Dad is CONSTANTLY moaning that he's stuck in the house and never gets to go anywhere. Wants me to visit (and sit in his house all the time).

Last few years I've made an effort to take him away for the weekend to watch cricket (something we both enjoy). Its hard work because of what he's like but hey ho.

BUT, he moans and moans. Trying to sort this year's trip and I'm getting every excuse under the sun.

1. It's too far to drive back in the dark. (the car has lights!)

2. I'm worried about you driving so far. (Its two hours drive away, leave it to me!)

3. I won't be able to sit and watch the game because I won't be able to get my mobility scooter in there. (How many times I tell him that venues are obliged to cater for the disabled I lose count!)

4. I don't want you to lose pay by taking a day off work (I am self employed and I do lose pay but hey ho, its all factored in).

Its pretty much the same with everything. He wants to do what he wants to do and everyone has to do it. Its no good asking him to compromise he won't. He's a nightmare.

Last xmas day my brother invited him to his house for xmas dinner. But brother had already arranged to meet friends, only for an hour, in the pub before dinner. He invited Dad along. Dad went nuts and said he didn't think its right for someone to go to the pub on xmas day.

Its getting to the point now where both of us think, sod it not offering any more, and ignoring the moaning.

Is this sort of thing normal for older people? Doesn't make sense to me at all. Maybe I'll be like it but surely they should making the most of their final years if they can (and Dads health isn't that bad)?

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All of this is symptoms of dementia or cognitive decline. They start to have anxiety about things like going places. That manifests by saying “I don’t want to go because...”
This is exactly what happened with my father-in-law. He needed this, that, or the other but every solution offered was not right. It was quite maddening. Then one day he had what appeared to be a seizure and ended up in the hospital. They did every test under the sun and it turns out he has vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia. We think the day of the “seizure” he took his BP meds twice, so fortunately not anything serious but out of that came answers. He was quite stubborn in his younger years as well and we thought the things he was doing were because his wife passed away. Turns out it was dementia and my MIL covered for him.
Their brains are no longer wired correctly. What doesn’t make sense to you makes perfect sense to them. They know something is wrong, but they’re afraid. And all of those outings become terrifying because they can’t rmember exactly what they entail, so they make excuses because if they say they’re scared then that implies something is wrong. Doing those things are ways of hiding it.
Have you tried spending a few nights there with him? That’s what we learned- unless you wake up and go to bed with them (obviously not in the same bed) you begin to get a clearer picture. They’re comfortable in their home and more likely to let their guard down. Can you have his GP do a memory test? Good info there as well.
Good luck to you, it’s a hard road.
Helpful Answer (9)
Reply to mommaruthie
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 1, 2019

Always good to explore possible reasons but my mom has no dementia. Her neurologist gives her a thorough physical and mental check up. She has Parkinson's. Plus, I see her cognitive abilities, she will remind me of things that I forget! She is amazing.

Just saying that sometimes it isn't a dementia issue. Sometimes they simply lose interest in going out or for a variety of reasons they aren't able to push themselves out of their comfort zone. It's hard to accept when as their child, I remember how active my mom used to be. Her mom, my grandmother was always ready to go. She never, ever once told me no when I invited her to go on an outing. She was very upbeat and positive until she died.

It seems like my mom actually enjoys saying all the things that she can't do even though the nurses, occupational therapist, physical therapists, doctors, and me tell her that she can. She hates hearing the PT people telling her, Use it or lose it! She has become very negative which kills me because she used to be a positive person like her mom was.
Paul, I understand your frustration. When it the last time you spent a full day with Dad? I wonder if he is having problems he does not want you to know about, such as incontinence issues that could be embarrassing in public? Does he have any tremors that make eating challenging?

It could also be that Dad, when he is complaining about not going anywhere is referring to daily trips out of the house, to the pub, lunch with friends etc. He may not be referring to a day away watching cricket. I know my former mil used to have similar complaints (she still does but it is not my problem anymore). Oh I never see you, but she never came over. She wanted everything her way much like your Dad.

As far as the Cricket goes, just let Dad know you are going whether or not he comes along. If he wants to join you ok, otherwise perhaps you can take your son with you.
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Reply to Tothill
paulfoel123 Feb 28, 2019
Its control with him. He wants me to do what he wants. Which involves me totally dedicating time to visit him at his home.

He gets upset if I bring my daughter with me (shes 5) - his grandaughter. Sometimes I have no choice if wife is working.

He does it sometimes because he can.
My husband of 64 years has been the same way since he before he was diagnosed with dementia. If you ask him a question, he always says "no". I don't give him that option anymore, I just say I'm taking you to _____. Or here is your lunch, etc. He is always glad to go, and this eliminates the option. Remember to always frame your questions or option to get the response you want. Just like with children.
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Reply to Rutucker
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 1, 2019
My FIL does this too. I used to listen to him complain about never going anywhere, offer to take him someplace, and then listen to every reason under the sun why he could not go. My husband and I used to have dinner or lunch with him once a week and take him with us to family gatherings. But we left feeling dumped on and depressed. The unfortunate reality is that neither of us wants to be around him that much anymore and we have cut down our visits in both frequency and duration.

Time is precious. Spend it wisely.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw

Paul; You sound just like my brother and SIL. "There's nothing wrong with mom; she's sharp as a tack; she's just having a pity party."

My brother would shout at her to stop feeling sorry for herself.

Well, we got her into Independent Living, got a Geriatric Psych who sorted her out with a better anti anxiety med, a real geriatrics doc who LISTENED to what she was telling him. GeriPsych INSISTED that we take her for cognitive testing.

Sharp as a tack? Mom could not reason her way out of a paper bag. She had graduated from college at the age of 82 Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Cognitive Sciences. She was now thinking and reasoning at the level of a not very bright 5 year old.

I'm a School Psychologist; you would THINK that I might have noticed those lost reasoning skills. But I didn't.

Another interesting factoid; the MRI that the neuropsych ordered showed that mom had had a stroke. We don't know when, but it had done quite a bit of subtle damage.

I think that you are making an awful lot of assumptions about your dad. But that's fine; we're just folks who have been down this road, trying to make it easier for others.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn

My mom does the exact same thing! When she complains about a situation and I come up with a resolution she comes up with excuses why my solution will not work. And some of the excuses are ridiculous! Thank you for the post. Maybe they just want to engage in a conversation but don’t know how? I have no clue but you are not a lone 😊
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Reply to NewGirl
NeedHelpWithMom Feb 27, 2019
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Your dad sounds like my mom. Overall she is easy going but I swear I think some older people complain or play devil’s advocate out of sheer boredom. Just like excessive worrying. It becomes a pastime for them and can’t understand why we don’t join in. Don’t debate them! It will go on forever with ridiculous arguments that don’t make any sense. To them it makes sense though, so be it. I’ve had to learn to roll with the punches or my blood pressure will go up. Not worth a stroke or heart attack. Then where will my mom be?
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Reply to NeedHelpWithMom

Paul she is not an inconvenience to him...she is taking your focus off of him. He wants to be the center of your attention and if you take a 5 year old along he will have to compete with her.

My father was the same way. He'd insist we go to lunch then one of my cousins would call and want to go to lunch that same day so he would blow me off. Once I asked why we all just couldn't go together. You could tell he did not want to do that. I realized why the one time we did do that....they talked to me and asked about father wasn't the center of attention.
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Reply to lkdrymom

My mom was the same - we finally realized that the effort to dress to go out was a lot but in hindsight we now believe that it was her being unsure about where the restrooms were & how fast she could get there -

Try to observe how he uses the restroom at home & if he is abruptly leaving to go there then he is worried about accidents while away from his own space

Once mom started using adult diapers in the nursing home then she was quite willing to go out for hours - we often did shopping & have lunch
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Reply to moecam
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 1, 2019

The potty thing is so real! My mom has phobias over having to use the bathroom. I just started buying diapers for when we go out because she complained that the pads were not holding enough.
This complaining and then refusing when you "get what you want, you don't want it anymore" thing pretty common. When I was Director of Resident Activities in Long Term Care, saw this sort of behavior often. Some residents always saying they wanted to go on sightseeing trips or out to lunch. Once the opportunity was presented, they refused to go! Some signed up for trip and backed out at last minute and would not get on the bus! Think some people like the "idea", but then afraid to leave their safety zone!
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to drooney
NeedHelpWithMom Mar 7, 2019

That’s interesting because most of the time others can get them to do things that we, their children cannot.

That is why when I can have doctors or nurses weigh in on things I do. Carries more weight than I have with her.
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