My grandmother has been on depression medications for 6 months, but she is still depressed and in complete denial. What's next?

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75yo GM lives with me and is still depressed after being on meds for six months.she is in complete denial of depression. what's next?? GF passed March 2009. GM moved across the country to live with me and my spouse. When GF passed, she was already depressed but we didnt know. 85% blind for 5 years or so, broke a hip, uses a walker but still timid in walking.Pt has done work at house.She has seen neurologist, internal med. specialist, pt, soc. worker, home health .Daily incontinence issues in last 9 months have not helped. Goes through varying periods of apathy, confusion, not wanting to eat (we give ensure), not getting up to use the bathroom when she knows she is wet.When she goes to the doc, sometimes he can tell she is depressed, other times she acts like she is fine and says she is happy- like we are making it up. I just don't know what to do next. This can't be all she can look forward to. I offer to take her out daily and get her out about 1-2 times a week now. No other family around. She says she does not want to go to senior center or be active with other seniors- she just wants to "rest". Suggestions??

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I have worked in LTC and with the aged. I have similar problems with my parents who are 80ish. I would suggest and I'm not a doctor, but try looking at medication(s), and their side effects. Some medications may not work together well. I would check to see if she is taking the med the right time of day, right dose, etc. Also she probably feels like she has lost everything but her last breath. If she is a church goer, maybe some of the older members who are active can get her out and/or come and visit. Maybe invite a few over for a card night, or tea just to get her with other(s) may help her. Also she needs to feel like she is contributing something to society, it's hard when they can't see. My mother is that way, but she continues trying to sew and cook. Get a rolling cart and when you are cooking or something, roll to her (protect your stuff) and have her mash potatoes, or mix something. Some of this you probably already have done or know. There are many things you can do. Also if she is incontinent there are meds out there that help if she is not already on one. An increase in her dosage of antidepressant may help. Also accepting she just wants to "REST" is hard to do. Ask her if she is waiting to go to be with GF and if that would make her happier or if she would rather move in with one of the other family members. You need alot of support, being in your shoes is the hardest thing a person has to go through. Putting her in a senior type home may help. GOOD LUCK my dear, I will be praying for you all. (P.S.) if she enjoys children, find some and maybe she could tell stories. If she still has wits, record all her stories and tell her you want to record her memories, wishes, thoughts. Get a little record and have her act or be a reporter of her life. That is one hell of a precious memory.
I love the idea about recourding there memories and stuff. I wish I had the chance to do that with my mother. But she no longer has all of her wits.
I applaud you for doing such a honorable and loving thing. I too, adored my grandmother. From your description it sounds like she may have early stages of Alz or dementia. You may introduce to her the possibility of an assisted living on a respite level (two weeks on , two weeks off). She would get the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of activities where she can ( "Rest") just observe and be stimulated at the same time. This would help to alleviate isolation. Music therapy is always a winner with her peers.....
Thank you all for your suggestions. I do especially like the one about recording her memories and I will definitely do that. When she has good days, it is wonderful to talk to her about anything and everything. She has not received a alzheimer or dementia diagnosis and has seen several physicians- although I personally wouldn't rule out the possibility. When she lived on the east coast, she was neglected for years without my knowing and I think this has played a lot into her current mental state. I have made an appointment with a geriatric psychiatrist in hopes of maybe getting a better grasp of what she should be taking medication-wise and definitely asking about the times of day she should take the meds (that could be affecting her negatively and I hadn't considered the time much). We don't have any plans to have her stay anywhere other than our home, unless we cannot care for her anymore. I promised her that she wouldn't have to leave our house unless we just could not take care of her for medical reasons or something of that nature. It has been a year but I have worked in the MH field for a long time and I just cannot get it out of my head that if we can get the meds right, we might have a chance at helping her. I have seen medications adjustments go on for years and then, all of the sudden, snap, something works.

I would love to get her to go to church and other places, but she really never has been a "social" person. She always did a lot of activities alone. She used to love to read, do crossword puzzles, garden, go shopping everyday, etc. but never really had that she shared this with. She also used to forget to eat (and faint from it!) and sleep at all hours of the day and night- she is a complete night owl. Having these habits prior to even getting into her 60's has set up her to continue them. I feel like there were lots of things stacked against us when she moved in already, and we have honestly made huge dent in that- we are just over-acheivers (-:

We do include her in cooking, house chores, etc.- she just has a hard time enjoying things. For the past three days she has been SOOO WONDERFUL!!! I have had her talk to everyone in my family on the phone- its like she is 20 years younger! Right now though, since this morning, it has been in bed all day. 3 days up, 5 days or so down- it's like she is exhausted from coming to life for those 3 days. We are starting to write down more to see if we can see a real pattern.

Anyway, I'm babbling. Thank you all so much- we are working on it all!! Bless you all!!

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