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"!