My 88 Year Old father, a double amputee, has a myriad of health issues, is mostly bed-ridden and living at home, and we have been told by his doctor he is slowly declining (his wife, my stepmom passed away almost two years ago). Dad doesn’t eat or drink much anymore (mostly Ensure twice a day), and is on a lot of medications, which his doctor says he needs. He has his good days and bad days. We have been told he is not yet ready for hospice care, but will be beginning palliative care in a couple of weeks. My older sister, who is 65, lives with Dad, is his primary caregiver, and is doing her best to care for him; however, she has her own health issues. Our 55 year-old younger brother also lives in the home as well. My Dad also has a helper who comes in 3 days a week for a few hours each day to help out with him.

Here is my issue. My Dad is still pretty much of sound mind and he has expressed many times to me that he gets lonesome. My sister does spend time with him, but mostly in her caregiver capacity, as she has told me she needs her time too. My brother does not spend that much time with him, and had told me he does what he can.

I handle Dad’s business affairs and visit him just about every day and sit and talk to him. We are really close and have really good talks when he is feeling up to it. I feel so badly for him when he says he gets lonesome and am starting to feel guilty that I don’t spend more time with him. He always says how much he appreciates the visits and understands when I have to leave. He has always been social back in his younger days. How can I help realizing that I need to balance my own life as well? We do have other siblings that call occasionally to check on him, but he receives very few visitors. Appreciate any input.

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I bet it would be fun for local school kids in virtual learning, or in-school if you happen to have it where you are, to write back and forth to a Grandpa.

Does he have enough computer skills to do something like that?
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I know that most, if not all hospice agencies have volunteers that can come out and visit. So I would check with the agency that is providing his palliative care to see if they have any. Also I know that Senior Services also provides volunteer services as well, even with Covid still hanging around. And if your father belongs to a church, they often too will have folks that come out to visit their members.
Please don't feel bad or guilty for not spending more time with your dad, you are all doing a great job and the best you can. It's not up to you or your siblings to keep dad entertained. Best wishes in getting things figured out for him.
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I totally agree with what Polarbear suggested. You, your sister and your brother are not your father's entertainment committee. At his age and abilities, he has too much time on his hands to fill (my mom at 91 is the same). If he still has good cognition, maybe get him an inexpensive tablet where he can play card and board games. I have one for my mom and she uses it a lot. She even pays for a Lumosity subscription (which has brain exercises for seniors). She uses it every day. She does NOT have access to the internet as we try to keep it simple.

For my 2 very senior Aunties in FL, I have an agency-provided companion and they just love her. She chats and plays cards, takes them on walks, etc. You may want to see if you can find a guy companion for your dad. It did take us a few "duds" before we found a truly perfect fit. We've had her for 6 years. I also have discretely engaged local friends and neighbors to take them to their appointments. I discretely give them a gc to a favorite restaurant as a thank you, and they take my aunts out to eat after the appointments. A win-win.

Also, I have my mom cut rags from (washed) old cotton towels and t-shirts. I got a fabric scissors which makes it a lot easier. I request them on then I donate them to whomever needs them (also on Who doesn't need rags? If you get a huge pile, maybe ask for a neighborhood volunteer to come and cut with him. Others from the forum will add their creative solutions to your post.
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Janc - currently, what does your dad do to spend his time when he's awake?

I understand that your siblings and you can only spend so much time with him, yet he needs more social interactions. Rather than having each of you put in more time with him which you don't have, he needs to look else where to fulfill his needs.

You said he has help that comes 3 times a week. What does that helper do? Can the he/she spend time socializing with your dad? If that's not part of the job descriptions, then can you make it part of the job descriptions? The helper can make an effort to make small talks, play games, take him out for a stroll. Also, there is companion service which you can look into. This service will match him up with someone who has similar interests to come to the house and spend time with your dad.

The other option is for your dad to entertain himself with other things. Does he like listen to audiobooks? Can he sit up and play some games on a computer? Is he interested in researching family tree?

Having something to take care of will give him some meaning to his life. Perhaps, he want some small fish that he can feed and watch them swim. I don't recommend dogs or cats as those require someone else to care for them. Maybe some house plants in his room that he's responsible for watering.

Other posters will have more ideas.
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