Shanin Asked January 2, 2018

Is my grandfather giving up on life? What do I do?

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My grandfather is 78 and in the past year he has gone from very active to sleeping all the time. He is no longer wanting to eat. He has lost a great amount of weight and now needs adult diapers because he no longer feels when he has to urinate. He is losing his balance and falling and is now walking with a walker or cane. All of this in 1 year. He is refusing to go to the doctor because he says there is nothing wrong with him, even though he has been urinating blood off and on for the last year. What can I do to help him and what does all this mean? Is he giving up on life?

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Llamalover47 Jan 8, 2018
Correction on my error--prostate cancer.
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surprise Jan 7, 2018
Shann, If that is how gdad feels, he needs a diagnosis so he can go onto hospice services and have a good passing. If his doc does not think he is within 6 mos of dying, he can prescribe anti depressants as well as pain relief. He can even decline treatment of anything and have palliative care only from his doc. If he is within 6 mos, he can have palliative care from hospice - comfort care only. That will help him tremendously.
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Nancynurse Jan 7, 2018
I just read your post. This is so sad for you and your Grandfather. Even though he has a history of Cancer in the family, he should still get it checked out. He may be suffering for no reason. It could be just a simple infection and clear up with antibiotics. Even if it is cancer, as he suspects, there are comfort measures that will help him. Not sure how to clear up his other issue. That sounds like you may need to call a family meeting and advocate for him. I'm sending you prayers for a positive outcome.
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Shanin Jan 7, 2018
Thank you everyone for your answers. Not long after posting the question, my grandfather finally told me what was going on with him. He says that he knows he is sick and that he has known for awhile. His father and brother both had cancer and went through chemo and very tough times and then passed. My grandfather decided he doesn't want to accept any help for it. He wants to just let it be. He says he has lost his will to live because he feels trapped. He has a 43 year old son and a 22 year old grandson who has lived with him for 8 years now. They do not work and they have taken over everything in his home. Including telling my grandfather whom can and cannot stay the night in his home. My grandfather pays for everything, including the many video games they want. He feels he cannot kick them out because they have no where else to go so he decides to come stay with me to get away from his own home which is sad. He feels there is nothing left in him to fight anymore and he wants to go be with his wife who passed 14 years ago.
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Countrymouse Jan 6, 2018
Shanin, I see from your profile that your grandfather is living with you in your home. Did he come to live with you one year ago, then? What were the reasons he gave for agreeing to do this?

If he were living independently and made the free decision, not affecting anybody else, that whatever was wrong he preferred to ignore it, that would be one thing. But he chose instead to accept your support and move in with you. Now he's stopping you taking proper care of him by consulting a doctor and at least getting clarity on what is happening with him - not to mention that dealing with incontinence is no fun for the household either, to be blunt about it, even if obviously it isn't his fault and nobody blames him.

But he can't at one and the same time rely on your care AND pretend that his health is none of your business. Not fair and not logical.

I hope you'll come back in response to people's comments and support and let us know what you think.
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ZaRaya Jan 6, 2018
I agree with CarlaCB. 911 would consider this an emergency and as you cannot lift your grandfather into a vehicle, they would help you. I had to call them last year for my elderly mother and they told me that people don't realize all the things that they help with.
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Leelee113 Jan 6, 2018
I agree with the other commenter about the UTI, it really can cause confusion and withdrawal...I was just at the hospital with my mom...she didn't know who I was and was totally unresponsive until the antibiotics started working...
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Lymie61 Jan 6, 2018
Shanin I wouldn't jump to thinking he is giving up on life. The symptoms you describe can all be related to several possibilities, some simple and most treatable if not fixable. It sounds like these all happened at or around the same time and all fairly quick too which supports the possibility of something like an infection (UTI), as does blood in the urine or medication issue but most of us I think can relate to difficulties getting someone to the doctor that doesn't want to go. I think more often than not particularly when they start really digging their heels in, the real reason is fear. They know something is wrong and are afraid that it's something major so as long as they don't go to the doctor they can maintain the facade, to themselves as well as the rest of the world, that they are healthy. It may be a drawback to not having any health issues that need to be tracked regularly as they age actually. At least when they are on a medication or have something that is managed but needs to be checked to maintain that there is a non-threatening need to see and get to know a doctor on a regular basis.

Anyway as others have suggested there are several medical reasons that could be causing your grandfathers energy and spirit changes and of course low energy that has him sleeping so much of the time and not getting out contributes to mood and depression, things that if he were younger people would more quickly say must have a medical reason. Another problem I have found, the tedency for medical people to assume depression is the cause for behaivior and the diagnosis rather than a symptom of something else that might be simple and easy to fix. I have, on too may occasions to call coincedence, known something medical was going on based on my moms mood and or behaivior. Often in the hospital but because I know her I am able to see the diffrence, for the nurses or providers in and out of the house it looks like behaivior typical for elderly paitents. My brother and I have picked up on 2 or 3 UTI's and 3 or 4 times she was retaining fluid in her lung or systemically well before any obvious outward physical indications developed. Once in fact I took her in knowing she had a UTI but according to the doctor her test was negative, the very next day she was tested at the hospital for pre-op and they found a UTI. Now I'm not saying your situation is the same I'm just saying that you know your grandfather and it's the people around a person, the people that know them well who are most likely to notice changes first. Trust your instict about something being off. It sounds like this has been going on for about a year in some shape or form any chance he is due for a yearly check up? That might make it easier to get him to the doctor and then you could give the doctor the heads up about your concerns or just the differences you have noticed either at the appointment with GF in the room if you have that set up and relationship or by sending or leaving a message prior to the appointment if that's more appropriate. Of course if he doesn't have a regular primary or go to the doctor on a regular basis this doesn't work as well.

If a regular check up doesn't work and he isn't mentally impaired then your probably going to have to find a way to reason him into it. Recognizing that a big piece of his resistance to getting checked out is likely fear give him some of the other simple options that might be going on, the ones with simple fixes and stress how much better he might feel quickly if they find and treat some of these things. Maybe even talk about how letting something simple and fairly minor continue untreated can lead to something more major or chronic and the longer it goes untreated and the more symptoms that pop up the more likely it becomes that eventually when something major (related or not) happens the medical providers will want to treat those symptoms individually rather than part of the same root problem. For instance they might want to put him on antidepressants long term for depression or tag him with dementia when those are really symptoms of a minor infection or perhaps a minor CVA both of which can be overcome. Just examples here, I'm not diagnosing anything but I have found when trying to get my mom to go along with medical treatment or an appointment she doesn't feel is necessary or doesn't want to do (usually because it scares her for some reason) it usually helps to talk about the things I thin are scaring her as things I had thought of and the things that are more likely or the remedies that aren't as bad as she's thinking. Putting it all out on the table so to speak for her along with the possible treatments and stressing the positives of figuring it out and treating it. Not in a "controlling" way like saying you have to do this or that and not pleading with them, at least at first but giving them the options/possibilities that you know about, in my case often including the info I have already gotten from communication with her doctor or doctors and or their staff (I have to admit sometimes I'm selective about what I share) and when I sense it's time I back off and let the topic change giving her some time to digest what we have talked about. Difficult topics often take 2 or 3 conversations with time in between and my brothers and I often let each other know when the topic is tough and important enough so that we all talk to her about it individually. For us so far this method of talking her through a topic and leading her to at least going along with and seeing the need to do what we know she needs to so getting her on board has worked and is far better than the alternative of figuring out how to make her do something. That may not last and there are things, like the sleep doctor, she isn't coming around about but I also pick my battles and that just hasn't gotten to the top 3 on the list yet so admittedly I haven't worked it very hard. When worse comes to worse making a doctor the heavy often works too but one has to be careful there because you don't want to give them another reason to avoid the doctor either.

Sorry wrote this yesterday and thought I had posted it but I just clicked on the tab and found it was still here...
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Llamalover47 Jan 5, 2018
Blood in his urine is considered a medical emergency, If he waits, it could only get worse, especially with no diagnosis. Think bladder cancer or prostrate cancer.
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JoAnn29 Jan 5, 2018
You need to call his primary. This could be prostrate cancer or bladder cancer which both can be cured if found early.
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