Why do I feel so guilty and depressed when Mom isn't active and just sits all day?


I feel like I'm not doing enough for my 89 yr. old Mother with beginning dementia. She just sits in her recliner all day. She does get up to use the bathroom and eat. She like to watch TV and do her word find book. She thinks it makes her keep her mind active. It doesn't, only when she is doing it. Otherwise she can't remember much. I feel so depressed sometimes when just sit there. We will talk for a little while, then we don't have anything else to say. She won't go to the senior center. I sit with her as much as I can, but I have housework to do. She is in a lot of pain from her hip surgury and degenerated discs in her back. She grunts and moans a lot. Takes Tylenol 3 to 4 times a day. There isn't much else to do. I can leave her for a couple of hours. I guess I just deal with it.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing


I feel guilty when my mother sits all day and does nothing, too. I know it is because, as inthestorm wrote, I think it is my job to make sure she is enjoying herself. If she is bored or miserable, then I am not doing a good job. I don't talk with her much, because the conversation goes south fast. When it doesn't go south, I have a hard time listening, because she talks in a quiet monotone voice that I can barely hear. Many times she is telling me stories I've heard many times. Sometimes now she is making up things I know aren't true. I just let her talk because it is usually harmless.

I wish someone would come up with an "enjoy life" pill. We could just give our elders one a day, then wouldn't have to worry about entertaining them. The only thing is we might have trouble keeping the caregivers away from the bottle. :)
Helpful Answer (2)

Hi, thanks for the reply. Yes my mother did have physical therapy, until she felt like she didn't need it anymore. It wasn't enough and now hurts so bad when she walks that she won't walk much. She hates to get up and use the bathroom so she doesn't drink much water. No meds for dementia. She did for a while but didn't like what it did to her. Diahrea, nausea. So she quit. Some days she livid. But more than not. We've looked at all her pictures, she doesn't like games. She love babies and kids. So everytime there is kids on she stops and watces. You both sound like your going through the same things. I love this site. I'm on every day, sometimes 2 or 3 times. Since I'm just sitting here anyway. I don't have a life.
Yes, she help fold towels, set the table and cleans the dishes and I put them in the dishwasher. But she cough and sneezes and never washes her hands with soap. So I have to remind her. Her own towels are so dirty that I have to bleach them. Showers are another story. She doesn't use much soap there either. Once a week if she needs it or not. She must put vaseline in her hair because it gets so greasy by the 4th day. I won't take her out, except maybe a car ride around town once a week. It really makes me want to throwup. I know there will be time we can't take care of them anymore. If they ever go into the hospital, have them take her right to a NH after discharge. Then start bring some of here stuff. Tell her you can't take care of her anymore and that the nurses will take good care of her and you will visit everyday.
Take care and see you tomorrow. :)
Helpful Answer (0)

One more thing...I think we get depressed because we are facing what could be our future. We are forgetting to live now because we are consumed with caring for someone else. WE ARE TRAPPED AND WE DO NOT SEE AN END and if we try to think of the end, we are consumed with guilt. I am consumed with anger, too. Anger that she does not see what this is doing to me because she WILL NOT discuss a nursing home and if I tried to bring outside care in, she is bitter toward them. People tell me to care less, but it is just easier sucking it up. My sister was supposed to share in this responsibility but she dumped mom & me over Christmas. She asked my mom for a favor and when she was told no, she used that as the excuse to say she was done. I am so angry and I am losing sight of who I was because of it. I am tired and I look old. I have cared for my mom for years--even when she was in her home. I look back and realize the dementia was apparent when she was living alone but I did not want to face it. It is real now. She absolutely cannot live alone, but she thinks she can. My hands are tied. How do you face putting your mom in a home?
Helpful Answer (1)

I feel guilty that my mom sits all day too. We have a routine in the morning, but the rest of the day she sits and watches tv. I believe that is the most depressing thing about taking care of her because I feel obligated to entertain her yet I have a full time job and a home and family to care for. She has dementia so she repeats herself constantly. My kids try to talk to her but it only lasts for 10 minutes before I see they are beside themselves. When she was at her home prior to the stroke and dementia diagnosis, she sat all day in her chair, so I had to come to terms that sitting all day in a chair in my home is probably ok. She gets regular meals, on-time medication, & regular baths (which is a horror because she hates it). When she is lucid (Excelon Patch has made a difference), she will tell me that I do not need to entertain her...but I can tell every time I walk past her room (a converted dining room), she looks up hoping I will stop in. There is no alone time for me anymore.
Helpful Answer (2)

Did she have physical therapy after her surgery? Are there some simple exercises they recommended that you could do with her daily?

Is she on any medications for the dementia?

Be glad that she still enjoys television. That is tough for some dementia patients, when they can't remember the beginning of the plot by middle, when their attention span shortens, and when commercials become too distracting. I spent a lot of time finding dvds that were suitable. My husband liked nature shows, but they couldn't be too long. So I don't see anything wrong with watching tv as long as it is occupying her.

The word find books are also fine. My mother does crosswords. There were a few board games my husband would play. Keeping the mind active is a good thing. It certainly doesn't cure dementia, but it gives her something to do. Some researchers feel that using the brain connections that are still available is useful.

A regular senior center may or may not be suitable for someone with dementia and lots of back pain. An adult day health program may be more suitable. Check out what is available in your area.

When you are sitting with her, could you be looking at scrap books? Do you/she have shoeboxes of old pictures she could help you identify? Even if she can't remember the television show she just watched, you may be surprised at the detail she can remember in a 40 year old picture!

Most people like to feel useful and that they are contributing to the household. Can Mom fold towels? Sort socks? Set the table? Cut grocery coupons out of the paper? Chop onions? With her pain issues you may have to find things she can do sitting down.

Even without dementia, Mother might be sitting in her recliner most of the day. This is Not Your Fault. Try not to take it personally and let it depress you. Do what you can to offer stimulation and meaningful activities, spend reasonable amounts of time with her, and accept her limitations.

Keep in touch here, and let us know how this progresses for you.
Helpful Answer (0)

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.