Friday, January 30, 2009

Respect your elders

My Dad is 82, gonna be 83 this year. He's a remarkable man in many ways. He tools around the internet like nobody's business. He reads papers from all over the world, sometimes he works on it in the original language. He reads, he watches TV. He's an active man, for the most part.

Dad's been having memory issues lately, which he acknowledges, and which he says, can undermine one's confidence. Memory issues at his age are understandable. As Dad's sharp in every other way, it is not a huge worry.

The worry is this: he thinks some of his children are coming into his house and taking things. And then, they bring the things back. One such item to make a trip are the moldy old encyclopedias that are so out of date that 98% of the countries in those books no longer exist. He also thinks his drawers are being rearranged. He cannot see that this is highly unlikely. Only one of us has a key to my Dad's house. My Dad has some reason to feel as he does. My sister came sometime after my mom died and rummaged through my Dad's house for something as he sat there. I truly believe that sister is some sort of crazy, because, who could do that? It was after that episode that my Dad changed his locks.

Here is my dilemma: my sister Magnificent wants to find out the name of my Dad's doctor and contact him with concerns that my Dad has dementia and to see if he can be tested and if there is medication for it. I tried to talk to Dad last night and tell him my (our) concerns and ask if he wouldn't mention it to his doctor. He won't. He absolutely won't. First, because he thinks people are really coming in rearranging things and taking stuff, and secondly, he would never admit to someone that his kids are creeps, and cruel to boot.

Is it wrong to take information Dad might give me, in trust, to violate that trust and go behind his back, even if it is for a good reason? He would never tell me a thing if he thought that was what I was trying to do with it. Nor would he ever forgive me. Or is it right to take care of something for him, especially because he can't see something is wrong? No amount of talking or logic is going to change his mind.

It says in the bible to respect your father, even if his mind fail. So, in this case, is it respect to ignore his wishes and do what's 'best' for him or is it respect to do as he wants?

1 comment:

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Mairin: It sounds like your Dad is approaching the point in his life where his kids are going to have to step in. He sounds like he's suffering from paranoia that could be a sign of coming Alzheimers. Absolutely, you need medical advice and so does your Dad.

Prayers here...