How do I know what is normal aging, and what requires a doctor's care?

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My Dad constantly complains about his health, yet does not do what the doc tells him in terms of getting enough sleep, drinking lots of fluids, etc. I am really starting to wonder if this is just attention seeking behavior. Dad is 80. I ask him if he needs help, he says no, then he says I dont help him enough, or he waits till the last minute to ask, I tell him I will try to get to whatever it is, then he says never mind, he will do it, then a few days later says I "refused" to help him, and that I should "Lend a hand" more. He will go on and on about himself for hours if I don't politely excuse myself, and he rarely asks how I am doing- I have back issues from an accident, and possible Sjogren's Symdrome. I havent mentioned the possible Sjogren's to him because I am not sure and he he often brushes off any health concern I have, and I am quite concerned about the Sjogren's, and if I mention it and he brushes it off/minimizes it, I lose I will totally lose my temper with him. He has been like this his whole life, my Mom had eczema, and he often mocked and ridiculed her. Every thing is about him, him, him, and he really contributes to his own health problems. Strangely, he can be very generous with money with me but sometimes a little too generous with people outside the family.

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Almost every one of the responses sounds as if the writer is talking about my ex-husband. He has become so difficult that his children have written him off and me as well for continuing to try to "help" him. He is easier to deal with when he is taking his anti-depressant medication, but he is always tired and many times his brain does not seem to be functioning in a rational manner. Do these behaviors indicate dementia or the on-set of Alzheimers? His sister had Alzheimers and his mother died at 100 of "dementia" according to death certificates.
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Talk to her doctor privately about your burnout and the need for mom to get more help than the family can provide. If you ask most seniors if they want "change" of any sort, they will say no. Either have the doctor insist that more care is needed, or have your sister research ALs in the area and give your mother a choice of two or three. Not AL or not AL; which one do you want to live in Mom, caring for you at home is no longer an option. Hugs!
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I've been a caregiver to my Mom for 13 yrs. now! She lives with me in my home! She will be 91yrs. old in February & has many health issues! I have done the best I could under stressful circumstances. I myself have health issues & feel very burned out. She get's very defensive & angry when you ask her to be cooperative or tell her not to do something that could impact her well being. I have a sister who lives 15 min. from me & doesn't help me very much. All she tells me is "Guess, it's time for assisted living". Mom wants nothing to do with that & makes me feel very guilty! How else can I handle this situation?
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Just got off the phone with him, this time he went on and on about how food has no flavor, he has no appetite, his clothes are loose, blah, blah, blah, (he is still a healthy weight for his height) etc. Yes, he has health problems, but at the same time I dont think he realizes how good he has it compared to a lot of people his age and younger. He has the money to order out whenever he wants, can afford his medications, supplemental health insurance and almost new car.
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Maybe when he complains about his health, say something like, that must be hard, is there something I can do? Bat the ball into his court in a neutal way. No emotional valence.
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Just because a person is in their eighties does not mean they "should" be old. Whenever I hear of seniors complaining about their health, I ask them, well, what are YOU going to do about it! Then I announce there will be no discussions of health and politics and when one doesn't have those two things to complain about, you will find out what they really are concerned about...Usually, they don't have enough money, are scared they will die alone, they didn't do enough in their lifetime that was good, etc. From your ramblings, you would be better served by making a chart and together you and your dad can plan the days your are available to help him. Give some structure and set some ground rules. Adult children are always afraid to put their foot down with a parent who is a bully. If one was a bully earlier in life, one will be a bully in later life.
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Sounds to me like your father will do anything to seek attention in any way he can. You say he is very generous with money-another way to gain attention and admiration. My mother is a female version of him. She tries and uses the same tactics to manipulate people around her, only some have wised up to her and keep their distance. Pitiful when someone has to use their health or money to try and gain attention.
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Many stubborn seniors have the idea they do not want to take medicine, they associate it with illness, weakness and death is coming soon.

Ours takes 25mgs of Sertraline, it is a small dose of antidepressant but takes the edge off, off label use is that it is to connect the neurons and receptors.

The other question will be, is it dementia?
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Alwayslearning, I give him plenty of attention. Were live in the same neighborhood and talk every day. What he really wants is for me to move to Florida with him, live with him , not work and just take care of him and the house. Thats a little too much attention lol. I hate going places with him because he is always late, and been this way his whole life.
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Your dad definitely has issues and of course you have your own health issues too, which complicates it all. He really needs to go to an MD who specializes in geriatric patients....barring that, which I know can be impossible, would you consider making an appt to see a geriatric-practice MD yourself, to explain the situation & all its underlying stress without dad present? I did this when I knew instinctively that antidepressant medication would help my dad; the dr was wonderful; gave me a full 30 of her time & agreed we me. I was then able to get him in to see her without too much wrangling. Just an idea....but also, the office billed his Medicare/BC-BS account for my visit since in concerned him.
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