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My Dad has dementia, depression, continuing weight loss, and macular degeneration. Although living in an assisted living wing of wonderful retirement community he shows NO interest in participating in activities, improving himself through physical therapy, or even going to mealsunless strongly encouraged. He stays often in bed until noon. Antidepressant had adverse side-effect. Lived large in younger years building and flying airplanes, traveling, etc. Now is not driving, or expressing interest in anything. Help! I'm sad, depressed, and feeling helpless about helping him feel better about life.

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CF, while I completely agree with FF's empathetic response it's one thing to acknowledge reality and another to have to swallow it - it's a bitter pill, and hard to take. We'd love to think of elders enjoying activities and relationships in a protected community; and some of them certainly do settle happily into the new routines; but then again, compared with flying his own planes, a singalong or a round of poker don't really cut it, do they? You can see your dad's point of view.

What you can still do for your father is keep turning up, and keep talking to him as you naturally would. You might not get much response, there might be a lot less evident interest and enthusiasm than would have been the case before, but what I'm seeing with my mother is that although you can't tell from her tone or her expression she is genuinely pleased to hear from or hear news about her family. Don't let him cut himself off from the people he cares about, that's all.
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Think about it, 91 years is a very long time. He's tired, we will all feel that way once we reach our 90's. He's winding down, it is only natural. If he wants to sleep until noon, so be it, teenagers do it all the time. Also, he has dementia, that can have an affect on his brain, too.
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No mystery here. He does not get up and make the effort to go to meals. he can't find the f****ing way to the dining room and when he gets there he can't see his fork or identify that orange blob on the plate in front of him. He feels safe in bed end of story. He is not hungry and he's had enough of this life. His friends are all dead and he can't stand the other old farts, who are asleep in front of the TV in the lounge. If they want to sleep all day why not in the peace and quiet of their room not dragged out into a geri chair or W/C, but most of them can't speak for themselves. The healthcare team thinks they should be out of bed to prevent bedsores and have interesting things going on around them. Well I have news for them it is very stressful to have constant motion going on around you that you can not and do not want to participate in. I like the golden girls but not 24/7 and forget the sports chanel. Sorry this is not the rant thread but just how I see things from a becoming older point of view with increasing physical limitations.
i can imagine the capt in his bunker with a steel door and an tiny slit they can pass the paper through but strong enough to keep out the most persistant social worker. He'd probably have a booby trap bucket filled with some unmentionable noxious substance riged so when they got too annoying he'd pull a string and laugh himself till he you know what himself. No way he's going to end up in aunt edna's prison. Love your elders keep them safe but do unto others as you would have them do to you.
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its always helpful to be empathetic and put ourselves in others' shoes---91 wow. That's a long life! What do you "expect" of him at that age in terms of activity? Is it realistic? Sometimes we have to start preparing to let go and I believe its nature's way when they start sleeping a lot, not eating and withdrawing.

The other day I was missing my grandmother but then realized that if she hadn't passed away at 92, she would be 102 this year and would have lost her at some point between 92 and 102 anyway so is the loss any harder back then as it would have been later?

We all pass on. Sometimes its heart breaking to read about all the herculean things people are doing to keep their LOs alive when deep down we all know we have an expiration date. I have a relative that just passed away yesterday from stage 4 cancer. He was in the hospital the past 2 weeks and his adult children were doing all they could to keep him alive until finally the hospital said its time for hospice. He was in hospice for less than a week before he passed away. What happened these past 3 weeks? Yes, he was alive for 3 more weeks but what was the quality of his life? What was gained and for who?

These are rhetorical questions. I'm hoping to maybe inspire some to reflect about all the things they are doing for "one more day." Best of luck to you.
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Thanks for response. Great answer. I think because my dad's mother lived to 102 I just have not been able to accept 91 as being old. I needed this reality check.
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Freq flyer is right. Let enjoy what he can and don't push him. There may be some meds out there but at 91...... H*ll, I hope I make it to 91.
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If one antidepressant didn't work, there are plenty more out there.
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My mother is a lot like that. She is really depressed being old and refuses to accept it and will often refuse to leave her room, getting more depressed being alone with too much time for self pity. She's now on Zoloft and it appears to be helping her. Also, she just made a friend in AL and is now more participative. Maybe your father's doctor could try another antidepressant? Also, I notice that Mom does better once she has a friend to do things with. Maybe you could find someone close to his age and experiences to sort of buddy them up? It always helps to have someone to talk to and commiserate with, and being with one person is not as uncomfortable as being in a group especially when one is handicapped. Mom is deaf and doesn't do well in groups, in IL she wouldn't eat dinner and would go back to her room if she didn't see someone she knows well to sit with. At AL they have assigned seats and that makes her feel secure. Maybe you Dad would do better with a friend.
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It is hard letting someone go on to be where they are. All you can do is provide love, companionship within an ulterior motive, and support when needed. If you are inclined to see if something interests him, keep those activities in alinement with his interests: a model or an airplane he used to fly to put together, books on vintage planes he used to fly~ things that tap his rich history to ground him a bit. Good luck and always know you can only do so much: your dad is the author of his life at whatever stage he is in.
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I do want to salute all the caregivers on this forum who are caring for an elder in their home. Not only do I believe that all of us caregivers will receive a reward in heaven some day, but I believe there are even more special rewards for those who are providing full-time care for a loved one in their own home. My mother used to say: "Just do the best you can." and certainly that is what each of us is doing. I also try to live my life so that I will have no regrets later.
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