The battle to get elderly parent to actually do anything

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Just wondering if this is normal? i.e. old people just can't be bothered to do anything/go anywhere.

Invited Dad to pantomime on boxing day (we've already got tickets and there was a seat left). Nope doesn't want to go. Reason,. it'll be cold, I can't walk to the seat etc.

I just don't understand - surely he'd love to come out, be out of the house, see his grandkids? All he seems to do these days is make excuses why he can't do anything. He got invited to Spain next year with his cousin. Said no because A) He cant get on the plane (he can walk about 1/2 a mile and I'm not sure how he things people in wheelchairs manage! and B) He wont be able to get holiday insurance or it'll be too expensive (not that hes investigated and, again, does he thinkj people over 80 never go abroad. Also, its not like hes skint if it is expensive).

I just find it REALLY strange. As I've said before, he has zero interest in his grandkids. When I visit, he treats them like an annoyance because they get in the way of him having me to do things for him. This REALLY winds me wife up and I dont understand why hes like this.
My mum was the same. In the end I just had to accept that she was different from me (we always had been like chalk and cheese) but I wasn't going to let her negativity spoil everything in my life. I've always had a "can do" attitude (which is how I came to ship steam engines from Australia to the UK when I was 23!) whereas mum would invent a million problems for anything. Finally, after she died, I realised that she had very well disguised agoraphobia!
Give up trying to offer anything to enrich dad's life, because he doesn't want it enriched. I don't understand it, hope I never get like it, but it does seem to be a problem in later life.
Paul, I think it is quite normal behaviour. My mum was exactly the same.

She loved children when younger but found them irritating and a great nuisance when old. I think the elderly world shrinks, once they could go everywhere, then they are limited to their town, their house, their bed in a gradual decline.

I too tried to convince my mum to go out but in the end I gave up. It seemed to me that she was happy(ish!) where she was; it was me who thought that she should do things.

I don't have any bright ideas on how to convince someone to do something they don't want to do but I do think it is not uncommon.
I think Anne's spot on - their world shrinks and shrinks. (Not always, but very common.)

It happens inexorably I think, and in a way is perfectly normal, as in, very common!

I can distinctly remember, when I was in my early forties, and it was a Saturday night, and hubby and me were vegging on the sofa, dinner eaten, bottle of wine mostly gone, watching something mindless on the telly (pre-Scandi-noir days!), and me saying to him 'Thank goodness we don't have to go out tonight'.....

It was one of those real revelatory moments that showed we were definitely 'ageing' - the whole notion of having to shower, shave (him!), plaster make up on (me!), put on glad rags, etc etc etc, and the head off to some party and drink and dance the night away seemed absolutely gruelling!

In a way, it was very 'sad' (in the teenage sense of the world) but it was also very 'relieving' as in, we could just go on vegging in our jim-jams and open another bottle of wine and a box of chox.....

The same thing happened a couple of years ago (I'm in my sixties now), at a family wedding, and the after-dinner dancing started in the marquee, and ALL I wanted to do was head indoors, take my high heels off, get into jim-jams, and collapse on the sofa with my mug of Horlicks. And it was only 9.30! I mean, how sad is that?????

Now, if someone offered me a free holiday trekking through the Amazon, I'd say NOOOOOOO! (I'm still up for a comfortable four star all inclusive hotel in Spain for the winter though, ha ha!)

So, overall, it's jut your dad 'closing down'.
PS - I had to laugh when I first visited my son at uni a few years ago. I was booked into a nice B and B hotel, and he and I went out for a very nice dinner, lots of 'mum-son' time and catching up etc etc, and then he walked me back to my hotel, fond kiss goodnight mum, sleep well, c u for coffee tomorrow before you head off, and then he was texting his mates and heading off to start HIS evening and go clubbing!!!!!!! I went in and had a cup of tea from my in room Teasmade (you probably don't remember those!), and went to bed. Something like 10.30 pm as I recall.

PPS - re theatres. I now hate going to the theatre in the evening. I like matinees, as then I can come home and veg out for the evening. If I DO go out for the evening (even just a gentle pub quiz), I resent the fact that when I get home it's too late for telly-vegging, and have to go to bed instead!

Sad sad sad! (But very cosy thank you!)
Paul, DO HOPE you are still going to take the children to the Boxing Day Panto! If your dad doesn't want to come, then re-book him for the next day to you. YOU GO with your children to the panto - THAT is what they'll remember (and the sweets thrown into the audience as I recall - GOD what frenzy of grabbing and rummaging around on the filthy theatre floor - ghastly!)
Paul I can understand your Dad 'cos I'm slowly going the same way !

Once I had a high powered career, I travelled the world, went to lots of exotic far flung places. Then I retired, still had a varied social life, still travelled (albeit not so far) until Mum got Alzheimer's and then my world suddenly shrunk to her and me - my social life disappeared virtually overnight; I couldn't travel any longer because of leaving Mum. She died back in 2012 and I've become older and lonelier with each passing year since. I never married and I never had children, my social life revolves around the volunteering work I do with 3 different charities. I do have family - a married sister and two nieces who are married with children of their own - but they all have very busy lives and, as much I would like them to, don't always remember or think to include me in family outings etc. Some times when I ring one or the other just to catch up on their news I get the distinct impression that they can't wait to get off the phone.

I'm now at the point where I just can't be bothered even trying to make new friends or try new things - just too much hassle - and I find myself making all sorts of excuses as to why I can't do this, that or the other. I no longer even want to travel as I have no-one to go with; no-one to talk about the trip with I get back - coming back to an empty house afterwards is just too depressing. I'm becoming even more isolated than I was when caring for Mum.

No-one wants to admit that they are lonely, that they have few or no friends and that, some days, the only conversation they have is with the check-out girl in Sainsburys. But it's a reality in today's 'modern' world.
Oh, Suzy, that's such a stark picture you paint, but I do understand it.

I split my life now between being 'at home' in the Home Counties, and down in the west country when I stay with, or near, my brother and his (extended) family. Down there there is always 'something going on' - they run holiday lets, it's an old farm with a farmyard, and wood to cut and gather, gardens to tend, loads of laundry for the holiday lets going on, the extended family live there too, so there is a great deal of 'coming and going' and work on the house and outbuildings, plus there are dogs, etc etc.

So when I'm there I 'join in' and 'immerse'. It's all lovely and stimulating and busy busy busy....BUT when I 'come home' there is always a sense of initial 'peace' in my 'own' home and my 'own' garden etc etc.

Yet, after a while at home I realise just how limited my life here really is - I now only have three friends nearby, and one works so we ever meet except occasionaly at the supermarket (she has her own 'busy life'), and my son has his own life now as a young adult, so time with him is scarce (and prioritised!) (well, by me anyway!).

And yes, I did once do some volunteering in various ways, but, like you, when I had to become a carer, that dropped off completely, and I've never picked it back up. And yes, my life has 'shrunk'. Every now and then I think I should get in the car and go and see a National Trust property, and then I feel I 'can't be bothered today' so I don't go.

It's a tricky one, isn't it, as the temptation is to 'close down' as that is the easiest, least energetic, and most 'comfortable' option. Alas, they do say it is itself associated with dementia, lack of external stimulation etc, but it DOES get harder to 'mingle' I think as we age, to do 'new things'. I keep saying I'll try a 'solo holiday' or join a 'widows group' etc, but I never do. I just go on vegging peacefully (and perhaps fatally in the end......)
jenny lucas wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:29 am
Paul, DO HOPE you are still going to take the children to the Boxing Day Panto! If your dad doesn't want to come, then re-book him for the next day to you. YOU GO with your children to the panto - THAT is what they'll remember (and the sweets thrown into the audience as I recall - GOD what frenzy of grabbing and rummaging around on the filthy theatre floor - ghastly!)
Yes panto is all booked. This goes back to the xmas day/boxing day saga - sorted him to come boxing day and then realised we had panto. So I thought it would be nice to have dinner then take him with us. but no.
susieq wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:31 am
Paul I can understand your Dad 'cos I'm slowly going the same way !

Once I had a high powered career, I travelled the world, went to lots of exotic far flung places. Then I retired, still had a varied social life, still travelled (albeit not so far) until Mum got Alzheimer's and then my world suddenly shrunk to her and me - my social life disappeared virtually overnight; I couldn't travel any longer because of leaving Mum. She died back in 2012 and I've become older and lonelier with each passing year since. I never married and I never had children, my social life revolves around the volunteering work I do with 3 different charities. I do have family - a married sister and two nieces who are married with children of their own - but they all have very busy lives and, as much I would like them to, don't always remember or think to include me in family outings etc. Some times when I ring one or the other just to catch up on their news I get the distinct impression that they can't wait to get off the phone.

I'm now at the point where I just can't be bothered even trying to make new friends or try new things - just too much hassle - and I find myself making all sorts of excuses as to why I can't do this, that or the other. I no longer even want to travel as I have no-one to go with; no-one to talk about the trip with I get back - coming back to an empty house afterwards is just too depressing. I'm becoming even more isolated than I was when caring for Mum.

No-one wants to admit that they are lonely, that they have few or no friends and that, some days, the only conversation they have is with the check-out girl in Sainsburys. But it's a reality in today's 'modern' world.
Hi Susie,

Aw thats so sad. Thing is with my Dad, one moment he says hes stuck in the house, never goes anywhere, doesnt speak to people (his favourite saying is havent seen a soul today!) then I invite him out to do something and 9 times out of 10 he says no or makes excuses.

He does the same to his cousin as well whos tried to get him to go on trips etc. Last year they had a bus trip booked and decided there was no way he could go because he had a cold. So he lost the money but his cousin ended up going on his own. He's done this a few times to him . Before long he'll be moaning his cousin does things and doesnt invite him.