My father (66) often hesitates to shave or bathe or go out of the house. Can anybody suggest how to help him? .


I have been married and live in a different country than my parents. My dad is 66 years old now. Few years back, he became very silent, introvert, started avoiding socializing with other people, gave up his post-retirement job and would stay at home just lying in bed, not shaving or bathing. He would even go out for a walk. My mom has been trying a lot to help him to be engaged. She even took him to a psychiatrist who gave him allopathic medications for generalized anxiety disorder and depression. My dad took those medicines for nearly 2 years but they haven't helped much. Currently he is taking some homeopathic medicines for the same which seemed to help him somewhat. There was some improvement. They came to my place when I had my first baby, during which my dad was much better. He would do his daily activities very well and even went for a walk daily with my mom. He watched TV, read books and spoke pretty well with all of us. They left 2 months ago and since couple of weeks he has again been avoiding shaving, bathing and going out. My dad is very stubborn, he does not listen to my mom or my granny or me. My mom is still working during the day and so he just lies in bed most of the time. My younger sister's wedding is approaching in couple of months and we will be having many guests at our home for a week or so. We dont know why this happens to him on and off. Why does he gets this kind of bouts in his behaviour? My mom thinks he might be anticipating all the people coming and feeling anxious but we dont know. He does not tell us the reason. If asked, he just says "he is fine, nothing like that". She is tired of seeing him unshaven for days, she has to force him to shave and bathe. My mom feels depressed of seeing my dad in this condition. We are afraid of how he is going to behave during the wedding days. I want to help my parents but I dont know what to do. Please help me with your suggestions.

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There may not be a lot you can do. I wonder if the fact that your mom is going out into the world with a job while he's retired is part of the problem. Even if he hated his job, it's the "manly" thing to do. That's just an off-the-wall guess, but it's possible.

Since he did so well with the new baby, he's capable of feeling some pleasure. However, finding some pleasure doesn't mean he's not depressed. I'm glad you mom took him to a psychiatrist and that even though those medications didn't help him, they searched further and found homeopathic remedies that helped to some degree.

For anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications there is often a trial and error period for each drug as it builds to therapeutic levels. Then, if it doesn't work, people have to wean and try another one. it's not easy. Maybe you mom can get him back to the doctor, or even a different doctor, to see if more can be done.

Congratulations on the baby. I hope your dad can feel better for your sister's wedding.

Take care,
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Thank you so much. We will consult some other doctor and see if that helps. Thanks again.
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