Crawford Care Management

Meeting Socialization Needs

Question:
Since my mother died last spring my father has become sort of lazy. He used to enjoy gardening, bird watching, and woodworking at the local senior center. Now the only activity he enjoys is watching television. When I come to visit, he seems to prefer watching TV more than my company, which isn’t like him at all. I want to do something but feel helpless, any suggestions?

Answer:
Oftentimes, when a person loses a life partner, her or she loses the motivation to participate in activities that used to be enjoyable. It is not unusual for that individual to experience a temporary disinterest as part of the grieving process. However, it should not be permanent.

Although the length of time to recover from a loss varies from one person to another, now might be the time to help your Dad regain his enjoyment in many of the activities you describe. For example, on your next visit, bring some plants for his garden. Ask him to show you how deep he plants them, in what flowerbed, and how far from the other plants they should be placed. Teaching you will make him feel needed – an important motivator for all of us!

Also, if he normally enjoys socializing, look into woodworking classes in his town’s adult education program. There may be advanced-technique courses he may enjoy. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift the class would be! You might even join him. The more exercise he gets, both physical and mental, the faster he will regain his motivation to enjoy life. Your efforts can help your Dad feel better and healthier. Good luck, and don’t give up.