How can I get my dad to get out and do things again?

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My dad used to go to coffee twice a day, sometimes out to eat, the casino two to three times a week, but here a few weeks ago, he doesn't want to do anything anymore. He tells me he is depressed, his appetite has decreased and he says he doesn't feel hungry anymore. We have talked to his cancer doctor, and his regular physician. They don't seem to have any answers, talked to a dietician- very little help. I am trying some things she suggested. I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

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A lack of appetite as well as not wanting to do anything anymore are both signs of depression which needs treatment from a geriatric psychiatrist.
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Please tell us more about his cancer - kind, stage, first time, repeat time, prognosis. Is he in treatment - chemo or radiation? It's not unusual for depression to occur during cancer, especially if it's a later stage.

Eating can be problematic; at some stages nothing tastes appetizing. We eventually found that thick juices, such as apricot nectar, were appealing, as were salty foods. Still, appetite remained much lower than normal.

If he's getting chemo, are there any activities at the infusion center? Ours had ceramics, colored pencil drawings and other activities, in a beautifully open solar room with comfortable warmth on a cold day, Canadian geese waddling around outside, an egret in the pond at the base of the hill, and a very gently soothing atmosphere.

You might also try Gilda's Club; there are a lot of activities designed for people with cancer as well as their families. When you go there, you're not alone; everyone else there has had some experience with cancer.

Some of the activities are designed to soothe and relax. Others are social, such as their potluck meals.
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Some cancer centers have Behavioral Oncology specialists; if that is not available I'd certainly seek a referral to a regular or geriatric psychiatrist. Your dad deserves relief from his depression.
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Did his doctors offer a referral for a psychiatrist or psychologist? I'd ask for a referral. If your dad says he's depressed, I'm not sure why his doctors didn't offer any advice. I'd have him evaluated to see what treatment options there are. Is he open to that?
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