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My heart goes out to you and your family as you struggle with this challenge. I wonder if your mom would enjoy looking at family photo albums. You could sit with her and talk to her about the people and places in the photos. Maybe she would like to watch a DVD of classic movies of her era. You might bring in a portable DVD player and watch them together. This is a socializing activity but does not require that she try to communicate with you. Music may be something you can share with her. What were the popular songs of her youth and early adulthood? Music from every era is available on the internet. What a treat for her to hear some of the memorable songs she has not heard in many years. Wonder if she would like to listen to books on CD's? Every library has hundreds available and perhaps you could listen to a chapter or two together as an activity.Taking her for a "walk" in her wheel chair and getting out doors is also an activity that you can share. Keep the "conversation" going by telling her the trivial moments in your day, " Mom, I went to work to day and guess what so-and-so said..." Although someone suggested that you reduce your visits to every other day, I have a dear friend who had a stroke and was in a rehab facility and he looked forward to my visits everyday. Even if it was just to sit and watch TV together for a short time. The visits don't have to be super long but this is a lonely and frightening time in your mom's life. Bring her a favorite food that she doesn't get at her facility. Hold her hand, brush her hair, massage her feet. A loving touch is so important to those in your mom's situation.
You are her precious child and please know that just having you there with her is a comfort to her.
Now, how do you cope with the stress and sadness of this situation? Eat well and get as much sleep as you can. Cry when you need to and allow yourself to feel pleasure and happiness even if this is a sad phase in your life. If you feel things are getting to hard, don't hesitate to see your physican for anti-depressants to help you stay level during this very difficult time. Hold yourself gently and know you make such a difference in her life!
Best regards!
Hugs!
Sherrie
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My heart is broken and I am really choked up right now. You all have alot more strength and the warmest of hearts than you realize this is something to be proud of. I am saying this because there is a driving force that keeps you from throwing in the towel when times get tough, yet you all continue to take your time selflessly to "be there". Reading these posts on this subject is very sensative and emotional to me. I witnessed my Granfather as long as I can remember caring for my Grandma my entire youth.(MY MOM's parents) She suffered from anxiety due to Agoraphobia (fear of social situations, people and open spaces) she never left the house. Then in her elder years she had a stroke, I was a teenager. I know it killed Grandfather deep in side, yet he placed her in the most beautiful NH, which was far from him but close to my Mom(their only child) . My Mom who I really never thought would "be there for them", visited her daily, feed her, comforted her and my Grandfather lived far away but did what he thought was best for his wife, concerned for her health and comfort and trusted My Mom to "be there" as she was. Due to the selfless actions of my Grandfather and my Mother for Grandmas needs and comfort first... I now realize my own "emotions and fight" come from what I witnessed and learned from this,how they cared for each other and stayed together as a family. I believe the love you give now is heart breaking at this time but will be a peaceful feeling you carry forever and nothing is more rewarding than a pure soul. LOVE and PEACE ....PRICELESS
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I was in a similar situation and I was becoming depressed and had developed a suppressed anger. I got some counselling and was advised to only go every second say and to set yourself a time limit ( eg one hour). Whilst you are there make sure you know that you are doing this for YOU as well as your parent. After the visit make sure you have a nice positive thing to head to so you can clear your mind to reconnect with your own life and needs again.
Remember your mum is being cared for, so you have to care for YOU. Carers forget about themselves and they must always put themselves first once their loved one is in a safe, and secure place.
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My Mom has been in a nursing home for five long years. She has mental as well as physical problems. She knows everything and remembers all, but the bipolar disorder really takes her down. She is 88 years old. The physical problems are congestive heart failure, diabetes, neuropathy, diverticulosis,COPD, liver and kidney problems. He body constantly attacks itself. I visit everyday, sometimes 2 and 3 times daily. We were always very close and she was absolutely the best mother in the world. She was able to come over to my house, but has been bedridden for over a month. Every day is spent her telling me she is dying, moaning about the pain she is in, complaining about something. I try to get her everything she asks for. Today, after the dying speech, she wanted chicken legs. I feel so guilty about about my feelings. I don't understand the constant suffering. It has been going on so long and I dread to go in there most days. I dread to hear the same moaning and dealing with her. I wish I didn't feel this way, because she would have never felt this way about taking care of me. I feel selfish. I love my Mom so much, but this has been going on so long....
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My husband had two Ischemic strokes before he passed away. The second stroke rendered him unable to speak, however HE COULD STILL HEAR!!! Keep talking. Keep talking. Use gestures and of course my favorite form of communication, American Sign Language. If you are tuned into your mother's feelings you will be able to understand her needs and maybe her thoughts. If it gets bad in there, take her home. No nursing home required. Find a room in your house and set up a bed (Medicare will provide this for free), and just keep feeding her and changing her. Keep the TV on, the music playing and lots of magazines about the tables. Keep the curtains OPEN during the day, and let the sunshine in. If you have a dog, let the dog stay close to her . There will come a day when you will be glad that you did all these things. I know. Been there. Done that.
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If she can be placed in a wheelchair you could take her for a ride-that would be good for you also we use to take a meal in for my MIL on Fridays. You may meet someone else in your situation and be able to say a few words to her that would help you both. You might want to read a little from the Bible to her or is the spring take her in a flower that she may be able to enjoy-but do talk to her she may be able to hear you even if it does not seem that way and as another person said do not go every day-I was a nurse and some times I would just hold someones hand that helped me as well-I know it is hard for you or us that time to pray out loud at least it will remind you to speak to God.
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I agree with Bev, with the short visits and going somewhere relaxing and Vernon... (the journal idea is great)...my mom doesn't remember if I come or not, I mostly go to make sure that she is well taken care of. Usually I sing her songs--mostly one's that she sang to me as a child, and tell her just how valuable and special she is.. I also tell her how proud I am of her for never giving up no matter how hard things are and what a good example she is to me even now. I know that she understands that I am honoring her and showing her that I care despite the fact that the conversation is one sided becasue she is in the later stages of Alzheimer's. I also talk with other residents that don't ever get visitors... it's nice to see them smile. Going to support groups can help sometimes too, because then you don't feel so alone. I hope that you find what works for you and you get relief from your depression.
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If she isn't suffering too terribly bad, then just concentrate on how happy it makes her to see you during your visit, not on how depressed it makes you. Imagine that by undergoing this difficult situation with grace, you are also preventing worse consequences, such as the stress you both probably feel and read from each other. Take upon yourself the burden of not just her suffering, but the others in the home as well. When you adopt such positive attitudes and thoughts, you will have positive outcomes. Undoubtedly she is in the winter of life, soak up the moments with her, as they will pass and you will only have those moments to reflect upon. Surely you will want them to be pleasant reflections and you will want to have a cam serenity and peace knowing you took her suffering as your own, even if it isj just in spirit.
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My heart goes to you as you feel that pain in your heart....keep in mind that you feel that pain is because you love her so much, and that is the emotion you can focus on....surround yourself with love and when you are with her, transmit that emotion to her...make every moment count...talk to her, play music, hug her...all this, do it in a place of love. Remember, as Vennon said, good memories and cherish on them...always keep in mind that the love you have for your mother and she has for you, will always live in your heart.
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When mom and I visit dad, (she also is in early stages of Alzheimer's,) we do not stay long. Just a short visit to see how dad is doing, give him some cheer, have a cup of tea and a cookie, and then leave. Mom and I go shopping if she is not to tired. Watching and listening to the two of them is relaxing and funny because neither one of them knows what the other is talking about. But I found that telling dad and mom stories about the family, listening to music from the past. (many of the care centers in Canada have a day of music, where the all go to the atrium) Watching these people who have lost there ability to talk, make sense or are just semi-comatose is amazing. There hands beat to the music, they try to sing along and are just happy. This seems to help both the patient and the care-giver. Please never give up visiting. They will not be around forever, enjoy the moment. The moment is what is important to you and them. Don't worry about what shape they are in or what the problem is, make sure you are with them in the moment even if it is only for a short period of time. You will never regret being there for them. Vickie, a junior senior in the thick of it.
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I truly understand your feelings. My dad has been in a nursing home for almost three years now and his sister and brother joined him a year and half ago. I am pretty much their only visitor and sometimes I even dread going and then feel guilty about it. I pray before I go for God to lift my heart and give them as much joy as I can muster. I now look forward to going and just being with them and hugging them! It helps to bring pictures, letters, etc. to share with them. My dad doesn't talk much anymore, but I keep talking to him. I tell him about all the memories I have of doing things with him and how happy it made me. I smile and say hello to the other residents and their families and more times than not, I now walk out of the nursing home feeling better than when I went in :) Keep praying and one visit at a time. I now go only once or twice a week....I was going way too much and it wasn't doing any of us any good,.
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Hello my name is Bev. I use to work in several nursing homes. To deal with this problem we suggest that the children of the parent come every other day and only stay for short periods of time. Afterward , make a plan to go somewhere relaxing or exciting or shopping to get your mind off of your parent.You don't need to be there everyday and shorten your time spent with the parent. good luck.
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You might begin to write down the positive memories you've shared over the years. Include little incidentals which might have meant so much to either of you. Also, special things she did which have really helped you in life. Or special understandings you've offered her as insights to your own growth throughout the years. Journal them. Then read and orally expand on each thought as you are visiting with her.

Two things...

1) If there is a question of a stroke or something else which has lead or will lead to wondering if your Mom is able to listen or comprehend... don't worry about it. Begin to love her by speaking, anyway. Regardless of any lack of inter action, nurture her. In the end, kindness always prevails. Even with her current silence, as time goes along you may well be surprised to eventually know your words and especially your very heart were not only heard, but well received because they offered a degree of love she then needed most.

2) Make no mistake, in time, your journal will become of immense value to you well after your Mom passes. It'll also help rekindle other related positive or needful memories, as well.

Take heart and keep looking up...

V
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I just look at it as if it were reversed.....she'd be depressed too, but she'd do it for me. You can't really control your feelings, believe me I would if I could. It hurts to see my mom in the shape she's gotten in to phsically and mentally, I'm an only child so I visit her everyday.
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goodMorning... walked in your shoes and understand how you feel.

One sided conversations, I know mom heard ours and your mom hears yours even though she cannot speak. Don't stop talking to her, someday she may speak again... yes the words are difficult to understand but she is trying. Don't interrupt and try to find the word for her. (I did that also, and only frustrated mom). Be patient.

Gently holding her hand ask her to squeeze your finger, someday she might.

Coming back from a stroke is a long hard road. takeCare
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I am in the same situation. Mom had a stroke, cannot talk and walk. Visiting is so difficult with only 1 sided conversations and my trying to guess what she is trying to tell me. Ends up being frustrating for both of us. What I have been doing is taking my vitamins, going for walks and trying to keep my thoughts a positive. I stopped wishing for things the way the were and am learning to accept my mom the way she is. I tell myself I had no control over what happened to her, but I can try to bring some cheer into her life. I hold her hands, I pray with her, tell her what's happening in my world, encourage her, make her laugh. I also remind myself that is could be worse and there are others with far bigger problems in their life.
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