My 86 year old father has some physical limitations due to arthritis in his back and knees. However, mentally he is as sound as he ever was. Unfortunately, all he seems to want to do is sleep. He takes (prescribed) Halcion, Norco, or Percocet PRN. Many times, I think he does this just to put himself back to sleep...although I know his pain is real when he tries to walk.

He has seen an orthopedic specialist who gave him a steroid shot in his back which he said helped for a week. However, he still spent 90% of time in his bed. We have a wheelchair, so even if his knees prevented him from walking, we could still take him out.

The only times he is out of bed is every other Monday night when a group of men come to our house to play poker, and once a week for three hours when the housekeeper comes to clean and is cleaning his room.

He quit going to Mass. He won’t go to the Senior Center or go to the K of C. We’ve bought a gym membership for Seniors which he seemed to enjoy for a couple of weeks, but then he quit going. Most days he lies flat on his back watching hours of TV. We do eat supper together, but often times he wants his meals in bed. I don’t want to not feed him, so we do acquiesce rather than have him go hungry. However, I think he needs the mental stimulation and the physical activity of being up and out of his room.

I don't know know what else to do to entice him to get out of bed! I know depression plays a part. He talks about taking a trip to England which I think would be great...if he could physically handle the flight and the tours. However, any time he is up and out of bed usually results in at least a three day period where he stays in bed. He won’t even get up to use the bathroom...he’ll either urinate in a bedside urinal or urinate in the Depends he wears.

What can I do to get him interested in life outside the bedroom walks?

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Yes that is how we end our natural lives because we are tired. Let him sleep and rest as much as he wants. Support him to rest by offering to empty his urine bottle or whatever it is so that he can conserve the little precious energy he has left. Life is like a jar of sweets - every one has a certain amount they use every day till there is very little left in the jar. Help him conserve what little he has left in his jar and by allowing him to rest as much as he needs. This will be so very helpful to him. Let him use what he has left for what really matters. You sound like an absolutely beautiful carer. If it feels right for you tell him you know he is tired and you want him to get as much rest as he can. Tell him he doesn't need to do anything more for you, and that you will be ok in the future. Set his mind at ease by eliminating all pressures to do anything. Support him as much as you can when he wants to do something - but know that any exertion will mean he will be very tired and need rest afterwards. This is the best way you can support him! If you feel you need reassurance that this is what is going on - schedule a doctor visit to make sure there is no underlying reversable condition. Otherwise, use this time to just "be with" your precious father.
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Ruthie, great wisdom has been given to your post. Also, maybe (just maybe?) your dad's lackluster existence feels like a reflection on your caregiving? Hopefully not, as you are not responsible for his happiness. He's a grown man who has a lot of pain, probably some depression and is currently in heaven's waiting room. He gets up for his guy's night, so you know he joins in when he wishes. Seems like he just doesn't want to engage most other times, and that's ok. I'm 60 and I've completely lost interest in watching action movies (which I used to enjoy) because there is really nothing new in them: same plot, same fighting, same CGI...King Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and at 86, maybe his life feels like, "been there, done that". I agree with AlvaDeer...let the man do what he wants — he's earned it.
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Some restaourants of a senior menu which is cheaper, and go before 5:00 so he doesn't get too tired if you can, or if he can and wants to...
Play his favorite music, open the curtains, let the sunshine in. take him to local museum... my kid went to a marijuana museum last weekend. Never heard of it. I asked if they were given samples, and where is mine? No samples, but they had fun. See if your dad wants to do something funky like that..
Theres a purse museum in Little rock Arkansas, saw this on PBS. I bet he would be totally down with that :) Just saying maybe you can find something fun and different in your area that dad might want to see, or you, and you need to take dad to keep you company! That's my idea for the weekend. Enjoy your dad, have fun with him, make it as happy as you can. Laugh with him.
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Will he be willing to take a walk at the park, find a bench, and have a picnic? I was told by a friend,her husband got the same way, distanced himself from... life. He had cancer and did not want to fight it anymore. He was just tired. Too tired to go on.

Don't fight dad on this, but make it a happy atmosphere, and encourage him to take a ride with you.. Does he like going to the movies? Maybe find a good comedy and get some popcorn and a soda, and enjoy the show.
Last time I took mom to a movie, forget which one, but when it was totally over, she said quite loudly, "That's It? It's over?" I think she enjoyed it.
If you can get a friend with a parent to meet you, make it a foursome, your dad might like the extra company.
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You know, you will read of this over and over again on the forum; and it was how my father ended. He could hardly bring himself to get out of bed at all and wanted only to sleep. When I spoke with him he was frank to say he had had a wonderful life. He told me about the single thing he had done in his life he regretted. He said he was just tired, and that no one my age could ever believe what it was like just to want rest and peace and sleep and nothing else. He was so over life, even good as it had been for and to him. He was so ready. As a nurse I saw this over and over. They get tired. They are tired. They are ready to go. What possible inticement could your offer your father for another card game another breakfast another dose of CNN or Fox. He has lived a long life; he is tired. Allow him to talk of this if he will; you will NEVER regret the frank and honest talk. Tell him you love him. Ask him what you can do to make it easier for him. Perhaps the answer will be just to let him rest. I am 77 now. Nap time is HEAVEN to me. HEAVEN. Sleep is as well. I get more tired more easily. I begin to understand. Another few years and I will understand to my soul.
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ruthie1460 Sep 2019
Everyone has been gracious in their responses, but I think your and Geaton777’s come closest to my instincts.

I do do feel as if I am not doing enough, trying hard enough, am not enough or my father would want to engage. So, yes, I feel right or wrong, that this reflects on my caregiving.

I don’t want to make excuses, but many of the other suggestions are things that we have tried. My father’s favorite restaurant is near our house...but often time when I or one of my kids make plans to take him out, he’ll often cancel or ask for take-out. My youngest daughter is a performer in town and my older two were active in sports. My grandson is also active in sports year ‘round. My father has gone to one of my daughter’s performances in the last three years and one of my grandson’s baseball games. Both my older two played soccer in college. He never went to any games. Once my mom passed and he retired, he just withdrew.

i think you’re right...he’s tired. And one foot is in the next life with my mom. Frankly, I don’t think he ever thought he’d outlive my mom, so when things transpired as they did, he was lost.

It feels good to have someone say quit pushing and let him be.
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