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My 82-year-old father moved in with my husband I almost two years ago. Since day one he has had embarrassing "mishaps" occasionally, from locking himself out of the house, forgetting where the spare key is hidden, trying to break in, to, we think, once possibly falling at the gas station this winter on ice while trying to fill his tires. He has always hidden these events from us or flat-out lies to us about the little events even happening. I cannot figure out what is going on. This morning I was home from work, he epically crashed his full coffee mug all over new patio stones out front, I happened to walk by the window to see him teetering to pick up the broken shards of the mug. He wasn't going to even tell me and was just going to let the stone stain. And why on earth did he not call for me to come help him? I really can't figure out what is happening here or how to mitigate it. He lies about having taken a shower when we know he has not in weeks and we have just given up on battling with him about these little things, but its the big things like the falls and him announcing to us nonchalantly a couple of months ago he goes up and down the stairs to the bedrooms now differently we may notice because his ankle gave out on him on the stairs one day and he nearly fell. My husband and I's mouth dropped open at this confession. How do I know about these things happening better than just getting lucky enough to be around to help him with the ones I catch? ANY ADVICE IS WELCOME! Have a great day.

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NancyCO, for some time my mother kept saying "I didn't want to worry you" or "I didn't want to bother you", and I would assure her that I wanted her to ask for help and it wasn't a problem, and she would keep not asking for help and keep creating far more problems that way, and I got madder and madder about it, until finally the penny dropped.

It wasn't that she didn't want to bother me. It was that she didn't want me bothering her.

Look at it strictly through their eyes. Every time they tell you they can't manage the stairs, or can't cope with the TV remote control any more, or have suffered a slight "leakage", or anything along these lines - it's a confession that they are becoming ever frailer, more dependent, more helpless. It's not a nice thing to admit to oneself, let alone anyone else. They would rather try to solve their own problems. And while it's objectively true that that actually tends to make things far worse, not to mention more dangerous, to them it's still better than having to ask for help and declare themselves... old?

Once I realised that my mother not only wouldn't ask for help, but actually no longer had the cognitive function to know when she needed to, life become oddly less stressful. It was a lot easier to be vigilant than to keep on uselessly trying to find ways to persuade her to ask. (The falls risk was still extremely stressful, but that's a whole subject on its own.)

So install the grab rails, the stair lift, the shower seat on your (your husband's actually) own initiative; don't wait for FIL to admit he'd find it a help. If you can find a friendly OT, ask for an assessment of FIL's environment - OTs are great at spotting risks and suggesting solutions. And as far as you humanly can, avoid wounding FIL's pride by calling attention to his frailties. I understand the irritation over the stained stones (I did a similar dance of arrggghhh over some upholstery); but in the end they're only stones. His feelings are much more easily damaged.
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It's embarrassing (esp for elderly men) to admit that they can't handle to day to day. My FIL was so sick with Leukemia, ad losing weight so rapidly and noticeably--I'd take him to the dr and he would load his pockets and his BOOTS with as much change as he could, to "up the scales" as weight loss was the beginning of the end. The dr caught wind of this trick and poor dad had to strip off his huge coat and boots (with 50-60 quarters in them!!) to be weighed. He was mortified. The dignity was gone and he couldn't handle it.
We just went along with him, and didn't harangue him about what he did or didn't eat in a day (basically lived off black coffee for the last few months)--b/c we knew he was dying and we wanted him to have some pride left.
And truly? We all drop stuff and slip on the ice and walk into a room and wonder why we're there. I'd keep an eye on dad and not stress "the small stuff". I broke a glass yesterday, I also lost my car keys for a couple days. I'm fine, just getting older. Ask me how many pairs of glasses I have--I keep mislaying those too. I'm 60--so I think I have "peaked"...and yes, I hope my kids allow me some measure of dignity as I get, inevitably worse over the next 20 years.
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Um. This may not be "general age-related decline" as you note in your profile. Has he been evaluated for dementia? You can end up with balance problems related to dementia, onset of Parkinson's, blood pressure issues, all kinds of things. If he has not had a complete medical workup, this is the time to do it. And either go in with him or write a note to the provider in advance because he will tell them it's all fine. My best friend's 90 year old Mom still tells everyone she doesn't drive because friend likes to better. Mom has macular degeneration, is legally blind, and sold her car almost 5 years ago. "But she could drive if she wanted to." Once you know what the real health issues are, we can give you better advice. My experience is that many elders will not tell you a word about what happened especially if they think they will "get in trouble" like a 2 year old. An elephant sat on it. People stole it. You forgot.
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I love it when I read someone's story here everyday..we all have something in common.

Lesson #1 for me today:

"It wasn't that she didn't want to bother me. It was that she didn't want me bothering her"

*BINGO*!!! The lights just came ON!!!! 😜

Just realized my dad has freakin done this to me for years and STILL doing it!!
Won't go into all the same old details about him.
This morning, this girl is done worrying and chomping her teeth to stubs, AND not letting him control my mind with F.O.G!

Wow, I feel like a ton has fallen off my shoulders...1 more cup of coffee and I'm gonna garden in the rain 😘

I know letting him keep his dignity/pride, or whatever will mean more bad choices, detaching more and letting the staff at AL do the main care taking, u will do the "loving" daughter part. But also make sure he's safe how countrymouse described.....
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THis is the result of life long testosterone poisoning.

So, appeal to his male ego. Was he in the. Military? This work for my Dad (Navy). We told him that failure to report incidents was not the navy way. He needed to assure his own safety and needed to follow the service rules. Always report incidents, always have a cadet assist in areas were accidents are likely to happen.

We actually got Dad to comply by having this reinforced by the VA home care nurses. One of them was nice enough to come in her old uniform to deliver these "rules" of conduct.

See if there is a friend ex-military to assist with this.
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My MIL, who has lived with us for 5 years, has started to lie about things that happen to her. She is very, very religious and knows that lying is a sin. The thing is she doesn't even realize she is lying. She has dementia and is very protective of her stuff. She hides things and then we go crazy looking for them. They feel like they are losing their independence, their ability to do handle situations on their own. The last thing they will hate to give up is their money. It is very frustrating to deal with someone with dementia, they lie, argue with you and don't even remember that you even talked about it. It's a 24/7 job to watch them so they don't get in hurt or do something that will annoy you. We have broken items around our house and have decided to fix them after she is gone. Beside it's just material stuff that can be replaced later. Pick your battles and try, try to maintain your sanity.
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Nancy, what you described can happen to anyone of any age. How many teenagers have fibbed about stuff happening? Kids fib about taking a bath, even though the towels are dry. I have slipped on ice a few times myself over the years.

People of all ages don't want to tell of these events because they worry about how people will think. It's embarrassing. Especially elders, they think their next stop would be the "home" if they do tell you of the event. So there is fear on their side.

Any time Dad does something out of the ordinary, pick your battles. Ignore the simple things. Keep that energy for the really big events.
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Sendhelp,

Yes...it starts at conception. It is a joke..sort of. But...Male brains are formed differently...there is measurable differences, even in the womb

Some of the odd stuff males do it directly connected to their different brain. Territorialism, ego, "me Tarzan you Jane stuff

So what better to call it?
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There are so many reasons outlined in the above great posts why seniors do not want to tell care providers about falls or accidents. Often times, they worry that any independence and freedom they have will be taken away by caring, concerned family members who have the best of intentions. One of the challenges is giving seniors freedom and independence while protecting them from harm, or learning how to "let go" of our fears. Yes, a loved one may fall and injure themselves. Or not. We have to let them take risks just as we do in our everyday life. Together, it is important to ask your loved one what is important to them - living fully by taking risks and increasing the probability of injuring themselves (quality-of-life) or protecting themselves from harm in order to live a longer life (quantity). Or somewhere in between. My father loved to eat but Parkinson's affected his swallowing. He did not want pureed foods so he ate what he wanted with the compromise of cutting his food into small pieces. He ended up dying of pneumonia since his food often times ended up in his lungs. But that is what he wanted; how he wanted to live his final years.
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Good tips above.

I'd make a list of the things you have observed. Let his doctor know about them. That will help the doctor in their evaluation. They may do a mini evaluation in their office that measures cognitive decline. They may also check for other things like stroke, infections, etc. I'd rule out other things, so you can know what you're dealing with.

One explanation that I learned when my LO got dementia, is that she lied about things, but she honestly didn't realize it. She honestly believed that she had bathed, changed the sheets, had lunch, etc. And she often forgot things that she had done. She had no idea who put her cable box in the kitchen cupboard. Her balance was very poor too, though, there could be other explanations.

In the meantime, I'd keep a very close eye on him. If it is dementia, they are often frightened, confused and anxious, because they don't understand what is happening to them. I'd try to comfort him and not make a big deal out of his actions. He can't help it, anyway. I'd try to avoid leaving him alone or allowing him to leave the house unattended, since, he's showing signs that he may forget how to return. 
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