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Advice from SigForum for elderly dad's behavior... "creepy" factor... Login/Join 
Rock Paper
Lizard Spock
Picture of James in Denver
I'm open to any and all suggestions... regardless of opinion...

So here's the background. I'm 51 and my dad is 85 and married to someone 20 years his junior (early 60s). He's a former college professor and administrator, has a PhD in Math and worked for NASA in the 1960s before getting into teaching. He retired at 77 from teaching.

He still retains his intelligence and, while affected by age, he retains most of his physical capabilities. He does "shake" a bit, but has never officially been diagnosed with parkinsons. He did have prostate cancer and kidney issues, but all resolved.

So overall, he's in good shape for being 85.

However, his behavior can only be described as "creepy old man". Let me explain.

I'm getting treatment for cancer and he goes to the nurses that are not treating me and "flirts" with them. I even say "Hey dad, they are working, let them work" and he does sort of a "pshaw" type movement and continues to "bug" them inappropriately. I even felt like I had to apologize to the nurses after he left.

I went to a focus group for my health problems, and he and his wife were able to drive me. While waiting for his wife to bring the car around, he walks up to a tall young 20-something woman and says... loudly... "you like to be stared at don't you?" She laughs it off, but he giggles like a school boy and continues to flirt until his wife comes back.

I also saw him go up to a young girl, probably 10 or so, and start talking to her while her parents were not around. He wasn't flirting or anything, but had I not known he was my dad AND I was the parents, I would have been extremely upset at the way he was talking to her. Just "creepy".

I've never seen him touch anyone inappropriately, no "slaps on the butt" or "shoulder rubs", but just his demeanor, expressions, tones and even specific words are not appropriate for the situations.

In addition to the flirting, he just doesn't care about what other people think. He doesn't take a bath or shower regularly, and flat doesn't care when someone says something about it. Additionally, he'll just walk to the front of the line in a restaurant or fast food place, not caring if there's other people in line and waiting.

After seeing some of this, I started to worry about his behavior. My fiance noticed this behavior too, and then his wife had a LONG conversation about his behavior with my fiance. It appears this is "normal behavior" for him. He flirts with other women right in front of her, and doesn't seem to think anything is wrong, even when his wife confronts him about it.

While I know his wife loves him in a caring way, she also said "I should have left him 20 years ago when I thought about it". She says this behavior has been going on for quite a while.

I love my dad, and I can understand that some of this is "just him", but some of his behavior is creepy and I don't want him to viewed as a "creepy old man" and moreover, I don't want him to be arrested for doing something inappropriate.

So, the question is, should I talk to him about his behavior as his eldest son or not? If so, how can I discuss this without confrontation or seeming that it is an "attack" on him?

Or, should I just let it alone and let my dad "be creepy" until he passes on or until he can no longer care for himself?

Oh, and let me be clear, I certainly don't want to and will not interfere with his marriage. He and his wife need to work on things, but I just don't want him to "be creepy".

Any advice on handling elder parents is appreciated, regardless of content.


"Voldemorte himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!"
Book 6 - Ch 23
Posts: 4469 | Location: Colorado | Registered: August 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Oriental Redneck
Picture of 12131
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Leave him alone.
Posts: 19093 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gone but Together Again.
Dad & Uncle
Picture of h2oys
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James, my recommendation is to find a professional for your Dad. He could get himself in significant trouble if this continues.
Posts: 2251 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: November 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
quarter MOA visionary
Picture of smschulz
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You know, when you get that age you are not subject to peer pressure.
So you do what you please, what do you have to lose?
Nothing to be concerned about, IMO.
Posts: 17676 | Location: Houston, TX | Registered: June 11, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
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The man has made it to 85 after jumping through all the hoops life has put before him. He managed to raise you and it appears that he did a good job. It sounds as if he no longer gives a shit about what anyone thinks. That must be very liberating for him, but it limits the number of people who want to be in his company. These are his choices, and unless he harms someone or violates some law, I'd let him enjoy his twilight years in the way he chooses.
Posts: 89530 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
No, not like
Bill Clinton
Picture of BigSwede
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I believe at 85 I will be doing whatever the heck I want

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”
Posts: 2174 | Location: GA | Registered: September 23, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
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Open robe, swingin' sack hangin' low.
Posts: 89530 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only the strong survive
Picture of 41
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Parts of his brain that would control this behavior have been lost on the hard drive so to say. There are a lot of nutritional supplements that can keep this from happening as we age and may even turn it around.

There is lots of information on the Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Faloon has also started research on anti-aging and started the program himself. You can find his videos on Utube.

A had similar problems with my father that couldn't remember what he ate at the last meal. He also was doing things that were inappropriate.

Someone was coming into the house when he was in the Assisted Living Facility. I asked him who had the key to the house and he said no one. I had put tape on the bottom of the interior sliding door to determine if someone was coming into the house. So I went down the line and asked him individual names until he said, "Yes, Clarence has a key in case something happens."

Someone was in the house one night when I came home early from the ALF. After I went to bed, I heard the basement door open. I checked things out and didn't know at the time that Clarence had a key. A number of things came up missing which were mostly my books and magazines that I had brought home to read at the time.

Posts: 10667 | Location: Herndon, VA | Registered: June 11, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's the rub: What exactly are you going to do? Let's game options:

1) Talk to him about it in a kind and gentle way.

Sounds like that been done and has zero effect.

2) Talk to him about it in an unkind and less gentle way.

I don't know your dad but it sounds to me that he wouldn't care and might is pissed and you and ruin your relationship with your father.

3) Get him a professional either mental or physical, after all this could be the sign of a mental or physical disease or affliction.

I don't see how that's going to be better than two.

4) Follow his lead and just do what you want to do.

Here's the truth about these situations, unless you are willing to burn bridges at the end of your father's life, there is nothing you proactively do except prepare yourself and your family for something bad to happen, because it just might.

I know you didn't ask for my prayers, but you have them. You are really going in a rough place right now.

"Ultima Ratio Regum"
Life Member NRA
Member Washington Arms Collectors
The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. 'Make it evil,' he'd been told. 'Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.'
Posts: 833 | Location: T-town in the 253 | Registered: January 16, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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He'll be fine - unless he shows up around my kids... Wink
Posts: 44555 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Peace through
superior firepower
Picture of parabellum
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Have you considered the judicious use of a cattle prod? Not too much, just a little bump now and then to get his attention. Next time you catch him talking to a 10 year old- vomp! A little bit goes a long way.

Posts: 89530 | Registered: January 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
No good deed
goes unpunished
Picture of cheesegrits
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If he didn't exhibit this behavior when you were growing up or when he was younger, then it's not his "normal behavior."

Add in the hygiene issue and acting outside the generally accepted social norm (line cutting), it sure sounds like age-related behavior, as 41 said.

If that's the case, talking to him may not help. He may have lost the ability to discern what is and isn't appropriate behavior. I've seen this happen in elderly clients who are otherwise functional--they can still live independently and maintain an awareness of their finances.

Perhaps it's time for him to see a geriatric specialist..?

ETA: Para's cattle prod idea isn't bad! Fast, effective, and likely cheaper in the long run! All kidding aside, good luck with your dad, OP.
Posts: 2418 | Location: The Carolinas | Registered: June 08, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Age Quod Agis
Picture of ArtieS
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Your dad obviously cares for you, and he is also pretty obviously not behaving appropriately.

I think a conversation is warranted, but you might be more effective at it if you make it about you, not about him, as in "Hey dad, these people are treating me, and if you are inappropriate with them, that might rub off on me, and I won't get the care that I need. Plus, if it goes too far, they might not let you come here to help me, or it could cost both of us some money."

That way, it's not a criticism of his behavior, you are asking him to do you a favor. Don't know, but that might be better received than "Dad, you're screwing up. Shut up."

I'm not an expert at this, but I do manage a 92 year old dad...

"We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled." - Kevin D. Williamson, 2012

"All the citizens of this land are of right freemen; they owe no allegiance to any class and should recognize no task-masters. Under the chart of their liberties, under the law of high heaven, they are free and without shackles on their limbs nor mortgages upon the fruits of their brain or muscles; they bow down before no prince, potentate, or sovereign, nor kiss the royal robes of any crowned head; they render homage only to their God and should pay tribute only to their Government. Such at least is the spirit of our institutions, the character of our written national compact."

Charles Triplett O’Ferrall of Virginia - In Congress, May 1, 1888
Posts: 10598 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: November 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Little ray
of sunshine
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I don't know that talking to him will help even if you try it. My mom is 80, and her bad habits are getting worse, and mentioning that to her seems to make no impression on her at all.

This is a question - I do not know the answer:

Could these be signs of Alzheimers or some other dementia?

The fish is mute, expressionless. The fish doesn't think because the fish knows everything.
Posts: 48500 | Location: Texas | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Could be an early sign of dementia. Could be a brain tumor. Could be that he is out of fucks to give.

My main question is: Is this really, really out of character for him, like 180 degree change behavior that he would not have been caught dead doing when he was younger? If yes, then it bears looking into.

A lady once brought her husband to the ER to get checked out. Her complaint? "He is being nice to me, to everyone, really". The nurse asked why this is a problem. The wife replied, "He's always been an asshole. Mean as a snake. Something is wrong".
Yup, he had a brain tumor.

If he was always inclined to not give a shit and is just now getting to indulge himself in retirement, worry not and carry on.


Every day, the New York Times carries a motto in a box on its front page. "All the News That's Fit to Print," it says. It's been saying it for decades, day in and day out. I imagine most readers of the canonical sheet have long ceased to notice this bannered and flaunted symbol of its mental furniture. I myself check every day to make sure that the bright, smug, pompous, idiotic claim is still there. Then I check to make sure that it still irritates me. If I can still exclaim, under my breath, why do they insult me and what do they take me for and what the hell is it supposed to mean unless it's as obviously complacent and conceited and censorious as it seems to be, then at least I know I still have a pulse. You may wish to choose a more rigorous mental workout but I credit this daily infusion of annoyance with extending my lifespan. -Christopher Hitchens

"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child — miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill-disciplined, despotic and useless. Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats."
-PJ O'Rourke
“It is just as difficult and dangerous to try to free a people that wants to remain servile as it is to try to enslave a people that wants to remain free."
-Niccolo Machiavelli

Posts: 3595 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Thank you
Very little
Picture of HRK
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BTW His name isn't Rick by chance is it? Cool

all kidding aside, Dealing with aging parents has it's interesting turns, like having 80 year old kids in some ways. My fathers in his 80's haven't seen any of that behavior from him yet or my mother.. Good luck.

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." Winston Churchill
Posts: 14299 | Location: FL | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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He needs an evaluation with a doctor or two. Perhaps early signs of Alzheimers or dementia. Sounds like it might be a problem to get him to go willingly. The inappropriate behavior with adult women is one thing and at some point one of them won't stand for his shit. The questionable behavior with girls can quickly become problematic. Try to get him evaluated for your own piece of mind at least.
Posts: 3588 | Location: Peoples Republic of Berkeley | Registered: June 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would get the opinion of a GERIATRIC specialist. Review his medications, get an opinion on his mental status from a professional. At that point you can determine a course of action. I would not bother with trying to give him advice. As his son this approach will fail. Without that evaluation you are just speculating.
Posts: 7249 | Location: MS GULF COAST | Registered: January 02, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Just because you can,
doesn't mean you should
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I'd be on the fence about the older women as long as it's just talk and not in any way physical contact. They are adults too and hopefully can speak up.
Children are a different matter, and maybe that's the best subject to start off with if you're going to start a conversation. Maybe mention Joe Biden and hopefully he can relate to how creepy that is, seeing it in someone else.
Posts: 5660 | Location: North GA | Registered: August 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Tinker Sailor Soldier Pie
Picture of Balzé Halzé
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Originally posted by ZSMICHAEL:
I would get the opinion of a GERIATRIC specialist.

Don't forget a second opinion.


Acta Non Verba
NRA Life Member (Patron)
God, Family, Guns, Country

"My guns are always loaded."
~R.G. Justified

What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure.
Posts: 23443 | Location: Ski Town, Utah | Registered: October 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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