My dad is about to turn 70. He has type 2 diabetes, HBP, and suffers from incontinence. He still lives at home with my mom, but since she's 23 years younger than him, she still works full time as a nurse and he's always left home alone. He's very social and loquacious by nature so he complaints of being lonely, of having no friends in the area and spends his time on the phone, watching TV, writing on the computer (I've suggested he should write his memoirs to pass time) and going to the library/grocery store/pharmacy.

My brother and I have left home for university few years ago, but since I've found a temp job home, I moved back in with my parents. And I've started noticing things. First: the house smells of urine, everywhere. My father has incontinence, which my mom blames on his laziness. He doesn't shower regularly, his clothes smells because he always leaks, the house furnitures smell too since he's always home. Today I found a luggable loo he tried to hide in the basement which wasn't empty (we live in a one-bathroom duplex and the bathroom's upstairs). When we try to tell him the house smells and he should clean himself up, he gets upset saying we're disrespecting him. Because my mom always works, she doesn't want to deal with it. We won't invite anyone over anymore because it smells so bad.

Also, he hoards, always gets the house in a mess, gets new obsessions every now and then (right now, he focuses on new diets he finds on the Internet) and keeps saying he's going to try to find a job soon (but we all know he doesn't have the health for that). He's a very proud man who's done a lot of for us, who's studied a lot, but he seems to be in denial about his condition and hates when we "monitor" him. I'm worried sick he might have depression or early dementia and I don't know what to do or say to make him feel better and accepting of his age and health.

PS: I've suggested he sees a therapist, but since he's from Africa, he says he and his culture don't believe in therapy. Help.

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daughter047, your Dad is only 70 and has retired from work, that's tough on the brain. I remember when my Dad had to retire at 65 [it was the law way back when], he was bored silly, and always underfoot when my Mom was trying to do her daily chores. My parents then decided to do volunteer work and they did that up into their early 90's.

Right now I am home on what feels like house arrest due to the C-19 virus. My office has closed and we now are working from home but there is hardly anything to do. I feel like my mind is going to mush, and I don't like that feeling as it can become depressing.

You and your Mom need to find Dad something to keep him busy. How about Dad doing a family tree via I found it so very fascinating. Bring out old photos and have Dad write who is in the photos on the back for later research.

What about a daily walk around the neighborhood? Just walking with an occasional "good morning" to neighborhoods can be uplifting :)
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Man, I'm sorry. This sounds like a real stressful situation. It sounds like your mom is really in denial. Sometimes, people are funny that way, but, the truth is that allowing this to go on is really unhealthy for your dad. I'd assume that something is going on and yes, what you describe fits what I see in a lot of people with dementia. My LO was able to shop, pay bills, provide pet care, etc. but, still had symptoms like you describe......poor hygiene, refusal to change clothes, wouldn't put clean linens on bed, wouldn't listen to sound advice for healthcare, hoarded large amounts of odd things, etc. As it turns out, it was dementia. If you can get your dad to a doctor, with the doctor knowing what you are dealing with it would help. If not, I'm not sure what you can do, except seek legal advice. No one wants to go that route, but, if I saw one parent who was suffering and the other was in denial and doing nothing, I'd have to intervene, by legal means. I'd at least find out what evidence you need to get beforehand. Maybe, if you mom knows how serious you are, she'll get her head out of the sand. Of course, they may ask you to move out. I'd be prepared for that too. Often people who are sick with conditions like dementia, are not mentally able to accept anything is wrong. It's called agnosia. He may not be able to accept that there is a problem and nothing you can say will matter. He'll just need help.

Of course, it could be that something else is going on, like a vitamin deficiency. That's why a full medical exam would be helpful.
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The only way to be certain what’s ailing your father is for him to see his doctor. Since he most likely won’t admit there are any issues, you’d need to write the doctor a note and let him in on what’s going on with your father. Incontinence and lack of hygiene can be signs of dementia, but also of other issues, mental and physical. Dad sounds like a very proud man who is not going to admit he has issues. You may need to increase your efforts at deodorizing your home and furniture as this is not a healthy situation for any of you.
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