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Helping an old man

NamadaNamada Veteran
edited October 2015 in General Banter

My grandfather is 78 years...and my mother told me, after meeting him today, that he have big problems with fear and
depression, this has been going on for few months now.

All his life he has been bussy, with work, fishing, fixing material things, meetings in "important" clubs like Rotary, traveling many places, brought up three children, and a nice and lovely wife, so to say, everything has been perfect in his life.

But now he has realised he is old, because he cant work anymore and fix his holliday house I cant do either, things that he always have enjoyed is now more or less gone, beacouse of his age

So now he wake up everynight around 2 o clock, and cant sleep, he is worried, and anxious about the future, and he is not happy anymore like he was, his monkeymind is controlling everything.

My mom ordered a time to a psycologist after she spoke with him, it was easy to see he needed prorffesional help

he has always pushed away the age problem with working more and doing things, but now this old age is meeting him in the door, and he is not prepared to welocme it.

My mom wanted me to meet him, and maybe try to explain some meditations tecniques.

Should I try to explain some calming tecniques to him, (he dont now nada about meditation from before and are not religious)? Or is it just stupid to try to learn him anything like that?

What is the best way to help a 78 year old man, who is not preapeared to be old and give up everything?


  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Hi @Namada - good on you for taking this on! Not easy......

    Why not just teach him what you've learned on this path?

    The main stumbling block will be how willing he is to listen!

  • yagryagr Veteran

    For myself, I have found that the greatest obstacle I face in trying to help others is figuring out what help is for them - instead of what I think would be help for them.

    @Bunks said, the main stumbling block will be how willing he is to listen. I agree that this is a major stumbling block, but I think perhaps the greatest stumbling block will be how willing you are to listen. I don't think you need a plan except to spend time with him and bring love and compassion. When I have the patience to just be with people, they usually get around to telling me what they need - and then I'm present to help them with that.

    You will have to pay attention though, they don't always tell you with words.

  • @Namada, Just some possibilities:

    At the VA, there are program to teach meditative techniques in a non-religious exercise. You can, if your father is willing, utilize a similar approach.

    I know it is frustrating to be forced to slow down, to be relatively inactive.
    Your father was so busy that he did not and, apparently does not yet see that he can still be active, just not in the ways he was before.

    It appears he feels as if cast aside, no longer useful and that has him upset, uneasy.
    You can look for or help him look for something in the community he can do such as helping other seniors or helping the youth. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience that he can share.

    But first, if I perceive correctly from your post, he must accept that being old does not mean stop living.

    Of course, don't 'tell' him. Talk with him, open your heart and listen as much or more than you talk. Listen with your eyes and your ears. He is someone you love, show it quietly with word and actions.

    I think I have just restated, to a large degree what @Bunks and @yagr have already said. The important thing is to let him know that he is loved and valued, as he is. All else will follow.

    Patience, patience, patience.

    This is quite a challenge - good luck

    Peace to you

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    Dharma is really very healing and I think that even if you don't get to sharing meditative time together, reading outloud to him some of the happier teachings on generosity and so forth will probably be very beneficial. Uplifting the mind especially when nearing the transition-time is really valuable.

    There's a book called In the Buddha's Words

    It's a really great collection. Even just a few passages from there can be very revelatory.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Be his friend and accept him as he is?

    Its taken me my lifetime to get a feel when someone wants help, advice or suggestions even when they don't come right out with it, so my thought is to be alert for an opening moment and don't be too forceful and be waiting for them to come back to you later about their own feelings etc.

  • ZeroZero Veteran
    edited October 2015

    @Namada said:
    Should I try to explain some calming tecniques to him, (he dont now nada about meditation from before and are not religious)? Or is it just stupid to try to learn him anything like that?

    What is the best way to help a 78 year old man, who is not preapeared to be old and give up everything?

    I'm assuming he's your maternal grandfather - in which case, why does your mum think you'd be better placed to reach him given she's his daughter?

    I gave up the breast, my dummy, the cot, days without any responsibility, formula, falling over and bouncing back... the list goes on and on - that said, even considering these things and more were given up supposes that they were mine to begin with... breathe in (take up), breathe out (give up)... the hint was there all along I suppose.

    It's not stupid to try to show him something that you know but that said, nothing you can show him from your knowledge will stop the physical ageing process and nor can it suddenly alleviate anything he has conjured as his reality - presumably, he didn't need you to tell him how to approach ages 1-77 and nor to assist him in anything that is now to be given up or not pursued in the same manner.

    In my personal experience, it's not possible to directly reach such a person unless the person has assimilated the thought process themselves and in walking such a path, it's a mutual companionship rather than a hierarchy - for the latter, it is for the student to seek but still, the student teaches himself.

    In my own experience, being there for him, spending time and listening to what he wants and assisting best you can day to day is probably the most you can do - in that process, there will be many opportunities for you to show how your thoughts influence your life and ergo, if he is willing, he may also find some peace or joy through engaging with you and your ideas on what it could all be about - it's tough however as in my time, I've seen many accomplished heroes turn and I wonder what I shall do when my time comes.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    @Namada said:

    What is the best way to help a 78 year old man, who is not preapeared to be old and give up everything?

    Why does being old automatically presuppose giving up "everything?"

    I apologize if the tone of this post is a bit hostile, but it's just that I've volunteered and worked with the elderly for the good part of 5 years now, and the mindset that the elderly have nothing and must be coddled by family and support staff has really bugged me.

    Your grandpa may be old and less able to do the things he liked to do before. Same with the dozens of people I've met with dementia, stroke, amputations, etc. But even these patients/residents can be relatively happy. The thing is though, is that they need support. That doesn't mean to treat them like a baby or to tell them what they "should" be doing (unless it's dangerous, obviously), but to just live with and love them as normal. Give them options. Provide them with things to nurture their mind, body, and spirit.

    Not many people like to be victimized and treated like they're helpless. When you age and/or end up in extended care or in the hospital, you need people around you (family and staff alike) that will treat you like a person who can make their own decisions and who deserves to have input into what they want to do to have a fulfilling life.

    When my grandparents were dying in the hospital, I never once tried to teach my grieving family any meditation or feed them any pithy Buddhist slogans. I let them do all their Christian-y stuff, because that's what they wanted to do.

    If your grandpa has no idea what meditation is, I don't think it's necessarily time to try and give him any "Buddhist medicine," as he'll probably just lump you in with any family members that see him as "stubborn ol' grandpa that won't listen to me."

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