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Supporting dad after mum's death

(17 Posts)
PingPongBat Sun 15-Nov-15 21:20:46

I wonder if anyone on here can give me some suggestions / experiences on how best to support my dad.

Mum died nearly 9 months ago. Dad's really struggling with being on his own, DB described him as 'very fragile'. He’s also very forgetful, much more so than a year ago. Pretty much anything will set him off, either into a frustrated rage or, more recently, tears. It could be something not working, someone not answering the phone, problems finding something on the internet, bills he doesn't understand. He even said that he hit his new laptop “very hard” because he was struggling to get it working shock.

Apart from trying to help him avert the next crisis before it happens (but now knowing what it might be makes this rather challenging!) and making sure I contact him every day in some way, whether that’s a phone call, email or visit – what else can I do? Mum was the organiser, the initiator, the one who reminded him of what to do each day. I can't take on that role, I just don't think I've got it in me. I'm grieving too, and just getting through all the birthdays and anniversaries since mum died has been really hard. Dad lives close by, and I try to speak to him every at least every other day, and DB lives close too & is supportive. I'm just not sure what to do for the best. We don't really talk about mum, & I wonder if that's part of the problem. It's just so hard to speak about.

BackforGood Sun 15-Nov-15 22:54:23

Would he consider going to some bereavement counseling?
Or a widowers support group?
It is incredibly difficult for any of us to come to terms with the loss of a loved one, but I suspect more so when it is a lifetime spouse / partner who you were used to spending all day, every day with. The GP might know of some support, or local social services, or charities such as Help the Aged.

We got wonderful support from the Hospice that my Mum moved to just before she died, but I don't know if you have that link?

PingPongBat Mon 16-Nov-15 08:33:48

Thanks Backforgood, I will look into counselling. Someone at work mentioned Cruse? Or cruise?

Mum was in a nursing home when she died, so we had no contact with any hospices. Would they help even if we didn't use them?

PurpleWithRed Mon 16-Nov-15 08:39:06

His GP will also have bereavement counselling advice. Also he might benefit from a quick check over by the GP regarding his memory and moods. Talk to Age UK too about befriending/practical help. How old is he?

PingPongBat Mon 16-Nov-15 08:58:55

He's 80.

He & mum lived in France on and off for much of the last 25 years, while keeping a place over here. I think dad's support network was based on mum's social life in France, and he's gradually coming to the same conclusion, thinking of selling the French house and moving back here permanently, probably next year. That will be a real wrench.

He's always been a bit awkward in social situations, and finds meeting new people hard. But once he's got his confidence in any situation, he can talk for England... When someone suggested he go along to a photography group in France, he was very reticent, went to one session and never went back.

PingPongBat Mon 16-Nov-15 09:01:27

We talked about practical help, a cleaner, people to talk to etc when mum was dying, but he and mum were kind of determined to manage things on their own. They felt awkward asking for help. They kept saying 'well, let's see how we get on first' etc, then she died before we could persuade them to get anything set up.

BackforGood Mon 16-Nov-15 16:52:40

I know of two people that volunteer for a befriending service, where they are allocated someone who might otherwise be a bit lonely, and they just go round and have a chat once a week, or however it suits them.
Or there's The casserole club
Or Contact the Elderly

Lots of these schemes tend to be run quite locally, which is where his GP surgery might know of them, or, local Churches often have lunch clubs and the like...... or, if he doesn't feel he is elderly, are often looking for volunteers for things......

FilbertSnood Wed 18-Nov-15 14:54:05

I know that hospices provide bereavement counselling, support and social opportunity for their whole local community. So anyone can access them. It is not just for relatives of people who have been inpatients. Hospices offer all kinds of things - do look up his local one.

I know this because my mum was just in one and I had no idea really about what they did until then.

BackforGood Wed 18-Nov-15 23:02:01

I think that depends on the hospice, Filbertsnood. Ours only supports the families of those who were patients there.

PingPongBat Thu 19-Nov-15 07:33:14

Thank you, I've mentioned counselling and he changed the subject... I think I might go down the volunteering route, he's quite fit and likes walking & flowers etc so that might be something to think about.

thesandwich Thu 19-Nov-15 07:41:07

Oh ping pong I remember you writing about your dm. It is tough when you have your own grief too.
Nhs sometimes gave walking for health schemes and there are often u3a groups too- sounds like he needs to do something. National trust usually look after their volunteers very well.
Look after yourself.

PingPongBat Thu 19-Nov-15 15:47:22

Hi thesandwich - I think you were on the Supporting Elderly Parents thread? Such a supportive group on there smile.

Thanks for the ideas, I like the idea of the National Trust & I think he might too. He's about to go off on a trip to Australia so I'm kind of off the hook for a bit, but I would like to investigate some things while he's away.

thesandwich Thu 19-Nov-15 19:36:44

Hi pingpong- yes aka twentyten! Great to hear your dad is off to oz- the sunshine is great to lift spirits. My mil and fil both got a lot from the national trust- volunteering, trips, and social things. Now think of you and give yourself time t

PingPongBat Thu 19-Nov-15 20:01:30

smile I thought it was! Hope all is well with you & yours.

Dad is off for 3 months visiting his 3 sisters, who all live out there. I'll be relieved when he arrives safely in Perth, hopefully without losing any of his luggage... but I will miss him a lot, the old bugger. It will be very odd this Christmas as FIL also died this year (two months after mum). Our last Christmas which was here at home, there were 8 of us. This year just 5 sad

thesandwich Thu 19-Nov-15 20:27:25

Oh ping pong! Glad your dad can get away- as you say it will be so different. Create some new traditions. Do things you want to.
All calmish here- fil in home quite stable but memory going a bit- dm has mproved since threatened with a grump box ( like a swear box) if she kept moanng about things that had no impact on her..... Like tourists stranded etc etc....

PingPongBat Thu 19-Nov-15 20:32:35

grin at grump box - that's brilliant! We had a 'sniff burp & fart chart' when we were teens, 10p penalty for each offence, Dad ended up putting the most money in out of all of us (me & 2 disgusting DBs).

thesandwich Thu 19-Nov-15 21:45:29

Love the chart! I could not resist when the grump was all about not knowing what Mrs X would have thought about the extension work two doors away.....
Mrs X died last year and we live next door to the extension with lovely neighbours- responding well she's dead...........

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