There seems to be a bias against the elderly. They simply aren't treated as "normal" human beings. If someone were thirty and had similar symptoms you can be a physician would be on top of things. It's as if older people simply have to bear burdens. This was true in hospitals decades ago and I thought things would get better, but they have not. I don't think 84 is that old. I have a semi-retired physician friend who is his late seventies, sharp as a tack, and has some trouble finding hospital assignments. One would think an older physician would be just the whipped cream on the cake for a nursing home, but there is age bias in many areas. You asked the question: "What gives here?" I can't answer that, however the situation you have appears to be the norm, rather than the exception.
i am sorry for you and your dads loss i have been there i know how one feels there seems to be help for the young also they can get out and maybe go to work somethng to take there minds off of it for awile. also they have grreif groups but i imagine your dad is so used to having mom do for him and it will take time also you need to try and get him out some or get him something to do to help him from thinking of this all the time, also i am elderly my brain is sharp but the body is weak i quit work at 72 due to health issues does your dad use computer if so get him some intendo games it takes time to go throught greif process and i feel for him society does not seem to want to help the elderl like they do the young why i do not know but an elderly can post a question and it is seldom ans but let a young one post and they are right there lots of luck to you and your dad tell him someone cares luck jo ps. i know that it is not healthy for him to brood at home but maybe with you to help him it will be easier
I was thinking about jo929's suggestion about internet games and think it is EXCELLENT. Sony Playstation is also great. If you get games purchase of the controller unit, plus a gamecard helps tremendously. Flight Simulator, with the control station (stick and rudder and guns) and a game card can be tremendously interesting. They also have a train simulator, and various routes to pilot your train, and model railroad systems on the computer. The interactive monster fighting games and the army and other military games can consume hours. You can also play chess and checkers on the internet with players from all over the world at any time of day or night.
Here's a suggestion that helped me with my mom when my dad died. She had the same problem of depression after his death. She would say over and over again, I just miss talking to your father. He was always such a good listener. One day, I decided to buy a helium balloon that says I LOVE YOU. I told her to hold, love, hug, talk, and kiss the balloon as if it were my father. After a few minutes of tears, I said when you're ready lets now send it to dad in heaven. We watched that balloon for the longest time until we could see it no more. I promised to buy her a balloon when ever she needed to talk to my father. At first, it was a dozen balloons at least daily, but this has now dwindled to one balloon a week. This worked better than the depression meds from the docs.
My dad is doing better. I make contact with him every day and visit at least once a week.
We talk about the past, the present and the future. He has days that he is sad, but he is getting better. Two weeks ago, be almost lost his companion of 13 years to severe pancreatitis; his minipoodle. I think the relief of having "Skitch" return to good health has helped significantly because it was something very positive that happened, when it could have been another devastating loss. Life does work in miraculous ways. When we consider that life is full of challenges but recognize that we have so much to be thankful for...well, it gives solid perspective. I have relearned to get out there, take life by the horns, take one step at a time and live. I am 60 and have lots of life to live yet. But then, don't we all?
Thank you for all of your feedback. I will suggest to my dad, the flight simulator as he was a pilot in WW2.
He is planning to take painting classes. He is taking good care of himself by walking as often as he can, cooking good meals for himself and setting small goals for himself. Yes, he is sad at times, but he doesn't give in. He amazes me and has inspired me to try to develop his type of strength and resilience. He has the quiet strength of a book hero and I am so glad that I have had a chance to really get to know him as a person, not just a parent. He once survived as a prisoner of war; he is now surviving this. Do you have heroes in your lives?