How would you tackle this?

@vandana7 (64820)
India
January 17, 2010 1:51pm CST
This is my today's problem. My father is 75+ and is quite childish in some aspects. I am able to indulge him normally but at times, it does get out of hand. I do snap, and he snaps, and then he says "what I say is final, that's all", and is not willing to listen to any reason. He has always been like this, but lately this has increased manifold. He doesnt want to take his medicines, and he says he knows better than the doctor - rather the doctor knows nothing. Do you have elderly folks who live with you and behave like this? How do you tackle them? I am torn between being harsh with him, and letting him get away with it after all, we dont have 30 years ahead of us. I also think he looks cute. :)
4 people like this
22 responses
• United States
17 Jan 10
Well I would know what meds he's on. I would also find his Dr's number and let the nurse know your feelings on the matter of him taking his meds. There's no way you can force him to take them or know he has taken them w/o administering them yourself. But you know my uncle had a stroke last summer & partly because he's loosing his block a bit (forgetful) and will tell you every cuss word in the book because he's right even if his pills were in his lil sorter. Well he had a stroke and now he's even more angry than before because he can't drive himself around anymore or do what he wants to do when he wants too. So keep an eye on it and just say if you don't take this or that pill you are risking a stroke, heart attack ect...... But sometimes in some people it's a sign that they are going to start going down hill. Though it may take years, it will catch up to them sooner or later. Good Luck to you!
• United States
17 Jan 10
I have to agree. You do need to let the doctor's nurse know what is going on. One option is decreasing the number of medications he is on and maybe even typing up a sheet that lists each medication and what it is for so that he can reference that each time he needs to take his meds - it will also remind him how important each med is. It sounds like you are striving hard for balance and that is the important thing, you know how important his treatments including medications are for his health so just keep trying.
3 people like this
• United States
17 Jan 10
I was also going to add not just doing a list, but maybe a laminated list or they do have those fancy lil alarms that go off to remind them to take their meds. Does anyone set up his pills for the week? That may be a good clue to as to what he's taking and what he's not so you can accuratly report your concerns. Also know that if you are not Medical POA or release of information to you, you can only tell them your concerns but they will not tell you much further due to all that HIPPA junk.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
27 Jan 10
Hi SnuggleBunnies, you hit the nail on its head. I fear exactly that! :( Well, luckily for me, there are a few days he is angelic, and a few days he is like this. Rather 7 days he is ok, 3 days he is really bad. But then he has taken his medications after that argument - not on the same day, the following day. :) Sheepish. lol. Well, he knows I mean him no harm. And he possibly realizes how important he is to me. Hope he is not going down hill. :(
@Roseo8 (2947)
• India
18 Jan 10
Hi vandana,as our parents get old they tend to become insecure mostly because of failing health,and internally they crave for more attention though I guess they do not like to lose their independence and become depend on their children,more and more.Most of them also feel that they do not want to become a burden on their children,and end up becoming difficult and uncooperative.Its up to us to understand their needs and deal with them patiently and to make them feel wanted and loved .
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
5 Feb 10
I think this is because of some short circuit in his brain. LOL. It happens at times. Yes. Normally, I am angelic. I rarely snap, but I would be lying if I said I dont. :) He doesnt take his BP medicines and keeps getting angry with the servant, watchman, shopkeeper, even media and politicans, and students. Somewhere so much of negativity gets to you, and as it is I am not very young. :) So I snapped. This is not the first time, but hopefully, it is the last time I snap at him.
1 person likes this
@Roseo8 (2947)
• India
8 Feb 10
Yes Vandana I know dealing with your old parents is not easy.......Sometimes they can be very difficult...But often its also because of the diseases and the side effect of the medicines they take coupled with their feeling of helplessness that make them behave like this.....So learn to be patient dear and treat him with kid gloves....And believe me its all worth it.....And I remember you once said you wake up with your father's cool hand on your fore head everyday.....Lucky you....
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
8 Feb 10
Yeah, he is cho chweet at times, I wonder if he is the same man who says no to the medicines and argues against all logics. :( We have our differences, but then who doesnt. :) I love him more so after realizing many things. :) I am trying to be patient rose. God is my witness, I am trying my best. :)
1 person likes this
@vijayanths (7878)
• India
17 Jan 10
Vandana, old people become more like children year after year. Once he was your dad and now you are his mom. So let him snap. Let him think he is the boss of the home, so what? It does not affect you. When people age they lose confidence. They become pessimistic. They start thinking they are burden to the family/they think others think so. They think they are not given due respect by the youngsters. They think youngsters never listen to them/ take their advices etc etc.. He needs confidence, I bet you can give it to him friend.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Jan 10
I had worn the hat of "PARENT" to my Mom from when I was in my late teens til she passed last year. It's not easy to have to step up and do what needs to get done but in a manner that makes them feel like they still have an opinion & or choices in things.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
19 Jan 10
Hi vijayanths, not taking medicines to scare me, because he knows it scares me is terrible! I hardly slept a wink that night! Was too tired last night so I could sleep for about five hours or so. This will take toll on my health, dont you think? I ain't getting any younger you know! I dont particularly like fighting or even arguing. I feel such things shatter the peace that is within me. :( Ah well, I cant change others, I can change me. So what can I do? Do something else. That is what I am doing. :(
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
19 Jan 10
And snugglebunnies does seem to have an idea about what I am going through.
@dpk262006 (56170)
• Delhi, India
18 Jan 10
Hi Vandana! My sympathies are fully with you and I can well understand your situation. I also have an old father (and in fact a father-in-law too) like you and sometimes it becomes really difficult to convince him for certain things. He would do, as he likes, irrespective of the consequences. You see when one reaches at such a age, his/her 'ideas/thoughts' get fixed up and s/he does not want to amend it at any cost and he always thinks that those who are advicing him are younger to him so how can they be more experienced and mature than him. It is same with many old people, who are hard to convince. I think we need to be very patient with them and should not lose our temper while arguing with him, even for the sake of their benefit. If one gets angry then it becomes all the more difficult to make understand an older man all the consequences of his wrong decision. Hope you will treat him with patience and will supress your anger, while dealing with him. All the best to you. Have a great day! Deepak
1 person likes this
@dpk262006 (56170)
• Delhi, India
18 Jan 10
Heartiest Congratulations to you on crossing 2000 post mark.
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
31 Jan 10
Hi deepu, my patience alone will not suffice. Though subsequently he took his medication, do understand that when he skips such medicines, he tends to become angry and belligerant. He raises his blood pressure over issues that are shown on television and the regional newspaper (I hate these local dailies). And then he starts telling me about politics. He remains high strung, at times flares up with maid, and then watchman, and so on. When something of importance is also discussed, he can really blow his top simply refusing to listen. It is a tough situation. He has always been like this throughout his life, but of late, this behavior has tripled! I am trying my best to be patient with him. But then I am also human, and I am also aging. So at times I do cave in. :(
@dpk262006 (56170)
• Delhi, India
1 Feb 10
Hi Vandana! I can understand your plight, which is really challenging and you being also a human, you losing your own patience is very much possible. My sympathies are with you, honestly. Elders losing their tempers could be really troublesome and makes you feel helpless in the sense that besides talking to them politely and patiently, you just cannot raise your own voice, as one would do, when talking to a younger person. And the other problem is that there are only two persons in the home and you need to face each other, I mean you just cannot go and sit in another room and keep quite for hours together. Please stop buying those silly regional dailies, go for a National Newspaper, if these papers cause trouble. The Newspaper walas need to sell their newspaper, and they would sensationalise the news, as much as possible. Alternatively, if he (your father) feels like, bring him some good books to read, if you can. Please ask your father, not to indulge with maid or the watchman, you may tell him that you would look after him. All the best!
1 person likes this
@balasri (26554)
• India
28 Jan 10
This makes me remember this story Vandana. An 80 year old man was sitting on the sofa in his house along with his 45 years old highly educated son. Suddenly a crow perched on their window. The Father asked his Son, "What is this?" The Son replied "It is a crow". After a few minutes, the Father asked his Son the 2nd time, "What is this?" The Son said "Father, I have just now told you "It's a crow". After a little while, the old Father again asked his Son the 3rd time, What is this?" At this time some ex-pression of irritation was felt in the Son's tone when he said to his Father with a rebuff. "It's a crow, a crow" A little after, the Father again asked his Son the 4th time, "What is this?" This time the Son shouted at his Father, "Why do you keep asking me the same question again and again, although I have told you so many times 'IT IS A CROW'. Are you not able to understand this?" A little later the Father went to his room and came back with an old tattered diary, which he had maintained since his Son was born. On opening a page, he asked his Son to read that page. When the son read it, the following words were written in the diary :- "Today my little son aged three was sitting with me on the sofa, when a crow was sitting on the window My Son asked me 23 times what it was, and I replied to him all 23 times that it was a Crow. I hugged him lovingly each time he asked me the same question again and again for 23 times. I did not at all feel irritated I rather felt affection for my innocent child". While the little child asked him 23 times "What is this", the Father had felt no irritation in replying to the same question all 23 times and when today the Father asked his Son the same question just 4 times, the Son felt irritated and annoyed.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
That was so touching Balasri! It is something we all should remember. Patience - why does it desert us! :( Hope I can be that patient with this baby. :) You know today his sugar is rather high, but he is all happy because his cholesterol is normal. LOL. Cannot understand how they can be so childish!
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
Yes fjaril. They were angelic with us, while we lose patience with them. :(
@balasri (26554)
• India
7 Feb 10
Thanks for the BR Vandana. And thanks for the nice words my friend FJ.
• United States
18 Jan 10
My grandfather passed in 2008. Before he did it was like having an alheizmers patient( he wasnt he had diabetes and it was destroying his brain much like the other disease would) he had days where it was very much like talking to my four yr old. Other days he was very violent and verbally abusive and lucky for me my mom was there cause he tried to hit me and my grandmother.... i knew most of his anger was because of the diabetes and its effects on his brain and the rest of it was frustration over knowing something was wrong but being unsure of what. It was a hard time for all of us. I have learned you gotta let the attitudes go... he couldnt help what was happening so why stay mad at him.... Sometimes the fight is not worth it... let him think what he will as long as he is not trying to hurt anyone its ok.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
18 Jan 10
You got the issue perfectly. :( I dont fight, but I frustrate. :( I try and am badly snubbed and shouted at. Feels terrible. I know it is the diabetes. The doctor is giving medication. But he doesn't take. The doctor has prescribed tablets for hypertension, he doesnt take. He says the doctor doesnt know anything. And he keeps on shouting at me, my brain stops functioning, and I really dont know what to do at such times. If he takes the medicines, he will be much calmer. :( If I say he is diabetic, he says look I injured myself two days ago, and it has healed, so I am not diabetic. But he is. :( I dont know whether I should treat him like a 7 year old, or 75 year old. :(
1 person likes this
@kalav56 (11503)
• India
18 Jan 10
Oh! Then if it is diabetes I understand the situation perfectly well Vandana.You just have to resign yourself and believe in his statement that his sugar levels are under control[just have faith in God that what has to happen would happen and if it is willed from above that some complication ought to be arrested then he himself would get good sense--for e.g my husband did not even know he was diabetic.One fine day his specs broke and when he had to get his eyes examined the hospital asked him to undergo a blood test[that eye hospital always insisted on a blood test for all the patients who had their eyes tested if they wer e middleaged].I was teaching music to an endocrynologist / diabetologist and she prescribed a diet immediately on seeing his report.After 3 years he saw another doctor for a routine checkup and now he has been advised to take medicine. If your father does not take medicine it is definite cause for concern and you have to tell him in a very firm manner [firmness without loudness of voice helps at times but these old people if they have to be shouted to, then this has to be done.]Tell him you would not talk to him and show it to him in action.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
19 Jan 10
Kala he is so childish. When I say I am not talking to him, he starts talking to the wall and tells the wall what he wants me to do. Its very hard not to laugh when he does something like that. But that destroys any possibility of me remaining firm with him. That is why I say, he is very childish. While I enjoy it normally, I cant appreciate it in serious issues. :(
• Boston, Massachusetts
20 Jan 10
Hi Vandana, That’s a normal behavior among our elders who find themselves as being a burden to others lives. They want to be recognized like before who can be what they want to be. Now, given their illness and their age—instead of having the feeling of fulfillment for all the years of hard work for the family now he’s in bed, under medication, needs someone to eat, give him a bath and everything for him…he feels useless and that’s where the attitude is coming from. Being so irate, hard to understand, feeling all-knowing, etc… let’s have the heart to continue giving our full understanding and care. They need our support despite their being so hard to deal with. Be patient enough. I know this is not a easy role to take but for the love of our parents we will be able to do this.
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
I never made him feel like he is a burden. If at all, I always made him feel that I would become helpless should anything undesirable happen! Today we got his reports, sugar levels are so high. :( But the man is happy with his reports! You should have seen the look on his face! He was happy that cholesterol is normal, and everything except sugar is normal! Beats me how a person can be so positive with that sort of report. But I was amused at his childishness. :) Hope he takes his medicines and behaves like a good baby. :)
• Boston, Massachusetts
6 Feb 10
how are you now? is there any development as far as taking his medicine is concern? is he still violent? i hope there are positive changes now. hold on and keep your patience.
@Aaleexix (2291)
• India
1 Feb 10
People turn to the childhood in the old days. Behavior in old days is similar to the childhood. Careful and affectionate treatment is best in such situation. Lack interest on the medicine is common in those people who takes more medicine. If you consider it as normal and think it as a normal task then you can find amusement in his nature. When situation is not changeable then go in the wave is best solution.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
I suppose that is the best way to deal with it - going with the wave. :) After all, we never know. Why regret some fight. :( I am quite composed now, and thanks for your suggestion. Hope I will be able to keep it in mind next time this baby is upto his pranks. :)
• Malaysia
22 Jan 10
my father in law is like that he does not take his medication or even eat meals, i realised that he lacks of companion at times ..whenever my husband is there, he entertains his father, they go back into memory lane and the father can actually eat while chatting with the son .. the others in the family dont actually entertain him they just push, order or give instructions, which he does not like n snaps on them .. cheers
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
I am there for him sanjana. He has told me some of his achievements umpteen number of times. I could get up from my sleep and tell you the sequence. :) No this is just when sugar levels and blood pressure is high, he is no mood to listen to anybody. Then he reacts, and is virtually uncontrollable. He gets angry with everybody at that time. :(
@srganesh (6350)
• India
22 Jan 10
Old people are like that.They cannot digest that they have no more powers or responsibilities.Only a few ripe to old age and spend their days to help other or find a way to mingle with their age group and celebrate the days.Most old people are with ailments and they can't forget it with all the medicines.I think,you should help him find a hobby.Why not introduce him to mylot?
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
6 Feb 10
In our home, I dont have powers! LOL. Anything I say or do is immediately over ridden. :) He is quite ok with friends and moves with them. :) Luckily they are not leaving him alone. He is already on mylot. :) But he doesnt participate in discussions. :) Just an occassional task or two. However, he reads these discussions. :)
@shuyin101 (206)
• Philippines
18 Jan 10
I have a grandmother and a grandfather. It feels like they hate it when they feel useless and weak and they are like in denial that they are getting weak and they refuse to take medicine.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
5 Feb 10
Exactly, he hates feeling unwanted! He finds ways to get involved in things. There are several positives about him. For starters he has such a cute face, it feels as if I am looking at a dog's pup. :)
• India
18 Jan 10
Hi vandy.. even i have a grandpa with the same behavior as your dad.. But i can tell you one thing seriously that your father is far better than my grandpa... some times i get so much irritated that i should throw him out of the house.. But my heart doesn't agree for that... Being so much old and doesn't listen to anyone... playing childish
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
5 Feb 10
Hi ajayrocks, someday you are also going to be somebody's grandpa! he he. Anyway, I remember you want to have one child, and adopt the other one. :) Ok - my papa is better than many people most of the time. As I was mentioning 30 percent of the time he is not taking medicines, and in process losing his temper. He can really get mad at such times. :) I aint getting any younger either. So we both end up fighting, which is not good for both of us! The doctor has just given up! She feels this man is spoiling her reputation by behaving like this!
@amonyel (122)
• Hong Kong
18 Jan 10
Sorry to hear about the difficult situation you're currently in. I am also facing similar difficulties recently: My father is 60+ and recently he suspected himself to have developed Diabetes just because he constantly feels thirsty. When we asked him to see the doctor to check it out, he refused and said there's no need to see a doctor because he's certain he has Diabetes and the doctor would only tell him how bad it is. So instead of visiting the doctor to confirm or negate this suspicion, he keeps drinking water the whole day to quench his thirst. He also changed his eating habit, by curbing all meat and carbohydrates, he now only eats vegetables and drinks a lot of water and soup! He keeps on complaining about his thirst and says he will soon die. My family and I are so fed up with him. And this is what we do now: we tell him not to complain anything unless he goes see the doctor. If he doesn't see a doctor to confirm/negate his worries, he's not in the right position to complain about anything. We just ignore his complaints and keep talking him into visiting the doctor. Not sure if this approach works in your family, but I do hope that your father's situation will soon improve.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
5 Feb 10
Actually my papa is good 70 percent of the time. :) It is the 30 percent that is tough. :) He doesnt take medicines and shouts at everybody. When asked to take medicines he gets angry, when asked to meet doctors, he gets angry. He has both diabetes and hypertension. To top it all, he can get really mad when he hears the news. I think people in media should not provoke responses such that elderly feel agitated and excited. :(
@firemom31 (599)
• United States
18 Jan 10
I can certainly sympathize with your situation, and it is a tough spot to be in. My father was the same way, insisting on doing things that were unsafe. As a family, we decided that we would warn him of the consequences, and then step back. When I put myself in his place, I would rather do what I want and shorten my life, than be miserable and live longer. I also work with geriatric patients and see this kind of family struggle all of the time. The best thing you can do is make sure the doctor knows what he is taking, and what he is not. It will do you no good to fuss with him about it, and it will only taint the time you have left with him. I feel that elderly individuals have a right to stop taking medicine, having tests, etc., if they choose. Many have told me that they are tired of living and are unconcerned with the consequences of medical noncompliance, just as long as they can make their own choices. Even though the outcome may not be good, it is their choice. I know that this is a very difficult thing for families, to let their loved one make choices that will shorten their lives, but sometimes it is truly what they want. Once you have done everything you can to convince them, all you can do is love them.
• United States
18 Jan 10
Let him get away with it. Hello, since when has it been right to "tackle" old people. They, if anyone, deserve to do what they want and how they want it as long as they are not jeopardizing other people's safety.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
31 Jan 10
Hi aGirlGreek, it seems I have offended you. I didn't mean tackling my papa, I meant tackling the problem! Sorry! Well, you are talking about people's safety, so let me just tell you this, my papa doesnt take his medicines, then he goes on road, somebody overtakes him, then my papa gets mad at him, and keeps on grumbling. At times, he races right up to that person and scolds him there. That I believe is because he doesn't take his blood pressure medication. Similarly, things that need to be told to him on day to day basis can become tough at times. He can suddenly flare up. At times even flare up at the maid. Luckily, my maid understands. But at times it is tough for her as well. So I think the least anybody can do is to take medicines.
@Cutie18f (9563)
• Philippines
18 Jan 10
That's hard. It is not easy to argue with an old man. In our place we believe that old people have certain feelings. They are very sensitive, are easily hurt and can be paranoid at times. That is why he is trying to make it hard for you with his medicines. You need all the patience you have in order to be able to live with them harmoniously.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
31 Jan 10
Hi Cutie, yes, old people are very sensitive. It is easier to handle a child because the child tends to forget the scoldings. But old people hold it and mull over it and cry. Since they dont have much to do partially because of their phsyical inability, and failing mental and sensory capabilities every word gets magnified. I do understand their predicament. But my predicament is still worse. I cant afford to lose him. He is my only link to the world! I need him around. He should understand that, isn't it? Normally he does. But there are a few times when it is very difficult to convince him. It was in one of those moments that I snapped. I am sorry I snapped. Too much of love can also be bad. :(
@yugasini (12816)
• Anantapur, India
18 Jan 10
hi vandana, that is common in old ages,some people will do like that,my mother also having more than 75 years,but she is not like childish,she alright,regarding your father some people will be like their,we have to pacify them and tell them about the things and happenings if they does not take medicines like that,donot irritate them let them behave like that,that is the only we can do for him,have a nice dau
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
31 Jan 10
I think yugasini, women dont become like that. It is only men who behave like that. Yeah, they need a lot of pacifying for sure. I dont like to irritate him at all! It is he who does it! I just snap when I have enough on my hands. :) But I guess, I do need to be more patient with him. :) Thanks for the tips. :) Hope I can be a nice daughter. :)
@bird123 (10486)
• United States
17 Jan 10
Can't you win a person over quicker with honey than a stick???? Extra love and attention should help. Give him something to win. If you take your medicine, I'll do something special. Still stubborn?? How about do it for me?? Don't you love me anymore???? A few tears might even turn the tide.If none of this works, figure a way to put it in food. No one turns down that favorite desert even if the medicine is mixed in. Hope this helps and maybe gives you a few ideas. We just have to out think our kids even if they are 75 and our parents.
1 person likes this
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
31 Jan 10
Hi bird, this gentleman - he gets too much of honey I think. He periodically needs to be shown that he is loved and others are concerned about him. It makes his ego feel good I think. Normally he is a like a nice little baby gulping anything that is anywhere near his mouth. But at times, thankfully rarely, he can be like this. And as to doing something special, he leaves me nothing that I can do special. It is him all the way. LOL. If I say dont you love me anymore, he says, ok if you love me just leave the room. lol. Tears dont affect this man, because i think he is actually waiting to see some and feel good about it. I guess he feels indispensable then, and so he tends to prolong that phase. Deserts yeah. And he is diabetic. :( Lets just say - these moments are 3 out of 10 now, earlier they used to be 1 out of 10. But eventually he does come to his senses. Like on the following day, he took the medicine so sheepishly, I felt immensely relieved. :) Some moments with baby parents. :)
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
17 Jan 10
Your dad sounds exactly like my father-in-law! I think they get to an age where they think of themselves the same as they always were, yet are suffering the reality that their body is starting to betray them. Most no longer work, some friends may have passed on, the world around them is certainly changing whether they want it to or not, some no longer feel needed. Refusing to take medications, or not following doctors instructions are attempts to still have some control over themselves. It's sad because the desire for independance causes them to make choices that aren't always good for them. Have you spoken to his doctor about not taking the medicines? It may not be critical if he misses a dose, other medications require that all doses are taken. Does your dad still have a social life outside of your home? Is there some activities that can be his responsibility? Are there any senior centers where he can interact with others in his age group, maybe even spark a little romantic interest? That would give you respite if you are his caretaker. It's hard not to treat them like the children they are acting like, isn't it?
1 person likes this
@dentabz (142)
• Philippines
7 Jun 10
I cannot relate you totally because that has not been happen to my parents nor my relatives. Truly, if I am in this situation and it always happen almost every day I will feel irritated, and get angry because we are only human. What the most thing that I should do is to have more patience, I must understand even the un understandable circumstances. After all, he is my father and my love for him makes me that patience to endure.
@vandana7 (64820)
• India
1 Jul 10
Yeah it is damn hard! But it is 20 percent or so of my life. It is increasing that is my concern. I tend to forgive myself whenever I get irritated. He is also right at times, but because of such behavior I often tend to ignore whatever he says. I must reduce my prejudicial view. Hope god gives me patience. :) Thank you for responding dentabz. :) I didnt receive any notification. So I could not respond earlier. :) Welcome to mylot. :)