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Posted: 4/13/2001 7:24:54 AM EDT
My father is in his mid sixties, retired a couple years ago, and over the past couple of years he has gone through a pretty significant personality change.  A little background info:  He was a great father to me growing up (understanding, patient), Mom died a little over three years ago leaving him pretty helpless, he remarried within a year and moved out of state.

Anyway, he recently organized a canoe trip, and the eight of us went last weekend.  It should have been a great time.  Instead, he spent the entire three days barking out orders at everyone (all adults, some older than him).  These orders included where everyone should set up their tents, who was going to haul all the unnecessary crap he brought along that wouldn't fit in his canoe, how everyone should traverse the various sets of rapids we encountered (we are all experienced floaters), and so on.  When we would pull in to a gravel bar to set up camp for the night, he would commence to set up his tent and get himself squared away (he seemed confused about how to set up a pup tent) while the rest of us tended to community chores like gathering firewood, doing the dishes, etc.  towards the end of the three day event, he complained that he was the only one doing anything for the common good.  I could go on.

Guys, I'm sorry to bore you with this long post, but my wife has noticed this change in him also.  Maybe my Mom had kept him in line all these years?  Maybe all men just turn into jackasses as they age?  Maybe he is in the early stages of some kind of mental disease, I don't know.  He is talking about planning a fishing trip to Canada next year, but honestly, I would almost rather pass on it.

I would be very interested in your opinions, or maybe similar stories and how you have dealt with it.  I really appreciate being able to lean on your shoulders for a minute.  This is a great group here.

Link Posted: 4/13/2001 7:27:43 AM EDT
This happened to my pop after retiring from the military.  He is 75 now.  He is different and I feel your pain, things change, life goes on.  My dad developed Demensia.  Maybe on his way to the big "A" (Alzhimers) we dont know yet...good luck.

The hardest part for us kids was getting him to the DOC to take the tests...
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 8:33:21 AM EDT
You might wish to inquire whether your father has had a comprehensive phsical by a good internist. Arterial blockages have been known to cause symptoms you describe. High blood pressure can do the same.
My father's personality took some strange turns at one point. He didn't like doctors and wouldn't go so my mother didn't press the issue. About six months later he had his first and last heart attack. Autopsy revealed extensive blockages.
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 8:53:20 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 9:08:39 AM EDT
more than likely your dad's situation is a combination mental and physiological.  perhaps the death of your mom caused a physio-emotional trigger.  the 'pain' caused him to retreat mentally to a safe state of stubborness / and lack of feeling.  to make sure his personality stays in this protective state his body and social function have altered as well.

suggest he really deal with the loss of his wife - (most likely very dificult with ex mil guys as crying in grief is bad, weak, female etc) - remarrying right away only is spakle on top of a crack that is still there.

OR have him do breathing exercises and or take up yoga, running and get him on ginko - this might fool the subconscious into thinking he is releasing the baggage he has trapped in there.

or just love him for the old goat he had become and make your own peace with that.

all the best
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 10:02:02 AM EDT

What part of NY do you live?
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 10:58:26 AM EDT
Maybe because he is not happy with his present life? Call him up and check on him. Ask him how thing goes? I will be 50 soon, and I usually acted the same way when I am having problems.
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 11:04:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/13/2001 1:09:26 PM EDT
1st.....i moved in with my ma 2 yrs ago....1,wife threw me out 2,ma lives alone and getting older.....figured it would help us both.....here`s some thoughts on your dillema.....people must feel needed (most) especially if they have raised a family which is now self sufficient....this magnifies that need.....stubborness...which we all are aware of...seems to increase with age......depression...older persons especially retired, unless they have a mate and both are active,have too much time to reflect on thier lives and whatever bothers them....add to this the fact that hardships are so much more difficult when you`re older if only for physical reasons, but moreso emotional.....lonelyness....affects people in different ways...very strange reaction sometimes and the lack of patience that your older parent exibits, has to be found in you.some words of advice..since you already know that you are the kid and he won`t listen to you,the only thing is to be there and feed encouragement, hoping that it will make him think. try to stay "one step ahead" of him, with patience, and speak and act accordingly, with the hope he will take the lead. remember, your parent has done a lot for you and although you do not owe him your life nor are responsible for his, he does deserve your respect and love, to the point that you can possibly give. i could go on and on, but that`s the "gist" of it. good luck to both of us.........[pistol]
Link Posted: 4/15/2001 9:40:11 AM EDT
We noticed changes in my Mom in her early 50's. She always had lots of medical problems, and took lots of drugs for them over the years, but not long after a major back surgery, she really changed.

This got worse and worse, but she was way too stubborn to admit it or talk about it, or to even see a doctor about it. She is 62 now, and about a year ago she was finally forced to see a doctor about it and was diagnosed with Ahlzheimers. She can no longer dress herself or read or even write her own name.

There is no cure or even much in the way of treatment, but there are a few drugs that help them to function as best they can. In addition, often they are suffering from one form of depression or another, as usually they know something is wrong but are unwilling to confront it. Depression can be treated effectively.

Somehow, some way, you need to find a way to talk to him and his wife and see if you cannot get him to talk to a doctor about whatever it is that is wrong. If it is some kind of degenerative disease like Ahlzeimers, it will only get worse, and everyone needs to know how best to deal with it, along with obtaining whatever medical help is available. You will likely be the bad guy and make him and maybe everyone else mad at you, but do not give up until he will seek whatever medical help that is available.

The band Sawyer Brown recorded a wonderful song about this time in life that became a favorite of mine when my Dad nearly died from a heart attack 10 years ago or so. It is called "The Walk". It is a sad song in many ways, but it portrays this phase of life in a way that makes you look at the issue through the lens of your whole life and that of your father's.

Good luck and our prayers are with you and your Dad.

Link Posted: 4/15/2001 12:43:07 PM EDT
Be thankfull that you've still got your father around. They're the greatest!
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