When Momm's Not Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy
February 2, 2012 11:33 AM Subscribe
Help us help my mom make friends, find a social outlet and generally find some joy around Dallas, TX.
posted by poolsidemuse to human relations (16 answers total)
Ok...the long story:
My 73 year old mom retired and moved from the east coast to Phoenix about two and a half years ago to live in the warm climate and be close to my brother and his family. About a year or so after she moved to Phoenix, my brother got a wonderful job offer in Dallas and, after discussing it with everyone (including mom), the decision was made to take it and move to Dallas. Mom was not thrilled with the concept of picking up and moving so soon again, but facing the prospect of being alone in Phoenix was not something she, my brother, or any of us wanted for her, so she made the move with them.
She now has basically the same routine as she did in Phoenix, except that she's a 15 minute drive away instead of a five minute walk away, and is growing dissatisfied with things there.
A couple things to note:
-She says she misses her friends back on the east coast (but not the weather)
-She says she misses Phoenix, but doesn't want to be alone there.
-She is not the most social butterfly, but does well once she feels comfortable in social situations.
-She is a widow, has not dated despite gentle efforts to introduce her to that world and remains somewhat indifferent to the prospect.
-She is stuck in a routine of mostly sitting at home all day and eventually driving over to my brother's house, sometimes making & bringing over a dinner.
-She is a healthy retiree who exercises her ability to go out and hit the local outlet stores or drive around...and has done so before.
-My brother is growing frustrated with how inactive she is and feels like he has done everything he can to engage her (he and his wife have four kids from toddler to teen). I feel for him because he is exasperated.
Despite everyone's efforts to go with her to a local seniors walking club (which was a bust when nobody showed up), get her involved with the local senior center or invite her to local neighborhood gatherings, she is just not happy and remains almost apathetic about taking any responsibility for her own happiness.
When she and I discuss it all, I get the sense that she's unsure of what she really wants and is romanticizing her past social circle back east (sort of the "grass is always greener" situation). I fear her moving back east will be a let down if she finds that her friends, some of whom have significant others now, have moved on and may not have the time they used to for socializing. She also would be dealing with the winter months which she said she absolutely hated.
I'm basically desperate for some ideas of how we can find her some kind of social outlet for where she is now...at least for the next few months until her lease is up and it's decision time for her. She likes to cook, loves zoo's/aquariums, and enjoys cooking (even though we bought her a cooking class that she never went to). We love her so very much, we have talked to her about how she feels and tried everything we know how to do but it's becoming clear that we need a fresh perspective on how help her feel more engaged in her life, because she does not appear to be taking an active role to try and make the best of the current situation.
Anyone have a parent in a similar situation?
Any thoughts or advice, hive-mind?