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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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Your father has become fearful about going on trips that he used to enjoy. He also finds public social gatherings noisy and intrusive, instead of lively and fun. And you think you and your brother are the ones in trouble?

Get Him In To A Retirement Community.
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Why would he find it fearful though? I can understand he may have issues about his mobility etc but flippin heck listen when people tell you its sorted.

Social gatherings I can understand of course. But going to watch the cricket is a pretty sedate laid back thing to do.

Oh yes. I know a retirement community would be right for him. BUT, related to this, hes got set ideas in his head and "he'd rather be dead then stuck away in a home to die" and "no way will he let us put him away like that".
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Paul, Hes fearful because hes experiencing cognitive decline. Anxiety is the main symptom that my mom showed when this happened.

Find a nice assisted living community or two. Make appoinments. Take dad to lunch at each so he can SEE what they're like. Not imagine.
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Barb - Im not sure if he is experiencing cognitive decline to be honest.

Dad is probably the most stubborn person you'd ever meet. Doctors tell him things until they're blue in the face and he will think otherwise.

Honestly, even if I tried to make an appointment, as soon as he got there and realised where he was he'd throw a wobbler and insist he be taken home immediately.

Once hes got an idea in his head (every day!) he won't change his mind, or even consider anything else. Even if the person is an expert....

This is the man who, when told by his GP/consultant/every man and his dog, that there were no other alternative pain killer options, decided he didn't like that answer. So now he doesn't take the medication as they say and moans hes ill pain. Occasionally he'll phone the GP and they ignore him now. His attitude is "not my problem. You need to find a pill to sort me out".
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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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Thanks Barb. Point taken....

I've tried and tried to, at least, get a proper assessment done. I've spoken to his GP (which was hard enough!) and they won't even entertain the idea that he need assessing.

Im in the UK so at the mercy of the free (but awful IMHO) NHS healthcare system. Its not so easy to get things done. Without his GP on board, and they will be thinking, no referral because this is my budget here, its a non-starter.

Privately is an option. NEVER in a million years would Dad agree to this - even if it cost £10. Even if I paid.
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MRI - never in a million years on the NHS.

I've got really bad back problems - GP told me new policy no MRIs. Luckily I have private insurance. Even if you can talk a GP into an MRI (again thinking of their budgets) the wait list is around 6 months.

I understand you're in USA? Never be jealous of our FREE nhs honestly....
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Point taken!
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Paul. What, pray, makes you state that the NHS will not conduct MRI scans? Much as I hate to contradict, that is absolute balls. It is true that they tend not to irradiate their patients' heads without the ghost of a clinical reason for it - not always the case in America, not that I approve of stereotypes - but an MRI is usually requested *prior to* a Memory Clinic Referral, which is standard practice after a mini-mental state exam. Has your father's GP done one?

Your father doesn't have a pacemaker, does he? If he has, it'll have to be a CT scan instead.

The NHS in Wales is in a certain amount of trouble, agreed. That is why all the GP's in Newport refer their patients to Hereford, as I happen to know. Wye Valley NHS Trust is in trouble too. It always was. Ah how I miss those heady days when the NHS was not about to go bankrupt. Oh. Wait. When were those heady days, remind me?

If you are having difficulty getting your father's GP to address issues of concern, there are procedures and systems in place for taking it further. Look them up. Or, you can do what so many people including half the NHS's employees seem to prefer and complain bitterly about how useless the NHS is. The other half of the NHS's employees are getting a bit sick of it, I hear.

I'm sorry to read of your back problems. Mark Porter's column in The Times addressed this issue yesterday - Times2, page 6, 'The golden rules for managing back pain.' It included red flags that you can bring to your GP's attention if you're still worried.
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lynina2 Mar 2019
Things like not getting past "square zero" happen in the states too. I was hoping for my father to get a PET scan to determine the source of primary/secondary cancer due to a suspected not verified brain tumor. He couldn't have an MRI and the CT scan was insufficient. The GP refused, mainly because dad was 90 and it would be too much trouble to fight Medicare for it to be approved. I'm not exactly sure of what the specific age of a person needs to be when our system doesn't allow for expensive tests, but there is one in my humble opinion. I personally dread the possiblility of Medicare for all.
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Thanks, CM. It hasn't been my experience here in NYC that folks get MRIs at the drop of a hat, but I have heard that it's true in some places. In my mom's situation, it made mom's cognitive loss more "real" to my engineer brother.

I think Paul's dad needs a new doctor. My mom's long time doc didnt think there was anything wrong with her and just kept throwing benzos at her.

Geriatrics doc picked up what was going on in one visit.
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CM - haha I like you. :-)
Sorry I don't mean won't do MRI just not keen. As I've said, Dads GP won't even start the process. Point blank NO.

Yes I could complain. Dads GP is awful - I've often wanted to complain but he won;t agree to allow me to do so.

Barb - unfortunately, choices are limited. Two GP practices in his town only so its one or the other. And there is no way he will agree to swap.

CM - Like I said I have private health insurance so I had an MRI within a week. GP not so strict when its not coming out of their budget. Currently deciding whether to go for spinal injection or operation.
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So there are no geriatrics specialists where dad lives?
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Spinal injection, operation, or "sod off you are not sticking bladed or pointed implements into my back without an incredibly good reason" - I hope you're giving the third option full weight in your deliberations. Have you been to a proper back pain clinic at a proper hospital, at least?

The trouble with private providers is their regrettable fondness for finding fun things for their facilities to do, enough to justify their existence but short of causing actionable harm. Especially as they can always bounce patients back to the NHS if they become technically challenging or run out of cover.
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Barb, it's still mainly true that all referrals to any sort of specialist are routed through your GP.

But there are other starting points, such as social services. It depends what you're trying to achieve.

Paul's father must already have had a care needs assessment, because he is getting some kind of attendance allowance. Paul could go back to the team that did the assessment and raise concerns about increasing isolation and mental health worries. They would scurry around a bit, eventually, and Paul's father would give them a cup of tea and reject all their suggestions. On the plus side, he'd dine out for weeks on how stupid their ideas were and what a waste of taxpayers' money they are.

Or, Paul could go with his father to his GP and raise Cain there. Technically of course Paul's father can refuse to allow Paul to attend the appointment, but in practice I doubt if he would. Besides, you can accomplish all sorts of things on the premises, like picking up leaflets, smiling at the receptionist and asking for the email address, noting flu jab clinics, taking names... endless opportunities.
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CM - Dont worry it was "proper" hospital and consultant. Buy yes I agree the are keen to do stuff because it gets them money.
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I'm not worried. But if it were my back, I would be. You know all the jokes about orthopaedic surgeons are true, right?
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Paul, I wonder by your Dad saying he is stuck in home but says no to going out when something is planned is flexing what little control he has left in his life.
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paulfoel123 Feb 2019
Yes probably. He likes to control things...

I just think - you've been offered a chance to go for the day with your son or grandchildren. Make the most of it. Otherwise don't moan you're stuck in the house.
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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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paulfoel123 Feb 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.
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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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Paul, my father also moans that he doesnt go anywhere. I try to take him places he likes. He wants to go far though and travel like he use to. When he's offered though, he has excuses like the tenants might try to break in. Honestly, i think his body is not up for a long trip, and he know that. Thats what depresses him the most. He's a young man in an old man's body and still wants to do things.
Like Tothill said, he wants to go out every day like before.

What might help is pick a day that's for him. Ask him where he whats to go, nearby. And stick to that. Prepare and help him go.
Stick to that day each week, unless you need to rescedule to a different day. Tell him you understand he wants to go places, but ......
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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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AMEN!
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Loneliness and depression can go hand in hand - You are discontented with your life but making the effort to change is too much, so you cling to the familiar. You want to do "something" but what is offered or available has no appeal. Things you used to do without thinking, like driving home after dark, are frightening because you have lost confidence in your own abilities. It sounds as though you offer, he declines, you get frustrated and the verbal sniping begins - perhaps your father would respond better to firm direction and gentle reassurance.
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paulfoel123 Feb 2019
Its me that does the driving though. All he has to do is get in the car. I sort everything else...
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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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Paul,

My mom’s biggest thing is the bathroom! She is so afraid of not being close to a toilet. I realize that the elderly have a problem with having to go more often and also not being able to hold it.

Here’s the thing though, she can watch a whole episode of Young and the Restless soap opera without having to use the restroom for fear of missing something important on her “story” but she will have to use the bathroom in the doctor’s office just before they call her name and then get mad that she has to wait longer. Yes, they took someone else in before her even though I got her there early for her appointment!

My mom refuses to go anywhere because she acts like there is a shortage of toilets! Anyone else deal with that?

I finally told her, enough of this and insisted for the next doctor appointment she wear a diaper because she says the pads don’t hold enough.

She can’t help it of course, when she gets nervous she has to go more but we spend as much time in the bathroom as we do speaking to her doctor!
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Terror of toilet shortage does seem to be A Thing - my mother liked there to be at least two available at all times. It was something she insisted on when my poor sister was still trying to find her a retirement apartment. Why, would you need two loos when there is only one of you? In case. In case..? God knows.
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Paul,

I see a lot of your dad’s behavior in my mom. I don’t have any idea if my mom’s behavior is intentional so I won’t go there.

I am no longer interested in participating in her pastime of watching me jump through hoops for fun. You know what I mean? Simple things somehow become so complicated to them.

Drives me nuts but I have learned that she is sometimes entertained if I show that I am annoyed so I bottle it up. Yeah, I know, not good for my blood pressure but better than the alternative of having a pointless discussion.

Also, I have found that if I am overly frustrated and say something that I don’t mean and of course I regret it, she relishes in telling me that she would have never said those things to her mom. I want to scream when she says that because her mom, my grandmother was a delightful person that I truly adored being with and never played the, “I told you so” card or ever loved making anyone feel guilty. Her personality was the opposite by being encouraging and supportive. I do apologize to her when I upset her but my patience does run out sometimes. I am fortunate because she does apologize to me as well.

I wonder if because they are so old, mom is 93 that they feel like everything has to be taken care of right now, right this minute. I will fix my lunch, after serving her of course and she will inevitably need something right then so I will not be able to enjoy a hot meal. Same with a hot cup of coffee. Does seem like a power struggle at times. I finally started saying to her that it was not an emergency so after I ate my lunch while it is hot or drank my hot coffee, then I would attend to her need and I manage to do it without guilt!

Some elderly people are as impatient as we were as kids! It’s payback for our mischievous behavior when young. I know my parents developed a few grey hairs due to my trying to find my place in this world in my youth. Haha.

I have tinnitus and some hearing loss from loud music as a kid. She is almost deaf! She wears headphones for her soap opera! Old people become defiant kids and we become the disciplinarian parents. Role reversal.

I love my mom dearly but I had absolutely no idea how hard full time caregiving would be when I asked her to move in with us in 2005 after Katrina destroyed her home.
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
I remember my gran was like he is now. He always used to say - never let me get like that!

Hes forgotten all that now!
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Arrgghh---

You've got my mother living there.

She, too complains that she's "stuck in jail" with my brother as her jailer. She complains to me all the time that she never gets to go anywhere, do anything, all her friends are dead....it goes on and on, and worse yet, I get "in the mood" and start complaining about MY life, which is convoluted and crazy thinking since I truly have a wonderful and blessed life.

Even WHEN we plan outings or family get-togethers FOR her, she demurs "Oh, I don't know, I'm so tired, it's all I can do to get dressed and sit at the table for the day...." basically, she went nowhere when she was younger and now old age has just made her less "likely" to go places.

Pretty much all of us have given up even trying to talk to her. She says she wants to move in with me, but that is a non-starter. She CHOSE to live with YB 22 years ago and although I personally and verbally stated this was a bad idea at the time---it's not my problem.

Some people do this for attention, sounds like your dad is that way. They just want attention and cannot be "interesting" and so nobody wants to be with them, so they moan and complain extensively.

When she gets in "pity party mode" I walk out. She had a chance last year to move to a nice (not posh or perfect, but small and sweet) IL facility. You'd have thought we were tossing her in a pit. She won't even accept 2xs a week in home care, b/c all they do is "rob and rape you". (No mattetr that I worked in that field for years and never robbed nor raped anyone doesn't matter---) she wants to be pathetic. It's nothing new.

Honestly, there's not a lot you can do. Listen to dad, or not. Sounds like he's actually enjoying his poor health.
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MidKid,

So true, seems to be a common theme among some elderly. The complaining becomes habitual. But wait, in front of others, they can turn on the charm and smile, appearing to be the sweetest little old lady. Too funny. Gee, I hope I don’t end up being like that with my kids. Don’t think so but it’s a frightening thought.

My MIL had an awful mother. She often told me that most people learn what to do from their mother but she learned the opposite, what NOT to do from her mom. Sad but true.
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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 me....my father wasn't the center of attention.
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My Own at Home Dad rarely goes out anymore since Mom died. He has Last Stage of Emphysema and wants to Do as he Wants, His now his Own Straw Boss, And with my sister who is a Power of Attorney and Caregiver, We just Respect what he wants for now
You need to also step back, Some, hun, Are like this during their own "Golden Years..."
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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.
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mommaruthie,

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.
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My mum gets anxious about being out then manufactures reasons for her anxiety, such as theres a woman that has taken a precious belonging of mums and will only be able to return it in the time that we would be out. It makes me reluctant to take her out since she had a meltdown in the hair salon. I guess it must be a common thing.
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Very normal!! They like to complain but really don’t want solutions. When he complains next time just agree with him and change the subject. No sense in trying to make him happy because it won’t happen. It’s a sad state of affairs really. My dad wants to leave the nursing home so he says but when we try he gets all pouty and pissed and ruins it for himself. So we’ve given up and don’t take him out now. It’s hard on him to go out.
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Harpcat,

I get it! Sometimes they do cut off their nose to spite their face, leaving us with no alternatives.
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