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My partner is 23. His dad is the one we are caring for, he is 74 years old. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis on top of heart disease last year, and has had unmanaged diabetes for 10 years.


Lately, his dad has become a bit of a bitter man, which is understandable. But, he's taking his anger out on the people trying to help him: his wife, his son, and me. All he wants to do is watch tv all day long and drink. If anyone suggests something else, such as going to physical therapy, taking his medication, or drinking less, he'll say, "Can't you see I'm just trying to enjoy what little time I have left?". The other day, he told my partner to bring him 3 donuts and beer. When my partner refused, his dad yelled at him, "I'm dying! I'll be dead soon, and when I'm gone, you'll be sorry for treating me this way!" He does the same to my partner's mom too. He guilt trips them into getting his way when all they were trying to do in the first place was keep him around as long as possible. When he answers a sales call, he yells into the phone "I'm dying! Don't waste any more of my time!" and my partner's mom leaves the room crying.


To me, it seems he's clearly upset and depressed at the prospect of dying. However, he's doing a fine job of getting there in as little time as possible. He won't go to physical therapy or do the exercises, he won't be proactive in eating healthy and doing all he can. He does nothing to help himself. How can I convince him that a longer life would be worth the effort? It seems he's choosing instant gratification (donuts and skipping exercise) over long term goals (a longer life expectancy and a better quality of life)

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With his behavior he is hastening his demise. I wouldn't argue with the guy. As stated above, make the time he has more livable. Pulmonary fibrosis is a terrible disease. I took care of someone with this disease and he couldn't eat 3 doughnuts or drink a beer if he wanted to, he is so short of breath. I imagine he is probably on prednisone for PF, which can effect his mood and cause his sugars to be out of control. He will end up in the hospital soon enough and then you will probably have to place him.
Is he not on oxygen now?
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Unmanaged diabetes can really take a toll on a body....and for 10 years...I'd wonder if he has cognitive decline. Has anyone noticed other odd behavior? Vascular dementia can result with untreated medical conditions.

I might implore him to at least consider taking a medication for depression. Sometimes that can cause a person to give up on life. But, if he's competent, it's up to him and if he refuses, there's not much you can do, except keep him comfortable and let his condition progress.
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Is he dying? Well, we are all dying, aren't we? But I mean has he been given a prognosis of death within two years or something like that?

Regardless of whether or not it has been officially proclaimed, this man sees himself as dying soon. That impacts different people in different ways. (I think if I were given that diagnosis I would spend as much time with people I love or like, and eat as many donuts as possible!)

How about making suggestions other than "do therapy" and "take meds." How about focusing on making his life pleasant, and (without harping on it) showing that there are some things to live for.

What if one or two or all three of you sit down with him and watch a tv show that you like (or at least can tolerate) and share a big bowl of popcorn and maybe one beer with him? Laugh together at the stupid commercials, or make comments about the plot. Be together! Maybe go to a movie -- that at least gets him out of the house.

Or "Dad, I know you don't want to play golf anymore, but will you come with me to the driving range and give me some pointers?" (Same for bowling or fishing or needlepoint -- whatever his interest is or used to be.)

Invite some of his old pals for a backyard barbecue. Or help Dad set up a poker game. Think of things that would engage him. Bring in his favorite fast food (not everyday). All of you go out to a restaurant that has his favorite kind of food. While you are menu-planning for the week, ask him to suggest two desserts.

Is there a big box of old photographs tucked away somewhere? Could one of you sit with him and have him identify as many of the people as he can? And perhaps engage in some conversation about them?

I wouldn't wait on him hand and foot and I wouldn't treat him like his life is the only important one in the house. I wouldn't try to convince him that life is worth living -- I would concentrate on making it meaningful right now.

Bloom where you are planted now.
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Right now he does not want a better quality of life or a longer life. He's sick and he's done with it. If you can't get him to take medications the only thing you can do is leave him to it until he crashes. All the family is doing is making life miserable for themselves. Next time he gets admitted to the hospital then will be the time for an intervention. Comfort your Mom and see if she will agree to counciling and maybe anti anxiety medication or an antidepressant. At least this will help her cope. Same for your partner everyone is getting enmeshed with a very sick man who is going to die in the not too distant future.
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