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To ask you fantastic folk for ideas to help my grandad see that life is still worth living.

(40 Posts)
CountryMummy1 Sat 15-Nov-14 14:34:34

My grandad had his leg amputated in January due to cancer but is now back on his feet thanks to a prosthetic leg. He is doing very well with it and can do practically everything he could do before. He then lost his wife suddenly in June. He is nearly 90.

We see him every day but he is driving my mum crazy at the moment. He phones her all hours of the day and night, fretting about silly things and she is getting exhausted.

I had a chat with him today and he feels life is not worth living. He has no hobbies or interests at all. He no longer watches the TV or listens to music. He says his one hobby was tinkering with cars (he was a mechanic) but he can't do that anymore (too long on his feet and getting into difficult positions). He was nearly in tears today and I feel so so sorry for him.

I have suggested joining a club but I think he has visions of them all sitting in silence looking at each other like they did in the Home he used to visit my nan's friend in.

He is ex forces so maybe there is something in that area?

Any ideas gratefully received x

londonrach Sat 15-Nov-14 14:40:21

Have you heard of the university of the third age. Maybe something he might like to do there. www.u3a.org.uk.

PacificDogwood Sat 15-Nov-14 14:45:13

How long had he been married?
He is likely still grieving (rule of thumb: one year to recover some sense of 'new normal' after the loss of a spouse) and/or slipping in to depression.
Would it be worthwhile to get him to see his GP? Maybe with you?

Consider contacting Socialwork in your area to find out what services are available for older people where he lives: lunch clubs, outings, activities.

If he simply finds himself unable to enjoy anything he used to enjoy depression rather than mere unhappiness may be more likely.

You sound like a very caring family - he's got that ahead of many other older people thanks

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 15-Nov-14 14:46:56

Oh wow sad

Can he volunteer to listen to children read at the local primary school? It's a wonderful way to see life, I think, and will give him a hobby. There's also things like the scouts.

I hope you find something for him.

ConcreteElephant Sat 15-Nov-14 14:52:18

DH's DGP had been married for 69 years when DGM passed away, in her early 90s. We honestly thought he'd follow her closely behind but he proved us all so wrong in the most amazing way. Being in his 90s he was less mobile than he'd have liked but he managed to get out and about.

He had to really force himself at first, to find a new routine, and he went to a day centre a couple of times a week (he could give it a go, they aren't all like the one he's experienced, though I can understand he wouldn't want to go somewhere like that), went for lunches with neighbours and friends (people really rallied round to make regular-ish visits) and joined a poetry club at the library.

He and DGM had lost their beloved only daughter (DH's DM) in her 50s and to be honest we had thought that might finish them off. DGM had another 7 years in her and DGD another 9. It can't have been at all easy to lose his daughter and wife but he carried on in a positive way, which meant he met two great grandchildren and knew a third was on the way when he died. He made new friends and still brought so much joy to our small family.

I do feel for your Grandad, it must be very hard, but it's never too late to try something new. He must feel quite lost. Definitely pursue the ex-forces line - British Legion perhaps?

BoreOfWhabylon Sat 15-Nov-14 14:52:50

Contact the Royal British Legion. They may be able to arrange for ex-servicemen to visit him. They will, I'm sure be able to advise you of clubs/events in his area that might interest him.

Consider a cat/dog (an older rescue) for company for him - he is on his own for the first time in decades.

You sound like a lovely, caring grand daughter flowers

TheSpottedZebra Sat 15-Nov-14 14:58:05

Have you heard of Men in Sheds? www.ageuk.org.uk/exeter/our-services/men-in-sheds/

That's an Exeter link but there are a few here and there I think. It's older gentleman, using their practical skills together, with a social element.

madsadbad Sat 15-Nov-14 15:06:39

Did you post another thread? I only ask as some of my response below will include input on things I remember from that one, so if you didn't sorry!

He sounds like he is grieving, I cant even imagine how someone would feel loosing their life partner sad

He still lives on his own in his own home? The best thing my Grampy did after loosing my Gran was to move into sheltered housing, it took aprox 4 years to do this as he was not interested in moving at all, the pressure on my family was immense during this time.
It was a conversation with a Dr that made him look into sheltered housing, he was struggling to cope even with a lot of family support and was depressed. Moving came up and he said he did not want to move, the Dr questioned why and he said it was the home he brought his children up with wife and had all the memories.
Dr asked him if he had been away on holiday for example since his children had moved out and also since wife had died, he said yes, the Dr asked him if he had forgot about his children and wife when away, of course he hadn't, the Dr said his house was bricks, his life and memories were always with him.
Honestly this has been the best thing for him, if he wants to socialise there is always something on or someone around in communal areas, if he doesn't he has his own flat.
He has again taken up some previous interests, and tried new ones.

Is there anything mechanicy he could do on a smaller scale so he could have in his home and be able to sit down and do?

CountryMummy1 Sat 15-Nov-14 15:15:04

Thanks for all those ideas. I will start contacting some groups. The Men in Sheds sounds fantastic and he might go for that. However, I don't think there is one in Shropshire sad

CountryMummy1 Sat 15-Nov-14 15:19:16

Can anyone think of anything mechanically he could do sitting down??

florentina1 Sat 15-Nov-14 15:19:45

My stepdad is in almost exactly the same position except that after his amputation my mum,who has Alzheimer's was put in a care home. I would suggest your first call should be to your local Age Uk who often have a befriending service and can organise social outings if he wants. Also you could try British Legion, or RAFA iif he was. an airman.

It is so hard for them, my stepdad sits and cries sometimes,but he won't move out of the house because he feels close to my mum there.

PacificDogwood Sat 15-Nov-14 15:21:25

Could he get in to watchmaking? Or toy making? You know, small mechanics?

florentina1 Sat 15-Nov-14 15:24:56

Re your mechanical question, how about buying him a Meccano set, which when completed could be donated to a need child. One other thing. My stepdad bought a small mobility scooter which he uses indoors. This has given him more freedom. He had two or three different ones. The one he has now was £1500 because is has an armchair type seat. He uses it most of the day rather than the armchair as transferring from one to the other was too difficult.

TheSpottedZebra Sat 15-Nov-14 16:30:13

Lego technics? Do you have a relevant aged child who could do Lego technics with him?

TheSpottedZebra Sat 15-Nov-14 16:33:27

sansawmensshed.org/location/ A Shropshire shed! !

Kundry Sat 15-Nov-14 16:47:11

He sounds depressed. These are huge things to adapt to at the age of 90 and that he isn't even doing things he could do eg watch TV suggests depression. V early dementia should be kep in mind as well.

If he won't go to or try things you suggest a visit to the GP is in order (and I normally hate on MN that GP is suggested for everything but I think this time it could do a lot of good). Depression is under recognised in men and the elderly.

paxtecum Sat 15-Nov-14 18:13:22

I think some people just get to the stage where they've had enough of life and would like to go.
I know several older people who used to pray every night that they wouldn't wake up in the morning.

You may want to ask him about DNR.
A friend's father who is 93 and very fit and active until 6 months ago, collapsed and was resuscitated twice.
When he woke up he was horrified. He was ready to go and wished they had let him go.

I hope you don't think I'm being offensive, I don't mean to be. But after watching my own parents and other elderly people become frail I can understand why they want to go.

hesterton Sat 15-Nov-14 18:17:44

Would he be interested in writing his memoirs for future generations? My dd spent hours really engaged in writing using Word on his pc.

hesterton Sat 15-Nov-14 18:18:07

Sorry, dd=dear dad

puntasticusername Sat 15-Nov-14 18:19:39

Oh, your poor Grandad, my heart goes out to him. As others have said, how about something mechanical on a smaller scale that he can do sitting down, eh building model cars or planes. Perhaps he could find a way of donating them to needy children eg via a children's ward, or hospice, which would give him some more social connections, a feeling of having purpose in his life etc?

Greengrow Sat 15-Nov-14 18:21:59

My children's grandfather, an engineer who at 89 still works one day a week at his old company, brought out his first book last year!

It sounds as if the grandfather here is unhappy because his wife has died. it must be very hard for him. Could people have a look at whether he is eating the right foods to ensure he remains happy - lots of veg, good fish and meat, eggs and drinks a lot of water and gets out in the open air ideally every day? Those things along can make people of all ages feel a lot happier. If he really is very depressed he may need anti depressants.

antimatter Sat 15-Nov-14 18:26:09

Would he be interested in repairing bikes?

My DGF did that for the price of parts for friends and neighbours until he was 91. It used to taking longer than for anyone in a bike shop but kept him busy for many years smile

Catypillar Sat 15-Nov-14 18:41:28

He sounds depressed- the phoning repeatedly overnight and not watching TV/radio would worry me a lot. (I'm an old age psychiatrist) He needs to see his GP, with a family member if he's not likely to tell them how bad it all is. I've seen tons of people in similar circumstances where you might think "oh well, they're old and bereaved and ill, it's all understandable" some antidepressants and/or talking therapy and they're way better a few weeks/months down the line. Hope he feels better soon. Loads of good ideas in this thread for him when he feels able to do these things.

florentina1 Sat 15-Nov-14 19:13:08

I agree with the poster who mentioned the DNR. I know this may not be the time right now but after I told my stepfather that I was planning to do this for my mum, I asked him about himself. He has a heart condition and said that it would be a relief to go that way. It was a difficult conversation but I am glad we had it as he told me about his other wishes too. My heart goes out to you and your family.

jellybeans Sat 15-Nov-14 19:42:08

My grandmother was similar. What helped was sheltered housing and joining social groups. I attended some with her at first and they are not like you describe. Many have very active activities such as bowling and trips out as well as daily coffee mornings. Quite a few men went to the ones I went to and they would talk about allsorts. It really makes a difference socialising, can add years to your life.

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