Follow
Share

My dad is physically healthy but depressed and almost despondent about having to live his remaining years alone. He and Mom were married 68 yrs. and he says he has no purpose for living without Mom. Being isolated during Covid compounded the grief of loss.


Since she passed he he took several long trips to visit family members but it wore him out. He bought a new pick-up and travel-trailer so he could get out of the house but he discovered that he was not able to travel like he used to and it was too difficult for him. Now he's insisting that he needs to move. He doesn't want to stay in his house but he also doesn't have the desire or energy to seek out social engagement or activities that would get him out and about.


I understand the difficulty of losing a spouse. I have lost a husband. I know I have to honor his grieving time and the process he chooses. I also try to give him the dignity of making his own decisions. It concerns me though when he says he has no purpose for living, just wants to die, and is resentful when his grandchildren don't come see him as often as he thinks they should. If he needs a new environment I think he would benefit from an independent living residence that offers many activities; social opportunities such as dining, exercise, games, travel, or just being in a common room drinking coffee and reading the paper. He is a very social and active person and needs to be around people.


Does anyone have experience with an elderly loved one thriving in this environment versus staying in their own home, isolated, and wasting away?

Find Care & Housing
My mother died in May 2004 and my father told me in August or September that he had sold the house via a realtor that came knocking at his door with a prospective buyer. He no longer wanted to live there without her. They had lived in that house for over 40 years. I wasn't sorry because that house was too big for one person and hard to maintain. I was wondering how the heck we were going to find and downsize him into an apartment, when he told me he had found an apartment in a nice 55+ residence where some of our church members lived. Somehow things worked out and he was able to move in with most of his furniture/possessions, which he arranged to resemble our previous house. This made him comfortable and he lived there for the next 14 years. He was only 77 at the time. At first he joined in socially, attending meetings and making acquaintances but then he preferred to retreat into his apartment after picking up the mail each day. He would often get in the car and drive to the grocery or my house for some place to go. He wouldn't stay long but it gave him purpose. He had a stroke in his 80s from which he recovered but it took it's toll. Eventually he gave up driving, which coincided/contributed to his physical decline. He had always liked to exercise, which he continued to do as long as possible, and had eaten well under my mother's care but never learned to cook himself. I hired women to cook dinners for him but he didn't like their cooking, so eventually we went to microwave dinners, which I do not think were all all that good for him. (I also cooked once a week for him.) His mobility declined in his late 80s/early 90s and he was experiencing vascular dementia. In retrospect, I wish I had moved in with him immediately following my mother's death to help him through that grief process. My sibs and I were all too busy with our own lives, houses, families. Family was what he wanted the most to feel normal again. Sitting down to dinner with another person what was he wanted the most. All his male friends had moved away or passed away. He missed that too.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Invisible
Report

Check around and see if any AL facilities have a respite room where he can stay for a few weeks. Some places keep a furnished room for that purpose. He can experience what it’s like without having to commit to a permanent stay. Maybe a few weeks away from home and memories will help settle him.

We did that for Mom, she didn’t like that place but saw the advantages to living there. we then visited several other facilities and she chose the one that she felt comfortable in.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Frances73
Report

Imho, perhaps he is suited for facility living, where he could have socialization and more.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Is travelling too difficult for your father in general or is it just the driving and RV travel that are too much?
My father took several trips with a senior Travel Group after my mother died. He paired up with another single male traveler, and they were travel buddies for several years.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to RedVanAnnie
Report

If there is no one he could move in with, then you should go with him to check out an Independent Senior Living where he would have his own apartment and see if he would like it.

#1 Choice would be to live with a loved one.

#2 Choice
Find a couple nice Independent Senior places that has lots of Activities and where he can meet some friends.

He might also think about getting a roommate, attending Church and other Social Groups for Seniors that their Spouse died.

You need to do something because he could feel bad enough to commit suicide.

You deffiently don't need to get him on drugs for his feelings.

He just needs socialinaction.

It's very hard to have someone live with you for years 24 7 then all of a sudden you're left alone.

If he wants to stay in his home, he might think about advertising for a Roommate.

Prayers
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to bevthegreat
Report

Since he is already talking about living somewhere else, it sounds like he would be willing to move to an AL or CCRC. Have you talked to him about doing this?

There is some good advice here about choosing a facility.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to RedVanAnnie
Report

I think there is a previous post about companies that you can hire to move his truck and travel trailer and that is a wonderful idea that you can research further.

Is there a specific reason that his other children and grandkids don't visit, call or facetime him. Do they live far away or are they just not as "close" to him as he would like? What was their relationship like when your Mom was alive?
In any event, since he is a healthy social person, he might not be quite as fixated on the grandkids visits, if he had more social interaction with other people in general. If finances are not an issue, I would recommend that you research Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). These facilities have a full range of living options from independent living, assisted living, memory care, through skilled nursing so one can really age in place on the same campus. They do require an fairly substantial upfront entry fee and of course the monthly rental fee (services such as medication management and assistance with dressing or bathing can be added as they become needed). The great thing about CCRCs is that the campus usually has wonderful activities and in general the dining is equal to five star restaurants. Nothing brings folks together faster than food! One of the very well established ones in NJ regularly had trips into NYC for plays and museum visits (prior to Covid) for an extra charge. Like your Dad, one of my clients had complained about the kids not visiting often prior to her move into a CCRC (we just about had to drag her there!) Within 5 months, I was getting calls from her daughter to see if I could talk to Mom about "squeezing" in a two hour visit between her golf lessons and her swimming sessions! Cracked me up! We eventually got them in for a lunch date at the facility but even then daughter called to tell me how many people came over to chat with Mom and remind her they were going to a play later.

When looking at CCRCs you want to carefully (and I mean very carefully and professionally) review the length of time they've been in business and their financial background. One such establishment in TX went belly up in 2017 and although people eventually got their entrance fee back, it took about a year. It's also been my experience that although they may not be as "flashy" (chandeliers in the entrance), the non-profit facilities seem more financially grounded. Try to find a facility that has a foundation that will take over the monthly payments after a specified period of "private pay" just in case money runs out in 4-6 years.

Good luck and peace on your journey with your Dad. I'm glad he has such a caring child. He will never find a replacement for the love of his life but he may see new vistas.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to geddyupgo
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 27, 2021
Personally I still can't wrap my head around that "fairly substantial upfront entry fee" Mom's facility was non-profit IL, AL and MC. Near the end I was told this was her home to the end, we would NOT need to move her to NH. There was a deposit, but it was like an apartment, just one month up front, reimbursed WITH interest after she passed.

Not all places are like the one mom was in, but if we shop around, they CAN be found. I've eaten there - the food was good. Even the many soirees they had, including outdoor BBQs had good food and a huge variety of offerings. They had in house activities as well as trips people could sign up for (even some in the earlier stages of dementia could join some outings!) There was a movie area, hairdresser salon, exercise room, etc.

I compared a few places. One didn't even get a 2 second thought. One was nice, but location and price was higher even though it was shared space (They likely had private rooms, but would be even more expensive. Since I'd be the one doing all the leg work, location WAS important to me!) I avoided those CCRCs with that huge deposit, because it seems like a huge waste of money - doesn't seem like there's any benefit to that, since the monthly fee isn't reduced because of it and unless you pass or move out soon, you won't get any back.

So, anyone in the facility mom was in could transition from IL to AL to MC if needed. IF someone truly needed specialized nursing care, then yes, they would likely have to move to a NH, but would that really be any different at the CCRCs? The NH would be "on campus". but it's still a move.

The other nice thing about that place mom was in is they have an endowment, so if someone lived there a long time and ran short of funds, they could get assistance!
(1)
Report
A great resource is this lady..... she has videos you can watch. Teepa Snow.

Just an observation from being a certified home health aide for almost 30 yrs. I am now 68 years old and still doing this. It is not always a good thing for people to "stay in their homes". Why? Because too many of them then tend to isolate. I have lived with so many of them, yes.. lived with them and no one calls, no one visits so the only ones they see is.......well.... us, their paid caregiver. THIS IS NOT GOOD. I wonder if dementia is caused by people NOT using their brains so just like muscles, you don't use it, you "lose it". The same with the brain. They don't get stimulation. I see them spending time watching television and again, THIS IS NOT GOOD! We were meant to socialize. There are clients that are in facilities and go to meals, sitting at tables with others where they socialize, go to the library where they can actually talk to others, sometimes reading the newspaper and discussing it! Spend time together attending all sort of activities whether in that facility or being taken somewhere by van/bus which is sponsored by these facilities. Again... and I cannot say this too much... too many, a great majority of my patients/clients end up "being in their own home" which is terrible a great majority of the time because they don't do anything but sit there in their "favorite chair" and do nothing. I find I cannot get them to do anything. Why? I am not sure. Too much depression.. thinking about what they cannot do? They tend to... and I love to pick their brains so I do talk to them or try to but, we are NOT family. They want their family... their friends and we remind them that of their conditions.... they see they are "at the end of their lives". I don't know. Staying in your home... not the best majority of the time because their surroundings ARE familiar and what they are used to but... we need to be around people to keep active. Tons of different types of people......different personalities.. We MUST have stimulation.. OUR brains need that, require that. I recommend to at least try a facility and not for just a few weeks. Try it for several months. They make friends there. The residents do watch out for each other. Someone does NOT show up for a meal, they know it and go check on them. You cannot compare this to what happens when they are in their own home which tends to be isolation, which causes depression whether they know it or not what is going on; then lack of activity which leads to atrophy of the muscles and brain. Which leads to death.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to DonnaF777
Report
Cover99 Jul 27, 2021
Internet
(0)
Report
See 3 more replies
That’s your answer right there that he told you himself he feels saddened and let down that his family, his grandchildren doesn’t visit him often. Since he has family and grandchildren he doesn’t have to “waste away alone in his home”. His grandchildren and children should make a concerned effort to show him he’s loved and **supported** during this time of loss especially by making a concerted
effort to visit and spend quality time with him in his home. He’s newly widowed and expressed how lonely it causes him
to feel that his family doesn’t visit. His family should be there for him to be with him at this time.
Is there a reason family isn’t visiting to lend support and companionship to him especially now being newly widowed?? The answer ( if your truly wanting him to know he’s loved by his family and not alone) isn’t to put him in a facility, it’s to have a talk w family to plan to show they care spending more time with him, talking with him about how he’s doing, going on a walk with him, having dinner together etc
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Sarah3
Report
Cover99 Jul 27, 2021
Grandpad
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
I would encourage you to talk with him a bit more about the RV, particularly if there are family members he would enjoy visiting. It's too much effort to put it up or the RV parks he used didn't appeal to him? It's not too difficult to add an RV hookup to a home (at least for water and electricity, septic is more difficult). We have a senior in his mid-80s who rotates through his children's homes. The kids have all had a hookup for his RV installed at their home. The "destination" kid travels to the dad's current location to drive a vehicle then the "current" location kid and the destination kid form a mini-caravan to move dad and his RV. He stays at a location for 1-2 months and then moves on. He enjoys seeing his kids and grandkids, going fishing, and visiting local events; he even seems to enjoy card groups at the local senior citizen seniors! He has pulled the RV to a local RV park and had a couple of the great-grandkids stay with him for a few days while they enjoy RV park's pool and bike trails.

There are services to move and set up the RV in another location and parks dedicated to seniors and/or adults if relocating the RV is the major problem. Learning to live alone is a balancing act we haven't practiced in a while. Much of our time with someone is doing things because the other person needs or desires it; without that subtle drive, it is difficult to choose or "want" to do the social things helpful to learning to live again following a death. An IL/AL is probably the correct eventual destination, but maybe your dad (and your family) would like a "road warrior" interlude first.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TNtechie
Report
geddyupgo Jul 27, 2021
What a wonderful suggestion!! I don't know if it would work out for this particular person but it certainly got me thinking about my life. I don't have children in this country and I'm not really into the grandkids thing but I do love to travel and meet and greet. Totally forgot about being able to hire a company to move the travel trailer for me. Thanks for the reminder!!!
(0)
Report
My parents thrived in an independent living facility. However it is not necessarily a cure for grief. There were certainly many and varied opportunities for socialization but some people in their facility did keep to themselves.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Cynthiasdaughtr
Report

Seems like you have answered your own question. Your dad would probably benefit from a simplified "home" and the social aspects of independent living. I would also suggest that it might be wise for him to visit a geriatric psychiatrist with follow-on group or individual therapy to deal with his ongoing grief and depression.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Taarna
Report

I think you answered your own question.. sounds like a good idea for your dad .
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Helenn
Report

I think your Dad would be much happier in a retirement home. My mother who is 92, moved to one 8 months ago. I recently asked her if she is glad she is no longer living at the condo. She said she is glad to be in the home. Prior to the move my mother lost her live in friend of many years to cancer. My mother is also a very sociable person. She hates being alone. At first she was reluctant to move but she adjusted very quickly after the move. My brother and I checked out several homes on our own and then took her to see the one we had narrowed it down to. Due to dementia and memory problems she wasn't eating good meals or taking her meds. She was also resistant to any in home assistance and was dependent on me to entertain her. Now she is enjoying 3 nutritious meals a day, her medication is given to her on a schedule. She is participating in all of the activities and is very happy. She is constantly telling me how nice the people are there. She is much happier than when she lived alone and it has relieved me of a lot of stress. It sounds like your dad needs to be with people and have social interaction. Loneliness and isolation are not healthy for seniors. Good luck to you and your dad.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Impossible
Report

A good suggestion below to try to get him connected to senior activities in his area before he moves to a senior residence. He might find people there who have experiences that can help him decide. Maybe it's time for him to downsize to an apartment. He might benefit from a change in scenery. Downsizing will be needed, even if he moves to a senior residence, and you may have to help him with this. If he still wants to move to a senior residence you can help him by researching places and going with him to check out the ones that seem most suited to him. Some places are more well run and friendly than others, and you can get a feel for this when you visit. There are pros and cons to any lifestyle. Senior residences have more structure than living alone independently. Meals, activities, etc. are at specific times. At age 90, you may want to look into continuous care facilities for him that have all levels of care in one facility (independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing), in case his health declines and he needs more care at some time in the future. For now, it sounds like he could keep his car, so that he could still go out to do things, if he wanted to. Make sure that all of his paperwork is in order, in case he becomes incapable of caring for himself (hard to imagine with healthy older people, but it can happen). He'll need powers of attorney for medical and financial matters, a living will with his medical directives, a will if he has assets, make sure his POA is on file with social security and medicare to be able to speak on his behalf, and financial institutions often have their own POA forms. You may need an attorney to help with this. These items may need to be changed, if he didn't do this after your mother passed away.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to NancyIS
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 27, 2021
"...make sure his POA is on file with social security and medicare to be able to speak on his behalf..."

Federal entities, which includes SS and Medicare do NOT honor POAs. IF there is a question or concern and the recipient needs help navigating it, they can accept a verbal okay to talk with you, but that doesn't translate to future interactions. The only way one can be "on file" is to sign up to be SS Rep Payee. That wouldn't be needed until later, if at all. If approved, you are then "on file" to handle SS and Medicare issues.

"... and financial institutions often have their own POA forms."

Yes, they do, but ANY place should accept a legal POA, even if it isn't their form. Some will balk and give a hard time. If that were the case, perhaps a change in bank is needed. I used mom's POA to close a bank account she had (only opened it to have easier access to cash, as the CU was farther away.) I had NEVER done business with them, she did relatively little business with them. I took her with me that day, after having her SS switched to the CU, but she never said boo, just stood there rifling through her wallet and purse. I didn't get a peep from them. Closed it, took the bank check to the CU and deposited it. It wasn't hard at the CU, partly because mom had added two of us to her account there. Never really interfaced with them either (had my own account with them, but very little in office dealings, mostly online, mail, phone, etc.) Same deal - mom in tow, I used the POA to make changes (mailing address to me, get the SS switched over, etc.) From that point on, I could do most anything there, even by phone.

But, the big issue is the SS/Medicare. There's no "file" to be on. POAs are NOT accepted by them, the IRS, federal pensions, VA, etc. They all have their own way to "manage" this. The problem is that POA rules can vary from state to state and it would be a nightmare to try to understand it all. It's easier for the federal entities to have their own way to handle it.
(0)
Report
See 1 more reply
Yes! Yes! I moved my mother (and father) into an “age in place” facility where there was everything from a daycare center for children on the main level to a memory care floor. My mother was very ill at the time and not expected to live long according to doctors.
It was the best thing ever!!
My mother thrived and lived there for four more years. The engagement and activity kept her interested.
When she was last hospitalized, she told me she wanted to go home ~ I asked her what she meant. Her response was “My apartment, of course!”

Do it while they have the capacity to learn new surroundings, routines and make friends!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Susanora
Report

Can you get him involved in a Volunteer capacity?
Whatever he did for a living or as a hobby he could put to use as a Volunteer.
Most good organizations that want and need volunteers have a volunteer orientation and he would meet all the "new" volunteers and would not be thrown into the deep end of the poor right off. I have been Volunteering for the Hospice that cared for my Husband and I can not begin to tell you how many opportunities there are and not just with patients..
If he likes animals most shelters need volunteers. They also need Foster homes. Would dad be willing to care for a dog or a cat until it finds a home?
If he enjoys travel there are travel groups. He could take his trips but it would be with others and with all arrangements made for him.
And this might be a great opportunity for you to take a trip with him if you can.
If HE thinks an Independent Living Residence would be a good idea (notice I said HE) then find one that will allow him to stay and experience the facility for a week or two to see how he likes it. While there are lots of opportunities to be involved if HE does not want to be an active participant all the activities will do no good. But if he is in a big rambling house he might do well to downsize to a smaller townhouse or condo where he would have no maintenance and more security than in a single family home.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report

Be cautious at believing Independent Living situations are a fix. At 64, I moved into one with the same belief...peers, activities, socialization while maintaining my active life. So, so wrong. Bullying unlike anything I've ever seen. Cliques, social groups that didn't invite new members. Many residents were far from independent and someone unfortunately let the cat out of the bag that I was a retired nurse. I then would get knocks on my door or calls at all hours for care.

The men participated in almost no activities. I've found this to be true when I did home health in trying to assist a worn out wife to get a spouse to get the husband to day care. Men as a rule are not used to social groups (play group!!). They are very reluctant to join. The few men in my building I'd only see at Friday am coffee sitting together as though it was a junior high school dance: girls at one table, boys at another!

As it is independent, there are no social activity leaders to help direct shy folks to join. It is residents who take on leading the activities.

After 18 months and turning into a raving, negative lunatic, thankfully I was able to move out to an apartment complex and continue my Hospice volunteering!!

I'd suggest gently trying a Senior Center first. My bet is he will balk. Challenge him to give it at least a month of 3-4 times a week to try. Good centers do day trips so he could get some travel in that way. Sitting on a bus next to someone could lead to some company.

Good luck
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Waterspirit
Report
disgustedtoo Jul 27, 2021
Moving to any place requires some active checking on our part. When we move out of our parents' home, we may not do that at first, but once we learn that not everyone is of the same activity level and mind set, we try to find our "niche." The same applies when looking for senior living. No one should just look at reviews and pretty pictures online or in brochures. Take the time to check out places first. With the virus, trying to scope out places became more difficult, but prior to that and hopefully now or soon people can take the time to find the right place.

The same applies for finding a place for a LO, either someone who is still relatively independent or someone who has challenges like dementia. I made sure to check several places before choosing a place for my mother. The one we settled on wasn't open yet (rebuilt, to include IL, AL and MC) but the deposit was refundable. Once it was open, we went to the open house to see it for ourselves. They opened in stages (IL first, then AL, with MC last, and delayed a bit until they had a few residents lined up.) In the four years my mother lived in MC, I met and interfaced with many people who lived there, in ALL the levels. During that time I only met one man who wasn't happy to be there. It wasn't clear if this was his choice or someone else's, but only one of MANY.

While most places do offer various activities for all levels, remember what IL stands for - independent living. It's like having a home, but you are free to do what YOU want to do, when you want to do it.

Sounds like perhaps you didn't check this place out properly before moving in. Also, just like those on the forum who LOVE to bash ANY and ALL IL, AL, MC and NHs, unless you've tried them all, you shouldn't lump them all under one umbrella. You only have that one experience.
(1)
Report
AL, all the way.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to AnnReid
Report

Your dad would be the perfect candidate for either an independent living facility, or even an assisted living facilty, as he would have so many options for socializing if and when he wanted. It would help greatly in his grieving process and give him a purpose, which at his age is so very important.
Please don't let him waste away at home, when there are great options available for him. Best wishes.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Report

Oh, I wish that I could introduce him to my cousin! She may be a tad too old for him though! She’s 98. She says that she is going to make it to 100, and I don’t doubt it.

She moved into independent living. She still cooks and cleans! She drives even though she shouldn’t. She has gotten a couple of speeding tickets, then tells off the cop! LOL

She complains when ‘the old’ people in her senior living facility whine! She doesn’t use a cane or a walker. She is a tiny little woman. She wears a size 4 shoe and size 4 in clothes. She is extremely stylish, no old lady clothes! 😆 LOL She attends exercise class weekly. She has a lovely heart and a wicked sense of humor that I adore. She loves eating out with friends. She attends Mass every week. She does her own shopping, and ‘helps out the old people’ by picking up items for them too.

My cousin has been a widow for a long time. Your dad sounds like he would be a good match! She doesn’t like the men in her senior community. She says that they are too slow! LOL 😂

I know that your dad misses your mom. It sounds like she was the love of his life. I am sorry that he is so sad. Everyone grieves in their own way. It sounds like you are a loving and patient daughter. I bet that he appreciates your compassion.

I hope he will become settled in a nice place where he will be satisfied. My dad died before my mom did. Daddy would have been totally lost without my mom.

Wishing you and your family all the best. Take care.
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to NeedHelpWithMom
Report
Impossible Jul 27, 2021
I loved reading about your 98 year old cousin. With her spirit and attitude she is enjoying every day of her life. Throw her a big party for her 100th birthday!
(3)
Report
See 1 more reply
My relative moved to IL (3 level care continum place). So similar to jkm's post below! Still cooks but goes down to dinner to the dining room too, Happy Hour, choir, social groups, old church friends. Thriving.

As a gentleman, he will be like Rhett Butler with the ladies gathered around... Or if physically up to a dance, look out ladies! He may find real soul satisfying joy 🤗
Helpful Answer (5)
Reply to Beatty
Report
Cover99 Jul 23, 2021
You mean getting some?
(2)
Report
See 4 more replies
A good independent living, with later options for assisted living and memory care, is a perfect fit for him. He can still have his life, privacy, and independence, but will also have people around, social activities available, and will make some new friends. My dad is in assisted living at a 3-level (independent, assisted and memory care) building. He will be 100 next month and is still in assisted living (one bedroom apartment with full kitchen) but he admitted to me when he moved in at 97 that he had waited too long to make the move and should have done it earlier when it would have been easier for him to take advantage of what they have for activities and for making friends. This place tries very hard to have activities for all levels of ability and interest and the residents also organize their own bridge, poker, and mahj jonhg groups. They have a lovely bistro with full bar service that has weekly happy hours and until the pandemic close-down, had lots of live music. Movies are shown every Saturday night, church services are held on Sunday's, and they have lots of classes and lectures. They have a small gym and offer exercise classes and walking groups. The lobby and sitting room areas always have people around to chat with. One of my father's friends - a woman from his church - has lived there since she was 80. She's in her 90's now and told me it was the best move she ever made. When she was younger she could just lock her door and leave on vacation with no worries about her house. Now, she takes advantage of all the activities offered. It seems to me your Dad would thrive in this situation. You also need to get him in a situation where as he ages he doesn't become dependent on you for everything - including all his socialization.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to jkm999
Report
MACinCT Jul 24, 2021
I agree An IL got both my mom and her sister out of a rut.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter