Depression in Retirement

my dad retired about 2 1/2 months ago. He seems really sad and depressed. He’s had walking pneumonia for about 5 weeks (finally getting better) so I’m sure that could be a large factor and he lost his sister about a week before he retired. She lived very close so I’m sure he had planned on stopping by for coffee there every week or so. He’s re-connected with an old high school buddy and they talk a few times a week and see each other every 1-2 weeks. He spent a few days hunting and a week with me at my condo so he’s kept pretty busy. I think he’s upset no one from work calls him (feels forgotten). And I know he is mad and sad now that he sees firsthand how much my sister takes advtange of my mother, how much she watches the kids and has no life for herself. I had plans to invite him lots of places and just asked him to go on another trip but he declined, I think because he now thinks he has to stay and help my mother out with the kids. Just a clusterf$&* of things all resulting in what seems to be depression. He has lots of interests so maybe this is just an adjustment period but I’m getting concerned and just sad for him. I’m thinking of asking again about the trip- maybe saying I need him there to fix X and Y? Let him know he’s needed? But I don’t want to push him. He has a 4 day trip to a car show planned and I just booked him & mom a cruise in Feb when I can watch the kids so he really has a lot going on. Not sure what he’s expecting to happen?


I’m at a loss. He’s a pretty private guy so I don’t see him joining any social clubs or anything like that.


Suggestions?


The adjustment to retirement can be very tough.  My parents stayed very busy and volunteered for a number organizations/causes they enjoyed.  Does your father have any hobbies or interests he could dive into now that he has more time?


he does- mostly old cars. He’s been going to a few shows. Has 4 days planned to Carlisle PA in April- big car show.  He wanted to buy one to restore it- had his heart set on a certain amount of $ for it ( the amount of all his sick days he cashed in) but my mother nixed it because more $ was taken out in taxes than she expected. On top of this all, my mother is super-mean to him when she’s all stressed out over my sister. She takes it out on him. LOL


We have something called Men’s Sheds here, a workshop club for blokes like your dad to meet once a week , work on a pet project (each guy  works on his own stuff, or helps another if asked; they share tools and resources), have coffee and maybe lunch. Sometimes the projects are donated to charity or worthy causes, sometimes they’re done as commissions (I’m getting 8 antique dining chairs repaired at our local Shed by retired master upholsterers). Some Sheds are more mechanical, some make woodworker toys... 

The blokes talk about Men’s health stuff over their coffee, as well as sport, community, life, etc. They’re amazing places, and I know some places in the US have started them. 

Any near him, or you, he could visit? Men usually say ‘nah, I’m not a joiner...’, then when they do eventually go, find it’s not what they thought and they have a great time. 

https://mensshed.org/


Does your dad have any interest in games, such as bridge, chess or even scrabble?  

Depending upon his location, there are clubs that meet weekly or daily.

 


Your Dad sounds like he's kept super busy sp I don't think more activities are a solution.   I bet its an adjustable period he needs.   I'd give him some time and keep reaching out to him as you have been.   If in a few months it is the same or worse I'd ask him to talk to someone even his family dr.  


There is a lot more than the retirement going on here that is adding to his stress.  Recovery from serious illness, loss of someone close to him, seeing another person close to him suffering because of stress that person is feeling, loss of place to go to each day, which might have helped to displace or avoid these feelings/pressures, can all contribute to the feelings/behaviors you are observing.  These are a variety of different potential causes, each of which needs to be addressed in its own way.

If he is fully recovered from his walking pneumonia and has no additional debilitating medical issues, that should resolve itself over time.  Mourning the loss of a close loved one will never fully go away.  The residual sadness/emptiness will always be there.  Techniques such as letting him talk with you or someone else he trusts about this loss can help, so can something like preparing a memory book of the good times they had together.  Stress caused by demands being placed on another loved one can be eased by his offering to help watch the kids now that his retirement gives him the time to do so and finding other ways to make things easier for her.

Finding an outlet outside the home will help with a release to offset the pressures you describe.  This could be dropping into a favorite cafe, bar, or club on a regular basis and forming friendships with the persons there, volunteering his time in a manner that enables him to help others while using his life-learned skills, taking a course in something he has always wanted to learn, pursing a hobby such as tinkering with an old car, etc.

 


thank you all. The life I (and they) had envisioned for their retirement doesn’t exist so there is truly sadness all around. I think if he feels better, that’ll help a lot. I think he’s finally physically better this week for the first time in a month or two. I’ll bet this weather isn’t helping. I am puzzled a bit because he seems busy but you’re right it’s probably just adjustment as it’s only been 10 weeks and those have been plagued with illness and unexpected loss. I am just so sad for him. He worked so hard his whole life, I just wanted him to enjoy himself. But that’s not in the cards for either of them I guess.


It also sounds like he and your mom have some things to work on together.  Is there any way your mom can cut back on the babysitting? It sounds like a key contributor to your parents' stress.

conandrob240 said:

thank you all. The life I (and they) had envisioned for their retirement doesn’t exist so there is truly sadness all around. I think if he feels better, that’ll help a lot. I think he’s finally physically better this week for the first time in a month or two. I’ll bet this weather isn’t helping. I am puzzled a bit because he seems busy but you’re right it’s probably just adjustment as it’s only been 10 weeks and those have been plagued with illness and unexpected loss. I am just so sad for him. He worked so hard his whole life, I just wanted him to enjoy himself. But that’s not in the cards for either of them I guess.



Sadly, no. Having a completely dysfunctional daughter is the cause of ALL of their stress.  I am considering calling social services and then they’d go live with their father but honestly the chaos all that would cause them might be worse than it is right now. Right now their mother has custody but they essentially live with my parents.



yahooyahoo said:

It also sounds like he and your mom have some things to work on together.  Is there any way your mom can cut back on the babysitting? It sounds like a key contributor to your parents' stress.
conandrob240 said:

thank you all. The life I (and they) had envisioned for their retirement doesn’t exist so there is truly sadness all around. I think if he feels better, that’ll help a lot. I think he’s finally physically better this week for the first time in a month or two. I’ll bet this weather isn’t helping. I am puzzled a bit because he seems busy but you’re right it’s probably just adjustment as it’s only been 10 weeks and those have been plagued with illness and unexpected loss. I am just so sad for him. He worked so hard his whole life, I just wanted him to enjoy himself. But that’s not in the cards for either of them I guess.





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