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Stubborn older father.

Hi, my father is 71 years old. Has CHF, diabeties, and is over weight. I am very concerned about him. I'm only 30 and I just feel as though I haven't had enough time with him. He sits around all day and eats unhealthy. Both my brother and I have tried talking to him several times. I had a panic attack that lasted a few weeks back in March about loosing both my parents. I just feel like my father is being selfish. I have offered to go on walks with him, but he never wants to. I'm running out of ideas to help him. Anyone have any advice?

Answers

If he doesn't have a wife,Hire a female caregiver to come in a couple hour's a day...

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I would have his Dr. tell him the consequences of keeping up the way he is. With the combination your dad has, it will just shorten his life span. If he doesn't care and he doesn't care that he will be leaving his loving family, then just let him do as he wills. Nothing you say, will change him, unless HE wants to, or he has a medical emergency .

I agree let it go. Just support him in all he wants to do. Especially after people have lived their lives and are now just relaxing ...who wants to bother with rules and regulations? Let it go. let it go. Let him be. Find Reason in your own life to be happy. Do you have a family of your own? do you get together sometimes? focus on his good qualities. focus on things that make him feel like he is in charge. Ask his opinions on a few of your own challenges in life. all the best hope it goes well.

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I'm a retired nurse with over 20 years experience in caring for the elderly with dementia and Alzheimer's disease . He's probably angry , he's lost the ability to be totally independent , I'm sure he realizes his health is not that good , and eating what he wants is basically his only control he has right now . I wish I had some words of wisdom ,even with my nursing experience I can't even get my own husband to listen to me or for that matter not even his own doctors can get through to him . My husband is 68 and overweight . He is a diabetic , and has high blood pressure . His family has a history of heart disease .I think you need to be there for him , but also realize he wants to stay in control of life for as long as he can . At his age he knows his independence is diminishing , be kind to yourself , he knows you love him , but at this stage in his life ,let him be in control of his life and just be there for him when he wants and needs him . Good luck with your Dad , I'll say a prayer for him and you .

I find that when some one see's a daily motivator in eating healthy meals and daily routine walks helps to motive the person to doing same. I say this for my experience for my mother who is 77, I notice when i am doing these things she begins to follow without me asking to do it for her. Just a comment! wish you well!

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Tell him your concerns. Don't have any distractions such as a radio or T.V. in the background. Make sure your not putting your father on the defensive. Talk lightly and even laugh a bit about how many people your father's age wish they had caring children, like yourself! That's so great that you are such a caring person. I have a mother that resides in a nearby nursing home. MY mother is sharp as a tack and 91 yrs old. I know how hard it is to change roles where the child becomes the parent!! I have many demands on my time. Treat yourself well. You have to...we have many that are counting on us. Good luck.

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User in Alpine, CA
July 16, 2017

Hi, I understand your frustration, you see a loved one you want to help but they don't always want the help we longingly wish to offer. When all is said and done your father is the one with the final decision with regard to how he will take care of his own health. Disagreements put rifts in families all the time, even when the best of intentions are in play. You may not like my answer but I believe it's best and it's the approach I've taken with both family members and my clients. Often one of the hardest things to do is simply accept loved one's as they are and allow then to be who they are without trying to change them. My question to you would be, do you want discomfort or an on-going rift between you and your father or do you want to accept him as he is, be close with him and enjoy whatever time together you are blessed with? Personally, I would much rather look beyond the things that divide and put a wedge between me and those I love and cherish the precious moments we have, sharing memories, laughing together, planning, and simply loving, cherishing and enjoying one another. We only get one chance at this crazy life of ours and I hope you and your loved one's will get the most of what you're blessed with! Don't miss the chance of having some wonderful experiences between you by letting the negative dominate or hurt the rest! Best wishes, Tim

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My parents were the same way until we put them in an independent living facility. They love it. My mother is a totally different person now. We didn't realize how depressed she was. 

He's got to have a reason to shape up. 

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Maxine in Miami, FL
July 16, 2017

You should help first by getting him better healthier snack and meal options. Learn to see how to substitute what he likes for a healthy alternative. Introduce him to new items that will help him to stop snacking. Maybe you can check out the adult daycare they have daily activities to keep them entertained.

Cynthia in Brea, CA
June 14, 2017

Yes! Please check your city's senior center for information on activities for senior citizens. They have group trips to parks, museums, even Las Vegas, etc. Some centers serve meals, and he can socialize with other seniors and play bingo and other such games. He may need to socialize and be around other people his age, so that he isn't always thinking about food or his health condition and to lift his spirits. Best of luck!

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For some of us, exercise isn't fun. And health issues can make it downright miserable. Think of what he might want to do for fun, and try to sneak a little "unavoidable" activity in there.

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Congestive Heart Failure makes walking long distances difficult, especially if someone is already out of shape. If you are living at home, it is possible to cook healthier meals and perhaps get a video games system that is motion sensitive so that you can play games that require arm movement or some motion. This allows exercise (minimal) to be obtained indoors and without focus on it being "exercise". Nintendo and Playstation and Xbox all have motion activated games. Start with something simple that he will enjoy not a dance or exercise program. Also there are senior exercise programs that focus on seated exercise (stretching etc) that can be a great step forward in becoming fit assuming your father is willing to participate. Remember CHF will mean any exercise is difficult and uncomfortable so he may be afraid of you seeing he is not able to do what you want him to do.

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Might take more than just you. Maybe have a family talk with him. Tell him your concerns and willingness to help him. He could be depressed And telling someone about how they choose to live their life wrong isn't the right approach. He needs someone who he listens to. Could be one of his buddies. Or his Doctor might be able to help if health problems are at rise. Just tell him you love him. Can't change how people want to live. Just need to enjoy the time you have and cherish it. :)

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I always recommend Katharina W. Dress, aginginharmony.com for situations like this. We, as caregivers, can not "make" our clients, do something. Health is a question and a topic that has only come up lately, perhaps in the last 3 years, regarding what is considered healthy in nutrition. Over weight can have other causes besides nutrition. He needs to see a specialist, and I do recommend a Naturopath in addition to his regular medical doctor, for a second opinion.

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Penny in Evans, GA
July 16, 2017

I actually have had alot of men like him that I have taken care of. I would just try making him healthy stuff and not buying him snacks. I think they have their own fears and feel like that are not in control. Sometimes a 3 rd party could help. Maybe if you could even pay for someone to clean or something it would give him a change. I wish I could help more . Penny

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Dee in Knoxville, TN
July 16, 2017

Offer to take him to the movies. Basically he is depressed and has given up. He has lost his zest for life and has no goals or things that give him value. Find things that interest him and offer to do them together. He will not be interested is doing physical things like walking since mobility is uncomfortable. Offer to give him a foot or leg massage. Ask his advice on things.

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Unfortunately, this is a common story with overweight diabetics.  As previously stated, this is about control for your Father.  My only advice is this:

1. Identify & separate your issues from his issues.  Professional counseling might be helpful with this issue - for each of you, as your issues are quite real, but different;

2.  Maintain a healthy perspective & stay positive throughout;

3.  Respect his independence & autonomy;

4.  Identify interests & hobbies he enjoys (or enjoyed in the past) and find creative ways to integrate them into his life again (using computers, community events, organizations, etc...);

5.  Discuss your concerns regarding healthy food choices and incorporate changes gradually (with full participation, knowledge & consent).  Be firm that changes must (and will) be implemented to encourage his participation. Respect his choice to participate, but implement changes none-the-less.  Involve your doctor, nutritionist, family members, etc...  for support;

6.  Have his doctor evaluate him for depression (a common diagnosis with individuals in his condition) and consider relevant treatment options.

As always, shower your Father with love & affection.  Hopefully, he will come around & choose to respond in a positive way.  

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Your daddy probably needs space try asking him what he want to do life is short

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My parents were both, as you describe your situation. The unfortunate thing, is this is how he is. He's not being selfish. If there were a hobby he may be interested in, an interest that you may be able to lure him out to see or do. We used the opportunity of taking mother to the Dr. for more outings and interaction, we were bored out of our brains but she enjoyed it. We were also able to use this with our father a couple of times. They both wanted to do things, but felt bad for a few days after. While dad was able, let's go to the store or Walmart...... I know other's have heard this and it works to a degree; let's see what kind of pretty women we can see. Bring in a few healthy cooked meals and snacks to put the in the refrigerator. I had things delivered to my parents, just because they needed it and wouldn't buy. They lived an hour away, so visits weren't as frequent, but emails, phone calls... Communication with other family.Some people made things worse and some were awesome. Friends, whoever they connected with earlier. My dad missed work; they pulled small engine items in the living room for him to tinker with or teach someone else.... Some days he would, some days he wouldn't. The mini bike, in the living room, was the real attention getter. Computer parts for everyone to tinker with- great idea to occupy their minds, hands and reach out for help and go get more parts.... The humidity was really bad for both, so the living room being turned into a work shop, was a small consolation. The key here, is not saying anything else about his health and what he needs (he knows), but finding ways to get him to maybe interact with people near his age or the same problems and sneaky ways to positively encourage. My husband's 92 yo grandmother, tells it like it is, "I do what I want, when I want and I have lived this long, I think I have done well by myself. I don't care what they think or say" Regarding her health and providers.

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Laure in Edmonds, WA
July 30, 2018

That's a tough one. My boyfriend has diabetes and has to manage it VERY carefully with insulin and about what we eat. Sounds like your Dad has given up on tracking the diabetes issue. I don't think he's selfish, I think he's just given up on worrying about it which for YOU is NOT good. My boyfriend went into keto acidosis when his step mother died because he stopped eating because he was so depressed and I had to have an emergency ambulance come get him. If you have diabetes, you HAVE to be careful. Just saying.

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Have you talked to them about a Power of Attorney this gets them thinking about why, then explain that you are worried about there health even if they are not . talk to there Dr.

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M in Carrollton, GA
Aug. 28, 2017

Let me give it from the Diabetic point of view.  Type 1 diagnosed in 1979 in retirement area of Florida.  Lot of bad physicians...now disabled.

Everyone knows the good 4 items and parents, children or spouses can harp so that you just tune it out.  

1) Diet (all carbohydrates minus fiber turn to glucose in blood)

2) Exercise (Diabetes slows metabolism and you lose weight slower)

3) Take your medication (I'm being from your Dad here really?)

4) Check Blood Glucose (Has anyone tried pricking their fingers..2-8x/day for the rest of your life...now if you are on injections add that too.  

Go ahead try it for a week, and eat his diet, pretend you are having a low and high several times and treat accordingly.  

Now here are the things I garnered after finally seeing my 1st Diabetic Specialist almost 9 years out..or things they don't tell until after the fact

5)  Metabolism is different for each Diabetic.  Doesn't matter Type.  What effects one may effect another differently but again I refer to 1) it will happen.

6) Illness if bacterial will elevate your glucose, even just a fever.

7) Medications. Prescription or Over the Counter. You have to read the pamphlet and the check heart, kidney, stomach, CNS, and eyes. All things that Diabetes effects.

8) Hormones effect blood glucose puberty for all girls well they don't get it easy.

9) Caffeine. Drink too much and you baseline goes up.  Six years in college and a case a day for 4.5 before the doctor asked about caffeine use.

10) Alcohol causes a low unless you are using a mixed drink flavor of some type. 

11) Bad Doctors. Have you gone with him to see how his dr treats him. They can be abusive, ignore people, or not pay attention.  Case in point my physicians missed a drug that was interfering with two. And they had no reason not to I give them an updated list with medical each time.

12) Extra Exercise like grocery shopping or walking in the parking lot can cause a low.  Always be prepared.

13) Comments from strangers when you are out and they think they know because an extended family member died from it.

14) Someone always watching everything going in the mouth.  

Having CHF and being overweight do not go hand in hand. What people do not get is even losing 30 lbs and still overweight can change that course.  And I do know that one, personally.  Doctors refuse to listen to Diabetics the book applies.  Diabetic Educators don't listen the book applies.  We are each separate individual.  

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Tina in Elm City, NC
July 23, 2017

I have lost a aunt to obiese and grandmother both overweight and diebetic. So it does play a role on your health. Maybe get some sit down weights exercises and buy more healthy food in the house to eat.

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I would talk to his doctor and have him speak to him. Try having a warm heart to heart talk with him. Make him listen to your concerns, even if he gets mad. Just stay calm and express your love to him. Whatever you do, just do not enable his behavior. He will listen to you eventually. My husband is very ill and stubborn. He was the same way, but he listens now. Good luck!

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User in Salem, MA
Feb. 15, 2019

Don't help. He's just taking complete control. Being a father does not mean he has every right to control every situation. Being concerned means you can only do what he will allow you to do...which is nothing. Don't offer ideas and get tough. Once he sees that you are standing your ground, he won't have anyone to control. Hire someone to do the things he cannot physically do. Tell him you love him but don't let him get you all upset.

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Your father needs a social work consult and he needs to be introduced to Adult Day Care services. Apparently he might be depressed.

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User in Tampa, FL
Jan. 21, 2019

get rid of the unhealthy food replace with healthy food elderly have their set ways and change if difficult for them you can try to get psychologist and dietician come speak with him

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I was the same way as your dad. I weighed 407 pounds. I now weigh 168. I started exercising by lifting soup cans over my head. As I got stronger, I started using bigger cans. Then I graduated to hand weights. I also started parking out farther when I went places. It would cause me to walk more. The other thing you can do is to start making foods for him that are better choices. There are lots of websites and apps for calorie planning

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Lynn in Mesa, AZ
Nov. 16, 2018

Sounds like he has some depression which is quite common when you have so many health challenges and you get overwhelmed Sounds like he could use a friend his age maybe

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get in a group for care givers [like an Al Anon for family members] to get support and understanding of how to help yourself through this

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Annie in Lakewood, NJ
Oct. 23, 2018

you have to talk to him and find out what he wants to do.ask him how he fills about things? express to him your feeling and whoever is doing the food shopping you buy the food that are more healthier because your have to get to the root of the problem before u can move on. you need to hear what and how he is feeling.let him know yes your going through a little bit of sickness but it can get better we just need to do this or that. don't give up

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Get him a male caregiver.

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Laura in Garner, NC
Oct. 15, 2018

It sounds like he may have depression. An antidepressant works wonders but it is up to him to speak to his doctor about it and take the meds if prescribed. Unfortunately, you cannot live his life for him. My son's father was 44 when he was born, and yes, and the lost generation seems unfair. But worry about the things you can change and let go the things you cannot.

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Elyse in Houston, TX
Oct. 2, 2018

I can completely understand how you feel. Parents, especially as they get older, can be set in their ways. We, as their adult children, do not want to face the inevitable. What is important is placing yourself in your dad's shoes. Research and read upon his medical conditions and allow your dad to also have access to the materials you are reading. Prompt him to join support groups as well. He may be suffering from depression related to his diagnosis. AS for you, it's important that you get out and join support groups as well. It may help you to better understand your dad.

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I would see what he like to do when it comes to getting out the house, I also would have his doctor talk with him about his health

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I rather answer this question in a face to face setting.

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Would he be willing to go to a senior day care center or a recreation? He would be with people his age and cared for in a safe environment. They go to lunch, shopping, have entertainment and activities. Be sure to tell them about his Diabetes, so they'll watch his dietary needs when he's there. You can lead a horse to water, but it doesn't mean he'll drink it.

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You are not in control of your father's health or lifestyle choices. It can be difficult to watch a loved one make choices that we disagree with. However, elderly folks have the right to self determination just like younger folks. Let's respect their choices even if we don't agree with them. If you are experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, there are exercises you can do to improve your coping skills. Consult a therapist to learn some of these skills to better cope with stress. It might be beneficial to you to speak to a therapist as well to process some of your feelings about your aging parents.

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Susan in Oxford, NC
Aug. 14, 2018

Start small maybe fix him a healthy dinner. Go do something with him that he enjoys, like fishing.

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