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He isn't a people person unless he knows them and won't meet others. He has gone through quite a bit in the last year and is depressed a lot of the time. He had a stroke in Jan. 2014. He has been moved from the hospital to a nursing home and then to live with his step-son, wife and children. His left hand can not do much but he is self-sufficient in every other area. He wants to help and gets upset when he spills something or drops something because he was a left handed person and he is having a hard time adjust his right hand to act for both.

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Your dad has every right to his feelings. I hope that he's receiving PT and/or OT to get back as much function as he can. He is likely depressed - who wouldn't be? An anti-depressant may help but it also may do nothing in this case or even make him worse because of side effects. The doctor should monitor him closely if these are tried.

Sometimes, I think that, as painful as it is for us to watch, we have to accept that our loved one is having a very difficult time for good reason. Pushing him to be more social when he hasn't ever been social may just frustrate him. He needs to be loved as he is (and I know he is but he needs to feel it). With time, he may come to accept these physical limitations, but he's grieving these losses.

Counseling could help some people but my feeling is that this isn't something he'd try. As long as he's seeing the right doctors, my opinion - and this is only my opinion - is that he needs time and space and love. Given that, he may become more active but he's not likely to become what he isn't just to please others.

It's hard to watch this, I know. We want the best for those we love. But they need understanding and support.
Take care of yourself - this is hard on you, too.
Carol
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My Mom (age 97) sounds a lot like your Dad. In terms of senior centers, she is no longer willing to be in settings where everyone else seems faster and more independent than she is. But in terms of daycare, she's not happy with people who are so much more visibly deteriorate than she is. Rock and a hard place. So she stays home (living with my husband and me). It seems to me she just watches TV and withdraws more and more from interacting with the world around her. But she seems to be content - appreciating the meals she is given, the hugs and prayers good night, the fact that accidents are cleaned up without a fuss (usually), that instead of facing a closet that is overwhelming in its variety, we can choose clothes for the day together or she can decide to stay in her nightie and robe. And who's to know - maybe some of the withdrawal into herself is that "making her peace with God, which has been described as part of the dying process in many cultures worldwide. So while I keep wanting to take her for an outing, she keeps telling me she would rather just stay home. When we do go out - to the aquarium or the arboretum, etc. - by the time we are driving home, she has forgotten where we've been, has no recollection of anything we've seen (even with prompting), and just "feels a nap coming on". I am getting better at accepting her and her wishes at face value and just trying to keep her needs met at home. But I have to admit I feel guilty about not doing more. She is so easy and pleasant that I want to enrich her life. But she didn't hire me as social secretary. She just wants a loving daughter around as she navigates a phase of life I have no experience with. She has led me with wisdom her entire life, so I'm trying to follow her lead through this dementia-defined phase as well. Her Spirit is still gentle and kind even though her mind is more and more confused. I pray every day for the grace to be patient, attentive, and loving. Some days I do okay. Some days I go to bed kicking myself for not doing more. Some days I go to bed resenting the limitations imposed by end-of-life caregiving. Most days I am angry that dementia happens to our precious elders, and thus to us by association. But Mpm just keeps on trekking, on an even keel but at a lower level than I wish for her. i keep reminding myself that it is still her life and I'm here to facilitate, not to control. I guess I've rambled on and gone in and out of topic. Bottom line -- help your Dad be all he wants to be today, not who you knew him as yesterday. And bless your heart for the effort and love.
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Just because someone has lost the use of their abilities and becomes depressed does not mean they need treatment. What they need is time, understanding and a chance to work through their new capabilities. Back off and let him do what he is capable of doing now. Not all people are social butterflies.
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I'm assuming he's had PT? Would more PT be beneficial? Or Occupational Therapy? You can talk to his Dr. about this.

Maybe more PT and OT would increase his self-esteem. He sounds defeated.

You can't push your dad into social situations if he doesn't want to participate and feeling depressed will keep him isolated as well. Is the depression being treated by a Dr.? Is your dad on an anti-depressant?
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I think Lindabf is right. I also wanted my dad to be more social but since his physical capabilities are limiting, he is content to be home most of the time where the environment is familiar and he feels secure. He likes having family members around for limited visits. Mostly I think he likes knowing there is someone in the house in case he needs help. That isn't to say he wouldn't welcome a visit from a friend or be willing to go out to dinner, but he likes the familiar. If you can bring a friend into your house for dinner or a visit, I think that is a way to bridge the social gap.
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My husband is 75 and has vascular dementia for the past several years. He has never been terribly sociable and I certainly don't expect him to be so. It would be great if in take him to an adult daily center, but he would be miserable. He has never liked puzzles, card games, board games, etc. He is most happy sitting and watching Bones reruns. So,I let him. I don't think sociability is something you can make happen. His old friends are either passed on or are no longer close to us since we have moved out of state to be close to our daughter. Good luck!
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I agree with the others about PT OT antidepressants and counseling. I might look for an adult day care or senior center in your area for him to go to a couple days a week.
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I think it's important to also step back and review with yourself what type activities he has typically enjoyed. One thought: if he previously enjoyed the outdoors and now must attempt to make friends while playing cards, that is a huge change. My parents and many others I've talked to along the way made it real clear they did not want to live with any of their children. Close by - yes - but not under the same roof. If he always liked to spend time with the men doing what men typically like to do, he may be suddenly confronting an almost all women facility. Physical changes and being forced to endure a social environment or address that just isn't his choice under the best of circumstances has to be a major blow. Since you love him and want the best for him, maybe stepping back a little will actually make him less anxious. If he's high functioning otherwise, he probably does not want a lot of help yet.
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You can encourage your dad to become more social, but you really can't force him to do so. Doing so can actually have very nasty consequences and I'll explain why:

In my very early teens, I became a ward of the state after being rescued from an abusive home where my parents were abusing me. I was also antisocial because I was picked on by the other kids my age. This caused me to withdraw to myself and stay in my room most of the time. Fortunately I had a private room and spent most of my time alone until the staff started trying to roust me out of my room and they started trying to force me to socialize with people I simply didn't get along with. That made me violent because of how socialization with people I didn't get along too was being forced upon me when I really didn't want it. I was trying to avoid people I didn't get along with, not get in a situation where I can be picked on even more. The reason why I had to end up with the drawing is because I finally got to my human wits end where I just couldn't handle the bullying, and as a result of bullying I started physically attacking the bullies. The workers were actually making matters worse by also bullying me. This made me lash out at them as well as the bullies. There was a certain amount of corruption in the state placement, and every resident was drugged. With everything compounded, it was actually a terrible mess. Forcing someone into being social with someone they don't get along with that's actually bullying them only makes matters worse when the victim is trying to avoid the bullies.
I hope my past situation will help you think twice before considering forcing your dad to socialize if he doesn't want to because it really can have very nasty consequences if you force him because anyone who's forced into a situation they don't want to be in for safety reasons is most likely to become very combative, especially if there happens to be danger lurking somewhere. You don't want to force your dad to socialize if there may be someone he knows about who happens to not have his best interest at heart. Sometimes people stay to themselves as a way to protect themselves, call it self-preservation. One good reason why some people stay to themselves is past rejection forced upon them by others, especially if they are not popular in the area where they live. Sometimes people become wrongful targets even if they haven't done anything wrong, and easy targets are often people who live and travel alone. Sometimes people have very good legitimate reasons for not socializing much, and this would be a very good reason to find out why because it may be that your dad has actually faced wrongful rejection somewhere. That would be a very good time to find out something and use my experience as an example of why some people won't socialize, because there's usually a very good reason why.
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You can't force anyone to socialize. My mother was a narcissist and would have nothing to do with anyone as she was so much better than the peasants lol, yet for the four years I cared for her it was daily "I'm bored, I'm, lonely ,,, wah wah wah".

I suggested she go to the seniors centre ... no way "It's full of old people" ... she was 84 at the time. I took her there, we looked around, lovely and many activities but she wouldn't go ... too far ... I'll drive you (it as just down the road) - excuses, excuses, excuses, yet we had the daily I'm bored, I'm lonely, wah, wah, wah.
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