet and talk to Dad before anything else about how he feels and what he wants - I know this sound simple but it isnt really - its getting over the fact that your parents are sexual beings - look at how we all cringe at that thought.
I have no experience in this particular field so in order to offer an bit of moral support the issues that occur to me to explore (if it were my Dad) both from a practical and personal point of view would be-
1) personhood - Dad might not be gay - one of the more common symptoms of dementia is that of sexual inhibition which comes about from the brains inability to filter and organise the complex response to moral and societal repression, and where good old basic instinct to respond to stimulus and primeval triggers re-emerge. It looks like Dad's behaviour is not a problem for him - it is a huge problem for everyone around him understandibly. Unfortunately I still have my moral filter working to capacity despite how often I tell myself I am open minded - I need to be honest and comfortable with my own attitudes and focus on what I have in common with Dad rather than what sets me apart. I think it will take me some time to work out how I feel before i can be any good to help Dad.
2) vulnerability - Dad is less able to take personal responsibility for his actions, but his physical ability/drive to take the actions is undiminished which increases the burden of responsibility on those around him that are involved in his life. in time there may be ways of supporting him that are acceptable to both me, others and him but I would be very wary about taking any action at this point that involves securing the services of somebody paid specifically to perform a personal service (although I wouldnt rule it out in considerations of how I help him to meet his needs) i think I would need to talk to someone who knows more about this than me, maybe someone who works with sex workers or those who support people with addictions (some of the triggers can be similar)
3) safety - Dad needs to be as safe as is practical and others around him need to be included in his support, that includes having difficult conversations with others in his life so they can make choices about being with him or not.
my thoughts and good wishes are with you all the way.