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My mom just turned 80. She used to take dance and music lessons. Currently, she only participates in one class. Karaoke. Ever since we installed digital cable, she watches tv most of the time or sometimes goes on the computer. I have noticed that she is slowing down a bit mentally and physically. How do I convince her to be proactive again whether its exercise, crafts, music (which she loves), etc. Each time I ask her, she walks away from the subject. I also need time for myself to take care of the house and would like to try and start working from home. I am worried and don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?

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F1lowers, this is just a thought, does your Mom wear glasses? When was the last time her eyes were checked? Poor eyesight can stop a person from doing a lot of things. She probably has no issue watching TV because of the super sized TV screens we have today, and to use the computer where she can sit up close. Anything else could bother her and maybe throw her a bit off balance.
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One of the pluses of Mother living at the NH, is the activities. She never did anything at home. Now, the aids convince her to go listen to the music, see the quilt display, etc.
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This is not for everyone but it did work for my Mom. She was very active until about 88 and then she stopped her daily walks, socialization with friends ect. I tried taking her to classes - chair yoga- going to the water aerobics in her community center and other activities. She would go but had no interest and acted like I was torturing her. I started doing animal fostering in her home about 2 years ago. She was totally into it because she could sit and watch TV while feeding the little kittens. She loves to clean out their litter boxes and watches them for hours while they play. We have fostered about 22 kittens now and they have all found homes. My Mothers cronies have all passed on and the ones that are left either have dementia or do not want to hang around my Mom because she has dementia.
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Others' comments here about gardening reminded me of two issues:

1. There's a movement in gardening circles for "assistive gardening" in which gardening is done at raised beds. Wheelchairs can be rolled up alongside the beds. It's not as easy as if the wheelchairs could be wheeled underneath slots in the raised beds so the person in the wheelchair could garden from either side, but it's a start.

2. There was an assistive garden at the first rehab facility my mother stayed in. Working in the garden was part of patient's occupational therapy.

3. Houseplants or working with grow lights and flora-carts could substitute for outdoor gardening activity.
Perhaps even a small collection of fragrant herbs could be added.

There's something inherently therapeutic about working with plants.
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My mom is the same way. She used to line dance and visit with friends but has since turned into a hermit. It's almost like the idea of doing some or going somewhere is just too much for her to deal with, making plans, getting ready, going to the bathroom, etc., so her answer is always "no". She could walk with a walker but has some dementia so I would never have been able to put her on a bus to go an activity. She can't really do any physical activity anymore. She used to love to read and do crossword puzzles but does not do either any more because of memory issues. She stays parked in front of the television most of the day. I haven't found anything that works. Good luck.
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Gigi11, I don't know how much experience you have with rehabbing after a fall. What they don't tell you up front is that they bill be booted out of the rehab facility or nursing home if they refuse to comply with physical therapy a couple of times because Medicare won't continue to pay for them to stay. I have been through this with both my sister and mother. They called me to say that they were making plans to return my sister to her assisted living facility because she refused PT. We had been through this before so I know there had to be a good reason, plus I am her POA and they had orders to call me immediately if either mom or sister refused PT. It turns out my sister got pneumonia from the facility and she also has asthma. I had to raise cane with the administrator but they did keep mom. Mom refused PT at the nursing home, even after speaking with me on the phone, so they stopped PT and she no longer walks. It's almost like they are looking for some reason to stop the PT. I don't get it.
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She may be embarrassed to even tell you that she's feeling tired or in pain. Let her do activities that don't require "dance" or physical exertion, however - I did convince my mother of 76 to help out with the garden so it makes her feel needed. She LOVES to cook, so I stand around "pretending she does it all" while I say, "Oh lemme' chop this for you?" and she lets me - but she feels a sense of accomplishment. They do stop doing things they once used to. After Mom and I reminisce about all the huge Italian dinners she has served for at least 10 people in her household - she says, "That was a different person." And it's so true. They change, maybe just slow down a bit, but mentally stimulate her with questions about her past. SO important. Keep her mind sharp. My mom loves crossword puzzles and I swear to you - she would win on Jeopardy if she had the guts to go on.

Right now, the mind is the most important thing, after that, she'll have a desire to do more. Try gardening with her - getting her maybe a planter to where she can stand and plant. That helped a great deal.

Good luck!
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I read that computer games and learning new things is good brain exercise. Don't discourage her enjoyment of tv and the computer. Wow, that she is 80 and even wants to be on the computer is amazing! Now, thats not to be said that is all she should be doing but its not all or nothing either. how would you like it if someone told you you couldn't read anymore because its not active? Let her have her activities PLUS add some if you can.

There are youtubes of chair exercises. Maybe combine her enjoyment of the computer with that. In the end its really up to her. You can't physically force someone out of the chair. My 79 year old aunt found zumba classes at her local senior center and she loves it. God bless her that at 79 she can do that!

How about a wii? They have to still be around. Get one or find one at a center and have her play golf or bowl with it. The key is to find out what she has an interest in. You could ask me til the cows come home to go line dancing but I can't stand it, however if you asked me to go do karaoke I'd jump at it in a heartbeat. Find out what she likes and i bet she might be more willing to do it.
Good luck
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I signed my dad with a swimming pool, he loves it and it gives me some free time, I also take him to a massaging therapy, but I don’t know if I’ll keep taking him there.
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Karaoke is great, but you need to look at why she's not as active. Does she have depression or is she having pain due to arthritis? Maybe she would like a pal to go with her to these activities does she have any friends that would also have some of the same interests? She can go to the senior center, make new friends. At 80, after having been so active and now not so much, maybe she has some medical issues, she can visit her physician and have a complete physical to see if anything is going on. At 80, she should do what she wants, but like you I also believe is she doesn't use it she'll loose it so it's more important to keep active. Maybe she needs a different activity such as walking using an Ipod to listen to music. Just keep encouraging her.
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Any other recent changes that you've noticed in your mother? Slowing down, on its own, in an 80 year old person, fair enough; but it could be that something else is going on - pain, or feeling unusually tired or ill, for example - that she is worried about but hasn't got round to mentioning. It might be worth asking her a few discreet questions?

Karaoke is superb exercise - brilliant for her physically and mentally, and fun! I wish I could get my mother to do that.
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During an interdisciplinary review recently at rehab, the representative from physical therapy said they had a problem with Mom's *motivation.* She's 96, has dementia, arthritis, compression fractures in her spine and is in rehab after a fall. X-Rays looking for breaks showed she has blood clots in her lungs so now she's on oxygen and blood thinners in addition to the other meds. And from her they expect motivation?

Her main motivation is to stay in bed and the only way to overcome this is to offer options she finds more appealing. Most of the time she goes along with what is wanted by the aides, nurses, physical therapists and so on, just to please them. Then she seems to enjoy the activities, once she’s engaged in them.

What I'm leading up to here is that we have to exert quite an effort to overcome the inertia which is normal for Mom under the circumstances.

So, the inconvenient truth about your situation is that there's a new normal for your mother too and lots of time and attention will be needed to get her moving now. This is something to think about when envisioning the future. Blessings to all concerned as you adapt to the constantly changing circumstances of caring for an elderly person.
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Though it's tempting to let an aging parent 'stew' in their own isolating decisions, don't. When we brought my dad to live with us, he was 78 and initially refused to join things like art classes, seniors groups, etc. Since I work from home and needed at least a FEW predictable quiet hours each week, I signed him up anyway and arranged for the free county bus to pick him up and bring him home each week. Once he got into the weekly rhythm of Church group on Monday, art class on Tuesday morning, and (coerced) volunteering at a local grade school on Wednesdays, he actually began enjoying them and talking about all the people he met -- who was "lousy at art", who "talked too much" (of course, he NEVER did that!), and which kids at the school were a "pain in the ass." He did these activities for perhaps 6 years, until his dementia and incontinence got too difficult. That's when we brought aides into our home to help him and be weekly companions, and one (who was an artist) did artwork with him. These things don't totally substitute for being actively involved with your parent as his family -- which we did -- doctors appointments, shopping, taking him to dinner and on day trips, taking him to visit other family and friends, etc. My father died at 85, but I have no regrets (other than the memory and pain of seeing him decline in illness and awareness -- hospitalizations, rehab in nursing homes -- which led to permanent stay there) -- we made the twilight of his life as delightful as we could for him. Old age is very tough for some -- they know they are losing their capability and memory, and they are scared of what's ahead. Be a comfort.
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I hate to be the one to share in your misery this way, but honestly, I have a MIL that absolutely refuses to be active and she is capable of doing so. I have done all of the things mentioned above and she will not participate. Therefore, my advice to you is not to stop trying, but realize when the point has come in which she is stealing you personal power by your worrying about and planning things for her to do. You have a life too. She has chosen to live hers this way. Good luck!!!
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Does you area have a senior center (and if not a senior services office) you can check on local resources. Many areas have them and some even have buses that will pick them up and drop them off at home. These provide all kinds of activities, social interaction, programs, excursions, etc. depending on their program. Also some churches sponsor them. If they do, but she doesn't want to be around "old" people (LOL) I would try to get her to "volunteer" with you one or two days a week until she gets used to the people and makes a few friends, then back off on your part. Sounds like she probably has the same issues most face at her age. Her friends are dying off, she has no one to play with her age.
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Studies now say that physical activities preserve the mind better than mental exercises. Take walks together outside, around the neighborhood or on a Greenway or in a park. YMCAs and fitness clubs have appropriate exercise machines and group activities. Is gardening an interest? Flowers, or perhaps veggies that you can cook together? Can you involve her in more of the cooking? Sounds like you need to be a role model, so think of physical activities you would enjoy, too. Could be good for both of you!
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TV and computer use can be addictive. Sometimes it's hard to break that habit. (I'm trying to do that myself!)

Perhaps you can just start doing some crafting on your own, something she used to do, and ask her opinion on something. If she just walks away, I guess she's no longer interested.

Does she play any instruments, and/or do you? If so, begin practicing. Music is addictive and transformative as well. It might draw her in. Or just put on a CD of music from her childhood or adulthood. Sometimes that lure is just more powerful than anything else.

If it's music suitable for exercise, start working out. Hopefully she'll join you.

Do you have any exercises that therapists have given you that are for stretching and can be done sitting down? That might be easier for her to do than walking.

Many seniors like Lawrence Welk. In this area old programs run on PBS. If you can find some in your local schedule, make sure she has an opportunity to watch them.

What type of dancing did she do? If she likes ballet, put on a ballet DVD and watch it with her, and be sure to comment on the steps, variations, etc.

Trying to change habits and interests can be hard, so I wish you success.
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Old bones hurt. Can you take her to an indoor heated swimming pool? That would at least give her some range of motion without weight bearing. Some Holiday Inns have senior swim clubs. Look around.
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