How can I get my dad to make new friends and stop needing us to be his entertainment committee all the time?

Asked by

My dad is 80 and can still live on his own presently, although we don't think that will last too much longer. Anyway my mom died three years ago and he has made no attempt to get out and make any new social connections. He wants myself and my three siblings to do everything with him. We live in a major retirement area and there are so many people he could be connecting with quite easily. But no, he wants us to shop, dine and travel with him. Sort of hard when we all work and are raising our own families. Plus he's a mean old man half the time and leaves us all exhausted trying to appease him. He says he can't stand old people lol so suggesting joining a club or travel group hasn't worked. As it is now we are all taking turns with him but we are all very tired of this. My sister recently told him she can't travel with him this fall and he is now being a huge ass to her. He thinks we all owe it to him to ensure he completes his "bucket list". We realize he's probably depressed and maybe even has early dementia but talking with him about it is also impossible because he just gets angry when we try to talk health issues with him. Yes, he is slightly controlling. Well, thanks for listening to me vent.

Answers 1 to 4 of 4
It sounds like he is more than slightly controlling. You will just have to be like your sister and tell him outright that he has to find new friends and then take your lumps. He will probably be angry anyway. A lot of men rely on their wives to be the social secretary and find friends for them and to figure out their entertainment. The men are not social creatures, probably worked in men type jobs all their lives and they have poorly developed social skills. Since you are asking, I say don't suggest things, just tell him he has to do these things and go about your life doing your things and ignore his anger. You might steer him in the direction of a senior citizens center but if he is not inclined then he will just have to sit alone at home, b/c you have your life to lead.
Top Answer
Someday when I'm dead, I fully expect my husband to be the same way. If not for my friends, he wouldn't have any friends at all. He comes from anti-social parents, who never entertained people at their house unless it was family. I on the other hand, had parents that constantly had a flow of friends from church etc. at the house, and I as a result, love to have people over. So to answer your question, I would start by being 'unable' to spend as much time with dad. You are going to have to force him out of his little shell at some point, so start now. I would ease him out though, not suddenly throw him out of the nest so to speak. And turn your head at the guilt and nastiness that he throws your way, and just consider the source. Good luck.
Thank you so much for your kind replies, I really appreciate you taking the time! I'm glad I stumbled upon this site and hope I too can offer some help to others. And good advice - we are definitely going to be more unavailable which will hopefully force him to get out on his own and meet some new people, again, very easy to do in our area. He's simply being manipulative and selfish - unfortunately it seems to be true that as many age they revert to behaving like toddlers. I sure hope I don't! Thanks again :-)
Does your father have any hobbies? If so, perhaps he could meet or at least contact others having similar interests whether they are "old" or not.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support