My father has been doing things to himself due to problems which he believes he has. An example is that he thought he had fungus on his head and started treating his head with peroxide and listerine daily. This went on for some time. Then he convinced himself that the chlorine in our city water was burning him so he began collecting rainwater for washing and drinking. He has a wound on his leg which my mother feels is self inflicted. He refuses to go to the doctor. I feel that there is a larger issue here than just his inured leg. He is also taking 20, yes twenty, ibuprofen tablets daily. I know that this has to end but where do I start?

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Hi Annie,
Skinonna has terrific insight. Unfortunately, her last sentence is all to true. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do until something so serious happens that an ambulance must be called. Your father is an adult who can make his own decisions. Fear that a doctor will find something serious can be just one of many reasons people won't see a doctor.

That being said, I've got one suggestion that may or may not work. If he he won't got for a "general checkup" as suggested by the family, perhaps a friend of his could talk him into going for a checkup. Often, elders get very stubborn about doing what their adult children tell them to do. It's kind of reflexive. Even a spouse can have trouble getting through. But an "outsider" who has no family influence may not bring out that resistance so much. If he has an old friend you could talk honestly with, perhaps that person could talk him into a visit to the doctor.

I am hoping for the best, here, as all too often this type of behavior goes on until there's something more serious to contend with. Fear is powerful, and I'm afraid that's what going on here.
Take care,
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I feel for you. I guess you might say he's a bit stubborn with a touch of dementia. Recipe to make you anxious. Does he just "hate" doctors? Has he ever gone to a doctor? If he has a PCP, maybe you can call, fill him in and request the doctor to call him to set up a "annual" physical and explain why at his age this is so important.Often the route it goes is they keep it up until and serious accident or health crisis occurs. Then if they survive, they get medical attention.
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