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Both of my parents live with me. My Dad is 81 and has mobility issues, my Mom is 79 and has ALZ. I have tried everything I can think of to make them feel happier, but nothing has worked. I've tried to get them to do things they enjoyed in the past, but they refuse. I've discussed this with several of their docs and the answer is always the same "we need to increase their anti depressants". I even went through all the paperwork to get them into a very nice adult daycare and they refuse to go. It is almost like they are happy being miserable. This just makes me so sad to see them this way. I will even suggest outings with them and sometimes they will agree and at the last minute refuse. I keep asking them what they would like to change or do and never get an answer.

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Hi there Bonnie, I am Carla, I too are taking care of both mother and father in law, This first time I've been on this site, so glad I found it!!! I totally understand how you feel!! I too feel that I am at my Wits end with it all!!! I really don't have anyone to talk to, EVERY time I talk to there own blood family its like talking to a wall!!!! That's so frustrating to me!! How they can be this way!!! Yes I am married to their son, its a long story, but ended up having to come here, and then evetually had to just stay, my husband works and I take care of them. So if you would like to talk maybe we can help each other out in how to do this without losing ourselves cause its really hard not to. I know besides them I get very depressed as well. So maybe we can give each other support!! Let me know, and You take good care of you!! I know you take good care of them, your important too!!!!
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Elderly people are tired. They know that that their diseases and or disorders will not ever improve. They know they are facing death. Many elders who are have debilitating diseases or disorders and who maintain their mental facilities are faced with the realization that their bodies will continue to deteriorate.
It's important to understand why they don't want to go to adult day care, or why they dont want to try attempts at their previous hobbies such as gardening or crafts or regular activities of daily living.
If one does not have the physical energy, the stamina, the dexterity, the mobility to perform even basic activities, why even bother?
It has been my observation and experience that people hang on to life the hardest due to the love they share towards and for their families and friends, their loved ones.
People in nursing homes or long term care facilities, or hospice, whose families visit regularly always seem to live the longest. The residents who have no family visitations or friends, always seem to deteriorate the quickest..
Sometimes, these individuals need to hear from their loved ones the simple truth. "it's ok. I understand. I know you're tired. Please don't feel as though you have to keep hanging on for us or me.."
Elders are tired. Plain and simple. They dont wont to be burdens. Sometimes they just need to hear that their loved ones understand that.
It's ok to let go.
Face it people. We will all be in the same situation one day, that is, given we don't die suddenly or unexpectedly.
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Caring, talk to your mother's doctor about hospice.
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My mother is 90. She had a massive stroke at 80 and has almost fully recovered.
She has lived with me for the past 7 years. Suddenly she has FTT, within the last two months she has stopped doing everything she used to enjoy, she is very depressed, delusional and also has delirium. Many tests, CT scan, thyroid, blood work all comes back normal. She has her DNR ready. In the last two weeks she has stopped taking her meds on a regular basis, eats hardly anything at all. Has lost 20+ Lbs. She just wants to die in her sleep. She keeps telling me she is too scared to take her own life but by not taking her med's and eating and drinking she will eventually do just that. My mother has no quality of life. Luckily she is in no pain. I am her only care giver and the constant roller coaster of not so good days vrs really bad days is taking its toll. Is it awful of me to want her to die in her sleep and put herself out of her own misery? It seems like fighting to keep her alive is doing the exact opposite of what she wants.
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BonnieO you are describing my father to a T. My father lost his eyesight in the 80s, and became very bitter about it and that is how he lives the rest of his life. He was very verbally abusive towards my mom and others, and how I wish I had stepped in years ago to "save" my mom. She passed away in July 2015 from end stage Dementia. She is at peace. However my father is here with us now. He demanded to get out of the AL he and my mom were placed in by Adult Services when it was determined my father could no longer care for my mom (she was getting out of the apartment and roaming). So we brought him here to live, and he is just being miserable. Paces constantly, eats out of boredom, refuses to do anything, I tell him same, lets go out tomorrow and do something and he agrees but when it comes time to go, I hear him say, I dont feel to. Then days later I am at fault because he is "locked up" and I wont take him anywhere. It is a vicious circle. It saddens me to think of what my mom had to put up with and I am at peace now knowing SHE is finally at peace. We deal with my dad, he demands we take him back where he came from (the AL, but at this point it is not an option), my sister cannot care for him due to her physical and mental issues, and he complains he is stuck here. He is continually telling us he wants to die and be with my mom. The drs at Hospice, after seeing him in July, said that he wouldnt last long after my moms death. I am surprised he has made it this far. I hope you can find some answers. It is not an easy road. I do hope you have plenty of help, and do find some support groups. I am getting ready to look for some in my area because I need something to keep me sane right now.
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im going through some of this too, dads 83, his dementia according to doctors has graduated, and apparently will get worse, 4 doctors, recommend old folks home, i dont think its time for that yet, i live with him 24/7. he had another unknown heart attack with in past month, now on 35% heart,, sleeps ALOT, not eating, takes pills, NOT drinking enough, not sure what to do, he says he expects to be dead by xmas, any suggestions?,
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Leave them be. If they were living alone with just each other and a caregiver, they would just sit around, eat, watch tv, read the paper and talk to each other. No need for anti-depressants. In previous decades, old parents did just that... sit around....no need to change their lives at this point.
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Continue to remind them that they would be missed, they are loved very much and that younger members of the family are very suggestive to what they here and that if they hear that their grandparents want to die then what reason do they have to live. Find anything that they love or use to love to do or hear or see and stick to it remind them every time you see them that they are very important members of the family and when they are gone in the future they will be missed and live a void in all of your lives so please help us to help you enjoy what time you do have on this earth. Touching and hugs are missed in some families also little moments of lisitening to what they say not just the words but the meaning of why they are saying they want to leave this life. My grandmother said that each one of us is put on this earth to complete a task. When we have completed that task then whether we were here for moments or 100 years that is our time to go we don't know the task because then we would look for that day so we sould live each day as to if we were here for a reason. God bless your family good luck and give lots of hugs cause one day they will be gone and memories will fill your heart and remind you each day you all ment so much to each other. Lena
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Bonnie - You might be surprised at how they'd respond to assisted living. I moved my own Mom and she hated it at first. She was good for about 8 months until she got a bad UTI then suddenly became very weak due to arthritis. Moving was good for her in the long run and saved me from insanity. It's okay to think about YOURSELF now. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to make them happy. It sounds bad but it's true so you can't let it bring you down as well. It's no selfish of you; it' sensible. How can you act as their wise counsel, act in their best interest if you're depressed or too stressed yourself? The only thing that would make my mom happy now is to turn the clock back 45 years to a time when she's a younger woman with a houseful of family to feed and visit with - able to water ski and hike. All I can do now is to try and do things she'll enjoy - and she does have happy times but it's only for a few hours here and there - it's the best I can do and she doesn't demand any more.
Best of luck to you and your parents.
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I would talk to one of the doctors who suggested increasing your parents' dosage of anti-depressant medication. This could help, or else perhaps transitioning to a different anti-depressant.
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Check with doc, review meds, try to get them interested in something no matter how silly. Is there anything they liked to do? But remember you can't force anyone out of a funk or mood. Keep an eye on them...
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Hhere is a wide-ranging, interesting, bank of articles from the New York Times that you might enjoy & find informative. As for your parents, they rightly don't see an improving future for themselves. Loss of independence, self-reliance, poor health come with aging and every one of us dies in due time; perhaps just accept their comments and carry on. Make time for yourself & your family. If you cannot change your parents' situation, change yours! Bring in caregivers and give yourself some quality, guilt-free, diversions as often as you can afford.
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BonnieO, the first thing that came to my mind was you are right, they just want to be miserable. The next thing that I thought of, the TV. If I were you, I'd disconnect the cord from the TV to the wall, or find some way to incapacitate that TV and tell them that they're going to have a TV free day (maybe 2 days). No doubt there will be a tantrum or two, but who cares? At least they're making some noise and having a reaction other than couch potato syndrome. Put on some music, or find a book for them, and THEN when the whining and complaining about the TV is done, THEN suggest the senior center again.
Drastic maybe, but if I were you I'd be looking for just about anything to shake things up, and keep the blood flowing.
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My Mom is 83 my Father who was 85 passed away in July they had been married almost 63 years... She is lonely and really misses Dad so we try had to give her things to look forward to... She went with us to her Great Grandson's 2nd birthday party. She also went with us to her grandson's Christmas concert, he is in college. You understand what I am saying... Also talk with them about their lives together and their childhood I think that helps. I know this is not easy... take care of you too... and God Bless!!!
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Man thats tough, you must be home all day with them too? What I did was take my Mom to the daycare for lunch. then lunch again, then haircuts there, then stay a bit. It took me 2 months but we both got to know people there and little by little she learned to stay there, got to know people there and she is super shy, tended to go off into another room there a lot too. I had to return to work after my FMLA 3 months was up and I never thought this would work, but it did. She began to look forward to it and they have great meals, a DJ, music, Elvis days, all kinds of things. Inch by inch, try it if you can, otherwise you will need to make up something for them to look forward to to keep them happy, or more medication, which I believe there is nothing wrong with, if it works, do it! You poor kid, one is so hard, cant imagine two!
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I have my father that lives with me and he has been the same way. He has isolated himself and it makes me sad. I do drag him out but it is even more frusterating for him because he can not hear well and he has comprehension issues and speech issues. So when I take him out he gets more frusterated and cranky because he can not keep up with conversations etc.. I was doing all the things you tried. I took him to SR centers to play cards, took him to the gym and signed him up for SR activites, I tried to get him to volunteer walking dogs etc... etc...... nothing has worked! But what has seemed to work is upping his anti-anxiety and depression medication. In speaking with the dr, he said it is not uncommon to have to up meds as a person ages. I was concerned because I hate adding drugs to the menu as the solution but if it helps with making them happy and they are at this age ..well then so be it. We did it and I have seen an improvement in attitude, his ability to sleep better and eat more. Which I think all of these items for him were contributors to being unhappy. Still can not get him out much but he seems happier. Best of luck on finding the solution. It is not easy.
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Sadly, you don't have to be old to be depressed and suicidal. I defined my depressed periods as loosing the part of my brain that could imagine a happy future. During my parents' final years I was surprised to get a positive response when I asked if I could record them talking about their lives for future generations to hear. To motivate discussion I laid out old photos and let them both talk about the people and events in them. Later I merged the photos and the audio into a video slide show.
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Ditto what selfish siblings said about "needing their help". Could your mother help you with dusting, or sweeping outside? Do they like concert dvds: the 3 Tenors, or Andrea Bocelli ? We play those for Mother, and she thinks they are HERE. Make it a special weekly event, with a treat? (i don't know. we are trying here, huh?)
I have a hard time with just letting them be miserable, but I understand how we get "fed up" with the attitude from time to time. Do neighbors or friends, senior group from church, come for visits? I hope you find the answer. HUGS:)
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Hi Bonnie - I care for both my parents as well. Dad has Alzheimers and not stable on his feet; Mom's just plain ole old. They do not live with me, not yet anyway. I can't imagine how that would affect my own family. Bless your heart for taking on ALL the responsibility. My siblings took off. Does sound like meds need to be adjusted. My Dad's been on Arisept for over a year and I think it really has helped him slow the memory lose process. But he also needs a mood control pill cause he's angry most of the time.

Anyway, recently he took on the project of pasting every single photograph they had into photo books. Took months but he loved doing it and it gave him purpose besides reviving a lot of memories. Maybe you could say, "I need your help with this." A reason to help YOU instead of just reasons to help themselves. Just a thought....good luck.
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gosh you have both livig with u - amazing--my mom is 79 has al/zdementia she would sleep all day if i let her- she is unstable on feet- onlky walks to the bathroom- and t living room to watch tv- i take her with me to bible study at noon- but she will sleep sitting up- she used to laugh and look at everyone now she kekeps her eys closed and yeterday she put the blanket over her face while sitting up on the couch- she cant talk- its so sad- i dont know whkat to do if it gets worse- i guess i will just have the study here at my house- i bught her a dog and she loves it - shi-poo - and the dog loves her becasue my mom lets her lick her all over her face and just laughs - its cute- i trained her to go potty in the bathroom so i dnt have to take the dog outside- do you get out with friends at all ? or family?
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Thanks everyone for your responses. In answer to tired caregiver, yes I have done all of the above. They both live with me. We have 2 dogs and 2 cats, I assist them with meals, baths, etc. My young grandchildren visit often and there is no getting them to do anything other than sit in front of the TV. The TV is getting on my nerves so bad, but that is another issue, court shows all day and the volume full blast.
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Nothing you can do except open the blinds.
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Are you sure the are taking their antidepression meds? If yes, maybe they are not the right kind or dosage for an elderly person. Too much of the wrong meds can not be good either. Do they have enough help? My family member became depressed 10 years ago and would not take meds. The situation got progressively worse but eventually she agreed to take the meds when she realized she could not get back home in her condition. In retrospect, I think I failed to understand that she was afraid, afraid b/c she could not handle things like showering alone, taking care of herself and I, not living with her, didn't realize this. She was afraid of her illnesses and of dying. After several trials on different antidepressants, including stints where she refused them or where, while in assisted living, I found the pills under her bed, she ended up hospitilized for severre depression and finanlly agreed to take an antidepressants that eventually helped her to the point where I could assist her living at home. No Going out on outing is not necessarily bad, especially with mobility issues but is there anything at home you can bring them, like dvds checked out free from the local library, arts/craft projects that might keep their interest? Is there something they can do to feel helpful? Like folding laundry or shredding papers? Do they like dogs or cats? do you have any you can bring them to visit? Animals have a way of pepping the elderly up, at least with my mother and others I've seen at nursing homes when therapy dogs visit. I'm not saying get a pet, that would be another thing for you to have to take care of.
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I think that you might be right about them enjoying their misery, so let them. If they really do want to die, they probably just will.
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