Help make new connectionsSo Dad's here now - if you read last week's column - and we've talked about dignity, respect and Dad's need to deal the cards from time to time. He is still in the game, and knows how he wants to play.
He has the whole family involved, (maybe at times over-involved), and he tremendously enjoys time with them, but ... A new town and a new environment also may mean new opportunities for him. He may want to get around without having to always rely on "the kids" to get him where he wants to go, not necessarily where he needs to go.
Sure, doctor appointments and hospitalizations are some kind of outing, but not quite what Dad wants to call a hobby or entertainment. Driving's out since he no longer has his car - and probably wouldn't want to take the risk anyway since his health has been deteriorating. Sometimes it's easier to admit to being unable to drive due to a lack of a vehicle rather than due to health problems. And that's just fine - whatever works.
Public transportation is an option, even if a little extra help is needed, thanks to services such as Dial-A-Ride. Other options may be through organizations such as Retired Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP); or maybe Dad has some fraternal organization ties. In his previous community was he an Elk? Lion? Moose? A member of Kiwanis? Odd Fellows? Any Vets affiliation? VFW? American Legion? A little phonebook archeology may add an extra resource and interest to his life. Not only might there be some transportation help available, but he could also hang with some new friends.
What about community events? What's happening here and when? Local tourist information centers can be helpful in letting Dad know about community events and let him take it from there. (Just as a note: Living in a community doesn't guarantee we know all the stuff that's going on. I frequently have to look at the paper or tourist guide to find out what I'm missing!)
Maybe a subscription to the local paper would make the transition to his new community easier. Sure, the really good gossip probably comes through the family, but it's good to know what's "officially" happening, also.
Maybe on Dad's "good" days, he wants to keep his hand in and do some very part-time volunteering. Each community has volunteer organizations from food banks to thrift stores that could use an extra hand or voice. Again, prowling the paper and the phonebook is a good way to start. Or give your Senior Information & Assistance and ask for a Senior Resource Directory - lots of info in there!
We've talked a lot in these columns about the varied services available to people who need care to just remain in their homes ... but this time, Dad's just not there. Maybe in the future he will be; but for now he wants to play the hand dealt him as much as he's able. Let's support him in his choices and not try to play the cards for him. It's likely our own time may come soon enough.
Senior Information & Assistance
Ilwaco: 642-3634/(888) 571-6558
Raymond: 942-2177/(888) 571-6557