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Periodic Contributor

Am I too controlling?

I am full-time live-in caregiver to my father-in-law. He is 85 and underwent brain surgery last year to remove a fungal ball. On March 1st he fell for the second time this year at the local casino. This time he fractured C-1 in three places and also fractured the odontoid process of C-2. He is in a neck brace for who knows how long. Am I being too controlling by insisting, he obviously must have his doctor's permission first and foremost, but I also think he should exercise for 15 minutes every day for thirty days before driving to get his strength back so hopefully he won't fall again? He has refused to participate in physical therapy. Too controlling or do I simply have common sense? (I personally believe he should not drive again.)

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Social Butterfly

Very good advice @jonibee .

@DeniseW79482 , stubbornness is one of the hardest thing we as caregivers deal with.  Besides what joinibee suggested, I would like to suggest a couple of things. Balance is an important thing to address.

If he/you have a full length mirror, stand in front  of it and there are various things to do. This encourages visualizing any deviations. However long depends on ability (don't tire). Stand beside him to support if needed. Doing these things you can also try and make it fun.

Watch the stance to see if he sways. Then correct. Do things like lift a leg (and alternate) for a few seconds to see if balance is off. Then you can work on that. Touch nose with each hand. Lean a bit sideways then back each direction. Different things to visualize and correct. The body to mind connection.

Another thing that can be useful and fun is balance ball. They are larger balls that you sit on to work on balance. Some use these as office chairs. To be safe and more fun, get two. (Or one and just be there for support) You both sit across from each other and help each other balance (and you can keep him safe if need be). This can be fun like helping each other by holding hands and leaning. When balance is good you can play patty cake. 😊 If he is not safe be sure to keep these out of reach to use himself. 


I don't know if these will help you/him or not, just thought I would chip in with some ideas. Good luck and thank you for your caring support.

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Silver Conversationalist

Take all car keys and hide them.  Explain to him that after he has successfully completed a comprehensive exercise program - we May have a discussion about driving.  Put your foot down.

Periodic Contributor

Thank you. That was the confirmation I needed that I am doing the right thing. I have taken the keys. Unfortunately he refused Physical Therapy as he HATES to exercise. I was hoping to persuade him into exercising if he wants to get his driving privileges back. He is stubborn as a bull (Taurus) and does not take directions from any woman.

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Trusted Contributor

I think your actions are caring, not controlling.

Trusted Social Butterfly

There is an old saying ..."You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" (Unless he's thirsty)..Perhaps there may be a compromise such as a game of toss or something that can incorporate action of movement  that you two can play or something that gives him the moves you're looking for. It's surprising that he is still driving without problems.. I find too much prodding gets resistance from the person.He's lucky that he has you but doesn't realize what a gem you are...

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