How do I encourage my Dad to get out of the house?

Hi there,

I'd love some advice. My father has been retired for more than 10 years. He's spent most of that time doing, well, not much. Watches TV, plays video games on his computer. Runs errands. He hasn't taken up any hobbies, jobs, volunteer work, nada. This has worried me, but he seemed...not exactly happy, sometimes he seemed bored, but doing what he wanted. His health is okay--he's perfectly capable, physically, of getting out of the house.

Lately he seems really preoccupied with his ex-wife's screwed up extended family. There's a new strange story every time we talk. That's his entertainment. His only company (I live across the country) is one of the ex-wife's granddaughters, who comes over and does chores for a little bit of money. She also borrows money from my Dad and has brought over boyfriends who have stolen from him. That's why I'm more worried now. I feel like if he could find other ways to occupy his time, he'd be less interested in these crazy people.

How do I encourage him to get out of the house without him getting defensive? He's stubborn. I've already sent him the calendar of his local senior center, which has loads of great classes and activities, and he said no thanks.

Thank you,

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Bereavement/New Purpose
by: Joe W.

Hi Heather! Thanks for the e-mail reply.I'm not sure if it's depression but I'm wondering if he has lost any significant people in the last 10 years?

I remember going to a seminar at one of my local senior centers; and I usually don't go unless there is something very interesting for me to see or hear.

It was supposed to be a presentation about people having a hard time transitioning from an old corporate job to a new second career. There were 12 people in this session. I had my own Seniorpreneur Project going and I was eager to meet other like-minded people to discuss the successes and failures of their own project.

I outlined what I was doing for a second career including writing a book. I was ready to find out what the other members were working on. There was one other person that was going to write a book but she didn't start to write yet.

There were a couple of people that were stopped in their tracks and were going through a process of bereavement losing a spouse. One of these two was certain that in a short period of time he would come up with something meaningful to do.

The rest of them (9 members) had no idea what they wanted to do. Some were just passing their time. While others dashed out of the seminar without taking some time to discuss anything with anyone.

Do you think that your Dad is in anyone of these categories? When your Dad is on the internet what subjects interest him most OR what does he often Google?

For your info I started my retirement project at 60 years old spending one hour per day in my local library researching material for my own Seniorpreneur Project.


Joe W.

A long time
by: Heather

Thank you for writing. You're right: 10+ years is a long time to do essentially nothing.

I suspect he could have some depression. Every time I suggest something that might make him happy, he has a reason not to, so I stopped bringing it up. For example: he's smart, pragmatic in terms of finances, and spent his career as a manager.

Once I suggested he volunteer at SCORE. He said he wasn't qualified. He could never do something like that. I asked if he had thought about getting another dog. (He's always had one or two, ever since I was a kid) He said he tried but the shelter or wherever he went asked too many questions.

I found out about the extended ex-family member stealing money from my Dad. Yet, he still engages with these people, says he has it under control. It worries the heck out of me. I have no reason not to believe it would happen again.

I feel helpless because I know I can't make him do anything. He has to want to for himself. And if I push too much, he'll get defensive and stop talking to me, which has happened a couple times before.


This community
by: Anonymous

Thank you Elaine,

He does spend a lot of time on the computer, so he might be open to that.
-- Heather

10 Year Funk
by: Joe W.

I think that 10 Years is a long time to be confused or to do practically nothing meaningful. It could be the onset of depression OR for sure it's boredom.

For starters, I think you could help you Dad find out if he needs any actual or unknown 'health issues' help?

How did you find out that there were people stealing money from your Dad? Senior abuse (stealing money) should not be tolerated by anyone in or outside any family.

Joe W.

RE: How do I encourage my Dad to get out of the house?
by: Elaine D

LOL, maybe open the sign-up page on Wendy's Retirement online so he can get onto a forum and chat to us others that spend some time exchanging ideas.

I know that you indicated it's to get him out of the house. And so some of us would suggest such with many different ideas.

Or talk about what he enjoyed the most in-between the times when he was working.

Retirement for me is keeping myself busy with trying out if I still can do as in the past with certain things like playing musical instruments, playing golf, etc OR taking on new skills and hobbies. Of course, I think a person has to be willing to do that. I've always been a busy body all my life so it's just my nature or personality.

So, if he needs motivation and does not have friends around him to motivate him...let him get some internet friends that might be able to help him.

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