How do you deal with an aging parent who is oppositional and reverts to child like behavior?

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My Dad has not been officially diagnosed, we are waiting on Neuro-psych testing. However, he has MDD and suspected dementia at 67. He does not handle most of his day to day activities. He needs reminders to bathe, pay bills, etc. When he is compliant and agreeable things go smoother. I have had him organize, keep lists, etc. However lately he has been acting worse and more often.

Somedays a gentle reminder is all he needs. Other days he simply refuses or makes up excuses to avoid tasks. He has let many things "go" and will not hear reason. I try to avoid controversy and arguing by picking and choosing what I ask him to do. However important things are not getting done.

He has stopped paying on his mortgage and I advised him to call an Attorney to try and avoid financial issues. He has refused so far. At times I cannot even bring it up.

On a smaller scale, simple daily tasks seems to be a "chore" for him. When he is asked to make calls on his finances or medical issues, he will sometimes tell me he is "drinking coffee" and will do it "later". The later turns into never. When I ask him to write it down and do it when he feels comfortable, he will sometimes refuse to write it down. At this point when I ask him why he hasn't done it (which may be days later) he says he "forgot." He will also tell me he forgets where he wrote it down.

Over the weekend when he seemed receptive, I tried talking to him again about his daily tasks. He continued to make up excuses, and began rocking and then attacking me for other issues. I think this was avoidance.

On the big issues, I cannot get him to hear any reason. He continues to avoid his responsibilities. I had him apply for benefits through the VA which was almost a year ago, and he never followed up until last week. Prior, he told me he was not eligible, would not let me look at the papers (he lost them, and etc.), I was present when he called them finally and heard he was missing documentation that he failed to check up on.

Most of his responsibilities go this way. Basically he wants to sit all day and has told me directly he wants me doing it all for him. I dont' think that is healthy either. He should be handling something so he does not loose personal power.

I am not sure how to get through the "refusals" other than to just ignore them as if I push that issue at that point it usually turns into him screaming or belittling me.

Any ideas on how best to deal with these behaviors? I have a strong feeling that I am doing something incorrectly as it seems what I have tried fails to work at least 80% of the time.

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It sounds like these tasks are too much for him. In my mother's case, I noticed that even though she would seem to understand procedural stuff, like calling to get information, submitting a form, getting a response and taking other action -- when it came down to actually doing it, she just couldn't. It was immediately overwhelming and so confusing. So you might have to take these things over for him.
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I think after you have the neuro psych evaluation the doctor will identify his remaining abilities. He may be farther along with the dementia than you realize. His refusal to do some things could be he is tired, overstimulated, or unable to do so because of cognitive issues. Try to tackle one thing at a time when he is most rested. Hang in there, I know it is difficult.
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