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Hi there,

I need help figuring out how to deal with my father. Two years ago he suffered a stroke and has since been partially paralyzed on his left side. When he was at the hospital the doctors found out he had diabetes and high cholesterol. They put him on six different medications including anti depressants since he had a very hard time accepting he became disabled from the stroke and kept denying it was serious.

After he was released they put him in a center so he could undergo physiotherapy to try and recover some strength on his left side. He stayed there for three months until they released him and he came home. At first, everything seemed fine, he took his medications, did his exercises and tested his blood sugar. But eventually he started refusing to do certain things like not testing on some days or not taking one or two of the medications. We urged him not do this since it would make his recovery a lot harder and take longer but he didn't listen. We couldn't force him to do things either, he is a grown man who has the right to make decisions that affect his life.

He started not taking his diabetes seriously and went from refusing insulin shots that he had to take daily to consuming more than normal amounts of sugar. It came to the point where he took and hid away so much sugar that we started hiding and covering the sugar in inconspicuous locations. He has not taken an insulin shot in over a year or taken any of his meds. He also refuses to see his family doctor and gets quite angry when we suggest it. He continues to eat and hide food that is unhealthy and not intended for him to eat. Even if we hide it from him, he spends his free time searching everywhere when we're not home. He has stopped showering regularly and suffers from bowel movement problems. We can clearly see that his health is deteriorating yet he continues to ignore it.

The bowel problems became so bad for him he demanded to be admitted to the hospital for them twice. The second time we weren't willing to take him since he pretty much refused help after realizing they had to do certain tests so he called 911 himself... which resulted in the same situation.

It is like my father has lost a sense of common sense and has mental instability with his confusing random acts and addiction to sugar and tissue paper. My mom and my brother are stressed so much by him and having to deal with his messes. My mom, especially, since she has to work full time and has little time to spare. He won't listen to anything anyone says even if we repeat it many times, not even his doctor's word is good enough. We simply cannot deal with his lies, denials and lack of recognition for how serious this situation really is. But we can't just throw him out or put him in a nursing home. He's not 65 years old yet and nor do we have the money for that. We do not know what other options there are. My father is pretty much awaiting death and torturing his family until he passes.

We also live in Canada, any help is appreciated, thank you.

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You can't. He is an adult and has patients rights to refuse treatment and medication. Personally, I would never allow anyone to inject me with insulin either, because I have a severe phobia of needles. I told my doctor that I'd rather die than shoot up for the rest of my life...in my opinion that is no quality of life and I couldn't live like that.
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We have the same problem in our family! My husband, 65 years old, refuses to take his health seriously. in fact, he had a minor stroke 8 years ago and fortunately without any physical damage. However and whenever something upset him he refuses to take his medicine as a first reaction. I've been struggling with that for 8 years. I thought the help of a psychiatrist who identified a depression and gave him an antidepressant. He also refuses to take it. I found myself unable to deal with it anymore. I also need help!
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Hi. All of these answers a great. I have no more advice to you except that you remember to take care of yourselves and know that you are not alone in this. My dadf was much the same way. In time, it turned itself around & he is into "health & the latest health news" now. Things get worse before they get better lots of times. Hugs & prayers to you & your family. You are all doing a bang up job & need to goive youreselves a pat on thew back. Take care! Blou
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation. My father had problems breathing at night but he did not believe me nor did he care and refused to see a Dr. I put a tape recorder under his bed one night. I replayed the tape to him in the morning and he was shocked at how bad his breathing was. That tape recording made him change his mind and we took him to the hospital. It turned out he had lung cancer. There are a few things you can try - if possible - to try and change your father's behavior.
(1) If possible, make a video recording of his behavior(s) - ( without his knowledge) - using a camcorder or camera and hook it up to the TV. Tell your father there is something you would like him to watch on TV. If he views the video, it may change some of his behavior.
(2) Find out if your health insurance or community services will provide a psychologist or a psychiatrist that will make home visits. It seems like your father is suffering from depression and acting out his anger regarding his health. It seems like he has given up.
(3) See if any of his medications can be crunched up and put in his food or drinks without his knowledge.
You may have already tried some or all of my suggestions. Whatever the case, I wish you and your family well. Don't give up hope. Pray for direction. God Bless !
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While I agree completely that he should be able to decide for himself whether he want to live or not, he should be in is right mind when he makes that decision. It doesn't sound to me like he is. Perhaps a NH and some meds to make sure he is mentally sound enough to make such an important decision.
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I agree with GardenArtist, he has a death wish. Acknowledge that to him "You want to die don't you?" is the opening question and then ask him why doesn't he just throw away ALL the meds? Why do this halfway? And then listen to him vent his frustration. I told my MIL at one point "Let's just dump the whole pill box. It will all be over in 48 hours. Is that what you want?" and let her rip.
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In my 60 years, I have seen a lot of men who don't take their diabetes seriously and health seriously. This is a case of self neglect. You can report self neglect to Adult Protective Services and they will send a social worker out to advise you and set up a care plan if he chooses to have you involved. Otherwise, you might have to pay a lawyer to get Conservatorship when he needs to be in a home. Also, let him have a choice on how he wants to go; does he want "death with dignity" or anything like that? If he states wishes like that, you can contact the Final Exit Network or Compassionate Choices to discuss with him his choices. Everyone should have the right to refuse all care and go with dignity, if that's how they want it. You have rights too; you should not have to put up with bowel problems that are untreated and ignored if you don't want to. Medicaid may pay for a nursing home for him. If he is continually making bad decisions, he may be incompetent mentally and you might have to force him with conservatorship into a nursing home. There are younger people in there all the time. Ask him what his wishes are.
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We can relate to the parent not taking their health serious my wife's mother sees the doctor and he tells her she is doing well but when you ask her how she is doing she will reply the doctor told her she is not doing very good and she should try and exercise more. I would like to know how many other caregivers have this same problem?
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I realize this is harder than hard, but you may resort to a nursing home in which case he still has the right to refuse any meds,procedures,etc.He has that right.The situation cannot be forced , he may decide to change his mind one day ,hopefully soon, but as I said he has the right to refuse frustrating as it is.Sure the stroke may have damaged some parts of the brain that deal with judgment and reasoning ,but he still has that right to refuse care.Good luck and God bless.
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Thank you all for your kind and helpful responses. My dad is turning 63. Vascular dementia does indeed sound like something he has as he often forgets dates and believe people knock on the door in the middle of the night (which he goes opens sometimes).

We cook him food that caters to his diabetes but he doesn't think it tastes as good as "normal" food so he adds flavors or makes his own when we're not around. An example was a few days ago he used up a whole can of coconut milk intended for baking. We asked him what he used it for and he outright denied he used it and even said we probably did. He's told us multiple times that his diabetes has gone away, but from what I've read, it doesn't just go away.

I didn't know palliative care was eligible for people not on the verge of passing. My only experience with palliative care was when my grandfather had late stages of lung cancer. I will look into those organizations and see if I can get in contact with them since my dad's family doctor is unhelpful.

Thank you everyone!
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Many parents may not take advice from their children seriously, place them in a professional sitting and the information will be more meaningful
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I agree with everyone here. But for one or two things I could have written this letter as well. I will not take drugs for cholesterol, especially if it is a statin. He comes across as self-destructive and needs help as suggested above. A low carb diet will help with his diabetes.
Its very difficult, for when it gets worse, you have to deal with it, as we do.
Its often annoying because some things can be prevented.
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p.s. love all the answers you got esp martinrice. Great input from someone who (and I believe 76 is not all that old' is 'there'. I'm 63 and already I'm feeling 'old' both physically and socially. Younger people treat you as if you're a dinosaur and the older ones tell you that you're still 'young' There doesn't seem to be a place for older, ill people in this country, despite all the politically correct 'isms' we have to obey, nobody obeys 'ageism'.
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High sugar numbers can affect (and did affect) my mother's health to a point of paranoia. She, too, complained of constipation, and three separate times was taken to the ER with these complaints. They found she was not constipated, and placed her in the geriatric/psyche ware (for those who've heard the story before, I'm sorry to keep repeating it), where she was given the Montreal Cognitive Exam (correct me if I'm wrong with the name). She didn't pass. It was then she started alluding to live people as being dead, etc., etc. Not until she was placed on psychiatric meds did she stop talking about the delusions. I don't know how much of this was 'learned' behavior, i.e., she didn't like it there, etc., or how much were a result of the meds, but the behavior stopped, her sugar was still high (she was on a sliding scale insulin in the hospital which I was angry about, i.e. she was still eating awful food, i.e., not healthy food, etc., etc.

When I got her home, I started to monitor her health myself. It wasn't until then, that her numbers came down, she started to think more rationally, etc., etc.

She has been diagnosed with vascular dementia along with paranoia and delusional thinking. She's with me now and some days, it's good, others not so much so. For instance, this morning the first thing she said to me other than 'good morning' was "I poobed' (yes, with the 'b'). I tried not to laugh, but I do notice that she couldn't say the word 'poop' well. Which says to me she has the good/bad days.

I don't know whether or not your dad's behavior is a result of him just not wanting to live anymore, etc. What I did was stopped the constant testing of BP and sugar to a point of perhaps once a week because the numbers bothered both her and me. I figure she's on the meds, most of the time the numbers are 'good' or within reasonable limits (you don't say how old your dad is or perhaps I just didn't see it) and it's one less thing she has to 'worry' about.

I give you a hug because it is stressful to see our loved ones get sick. We weren't prepared for this. But if we handle it right, perhaps our kids and/or loved ones will be prepared for our sicknesses/demise and we can serve as good role models for them when our time comes.
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The saddest thing about what you write is what this situation is doing to you, your mother, and your brother. I think your most important task is to try to follow the advice given by Eyerishlass, above; that is:

"All you can do at this point is accept that this is the way it is. This would be a much easier path than fighting him on every little thing, trying to convince him that he's not taking his health seriously. He knows he's not taking it seriously and he doesn't care and unfortunately there's nothing that can be done about it."

Looking at what might be your father's point of view, I can identify with him. I'm 76 and have all the usual ailments. In my case, however, I take my medications religiously and all my problems are totally controlled allowing me to live a full and enjoyable life.

However, when things eventually begin to go downhill, as they invariably must as we age, I have no desire to hang on. I'll want to get out of here as soon as I can. I've stipulated that at that point all I want is palliative care, as one of the commenters suggested you get for your father. He has the right to go when he wants to. By providing him with palliative care you can help him make that final journey more easily. At the same time you and your mother and brother will know that you're doing what he wants and you'll be in a much better place without the necessity to continue the difficult struggle you're engaged in.
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I am not a fan of cholesterol drugs which have many side effects, but his insulin needs to be under control. However, it sounds like he is beginning to show signs of dementia which will affect his thinking rationally. I would also check his thyroid since it controls everything in his endocrine system. If he has another fecal impaction, send him to the hospital and there have him evaluated by a neurologist and psychiatrist. Once a full diagnosis is made your mother will have a better idea of what she is dealing with in your father. Do not let this go on. He is clearly on a path of destruction, and this is grounds for in patient hospitalization. Best wishes!
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With stroke can come vascular dementia which is what it sounds like you are dealing with. Your dad can not be reasoned with as is the way this disease goes. All you can do is try to keep him safe (as is reasonable) and perhaps sneak some of his more important meds in some apple sauce or pudding. You really don't have much if any control at this point and may need to look at nursing homes where they are adept at handing multiple health issues. So sorry you and your family are going through this.
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I could have written your letter. Substitute heart attack for stroke and it would be my letter exactly. We finally found a good doctor when he had his heart attack and was taken by ambulance. Your dad is showing classic signs of dementia. Addictions to sugar are cravings by the brain since it is lacking its essential nutrients due to the dementia. Obsessions with tissue paper and searching for things endlessly are also signs. His health is a mess. He won't acknowledge it. This will not get better. It will get worse. You need to get him to a doctor that can help you place him in a facility that can handle these issues. I am not sure how Canada works, but, here in the US, he can get assistance to help with the cost. The staff at a facility will be trained in his behaviors. This should not be your financial burden and he is not happy with the way things are. It will be for everyone's benefit if you can find a doctor to help you move the process along. Good luck. It has been one year for us and each day is still a challenge, but, we at least have our home back and we can seek refuge there. The facility he is in is wonderful and he has come to tolerate living there just fine.
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Maybe we should introduce your dad to my mom! LOL She does the same things. Even though she lives in AL, she doesn't always take the meds she's suppose to take. I reached out to a friend that's a nurse with the elderly and she recommended an organization called Paradigm that has palliative treatments, home health care and Hospice. Medicare covers the cost. They work with my mom. It has helped both her and me. Try Googling "Palliative Treatment" or "Palliative Health Care". There should be some organizations in your area that will come to his home to help out. Good luck.
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Just my opinion but I think your father has made the decision not to fight for survival but rather to hasten his demise. His actions support that rather than trying to have a good quality of life.

I write this with some sadness as I can sense your deep concern and frustration and wish there were some way to overcome your father's unhealthy behavior.

I've seen it in a few other diabetic patients as well. One eventually refused dialysis, announcing that he'd had enough and was tired of it.

Compounded by the stroke, everything just may be too much for your father to handle and still try to find a decent quality of life as well.

I would still hide the sugar but wouldn't pressure him on health issues as he'll only resist. You might even try to have a heart to heart talk with him explaining your concern, and ask how he himself feels about living with his conditions.
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You may have no choice but to put him in a nursing home. He is slowly killing himself by not taking his insulin or his meds and eating all that sugar. He will bring you all down with him if you let it. I know it's hard but remember it can also affect your health with the stress he is putting all of you under. I wish you luck.
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There's no way you can get your dad to take his health seriously. I'm sure you've tried everything. He's a diabetic and has refused insulin for a year. This is not a man who is going to take responsibility for his health. Maybe it's denial. It sounds like he also has some anger and resentment. But there's nothing you can do about it. You can keep hiding food from him but you're fighting a losing battle.

All you can do at this point is accept that this is the way it is. This would be a much easier path than fighting him on every little thing, trying to convince him that he's not taking his health seriously. He knows he's not taking it seriously and he doesn't care and unfortunately there's nothing that can be done about it.
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