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    Hey,

    My Nan will be 87 this week, she's been on her own for the last 17 years since my Granddad died and she's always coped very well. However, about 18 months ago she developed some health issues and for a while afterwards she became very depressed and withdrawn.
    Anyway, health wise she is completely fine now but she has lost all her confidence and interest in things. I'm really beginning to get worried about her, no matter what we try she doesn't seem to be getting any better.

    For her birthday I would really love to get her something to cheer her up, maybe related to a new hobby or activity she could try to pass the time.
    Any advice (for the present or otherwise) would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks
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    Is she still fairly active or not so much nowadays?
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    (Original post by GooglyEyedMonster)
    Is she still fairly active or not so much nowadays?

    Health wise she's pretty good. She can't walk very far so she mostly stays at home now (part of the problem) and she has a weak wrist and arm from a fall about 5 years ago but other than that she's fine.

    Thanks
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    It sounds like she feels rather isolated? A loss of confidence is quite common in older people.

    This charity organises tea parties for the elderly, transport included, which my own gran enjoys http://www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk/

    There may also be day centres in your local area. Our local one offers transport, a hot lunch, and activities for a small fee.

    In my experience it's often necessary to *make* them go the first time. If they don't like it, fine, but at least they've tried it. They often don't have the confidence / don't want to put anyone to any trouble, but when they get there they find that they really rather enjoy themselves!

    A more radical solution could be a 'shared lives' type scheme. Essentially, someone would move into her spare room and provide her with companionship throughout the week, along with some help around the house such as cooking, changing lightbulbs and shopping (no personal care though, which it doesn't sound like she needs). Some examples of schemes are
    http://www.shareandcare.co.uk/
    http://sharedlivesplus.org.uk/what-i...ives/homeshare

    I'd also recommend a mobility scooter. My gran's is essentially her lifeline to the outside world - without it, she would be housebound. With it, she is able to live semi-independently, go out to the local shops, and come around shopping centres further afield with us. You can often pick them up quite cheaply from the classified ads at the back of a local paper - there's no need whatsoever to pay full whack.

    If she likes cats / dogs, then she could consider fostering. There are lots of local rescue charities out there that need people to look after animals on a temporary basis, often where the animal can't cope with kennels, is very old (and therefore difficult to rehome) or they just don't have space at the shelter. The advantage of it is that they cover all costs, and there is no long term commitment. A friend of my grandmother's who lives alone does this with dogs, and it has been very successful. Clearly, however, she would need to negotiate some help with dog walking from the charity if she is a 'dog' person.

    A slight variation on fostering for a shelter is the Cinnamon Trust, which would allow her to foster on a short or long-term basis where the owner is elderly / terminally ill and has a spell in a hospital or goes into a care home http://www.cinnamon.org.uk/cinnamon-trust/

    What activities / interests has she had in the past? Often there are similar / adapted versions of said activities that elderly people can do.
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    (Original post by sparkly_woo)
    Health wise she's pretty good. She can't walk very far so she mostly stays at home now (part of the problem) and she has a weak wrist and arm from a fall about 5 years ago but other than that she's fine.

    Thanks
    I live with my nan so wanted to see how much she does could relate.

    For my nan the dog is her life. Now she is fairly active but we live in a street of elderly people and twice a week the local dogs home visit the gentleman next door. They sit with him for a few hours with the dog and he loves it. I don't know if anything like that is local to you but may be worth looking if she had a pet or liked pets when she was younger. I think he pays about £10 a week for it.

    Is there a hobby she used to do but lost touch with? When my granddad died nan stopped doing everything. We got her a puppy but she was active and only 50ish. But we also got her back into her knitting. She will quite happily sit and knit for hours. There is always cross stitch which your nan may have done before, you can get all sorts of little gadgets to make it less demanding on her wrist/arm.

    Another thing that may be worth looking at is if there are any local community groups for the elderly. My nan is pretty active and just about semi-retired (at 69) and she loves to help people so she helps run it and I've been along a few times. Its as simple as them sitting with others and eating tea and biscuits reminiscing about 'the good old days'. Everyone is smiling and enjoying the few hours and she may find someone lives local or does something she would be interested in trying. They provide transport, tea and biscuits, and just some human company. I think its about £3 a day as had some lottery funding a year back which subsidised the price.

    I don't know how feasible they are in your area ... but we live in a pretty small town so I would think there was stuff going on in most places.

    My other grandparents are approaching 90 and immobile and not in the best of health. Granddad has failing lungs and kidneys, Nanna has dementia and arthritis, but they get joy from the little garden we made in the conservatory. Its all up higher so they can reach and they are fairly sturdy plants so if they forget to water its not the end of the world. Don't know if your nan enjoyed gardening when she was able?

    They also love books. Granddad loves reading WW1 and WW2 books as they both happened in his lifetime and he served in the 2nd WW. Nanna is patriotic so loves reading books about the royal family/watching about the royals - I thought she was going to have a heart attack when we got her the recent royal wedding on DVD. There may be a topic she loves to read about that you could get her some books on?

    Don't know if any of those help at all, can only draw on what we do for my grandparents really. Its really nice that you are taking a real interest in her. Often when they withdraw people stop caring. Hope she has a lovely birthday
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    Thank you so much for all the lovely replies.

    I have looked in to a local community projects in the past but I can't seem to find one that holds her interest. I may visit the local Age Concern office in the new year and see if they can suggest anything new.

    (Original post by GooglyEyedMonster)

    Is there a hobby she used to do but lost touch with? When my granddad died nan stopped doing everything. We got her a puppy but she was active and only 50ish. But we also got her back into her knitting. She will quite happily sit and knit for hours. There is always cross stitch which your nan may have done before, you can get all sorts of little gadgets to make it less demanding on her wrist/arm.
    My Nan's main hobby when she was younger was ballroom dancing, she would go every week 2-3 times but since she had her fall a few years ago she's been quite unsteady on her feet so she hasn't been able to keep it up. I think she really does miss it.
    She also used to knit alot but in the same fall she injured her wrist quite badly so it's quite difficult for her to knit now. I would be interested to hear more about some of these little gadgets that might help. Any suggestions would be great.


    Thanks again for all the advice.
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    (Original post by sparkly_woo)
    Thank you so much for all the lovely replies.

    I have looked in to a local community projects in the past but I can't seem to find one that holds her interest. I may visit the local Age Concern office in the new year and see if they can suggest anything new.



    My Nan's main hobby when she was younger was ballroom dancing, she would go every week 2-3 times but since she had her fall a few years ago she's been quite unsteady on her feet so she hasn't been able to keep it up. I think she really does miss it.
    She also used to knit alot but in the same fall she injured her wrist quite badly so it's quite difficult for her to knit now. I would be interested to hear more about some of these little gadgets that might help. Any suggestions would be great.


    Thanks again for all the advice.
    Ah, I bet she was watching strictly these past few months then! I don't know of anything that could be suggested for dancing as if your not steady on your feet you won't feel very safe or confident. Hmm. I want to say there may be elderly dance classes who you could perhaps ring and see what they say? It may be your nan could just go and watch a lesson and get enjoyment that way? And everyone loves a little old lady so she would get some fuss

    With knitting, you can get larger and supersize needles so its not so intricate and easier to see. You can also adjust the technique so one needle is rested on your tummy/between legs so you are only really working one needle. Of course, if you followed 'normal' patterns you would end up with giant clothes, but they have patterns for all the different sized needles. I use bigger needles myself as I have carpel tunnel in my right wrist. If you go into any wool/knitting shop they people are always friendly and will show you different needles and patterns and what wool you need etc. It might be something? If the patterns are too small for her to read you can photocopy them onto A3, which is what my nan does as she hates her glasses! Once you know what you are looking for in a pattern you can find them online and print off.

    For cross stitch you can get adjustable height stands with the hoop attached so you don't have to hold the hoop and sew, you can just sew with whichever hand feels more comfortable and its low impact movement. Again you can get bigger aida materials, bigger needles (both to thread and to handle) and thicker threads etc. Again, if you go to a local craft shop they will be able to advise you on what would be best.

    Hope that helps somewhat xx
 
 
 
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