It’s Time To Take The Keys From Dad

James Rozoff
6 min readFeb 14, 2024

I wrote this almost six years ago. I think it’s held up well:

There is nothing quite so difficult as having to become the adult in the relationship with an aging parent. Sad as it is, there comes a point where you are going to have to take the keys away from them. There will come a time when they can no longer stay in their own home, and it will be up to you to make that decision. They have become not simply a danger to themselves, but to others as well.

It’s hard because not only will you have to be an adult yourself, but a part of you will feel you are betraying those who did so much for you. You will have to fundamentally change a relationship you have known all your life. You have spent your entire life looking up to them. You appreciate the sacrifices they have made for you and all the wonderful things they have done for you. You know you would not be the person you are, that society would be worse off for them not having existed, and yet you must tell them it is time for them to relinquish control. The house they built with their own hands is so in need of repair it is a safety hazard. The pipes are broken, their bills are not being paid, their house smells of urine, their refrigerator has food that is seriously out of date, and they are no longer able to hold a sensible conversation. Sad as it might be, it slowly dawns on you that you must relieve them of their responsibilities.

The same applies to political parties. But it has to be done. You have to be the adult, because Daddy D. isn’t who he used to be. You’re going to have to have the talk sooner or later, so it’s best that you visualize it now in preparation for the real thing.

You knock loudly on the door, knowing he likes to pretend he didn’t hear anything. His hearing has been horrible for a long time, but you suspect he sometimes feigns deafness in order to avoid conversation. So you do the one thing you know that will get his attention: you say you’re from Publisher’s Clearinghouse, because the only thing that will get him to open the door is the thought of unearned money.

“I’ll be right there, I’m on the phone,” you can here him say. This worries you, because usually the only people who call him are shady characters trying to get him to wire money. There are a lot of crooks in the world, and as…