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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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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!
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drooney,

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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Paul,

That is tough. He is blessed to be in good health. My mom talks herself out of things as well and it is annoying! My mom is not in good health and I fully acknowledge that. However, I feel if she can sit at the doctor's office, surely she can allow me to make a hair appointment and go to the salon like she used to. No, I actually had to find a stylist to come to my home and cut her hair. Ridiculous! I don't understand it. Do they like feeling sorry for themselves? Like us feeling sorry for them? Gives them something to talk about. I have no idea. Clueless about how they think or feel.

Heaven forbid, that we get out of the house for something other than the hospital or doctor! Years ago she would go to a restaurant but not now. I love cooking and cook everyday but sure would be nice if she would go out to lunch with me once in awhile so someone could wait on ME for a change. It's all about them. I have daughters that I don't hardly get to see because they are each about an hour away and I have to be with her 24/7. My husband does stay with her sometimes but I hate to overburden him.

One of my daughters has health problems and doesn't get over here to my house very often. The other is away at college. She visits when she can. I miss my kids. She gets to see me, her daughter every single day.
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I think it is normal for the elderly. Even though they miss all the things they used to do, on some level, they know they can't do them.
With my mil, this was normal even before she got dementia! The grass was always greener somewhere else. "Why did I leave California for Kansas? I miss my sons, certainly they will move back home with me. Friends are okay, but I need my family."
Now that she lives with family, she wants to be with her friends in an apartment. It's like a roller coaster listening to her talk. My husband says she has been like this his whole life. I think that if she was young today, she would probably be considered bi-polar.
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MARRAM,

Could be. I definitely think my husband’s grandma had some kind of mental illness. So did everyone who knew her. She had the craziest ideas and said the first thing that popped into her mind, absolutely no filter.
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Paul,

My mom does one thing and she’s pooped! That’s her expression, haha. She’s done for the day. For instance, doctor appointment, then she has had it. Don’t you wish we could bottle energy and give them a dose of it? Or how about taking a mega dose of it for us? They wear out so easily. At least at my mom’s age, 93. Sometimes I feel like I am 103!

Know what else is irritating? Their schedule is crazy. Up at night, sleep during the day. Kind of like when a baby gets days and nights mixed up.

Or if we stay up to watch a late movie, then we drag the next day because there is no time to relax or rest. It’s hard. They are tired. We are exhausted from caring for them. Endless cycle, right?
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Yes, totally typical. Its been going on for 10 years with my mom. Constantly complains that she never sets foot outside of the assisted living facility yet unless she really needs to go to the drug store or somewhere like that she refuses to go out. She has offended most of the relatives and friends because they wanted to take her places (holiday dinners, church, county fair, picnics, etc) and she cancelled out the day before or made up some ridiculous excuse at the last minute. My daughter and family came across the USA to visit, drove hours to see grandma, an hour after they got there it was lunch, they asked her to go with them to a local family restaurant, (she has no diet or eating problems) and she refused and told them she would go have lunch in the dining room and she'd see them some other time. That was the worst one, because she's 93 and maybe that is the last time they will see her. For a long time I would think of the nice places I'd like to take her, now I just block those thoughts and try to make the visits to her short and pleasant and I ignore her pity party.
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
Yes doesn't make sense to me. In the past I've invited Dad out to places I know he likes going, things he likes doing and hes said no for no apparent reason. I think its because he can sometimes.
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Sonny: My late mother was the same! She had a friend, who actually lived to 102. She said "T & her daughter wear their hair long." I was "like ... and?"
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
Yep with my Dad I get "xyz got married and shes SIX years younger than him!".

Oh and don't me started on his attitude towards same sex relationships..... Jeez.
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Aafter my dad passed away 22 years ago, my mum just wanted to be a victim. She wouldn't do anything to make her life better and if suggestions were made she would always have a negative answer ready. She wanted everybody to feel sorry for her. She would tell anybody that would listen to her what a terrible life she had had. And if anybody came to visit her she would greet them with 'oh dear'. She lives with me now and has made my life miserable too. She has the ability to make a problem out of anything and I hate it. But she will never change!!! Good Luck. X
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
Yeh I get that. Sometimes I'll call him he won't even say "hello" his first sentence will be "I've not been very well". Almost as if, its been two days and you didn't even know!
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We should introduce your dad to my mom, then they can find fault with everything together. There is no normal for the elderly. Every day is a new normal for me. And, yes. I expect I'll be senile one day, maybe it's already starting.

A dear friend of moms gave her some Annie's bunnies organic Mac and cheese. Mom said you can only use half the cheese packet because it clumps. I suggested adding more milk, but that was a silly idea I guess. The boxes are sitting there.

I hope your dad is not leaning towards becoming a shut in and wanting you with him as a constant companion.

I think sometimes the elderly have some kind of shame about their disabilities, walkers, etc., And then there's just the unhappiness that they really are old.
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Hey Jean,

Can my mom join the complaining party too? Haha. Let them all move in together and all of us caregivers win a lotto or something and take a giant trip around the world to soak up all what we have missed in life due to spending our entire lives caring for them, in my case, full time since 2005! I need a break!!!
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Yes, your father sounds like a buzz kill. But Maybe he just doesn't feel well, or feels like he doesn't fit in. All I know is it isn't good for him to sit all day, so you need to get him out somehow doing something even if for only one day a week. Good luck.
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Paul, a lot of older people like remembering things more than they like actually doing them. Asking them what they want to do makes them feel nervous. Tell your difficult father what is going to happen, ignore all his protests and make it happen - at least three times! Then see if he seems happy to talk about it afterwards.
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Make it happen - what, the cricket? I wouldn't. Making somebody go to a day's cricket if he's not really in the mood could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

I mean I'm as happy as the next woman to spend a sunny day in a semi-trance, but then if it's cold or my bum's numb I can always just get up and leave.

Admittedly I have form:

Can we go home now?
No, darling, we have to wait for Daddy.
Why can't Daddy come too?
Daddy's playing cricket. His team is fielding now. Look, there he is.
[time passes...]
Well he's not *doing* anything.
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Disgustedtoo,

haha, I’ve always wanted a sister! I grew up with all brothers. We need to stick together.

Yep, my mom complains constantly but around others she can smile and turn on the charm! It’s amazing.
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"Dad - where do you want to go right now?" He gives his answer and you take him there so he has no complaints because this is exactly where he wanted to go.
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If your father complains about not going out, then ask him where and what specifically he wants to do. Then immediately take him out to that particular choice. And if he complains, tell him in very firm language, he wanted to go out and he is now out and you will not, under any circumstances, allow one more complaint. Tell him if he refuses or complains, there will never, ever be another chance to go out. Hopefully that will work. Or you can physically make him move into the car to get out. I think it is age, dementia setting in, and perhaps he really doesn't want to go out - just wants all the attention and drama. Do not let him get away with this crap.
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
Ha ha if I asked him he'd say something like pick me at 115pm, don't want to go far, take me to x but I want to be back by 3pm.
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Depression get him evaluation, medication, even therapy.
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paulfoel123;

mommaruthie says "All of this is symptoms of dementia or cognitive decline." and she suggests spending a few days living with him. I would have to agree that dementia could be a possible cause (however other medical issues like depression can play a role as well, so a good checkup, if you can get one, would be good.) I will agree only that taken by itself, the complaining/declining outings makes no sense, but once it is in perspective, it might.

Very often people in the early stages of dementia can "mask" their decline in cognition, commonly referred to as "show-timers." This is where they can muster enough to appear normal to others, especially to those who do not see them on a regular basis, such as doctors, or even you. They can do this with friends and family members who are not there on a day to day basis.

Our mom would complain about not getting out as well, especially after we took her "wheels" away (her word for the car!), but also make excuses about going places, or decline to go again if we did get her out. It was necessary to take the car, but note that she was already self-limiting where she went. It started with not driving at night, then her travel "circle" became quite small. One of her arguments about keeping the car was "I don't go far!" No, you don't, but if you back up and run over a neighbor (shared area for parking/garages), you could lose everything!  

Although none of us lived with her, I could tell by phone calls and various visits that she was having some short-term memory issues. Not living there, I was not aware until later that she had started self-isolating - the Senior Center, which was located very close, often had free/really cheap lunches sponsored by various organizations and all the lady friends and she would go with bells on! Neighbor informed me that she was not going. Even someone at the SC called about it! Sometimes when I pointed out something on the SC calendar, she would make excuses for not going. This also started with appointments. SHE made one and when I called on the way to be sure she would be ready, she told me she cancelled it! I called them and confirmed she did NOT call (she marked it on her calendar only.) It still took time to get her out the door, reluctantly. Another appointment my brother was taking her and it took him about 45m and a phone call from me before he could get her to go!

She would come up with all kinds of excuses and reasons (and still does now, but also complains about not getting out as well, so I hear you!) for not going. I try to ensure appts are in her pocket calendar, which helps, but too often when I get there (MC) she whines and tries to get out of it! Have to pull up my mommy socks and just say "comon', get your coat on, we have to GO!"

So, absolutely this could be an early sign of cognition problems. Even if it is dementia, not everyone will display all the symptoms, or they could experience them at other stages, if at all. Again, I would, if possible, take mommaruthie's advice about spending a few days there (just you). It could be very illuminating.  

Along with others' suggestions, work around him - such as when he wants to shop and you cannot be there until later, can you order the items for pickup and just tell him you're tied up now and will get the items and be by later (leave the timing vague!)? That takes the online ordering/delivery he objects to off the table for him, makes life somewhat simpler for you. Rather than planning a big outing such as the cricket, have you tried anything of shorter term, say lunch locally or a trip to the pub (just the two of you and non-Sunday/holiday!!!) Keeping the trip down to an hour or so and local might work. He is more familiar with the local area.

Maybe he just likes to complain, and is old/set in his ways. However, being there for several days will allow you to observe a lot more about his behavior and then you might be able to work this out.
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Don't ask. Tell them. Come on Mom we are all getting out for some fresh air. When you ask its like you r just being nice, you really don't want them. I know, thats not how you mean it but thats the thought process.
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JoAnn,

I have used that technique, telling and not asking. It's kind of like when parents ask their young children instead of telling. My hubby used to do that with our children. Don't get me wrong, he is a wonderful father. However, when our children were young, (daddy's girls) he would ask if they were ready to leave the playground. Of course they always said no, they would have stayed and played all day! I had to gently say to him that he needed to do what I did at the playground. After they had played I gave them a count down, 5 more minutes of playtime. I stuck to it and they got used to that but after a trip to the playground with my husband they never hesitated to tell me that daddy would let them stay longer than I did. Of course, because he asked them if they were ready to go. I had to explain to him, they are the kids, we are the parents, we make the rules, not the kids! Isn't it interesting, now we are having the same issue with our elderly parents! haha
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My 93 yr old mother lives with us. My husband and I invite her to go out and do things with us. Her first answer is no, you go, I'll stay home. Sometimes its just easier to say, ok you stay home. One day after coming back home from being out, I saw that she wrote in her calendar, "I'm alone again, but that's ok, I'm used to it". So frustrating!
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Sounds like a pity party that she arranged for herself.

That is manipulation fine tuned.
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Yes, it's sadly normal for some elderly to let their lives get "small." They get anxious and they withdraw into watching TV and waiting for someone to visit them (to sit and watch TV).

It seems the only thing they truly enjoy is complaining. What usually helps is getting them out with their peers. It's so easy to whine to your adult children simply because they'll listen. But, someone your own age listens to that sort of thing in a much different way because they are experience the same things.

Force him to join a local senior group, preferably something that meets a couple of times a week for a few hours. The way you could insist on it is by saying you have a new project at work that will be consuming much of your time and you won't be able to visit, so you've called the ________ Center and signed him up for __ mornings a week.

Good luck!
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paulfoel123 Mar 2019
Yes it seems to be like this. Things are getting slower and slower and grinding to a halt with him. Maybe thats what its like for old people.
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He wants to moan more than he wants to go anywhere. The "poor me" thing is his theme song. It is unfortunate when people get stuck there, Surviving aging well takes a lot of gumption, mental effort, and the habit of looking for the good in life. Many don't have that. As we age, our options are more and more limited. I've known those who make the best of it and those who don't. Reward him when he makes an effort, and ignore him when he doesn't. It may help him make better choices. People get self centered as they age and somewhat narcissistic. Attention for moaning only encourages it. Good luck,

I would add that if he is getting dementia you are in a somewhat different ball game. His capacity for dealing with change and new things is diminished. He needs to be assessed, diagnosed and treated, Others have made some good comments about that
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Paulfoel, you've gotten some awesome suggestions of things to consider. It really could be anything from depression, incontinence, anxiety, etc. but, I bet there is a reason that he's refusing to go out of the house, though, it may not become clear right away. Regardless, I'd stay in close contact with your dad and visit as often as possible, so you can observe just what's really going on. And try to work around the groaning.

My LO used to love family celebrations. She thrived on holiday gatherings, but, then, she stopped coming. She would give one excuse after the other. I knew they were lies. However, she LOVED for me to come to visit her. I noticed that she stopped going out as much. She told me the roads had changed....hmm....eventually, she became very affected with dementia.

One of the reasons that she didn't want to go out of the house was fear. She was afraid people would realize her mental state. She couldn't remember places or people. She got confused. Wasn't sure how to navigate in and out of a car. She felt mentally different. She asked me if she was dreaming. Things seemed odd to her.

So, I'd try to give him comfort and support, keeping in mind that he may be dealing with something that is out of his control and not something that is meant to hurt you or your family. His agitation might be something he can't help. I might try to accompany him to his next doctor's appointment too. That way, you can see how things are going. They may want to do a mini mental eval in the office to get a baseline, depending on his age.

I'd also consider that seniors may just not want to drive far or at night. I think that's perfectly reasonable.
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Kittybee Mar 2019
Good answer! My reading of the OP made me immediately think fear/anxiety, not just orneriness. He's fussing with a litany of worries!

Some combination of depression, dementia, and just the difficulties of finding yourself unmoored in old age, could make a person both cling to the past (going out, being active, etc.) but fear reality (for my mom it has to do with bathroom availability, getting easily overwhelmed, and fatiguing quickly). It's a terrible dilemma looked at that way.

The father in the OP also seemed excessively concerned about inconveniencing others (distance or night driving, time off work), which is easy to dismiss either breezily or by stating in strong terms that he should worry about what concerns him and no more!

Perhaps try simple, brief outings for a bit.

It can be very frustrating to deal with someone who seem determined to be unhappy in spite of anything. Can he be evaluated for depression, dementia, and other conditions?
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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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moecam,

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.
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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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Amen!
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There could be another problem he isn't talking about. Is he becoming incontinent and he just doesn't want to talk about it, so he comes up with all these other impediments? Bathroom arrangements can vary significantly from one venue to another. My guess is he's not telling you the real reason.
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My 92 year old dad has the opposite problem in that he doesn't want to be at home. When his caregivers are there, he wants to be gone running errands nearly their entire shift then is depressed again when he gets home. Too many reminders of his wife still remain in the house and he won't let me get rid of anything. Sometimes they come home and are only there 10 minutes then he wants to leave again. Everyone involved in this believes he should be in a facility (he really needs 24 hour care) but he will never move and then he would be stuck inside all day.
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Babs,

I know of an elderly woman like that. She loves to go out, but only to one place which is the CASINO! She complains about the price of a cup of coffee or a hamburger but will drop hundreds, thousands of dollars in the slots or video poker! Crazy!
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My Dad did much the same. I believe it's part of grieving the losses of their capabilities, confidence, and control over their conditions. Dad was self-conscious about his decline in appearance and did not want to be a "distraction" to others. I have to wonder how much his perception of others in similar conditions was turned inward in his final years. He wasn't harsh or critical about them, but he Did take notice and remember more severe situations for years after. I'm thinking he didn't want to be seen or remembered that way, even by family. He was 101 when he passed. Shortly before he left us, he saw some pictures I took of some family members with him while he slept right through their visits. He was more focused on his appearance, thinking one visitor was a younger him in contrast to the current him.

Anyway, losing what control we think we have in life is hard. Watching our loved ones go through those realizations and sharing them can also be very hard. Loving them through it? Not as hard as what they went through for us.
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MyThreeSons,

I agree, it is a control thing. They do lose independence and I genuinely feel for the elderly in that regard. Having said that, it does not mean that boundaries don't need to be set. Personally, I have done both, raise kids and have my elderly mom with me. Which one is harder? Without a doubt, being a caregiver to my mom. Why? Children become independent. We raise them to fend for themselves. The elderly regress and need more and more care. Anyone else care to weigh in on this?

I am by no means saying that I am not grateful for all that my parents did while raising me. I truly am thankful for all of their sacrifices but in my opinion it is apples and oranges. Totally different situation. I mean no disrespect to your answer. We are all entitled to our own opinions.
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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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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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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 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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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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