Any recommendations for indoor activities for an elderly man?

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So - it's mighty cold up here in Maine. My 90-year-old father (who's lived up here with me since June - he moved here from TN) is not inclined to go outside for anything....except our weekly shopping trip on Saturday mornings. Hubby & I work,,,,he's home alone with his companion dog 5 days a week. He's not doing much of anything except sitting in his recliner, wearing his longjohns next to the wood stove.

I have subscribed to National Geographic, Reminisce & Consumer Reports magazines. He has more books on WWII and the UDT than the local library. He has a drafting board and several balsa wood airplane kits (with all needed accessories) waiting for him. He's got weights in the bedroom and a weight bench in the finished (and heated basement). He doesn't play cards (never has). He reads just a bit here and there. He doesn't like board games. I can't get him near a computer. He doesn't watch too much TV when we're not home (it's cowboy or war movies or football when we're home). He doesn't cook (except a microwave) - I make his lunch for him every night & leave it in the refrigerator for him to heat it up the next day.

I know he's depressed - he & mama were married 65 years - she passed away April of last year.

When it was warm weather he would take the dog out for a walk & check the mail, sometimes do yard work, at least.

ANY ideas of SOMETHING that may capture his attention & help me get through this winter without feeling like he's becoming a lump in a chair?

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I'm with him and I'm only 64. Jan 4th the wind chill dropped to -5F (-21C) and I just stayed in with a blanket. I do enjoy tossing some acorns to the squirrels, but only if it is above freezing outside.
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GardenArtist....Good to hear from you! Hope your holidays were good.

I've tried to get him to show me the plane thing,,,but he acts uninterested...he'd rather I got the Netflix on & find a good John Wayne movie or two for the evening...lol.

So far, I "leave" him a few coffee cups and small items that have to be washed when he washes his breakfast dishes in the morning and he started doing a load or two of laundry once per week for us....it's cute - he likes that it's a "surprise" every week. Those little things help out a lot.

We've got no grandkids around....my kids & grandkids all live in other states...I've tried to encourage my sister to come at least a couple of times per month (she's less than 2 hours away) to spend a day with him, but that's not happened (and that's another story).

He was mama's caretaker and always moving - especially the last 4 years. The enormity of his grief alone would leave me bedridden if it was me...so maybe I'm being too hard on the old fella?

I like the idea of the meals on wheels thing...I'll look into that...but that reminds me that there might be a volunteer service that match up the elderly with "friends" who drop by weekly to help a bit or just visit. Hard to say if anything can happen because we get a bit of ice & snow. AND....I've got a jigsaw puzzle in the basement. Maybe I'll "start" one in the living room & leave it for the day to see if he "helps" me with it (he says he doesn't like them). My father is a non-practicing Catholic - I asked him if he wanted to go to Mass with me (no so far) - so church friends are not yet.

One other thing - he's hearing impaired - wears 2 hearing aids that do okay,,,but he's a bit shy and unsure of himself because he can't always hear what's going on....and he usually spends less than 10 minutes on the phone when he does get a call (his sister in CA, one of my kids, my sister)

Lastly, no psychiatrist. Papa takes ONE pill - that's for enlarged prostate. Getting him to let me take him to the VA clinic to have him checked & to get new glasses & hearing aids required a LOT of guile and some manipulation on my part. The man hadn't seen a doctor for 37 years before I took him to the VA in July.

He's in GREAT shape physically & mentally for a man his age....maybe he's on to something...lol
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Just thinking....for those of us who have grown up in cold climates and are aging...I wouldn't necessarily go out as much as I do in more moderate weather just because it's nice to hunker down and stay inside, catching up on reading, crafting, etc.

Since this is your father's first Maine winter, it just might be too much for him to think about going out during the day, especially when you and your husband aren't there. He's probably come to rely on you in the event anything happens, and might be uncomfortable being out in the cold weather without either of you present.

Are there projects you can do with him in the evening that he could continue to work on during the day, something that really appeals to him and motivates him to work on them alone?
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My apologies - I missed your comment that he's not inclined to go outdoors for any reason.
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My father reads, a lot - a few woodworking magazines, Reminisce and Reminisce Extra, Country and Country Extra, books on WWII, specific theatres of operation. He loves to read, napping inbetween.

I'm wondering if instead of making meals for your father you could get Meals on Wheels; he'd have a brief opportunity to talk with someone every day. My father's made some new friends this way - one couple brings him goodies every week that she makes (somewhat to my annoyance as they're always high sugar foods).

Sometimes he also calls friends from church and others he's known for years although most of them are gone now.

Do you have any grandchildren that could come visit him, perhaps ask him to show them how to build the model kits? Children often can bring out qualities in elders that we adults can't. Is there a senior center to which he could go if someone picks him up and minimizes the exposure to the frigid air? My father's local senior center has a woodworking group - great opportunity for woodworkers to get together, then perhaps have lunch in the senior cafeteria and get acquainted with others.

I like Sherry's idea of projects, but as her father has said, it can be frustrating to recognize that the ability to "fix" things has been lost.

Puzzles are another option - larger piece puzzles such as those designed for children might be better than the itty bitty 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles. Years ago I found some educational nature puzzles with pieces that were about 1.5 - 2" in size generally.

My father also likes to play dominoes; I sometimes do as well, just by myself, playing against myself. Chinese checkers and cribbage are other options.

Did your father make any new friends or meet old ones when you went to Florida earlier this year? Is he in contact with former UDT members? If not and you can get phone numbers for them, he could call them and reminisce about their experiences. Former military seem to really "come out" and come alive when they talk about their experiences.

If he's able to get out with minimal exposure to the frigid cold, you might consider trying to start up a get together of local veterans, or other men his age - the ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) type of group. There would be the nominal exposure to the cold, so perhaps that's too much for him, but if not, it's a social activity, which is often what seniors need to provide some activity during the days.

There are also library events - book clubs, discussions, musical events. Again, the issue is tolerating that brief period of being outside in the cold.
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My dad had a stroke and now has limited mobility. He also has mild dementia. He was doing nothing but sleeping, eating and watching tv. Dad has always liked repairing things so I started buying small appliances, alarm clocks, ect for just a few dollars from thrift stores. I tell him they are not working properly and ask him to take a look at them. He will take each item apart and work on them for hours. A hand mixer kept him busy for several days. Dad seems to really enjoy this and it gives him a sense of accomplishment. He no longer says " I am useless and I can't do anything any more".
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You might consider taking him to a geriatric psychiatrist to see some temporary antidepressants would help. Also, possibly a day care program for seniors might be available a couple days a week? Don't know about you but most of us spend time at the YMCA here as it's like a resort and has lots to do in it. I heard once that buying a chia plant points out the progress of time, the seeds sprout and life continues. Maybe that would be helpful for him to take care of. If he's a veteran, there may be a veteran's group who would like him as a member?
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Maybe your father is just trying to process the realities of his mortality, of his life. If he's not in any physical harm to himself or to someone else, then maybe just let him be. Growing old, losing your spouse is difficult. We all feel lost in our lives every now and then. And men, in general, are not evolutionary predisposed into discussing their feelings, so maybe he's just at a loss of words to describe what he's going through. The most important thing is that he knows you're there for him, so he'll come around when he's ready and on his schedule. I know his behavior makes you concerned because it's not his norm, but you should consider focusing on you. As you go about your day, just talk to your father as if his slump is not a concern to you and you're just going about your normal day, because you don't want your concern for your father to turn into a stress that will affect your health. You need to think about you, too. You need to disassociate yourself just a little bit from the situation. This is how I keep my keep myself grounded while living and caring for my mother, because if I worry about this or that when I know Mom won't change unless she wants to, then this worry will turn into a major stress for my mind and body and I can't have this as I need to maintain my health to live the best life I can. There are times when my mother is not interested at all in doing something she used to love to do. Before, I would fret with worry because I want her to have the best life she can but, eventually, I became too exhausted from trying to get my mother back to her norm so I decided what will be, will be. There's only so much you/we can do.
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I'm with Jesse on this one, my 85 yr old FIL has lived in our home with us for over 11 years now, and only watches TV, period. Except to eat, in which his meals are prepared for him, and using the toilet and sleeping, that is his life, and nothing I've tried has interested him. He adamantly states, he is not depressed or bored, but it sure does stiffle our lives, as we feel that we can never go out for longer than a couple of hours, and we haven't had a vacation for 6 or 7 years now. This is a very interesting thread however, and I will continue to keep trach, as you never know what the good people on here might come up with that could be the next great thing! Good Luck!
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I make up chores for my boyfriends father to do. Itll be something small like clean strawberries, put together kabob ingredients on skewer for dinner. It makes him feel like hes contributing and it keeps him from laying around all day. When i give him something to do hes usually in a better mood.
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