denial

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how do you tell your 90y/o dad that recently i have been seeing a decline in his motor skills and getting weaker physically.
the hard part for my wife and is that it is hard part is the frustation because he is in denial on a lot of issues driving, perfection (he has to have everything perfect) , and it seems there in no end to try ing to satisfy things that are not that much of a priorety ,like what time to start the dishwasher. help us gain our sanity

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Unfortunately, I know exactly what you are going through. I had the same with my mother and father. My mother, a very independent and stubborn type is and was the same way. She just would not hear of any changes. I had to wait. I just wanted to put a gate across the basement steps so she wouldn't fall down them. Well, she fell down and I found her at the bottom of the steps. She had slight damage to the brain, but, then I was able to get her into assisted living. But, I had to move fast. With these very stubborn types, I think it takes an accident, before they will listen. I tried everything else.
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Denial is powerful. It blocks reality, and confuses things. I grew up with it, and now see it gaining momentum. It puts us in a precarious position at times. Mom is losing her physical abilities, and some mental ones. So sad, and she's increasing in anger and bitterness against her Caregiver (me). It bothers me and makes me question and second guess myself. Stubborn is polite terminology for what we're experiencing. Know you're not alone, Robert. (We have 3 in decline.) I like the title to your thread. Seems many have to deal with similiar circumstances. The learning curve is great. Take care, all.
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Hi Robert
I recently completed my "tour of duty" like you describe and can identify with most of the issues you face. Can only offer some of the things I now reflect back on and hope they work for you...
1. Don't lose your perspective. Your dad's stubborn denial will cause you to start doubting yourself. Prevent that by reminding yourself that sometimes real love is as cold and hard as steel. So always give yourself the "regret" test. Some years from now when dad is gone, will I look back with regret and be telling myself that I shoulda, coulda, woulda done this or that. Or will I pat myself on the back knowing that I did the best I could with what I had.
2. Follow the guidelines given by Lovingdaughter because she is right on the money: Legal first, then medical, then financial. Take care of those matters ASAP in that order. Otherwise you will spend all of your caregiver energy shadow boxing and live in regret once your dad passes.
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I praise all who are committed to serving and helping those who can no longer make the wisest choices for themselves. My mother had many serious ailments yet lived on her own until she was hospitalized for cancer at 87. We were able to have frank discussion and have plans in place for each phase she might enter. Now seeing my generation stuggle with our other close elders who are stubborn, in denial, or dementia is heartbreaking. Above all else, take care of yourself. There will always be the one child who will carry the burden for the care and well being of a parent. Some are just incapable of handling the emotional, physical, and spiritual draining that can occur. Some are use to another sibling always handling family matters. Keeping a positive attitude that what you are doing is generous and so necessary will one day be rewarding if you do not fall ill yourself. Remember the airline safety instructions - take care of yourself before you can serve others.

Denial - we all do it. Who wants to lose independence, accept the imperfect about yourself, the fraility where vim and vigor once prevailed. Create a contract that outlines each thing that needs to be addressed, a deadline, a synopsis of situation and any forward or backward progress. Have elder, yourself, and one other person sign it with monthly (or whatever) updates. Just as you would a medication list. Include steps that will be taken to bring about a change in the situation. Pictures included whenever possible. This documentation will help remind relative with proof, address their paranoia, forgetfulness, or stubbornness. If you do not have full poa's it will help if you need to take legal measures.
Again, bless you all!
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I praise all who are committed to serving and helping those who can no longer make the wisest choices for themselves. My mother had many serious ailments yet lived on her own until she was hospitalized for cancer at 87. We were able to have frank discussion and have plans in place for each phase she might enter. Now seeing my generation stuggle with our other close elders who are stubborn, in denial, or dementia is heartbreaking. Above all else, take care of yourself. There will always be the one child who will carry the burden for the care and well being of a parent. Some are just incapable of handling the emotional, physical, and spiritual draining that can occur. Some are use to another sibling always handling family matters. Keeping a positive attitude that what you are doing is generous and so necessary will one day be rewarding if you do not fall ill yourself. Remember the airline safety instructions - take care of yourself before you can serve others.

Denial - we all do it. Who wants to lose independence, accept the imperfect about yourself, the fraility where vim and vigor once prevailed. Create a contract that outlines each thing that needs to be addressed, a deadline, a synopsis of situation and any forward or backward progress. Have elder, yourself, and one other person sign it with monthly (or whatever) updates. Just as you would a medication list. Include steps that will be taken to bring about a change in the situation. Pictures included whenever possible. This documentation will help remind relative with proof, address their paranoia, forgetfulness, or stubbornness. If you do not have full poa's it will help if you need to take legal measures.
Again, bless you all!
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I don't mean to take away from RobertF's original discussion but have to respond to some of these comments, We have given the dr many notes and lists, we do go to the appointments with him, the dr. has given him tests for memory, done MRI for Alz,(they do agree that his short term memory is bad but his long term memory is good) they have even sent a worker to his house to check on his well being, they say they have seen much worse and do not deem him unfit enough to be taken from his home - it works for him. I could go on about the physical condition of his house, himself, meds, etc. He won't think of a walker, he has to be forced to use a cane. We did get a power for medical information but haven't been able to talk him into signing a durable poa yet, remember I said stubborn? We are trying - hard. I will get one of the life lines, that is a good thing. I hope these discussions help RobertF and others too.
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Char123,

All of us on these discussions know how difficult being a caregiver is. We empathize with you and are all in the same sinking boat. The only thing that keeps us afloat is commitment to our families and the knowledge that what we are doing is the right thing. Not that any of this is easy, because it isn't. You need to take control. We all know that it is easier said than done. My battle fry is BOUNDARIES!!!! Set them, be kind, but firm. You need to be in the driver seat literally and figuratively. You love your dad, but he is no longer the man who raised you. He is the father who needs you to give him the best care for the last years of his life. This is the hardest job. However, you can make it easier on you and him by following a few steps:

Legal ones come first. Medical comes next. Without the legal paper work, you have no medical clout. Physical custody of your dad be it living with you or being the one in charge is next. Think long and hard about him coming to live with you. I didn't do much thinking. Just packed mom up and brought her here after dad died. BIG MISTAKE. I didn't do my homework. Brother and I have POA, but he does nothing. Brother and I are the beneficiaries of any monies left. He does nothing. So, get it in writing. Life insurance, pre-paid funerals and the such must be taken care of as soon as you can. Who ever is going to be the primary caretaker must have all the control. Believe me, the rats will come out when he is gone. I know that sound just awful, but it is true.

Get a GOOD elder care lawyer. Shop around. Their rates vary and the expensive ones are not always the best!! Learned that one the hard way. Best of luck. We are all here for you.
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Loving daughter is right. You call the doctor and set the stage before your father goes in. He can give him a mental agility test without him really knowing and will make a more informed diagnosis with all of your information in hand. None of us wants to give up our independence. It's a horrible thing. Think how you would feel if someone told you tomorrow that you could no longer drive or live in your home. Bette Davis was right - Getting old isn't for sissies.
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Are you afraid of him falling? Can you get him and walker with all the bells and whistles. Mom's has a tray that she uses as a table. Some have bags that he can carry his stuff such as remotes and telephones from room to room. Mom's has little glides on the bottom to make it easier to move even with from wheels. Get him a bike bell. It is just like driving!! Also, do you have life line for him? Your hospital can give you the information. Mom has one around her neck and she lives with me!!

Do you have POA, if not , get it soon. Get your name on the privacy list that the DR. has and go with him to his appointments. I faxed the DR. all my concerns so that when we showed up for an appointment, he knew the questions and the truth before we got there!!!!!!

We told my dad when he had hospice that if he didn't get a live -in, my brother and I could be charged with elder abuse- did the trick. She moved in the their home in 4 days!!!! Good luck.
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not to make light of your situation but this site helps that when I see these questions, I realize we are not alone. We are going through some of these symptoms too with a family member. Most of the time he can be pretty lucid and to outsiders seems to have it all together - only with the way he talks, everything else is going quickly but like your situation, he is in complete denial. He tells others he is planning a trip to Europe when he can barely walk across the room without hanging on to things. We are trying our best to keep his dignity intact and be respectful but when they are able to lie their way through a doctor's questioning, it is very hard to get others to be involved enough to help with making changes happen. He refuses to leave his home and move closer to family or to move to assisted living. We are at our wits end also but we keep pushing the issues for 1. cleanliness, 2. safety and moving closer. stubborness is a huge hurdle.
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