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My father-in-law is 89 yrs old, but suffers from nothing aside from high blood pressure. In fact, he still drives to the $ store and dr appointment, provided it is close in distance and not on busy streets. If this is the case, my husband takes him. He also rides with us to church, etc., at night. He went to his dr appointment yesterday and received a clean bill of health! When no one is watching, he will walk briskly and upright. As soon as he catches us looking, he will bend over, shuffle his feet and act very feeble. He has even fake stumbled acting like his knee gives out if any of our friends are around. I have seen him stumble for real, and of course want him to be careful, but after living with him for 4 years, you know what is real, what he can and cannot do.

I try to watch as does my husband for any signs of instability. He has none! Except for the normal aches and pains of aging joints (which I think I have more of than him!), my father-in-law is very capable of taking care of himself. There is always a danger of falling or being careless, so we do not leave him alone anymore over a period of time. I work at home so I am here if he would need me, and we don't leave him alone overnight. My husband will go with him from time to time even though he doesn't tell him so, just to make sure he is still driving good. He does perfectly fine! We are amazed at his agility and the sharpness of his mind. We are/he is blessed!

The problem is his refusal to do anything at all! He has even quit reading the paper. He claims there is nothing worth reading in the newspaper, (which I tend to agree with LOL.) He will not watch tv... sometimes we convince him to watch one of his many, many dvd's. Sometimes we convince him that we want him to come to the den to watch a movie with us. On the rare times that he will, he complains the whole time "I don't know what's going on!" "This is stupid" "I don't know why you like this kind of movie"... even the Hallmark movies or heartwarming true stories that we like to watch he finds fault with.

There is an elderly couple in our church that constantly ask him to visit. We offer to take him and they offer to pick him up. He has gone once! One time the man came to visit at our home (which we have always encouraged), but my father-in-law insists there is nothing to talk about and that they don't want to talk with "this old man anyhow!"

He will not go to the Senior center to even try it. No efforts on our part work to get him to do anything at all! He sits in his recliner (that is in his room with his own entertainment center) with the light off and nothing to do for hours! I have even begged him to come where I am. He says that I am busy. I tell him I may be busy, but at least we can talk while I work, or be company so he won't be alone in his room. No, that doesn't work either.

So, we let him brood in his room with the door closed. However, he tells family (he has his own telephone line in his room) that no one sees about him. He tells them that he is alone all day long until Micky (my husband, his son) gets home from work. Not true! The only time he is alone is when I go to the grocery store and I am never gone more than 2-3 hours at a time MAX!

Even then, he'll call my cell phone asking where I am, when I will come back, what I'm doing... etc. I reassure him that I will be home shortly and ask him if there is anything wrong. No, nothing wrong, just [whining] here by myself.

When any of our kids are around (we have 6 adult children... all live on their own with families) he gripes and complains to them that no one visits, no one wants him around. They tell him that's not true, but he starts talking mean to the little kids or saying things like "if that was my kid, I'd bust their hiney!" As soon as dinner is over, or as soon as he has stayed in the livingroom for 10 or 15 minutes he says, "well, I may as well go back to my room!" They say, "No use to run off!" but we quit begging him to stay.

He doesn't even want to play dominoes (which he used to love to play). He says "Since the wife died, I can't be happy doing anything!" However, when we left him with a family friend (he went screaming and kicking... said he would be fine by himself!)for a week while we went to visit some of my family out of state, he played dominoes, stayed up late and talked with them, their children, boasted about how he could do push ups and even demonstrated!

He also seems like he is a nice gentleman to the people at church.

It's a shame that he is so agile and yet refuses to be involved in anything, even a conversation with us. We try to get him involved or ask him questions about the past, to reminisce, and sometimes he will after lengthy begging but usually he'll say "I don't know what you are talking about". Funny thing you hear him talk about that exact thing 15 minutes later when it's HIS choice to talk about it to someone else.

It's almost as if he does all these things just to annoy us. Do we just leave him alone or keep "begging" him? I don't believe he knows the meaning to the word "encourage"!

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I think when people start having cognitive difficulties they try to cover it up by complaining about and avoiding the situations they have trouble with. For example, you said your FIL couldn't follow the story line of the Hallmark specials and he so complains that nothing good is on tv. He doesn't want to visit with other people. Maybe he can't make appropriate responses to conversation and doesn't want anyone to find out.

I've had this with my mother for ages it seems like. Finally she is admitting that she can't think like she used to. That doesn't make the situation any better because she still whines.

It's the beginning of the end and they know it. That's got to be depressing for them.

But it's a nightmare to be around.They just turn into negative old cranks. I don't have any answers. I just do what I have to do for my mother and try to avoid her as much as possible. She doesn't have enough character to accept her declining abilities in a gracious manner.
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Deb,
Sounds as if your FIL is actually in pretty good shape both physically and mentally - especially if he is able to drive a little and get around on his own. My mother has far more physical limitations and is living independently (she is also in her 80s). She does use a walker and has other safety items in her home. I call her every day to check-in and I am over there a lot.
Your FIL is from that very independent generation that bristles at any sign that they are being "taken care of." Deep inside he knows how well he has it - some seniors have no one at all who cares about them. He is too proud to acknowledge your assistance so, unfortunately, it comes out as mean spiritedness. Regardless, it is verbal abuse and you do not have to allow your marriage and family to suffer because of it. You would never let your children get away with this self-centered, negative behavior - why is it different for the FIL?

I found my mother a lovely one-bedroom apt. just a few minutes from where I live. I am her only (willing) family caregiver, so I do clock in a lot of hours helping her out. She cannot drive - I do all the errands and driving. I did arrange for an agency caregiver to come in once a month to do whatever she needs. It is good for her to have others with whom she can interact. But most importantly, she feels independent. That is not to say that she doesn't get demanding at times. Sometimes I feel like the stressed-out, unpaid help, but overall it has worked so far.

There are also programs in our state that help with rent and utilities. Is your FIL able to afford assisted living? These are apartments dedicated to seniors who can get around but offer some services such as meals, laundry, and activities. There is also 24hr. help in case of emergencies.

Your FIL, despite his protests, is isolating himself and it is just not healthy for anyone. You are being held hostage in your own home. Perhaps a change of pace will do wonders for all of you.

Good luck,
Lilli
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Well DebiKay, I think pamela6148 is right. Your story is so very common here, and difficult to address. There just aren't any magic answers. How long has it been since losing his wife? That is a major event, and may produce some of what you describe. Life's changes aren't always well-accepted by every senior, including mine. I understand that this has got to be hard for you, but can you understand how hard it must be for him? Have you had a frank discussion with him, like you have written here? Perhaps you and your husband together, and perhaps some of the other family members could talk with him about your concerns.

How did he come to live with you? Even under the best of conditions, multi-generational living can put a strain on family members. Is there some unforgiveness between you two that you may not be aware of? Or maybe you remind him of the loss of his wife? Does he have any other options?

I certainly do not mean to put you on the defensive. And I'm definitely not trying to judge you. Just some thoughts that came to mind as I was reading your post. He's had some major losses. What you describe sounds in part like depression. Have you considered an evaluation for depression? How about a grief support group for him?

Talking isn't always possible. It's one thing to blog or write anonymously to strangers, but confronting someone, especially when there are emotional issues involved is not always easy. And think about it, each person involved has their own ideas and thoughts about this. Wish I had some advice, because my family struggles with things we cannot solve easily, as well. Things will change, ultimately. When and how is still the question each must answer or find out for themselves. Best wishes to you, and know you're not alone.
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Debikay today is the day I played hookie. I took my phone off the hook and am having a time here on my computer while waiting for the Basketball games to start. I've got myself some fish I bought at the market, had it fried, bought myself some french rolls, got lettuce and tomatoes, and Big Boy's tarter sauce. Now this may sound meaningless to you but it's my escape.

Our parents turn into something else than what we've known when they get older. I've come to understand it is because they realize they are not what they use to be. They are a little resentful of us because we can still do for ourselves, and they cannot. It seems really horrible the things they say, and the way they treat us but really if you put yourself in their shoes you'll see it differently.

This is common as they always treat the ones that are closest to them the worse. It's sad but it's true. I've learned through this site not to take it serious anymore. And that's why I took my own day for myself by myself. I'm just waiting for my sosn to get on the road with their girlfriends and my house will be MINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel for you and there are some on this site who haven't experienced this type of behavior and I say alright to them but for those of us who have it's just a phase and as they say, this too shall pass.
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