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Dad says he's lonely

(10 Posts)
bytheway Tue 02-Oct-18 15:39:13

a bit of background first - Mum died 3 years ago - a surprise as she was 5 years younger than Dad, who is now 84. He's done pretty well the last 3 years - he has been doing voluntary work 3 mornings a week and visits a friend for a coffee most days (a lady who is a family friend - nothing romantic just long standing friend who lives locally)

This lady (86) has recently been diagnosed with dementia so dad is finding her difficult to be with. (incidentally she has a lot of family who live locally and see her a lot and obviously are aware of her situation)

Anyway, we are 4 daughters but unfortunately none of live close by (we range from 30 to 300 miles away) and whilst the ones who are closer try to visit every fortnight or so or have Dad to stay over for a few days we cant be there everyday and we all work full time.

Also, Dad was always, and i mean ALWAYS at work and we never had a close relationship with him like we did with our mother. He never seemed that interested in us tbh.

Anyway, my sister was speaking to him today and he says he hasn't been into his voluntary work this week as he didn't feel like it and when pushed he admitted to feeling lonely. She reminded him about a stay at her house coming up and also that he has an extended stay at christmas but she said she felt terrible when she got off the phone.

We have tried to make suggestions, clubs to join, get a pet, take up a new hobby but he seems disinclined to do any of that and seems to think we should be providing him with all the social interaction he needs(though he did admit to my sister that he understands we all work and have other commitments/children/gc etc...

Really just wondering if anyone has any suggestions i can put to him.


Situpstraight1 Tue 02-Oct-18 15:57:20

If he has been doing voluntary work for some time, it sounds as though he knows what he can do, he just doesn’t want to bother, could it be depression? I know it’s the first thing people say but it’s so easy to slip into without anyone realising it.

A check up with a doctor couldn’t do any harm.

silverlining48 Tue 02-Oct-18 18:08:46

Is there any chance of your dad moving closer to one of you? Would he want to? If as you say you don’t have a close relationship you might not want that.
Could you perhaps organise a regular rota between you all of visits, at least for the next month or so. Phone calls, FaceTime etc too if he is online.
I know you all work but he does sound depressed and lonely and must find it hard his friend now has dementia.

lemongrove Tue 02-Oct-18 18:11:32

It is sad, I remember feeling awful when my own Father said the same thing, but there was nothing I could do.
I think if you phone him regularly it will be a great help.

Chewbacca Tue 02-Oct-18 18:17:28

Is your Dad relatively fit and able bytheway? I just wondered whether he might benefit from having a little rescue dog to care for. It would be company for him and he'd meet people when he was walking it, which would be a couple of times a day. Obviously, if he's not able to consider having a little dog, this suggestion will be of no help at all, but I just wondered.

Doodle Tue 02-Oct-18 18:27:45

Is there a chance he could move into a retirement home/village where there would be other people of a similar age and communal spaces?

kittylester Tue 02-Oct-18 18:34:32

You could see if there are any 'men in she's near him.

kittylester Tue 02-Oct-18 18:55:50

My blessed phone.

Men in sheds - they used to be run by Ageuk.

agnurse Wed 03-Oct-18 15:54:40

It does sounds as if it could be depression.

I would recommend encouraging him to go to the doctor for a complete checkup. Depression can be caused by a number of things and some of them are organic (i.e. physical).

If he's willing, he may benefit from attending a seniors' day program.

Grandma70s Wed 03-Oct-18 16:08:58

My father said his life was much improved by the fact that I talked to him on the phone every day.

Men often have a bigger problem than women with loneliness, because they tend to have fewer friends.