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My mother is so lonely, how can I help her?

(31 Posts)
susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:42:31

I am hoping for some ideas.... My mother is fab, loves going out, loves 'young people' and is always the life and soul etc. My father is the complete opposite and now they are both retired my mother is finding life very difficult indeed to cope with.

She really needs to be busy. My father is great but not much of a companion as he goes be bed at 830pm and is quite solitary.

I meet up with her at least twice a week of which once a week is an evening excursion but I desperate to get her involved and engaged in something. She is so bored and lethargic and I think she is bordering on depression. I strongly believe humans have a need for activity and to feel busy to avoid depression (which does run in my family). She does not have many friends as they have moved away/abroad.

Does anyone have any ideas? She lives in Wimbledon if that helps and I would love to help her get involved in something before she slips further into herself.

CaptainKarvol Tue 14-Oct-08 10:47:22

Has she thought of volunteering? My mum does a lot with elderly people - visiting, caring etc. Thats her 'thing', but there are so many different opportunities, there has to be something out there that your mum would love.

umberella Tue 14-Oct-08 10:47:23

I s she retired? Would she consider volunteering? We have a few volunteers where I work and it seems to be really fulfilling for them.

umberella Tue 14-Oct-08 10:47:48

x-posts karvol!

Saturn74 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:48:21

Check out courses at local college?
Art and salsa classes helped my aunt keep her sanity after she retired.
She is now choosing which language to study.

She has got involved with a local charity that helps elderly people with shopping, taking them to hospital appointments.

She is also a local rep for Fairtrade, so gets to go along to summer fetes, craft fairs etc as part of that.

If your mother is outgoing, what about joining a local amateur dramatics group?

CaptainKarvol Tue 14-Oct-08 10:49:31

Try this link
this one?

vonsudenfed Tue 14-Oct-08 10:52:54

Another vote for the volunteering - but it's worth taking the time to find something that really chimes with her interests.

My mother loves books, and so volunteers at the local Oxfam book shop - she is happy to be there, but more than that, they value her knowledge, she's not just there behind the till.

If your mum is really sociable, then would some kind of befriending or hospital visiting or even prison visiting suit her? Or mentoring, if she gets on well with young people?

susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:55:09

Thanks for your fast suggestions! I think volunteering would defintiely be up her street I will check out those links and I think amateur dramatics could be very interesting indeed!

She really enjoyed learning Russian until my grandfather got ill and she had to drop everything to go to him. I don't think I had really appreciated quite how much of a shock retiring is!

susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 10:58:24

Vonsudenfed the point you make about feeling valued I think is the critical thing she misses. Thanks again for those links I will forward onto her, I think she would particularly enjoy mentoring young people or helping out with reading in schools (which seems to be one of the options on the time bank website!)Thanks again for all your help I was feeling a bit helpless and unable to think of practical solutions!

georgiemum Tue 14-Oct-08 11:00:08

Classes, or maybe volunteer work at local hospital, kids group or Oxfam shop.

potoftea Tue 14-Oct-08 11:01:01

Adult education courses, book clubs in the area, or local charity shops who are looking for volunteers. Lots of retired people I know are doing computer courses in the mornings.

Also if she's even a bit religious maybe the local church choir, or there's always a role in the parish for people to get involved.

Local old people's hospital/nursing homes usually have people who are involved in visiting or fund-raising programmes.

ScottishMummy Tue 14-Oct-08 11:05:17

try GP fpr a PCT referral to outreach and OT and any day centre/day hospital

church activities
library reading groups
sport centre specific groups for older adults

yes some purposeful occupation something with meaning and significance to enhance her social functioning and engagement

honestfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 11:14:16

The good old WI!

My mum is in her 80s and has never been busier- she is now on the WI committee and is forever going on trips, theatre visit,s talks etc etc.

slug Tue 14-Oct-08 11:38:09

My mother used to volunteer to read with children at the local school. She was assigned several reluctant and slow readers and developed quite a relationship with them by the time they left school. It might be worth her asking at the local primaries.

captainofthemummies Tue 14-Oct-08 11:43:13

HOnestfriend - I am in the same pos as susies mum (I'm not retired) - I love meeting new people and going out but I have found that quite suddenly ly old circle of friends has dwindled (somethig to do with the dc going to different schools now) and I was thinking about the WI! Anyone else a member? How daunting is it to join?

honestfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 11:49:03

I cannot recommend the WI enough! My father is lovely but a loner- my mum is sociable. She joined her local WI in her late 70s and now 5 years on is always out and about- and she has made anew best friend - at 80!

I am sure they are very welcoming- just look them up in your local directory/online etc and maybe phone the chairperson before going along for the first time?

captainofthemummies Tue 14-Oct-08 12:02:40

Honestfriend -(don't want to hijack) I did look at the website but it does look daunting. Lots of meeting once a week, everyone knows everyone else. Maybe lots of 'older' women. And we all know what lots of women together can be like!

popmum Tue 14-Oct-08 12:05:59

how about the University of the Third age here - in laws are in it and do loads of fab things with like minded people

honestfriend Tue 14-Oct-08 12:13:33

captain- if I can say so, you are dismissing something without trying it- why not go along once or twice and if it's not for you, fine- but you won't find out by reading a website- only by going along!

mablemurple Tue 14-Oct-08 12:29:04

Councils are usually desparate for lollipop crossing patrol people, or part time drivers and escorts for school buses (if they have their own fleet), all of which is paid work. Might be worth contacting them?

ScottishMummy Tue 14-Oct-08 12:31:11

uni of third age looks VInteresting

susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 13:47:15

Third age lots fab as does WI.
captain - on gordon ramsay about a year ago they had the Fulham WI tasting his food and they all seemed very funky and quite young. I think they are trying to change their image from jam making grannies into something a bit cooler so I would defintiely give it a go!

Thank you so much for all your suggestions they are great. Loneliness is just so sad, I have never been able to bear people being lonely!

captainofthemummies Tue 14-Oct-08 14:20:29

NOt dismissing it honestfriend - I'm just a bit scared! I will try to give it a go, and the U3A looks good, and have a branch in my town.

Thanks Susie!

PS I'm not too far from wimbledon... used to live in worcester park, but moved a bit further south.

susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 15:21:50

Good luck captainofthemummies I know it can seem daunting.

I have sent all the links to my mother, will let you know her reaction! She has also discovered facebook!

susie100 Tue 14-Oct-08 18:16:45

She is loving the look of WI although worried that the group in Fulham is too young, hmmm.

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