|Our healthy, active but elderly and still at-risk dad is really pushing it with social activities. He wants to go to a big dinner party next week, but that means my sister wants to cancel Christmas because she feels he might spread COVID (and she feels like this is a way to incentivize not going to the party.) Now he is upset and feels we don't understand why this dinner party so important to him and that we are ganging up on him as a family. How do we handle this with my dad that won't ruin everything?
My dad is a very stubborn guy. Super social person. Lives with my mom who is also higher risk. She gets bronchitis easily. Dad has diabetes. They both are in their 60s and 70s and live in the south.
My dad has been suffering with boredom and loneliness. I won't get into my parents relationship, but they get on each other's nerves at the very least. My dad has been retired for a year now and work is his main purpose in life it seems. He truly enjoys it. Before the pandemic, he volunteered to be the board president of a org that helps victims of abuse. He finds it very important, which I understand.
My mom and sister and I have been frustrated with him though, because while we stay at home and cancel our social events, dad has still been going to church and Bible study and having one on one coffee with people. It feeds his soul, I get it. We all had a long heart to heart where my sister cried and begged him to please try to do less riskier activities, because we don't want to lose our parents to COVID. He felt super bad and I know he loves his family above all, but it's like he can't get these social blinders off. His argument was that he will try, he's been wearing a mask most of the time, and people around (at church!) have gotten COVID even doing the right precautions and all of them have survived. We think this is moot but whatever. We can't argue forever. We said that if he chooses to take the risk, that's fine. But he lives with mom and mom is very scared. So it's not fair to her.
We thought the convo was over because our dad had cut back on social activities. But then... the volunteer org and board is having a big fundraiser dinner party next week. Dad says as board president, this is very important and he must go. Not many people take the virus seriously where they live, so of course they would still have the party despite the numbers. Dad said if they aren't cancelling it, and people will where masks when they're not eating, and try and take precautions, it will be fine.
Mom and my sister are super upset. This seems more risky than other activities. It's indoors too. My dad is upset that we don't understand how important this is to him. I'm honestly trying to be sympathetic but it's hard. My sister decided to cancel Christmas (they were going to drive to Atlanta for it) although my dad argued that it will be 14 days until then so it would be fine.
My sister and I are at our wits end about this. Our mom is very upset and dad is upset and we have tried different ways to talk to him about this. We can't force him to do anything. We know he loves us all very much, but it feels like he's prioritizing his volunteer board over himself and his family. I understand he feels like he has purpose through the board. But...sigh. He wrote us a letter last week apologizing for being stubborn and saying how much he loved us, but death is inevitable and he wants us to not be worried for him. BUT DAMN it's really hard not to and for my mom!!
How should we handle this? Beyond canceling Christmas, we just don't know. We are afraid the risky behavior will continue. Should we ask our mom to move in with our sister where it's less risky? Just abandon dad on this? That feels...awful. Ugh. Any advice is appreciated.