Sole survivor.

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I was wondering if I might get a little help from the forum readers here with my Mom, Wanda. She's 89, living with me and my husband, and only has a mild case of dementia. Her main problem is RA and her inability to use her hands for things like opening jars and food packages. My Dad (her husband) passed away from Alzheimer's in 2007. Her younger sister passed 2 years later from Alzheimer's. Two weeks ago her younger brother passed away from Alzheimer's. I am her only living close relative left on the planet. She is so down and depressed, rolling all these losses into one huge loss. She cannot wrap her head around being the only one left. Her friends have all passed away as well. She's aware that she needs to let go, but is overwhelmed with the sole survivor thing. I've talked with her about letting them go and told her she'll see them again one day. We've talked about focusing on the positive - what she has rather than what she's lost. But, we all know, talk is cheap. I understand how she must feel. So, I thought I'd present her problem here as it has been going on for 3 weeks now - this deep, dark depression. Perhaps y'all might write a reply here for her that will help her and I can print them out for her to read. I don't wish to put her on an anti-depressant. I do wish to bring her back here to the land of the living.

Sending the Love,


I am afraid this is a very common problem for the elderly. My mom is 78 ,an only child as I am also an only child. She only has 2 friends left alive she talks on the phone to and they are older than her. My father died 15 yrs. ago. Also, I have no children so they are no grandchildren.I did have her put on Zoloft after my father died and it has helped.I would definitely discuss with her doctor her mental outlook.Actually if possible counseling for both of you would be helpful. It's emotionally draining for a caregiver always trying to be the upbeat one.
My MIL is 87 and wants to go. I told her it is up to God, not her. He has a plan, so when she wakes up for another day, she should ask him what the plan of the day is. Once she demanded that Jesus come and get her. I told her Jesus does not take orders, He comes when He decides to, not when she decides to. He doesn't make trades, He doesn't take promises. I asked her to accept His Will and know that He will decide when she is ready.
If the latest of this string of losses occurred two weeks ago, I think it might be a little early to get overly concerned, or to consider drug therapy. Mourning is not the same thing as clinical depression. She is entitled to mourn. Perhaps helping her complete that task, at her own pace, would be a better focus than trying to get her to hurry up and focus on the positive.

Might she benefit from a few sessions or group meeting with a grief counselor? Not everyone would, but give it some thought.

I think it is way too soon to make conclusions about an anti-depressant, but if this continues or worsens, then please do consider having her see a doctor for medical intervention in the form of medication and/or talk therapy.
I agree that it's too soon for her to "move on" from dealing with these losses. Grief groups are wonderful for letting grieving folks do the work. Family can seldom take the place of a group of strangers that are going down the same path. Many funeral homes offer facilitated grief groups. If not there , call her doctor's office. They may have some ideas.

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