Elderly father obsessed with his health

My Dad (80) has a pancreatic cyst. It is monitored every 6 months with a scan and/or endoscopy to check that it’s not turning cancerous. His scans and endoscopy have shown that it hasn’t grown or turned cancerous. He has convinced himself that the cyst Is secreting liquid that is making him ill. The doctors have said it isn’t, he has been to a&e and they’ve told him he has gastritis and it’ll clear up in a few weeks. He won’t listen to reason, is making himself sick with worry, not eating, sleeping, convincing himself that he’s seriously ill when all of the tests show that he is well. How do I convince him that all his symptoms are psychosomatic?

was he so anxious about it prior to Lockdown?

The problem with spending so much time at home and having less to do, means he is more likely to notice every bodily sensation etc and become worried about it. If he has internet skills he might have been researching and this in turn making himself more worried.

All I can suggest is you acknowledge his anxiety so he feels listened too; print off information about gastritis to share with him; ensure the doctor has given him tablets to help relieve the symptoms of the gastritis and then find ways to keep him busy and distracted so he has less time to focus on and worry about his health.

Good luck!!


Debra, I doubt that you will be able to persuade him otherwise.
You may have to accept that nothing will change his mind.

My mum was a hoarder, it took a whole year to empty her house after she moved into residential care. I did everything possible to help her get rid of her stuff, but sadly, the stuff was top priority. She needed a lot of support from me. I drove a 4x4 which I needed for my business, and one of her plants by her gateway scratched my car, so I asked politely if I could trim it. I was told I couldn’t, because mum liked the plant! In the end I did trim it, mum couldn’t see it anyhow.

So stuff and plants were more important than me!!

Try not to stress too much about dad, hard though it is, because I’m afraid that nothing you say or do will make the slightest bit of difference.

We are all responsible for our own happiness.