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My father is 87 years old, works out at a gym everyday. He lives with his brother, and I live with them pretty much 10 months out of the year. They're in OH, and I live in CA.
I think I have the opposite problem of the majority of children who take care of their parents. My dad handed over his car keys three years ago, and even his doctors felt it was too soon, that my dad was fine to drive.
My father is overly cautious about walking, showering, etc. to the point where it's affecting his quality of life.
He thinks he's cognitively impaired. He's not. His short term memory is better than mine. I'm 48.
I'm pretty sure he has an elderly based anxiety disorder, and his doc agrees. But my dad won't take the med prescribed to alleviate some of these symptoms. My father is a retired physician, and sometimes I think that he's so caught up in his age, and his knowledge regarding that statistic. I just don't know what to do. This is affecting my marriage, but I'm the only one left. I lost my sister and mom to breast cancer over 10 years ago. My uncle and cousins are completely useless. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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When I worked full time and dealth weekly with multiple funding deadlines, I fund that kava kava was an excellent aid that enabled me tofocus enough to get my work done, and also to sleep without having my mind "working" all night on those issues! Kava comes in both capsule and pilll form. Very mild - but I could feel it work and wear off.
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Hksant,

I recommend you help your father try non-drug treatments for anxiety. They generally have a good track record and work as well as medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been studied, and also mindfulness. The website Helpguide.org has some good pages on non-drug treatment of anxiety, although I'm not sure any of them are aging-specific.

Re medications, those that "take the edge off" are usually sedatives and tranquilizers which have been shown to increase fall risk and dementia risk. So your dad would be right to want to avoid those.

Another class of medications sometimes used to treat anxiety are the SSRIs like Zoloft. These are often used in older adults, although some research shows they might increase fall risk a little bit.

Anxiety and worry is a huge quality of life issue for older adults, and is potentially bad for long-term brain health as well. So I'm glad you are trying to find help for him. If he can develop some non-drug approaches to managing his worries, this will pay off for the rest of his life. Good luck!
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Hksant, I know it's tough when they're so smart and won't do what they used to do. My dads brother kept saying "He has the right to refuse any treatment " they brought me to FL to help, then undermined me every step of the way. Dad has a big cancer on his cheek, thought he had a detaching vitreous, and prostate cancer...I was there 5 mos before the bath, and 7 mos before he had a crisis that took him to the ER.

I assume you've hit a brick wall, so sad as it seems you might have to go home and just await a crisis. Take care of your marriage.
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Devidas,

Thanks for the experimentation. Every little bit of information helps. And thanks for the tip on magnesium.
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OTC meds, not medal. Auto correct goofed.
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Check with his doc for OTC medal or RX.
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By the way, there is no way my dad will entertain aroma therapy. Personally, I'm a big believer in that. But no smelly candles for dad. And he would also never take magnesium supplements. He's so freaking paranoid at this point.
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Lisac, you are sooo right! Yes, I have asked my father on numerous occasions with respect to what's going on in his head. We've had a casual, close relationship since birth (mine). My dad will ask a question, and I'll answer it. An hour later he'll ask the same question, BUT he's fully aware that he asked that question an hour prior and knows the answer. How do I know this? Well, I threaten to have his doc order all kinds of MRIS to check for dementia, and my dad will fess up to remembering asking that question and knowledge of the answer.
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Good idea, Veronica. Cinnamon is also nice, and cheaper than lavender oil.
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The thing that comes to mind is aroma therapy. If you think this might be helpful it would be easy to introduce without upsetting him. I am not knowledgeable in this area but lavender comes to mind because I love the smell.
Is it possible to declutter the house so that things are more streamlined and painted in neutral colors.
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If your dad easily gets upset, you probably won't want to say or do anything that upsets him. Pay close attention to what upsets him and watch for his triggers. Avoid those triggers as much as possible
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My father's 97, takes only one prescription pill for a cardiac condition. If he gets anxious he takes a nap or reads woodworking magazines and plans projects. He'll probably never make them, but he's always planning. And he helps me with conceptualizing the projects I plan. He still can articulate more about woodworking than I ever knew.

His cardiac doctor doesn't believe in prescribing pain meds and doesn't, but he does recommend specific vitamins.

Although my father's had 2 hip fractures, he's managed his care well enough that he's now walking without a walker, even though I would prefer that he at least use his rollator.

These folks in their 80s and 90s went through more than we could ever imagine when they survived the Great Depression and WWII. We could learn a lot from them. They're survivors, but not in the sense of the egocentrics who appear on those silly tv programs.

I do understand that it's difficult for you when you're in different states, but I think your father and his brother have created a lifestyle that is working well for them. I would ask how you could help and support him, rather than take the approach that his care is amiss because he won't take some med.

It's hard for me to write this without sounding critical, which is not my intent. It's rather to emphasize that as others have written, there are solutions which aren't medication dependent. Be open to your father's opinion, work with him and I think you'll find it more rewarding than taking the opinion that you and a doctor are in a position to recommend a med which your father doesn't feel he needs.
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I'm going to side with your father. Without being critical, he knows more about medicine than you do. And he knows more about his own body and medical issues as well. And if he doesn't want to take anti-anxiety meds, that's his right to make that choice.

When he was in med school and practicing medicine later, he was probably of the generation that hadn't yet seen medications as the solution to all problems. Many younger doctors seems to have this view- first choice for any problem is never something natural or a lifestyle change; it's always medicine.

I've been appalled when I've learned that people my age are already taking medicine "to take the edge off life."

I admire and support your father; I think a lot could be learned from him but I also support his right not to be medicated by someone with less medical knowledge than he has, notwithstanding that you believe you have his best interests at heart.

Why not have a nice discussion with him sometime about this issue to clear the air?
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I didn't say good luck, and hugs. We failed plenty, and sometimes flipped out at the failures, and Dad (true to form) refused to see an MD until he had a crisis and I had to call an ambulance. You can bet I wasn't calm then, or all the time.

Good luck with your marriage! Hugs
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As an MD, you can bet he stopped driving because he was monitoring his performance, and found it lacking. Be glad. My Dad only quit driving when he was in a crash.

Have you tried asking your Dad to explain what's going on inside his brain as if he were talking to another MD? His anxieties are probably very awareness and performance based, rather than non-specific.

If he can, or is willing to be as specific as possible, and you can listen and take notes like his student - that's a comfortable role for most MDs.

I also was calm and inquisitive, which are also prized in their world. Is he keeping up to date on medical advances with that MD radio-channel? If not, he might like to get one. I wish I could give you a link, but I don't have one.

If he knew of the new medicines available and advances he might feel more hopeful, etc...

Also, what vitamins are being used? Sublingual B12, Bcomplex with C and multivitamins helped until Dad got a diagnosis.

I hope some of this is useful. Nothing was perfect or guaranteed or lasted forever.
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My Dad's a retired surgeon, with Parkinson's, Lewy Body Dememtia and mini-strokes. He started trying to give me a 'heads up' when he turned 65 and recognized the earliest changes in his brain function. We did the "well, gosh you're so smart and accomplished, you've got a lot more brain left than most people start with!" It was no comfort to him at all.

He also started to let his hygiene slide, because he was afraid of slips and falls, and didn't have the grip to clip his nails anymore, but he was fiercely independent and modest and didn't want to ask for help.

We got him to bathe with our (me and my brother) assistance only after an argument when I told him "well, I've been told this could be seen as prosecutable elder neglect. Either you bathe with us, or a nurse I know has said she'll come by and bathe you. I'm not going to jail for anybody!"

Rather dramatic, but I was upset, and I believed it at the time. He bathed with a bit of outside the open door supervision, probably to avoid the humiliation of a stranger getting involved in his hygiene, and later told me the neglect wasn't because he didn't care, but because of failing sight and grip, and fear of slipping.

We switched from tub to standby-supervision shower with a little bath chair, and this worked well for a while, but we had a male (my brother) to help. He wouldn't accepted shower help from me (daughter). We also found out just how much assistance he needed. He'd been working very hard to maintain a facade of normalcy.
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I went back and read again and saw your dad works out at the gym every day. That is a good thing. I am guessing that his brother takes him?
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After my dad retired, he pretty much resigned from life. He was 70 at the time. He spent the next 20 years of his life waiting for God. He started to avoid driving when he was around 75, then stopped completely at about 80. He had become too afraid to drive. He avoided any kind of medical care. Occasionally we could get him to the doctor, but Dad didn't seem to have any real desire to live anymore. He spent the last 10-15 years of his life sitting in a chair by the window, only getting up to go to bed or the bathroom or to get a treat out of the dining room. He was almost 91 when he died. They found vascular dementia and Alzheimer's, but I think the main problem was that his blood vessels were clogged. Vessel damage could have lead to the brain damage.

It is rather amazing when someone quits living after they retire. I wonder how they can live so long doing nothing at all. My father became fearful of walking outside after he fell once. So he stayed inside in his chair looking out the window. He avoided walking, although he could. He stopped showering unless we made him. He expected to be waited on for meals. He didn't serve himself.

So much elder life is wasted by doing nothing at all. My mother is going down the same road, but her window is the TV.
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Great suggestions about supplements and essential oils. Is your father getting enough natural fats in his diet? Lack of natural dietary fat can lead to brain disorders. Putting coconut oil in or on his food might help. Even butter from grass-fed cows (like Kerry Gold) might help. One can also put coconut oil and/or butter in one's coffee or tea. (I make a hot cocoa using butter and coconut oil, instead of milk).
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I agree with using supplements like magnesium, also valerian is calming herb. A good quality b complex vitamin, are all important for anyone with anxiety. As a mental health counselor and aging life care professional I keep a weighted blanket in my office. You can order one based on his weight. I bought mine on sensacalm.com. I use it with clients who have trauma, anxiety, those on the spectrum and with dementia. The weight of the blanket feels like a hug and helps people to feel more grounded. I have clients who use the weighted blanked a few hours a day, while they are watching, relaxing or praying. It helps those with dementia relax. I personally find it too heavy to sleep under it but some people do. I use it with trauma and anxiety clients in sessions and the always do deeper emotional work wrapped in the blanket. It really is a calming tool,
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I would start defusing Young Living essential oils, like the Stress Away blend or Peace & Calming. The work wonders on relaxing the mind and body. Its a way to accomplish what you are seeking together with a fight and its non invasive.
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I just did some experimentation. The Magnesium Threonate can be taken with or without meals. It does not mix well with hot water (coffee), some mixing, maybe you could keep at it and work it in. Not sure I even taste it.

The Dr Amens has a taste, not pleasant but not objectionable. It does mix in hot water. Directions say to take with water on empty stomach.
You can read the reviews for each. There are non pharmaceutical alternatives that can help, that add specific nutrients already in the body and the mineral magnesium. I do know that xanex is wonderful for relieving anxiety, but also know that it depresses cognitive abilities, not good to do long term.

Might be a good idea to check with his dctr in case anything is contraindicated, etc...

My health practitioner friend also takes the magnesium throughout the day to reduce her ongoing anxiety. I just take it just before bed....
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Can you slip it into his coffee or smoothie, something he drinks every day?
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In my case I use supplements to calm anxiety so I can sleep. Magnesium in the form of magnesium threonate (after much experimentation with the many other formulations. Try dr amen product 'calming support' which has just supplements for day and night support. There is a different form of magnesium in it, but it his combo works. Good luck!
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