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You are doing a good thing helping the other woman as well, setting a good example. Every time mom is in nursing home (recovery from broken hip) and hospital, I make allies with the roommates, cleaning staff, and nurses. If your mother still has her wits about her, she can find ways (with your help) of assisting others. Perhaps she can read to them. Since your mother is still mentally capable, perhaps she can have a big goal for herself, like learning Spanish or viewing all the Verdi operas on DVD. Or viewing every available DVD version of the Swan Lake Ballet. Perhaps your mother can find someone in the nursing home who is still bright mentally, and they could engage in some cultural appreciation activities together.

Bob on the Alzheimer's Reading Room blog put up a quote yesterday to the effect that it is not what we DO that matters, but the type of person we become while doing it. He was referring to the undertaking of being a caregiver, but it applies to the "patient" as well.
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wow, my mom is the same way, only wants to interact with me and my husband, "those people there are old and waiting to die" are her exact words! But I looked up on the internet places that are close by my house, listed by zip code, and took her there! didnt really tell her where we were going, just showed up! She liked it! they were playing bingo, and chatting away, she was hesitant at first to get involved, so I promised to come along and play too!!! well that worked, it gave her the best of two worlds!!! after a while she wanted to go and I didnt even have to stay anymore! This was way before mom got too sick, and ahdnt been diagnosed yet, to make her a liability.....now this kind of community fun is no longer an option for her as she has a very rare desease, that makes her a liability, so she couldnt go to one, even if she wanted to! But it is still difficult where she is NOW to get her to socialize with the other "old people" because they are all too dumb for her!!! Granted my mom is very intelligent, I keep telling her over and over that people that matter dont judge and people that judge dont matter, and that goes for her too!!! when she says mean things about others, she knows by the way I look at her that she is in trouble!!!! I will not condone her putting down the other residents who some are sicker than others, and absolutely wont let her judge a sole, with me present! she knows I will get very upset and NOT put up with it!!!! So she just smiles and keeps her thoughts to herself, now even though she cant stand her roomate either, because she is heavy and mom says she smells, I still help her eat, and try to make her comfortable as well! mom hated this, but she has no choice, as I understand that people dont have others, and some are so much luckier than others!!! I think by doing this, my mom is starting to realize all that she has to be grateful for!!!! Its really amazing, working with her, and having her realize that nobody died and made her Queen, and If they did, I ask her who, so I can be a Princess to the Queen!!!!! lol thats all for now...;.hope this shed at least a lil light on the situation.....
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At our center we make cancer pad for for a hospital that has pt's who are very ill and we also have a ball doing it and our crochet/knitting group have projects and it is also a place for those who want to hang out with their peers.
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Cee: for now your Mother is where she feels she needs to be. Her devotion to your father is understandable, don't you agree?

With regards to getting a parent interested in going to a Senior Center... well you have to make the Senior Center be a place where they feel they can make a contribution. If they feel its just a place for OLD people, then perhaps maybe SHE/HE can go to the center and shake things up a bit with perhaps DANCE lessons, or a quilting circle, or a Recipe swap.. or Scrapbooking session, or..... something else that Mom likes to do at home!

My mother was very creative, and I told her that the 'old people at the Senior Center' needed a creative director to come and help organize FUN things to do, so they would not just 'sit around'. After speaking with the activities director at a local center, THEY drafted a letter to Mom and asked for HER help. She was so THRILLED to be needed, that she was excited to go to the center! Imagine that!

p.s. without sounding mean I can only imagine how much our parents (good or bad) gave up to 'stay with us' or 'sit with us' or 'wait for us', that we should be happy to help them anyway we can. Why not get ALL the family invovled in helping with mom? You won't be giving up anything except the chance to make new HAPPY(ier) memories. Once they are gone, there isn't any chance at all. Take Mom out for an icecream cone, or to the movies, or to the park, and involve ALL of your family.

My heart breaks when I read "I have a life too" yes you do, and who gave you that life? I am sure that since my mother has passed that my 'other siblings' are wishing THEY had spent more time with Mom while she was here, called more, visited more.... but all they can do now is wish. My wish for everyone is peace... please don't thing I am passing judgement on anyone, just really needed to say that.
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David Whyte is a surefire poet for times such as these.

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface of the well of grief

turning downward through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown away by those who wished for something else.

David Whyte, from Close to Home
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Cee, you haven't posted in 8 days. Has your father passed away?

The "dying" is more stressful than losing someone dear. To witness this is one of life's hardest moments, Even seeing my mother's awful cat die over a period of a week was the hardest thing I've experienced. Often during these times I turn to Poetry and music.

One for transforming loss is by the great vocalist Susan Osborn. Her album is titled "Tideline" and is based upon the thematic thread of a book popular in the UK and Japan called "The Little Tern." The seabird cannot fly, so adapts from his soaring loss eventually to life among the seaweeds and crabs and eventual rebirth. When I need this kind of transformative sweep, I will put on that album and listen with headphones over and over.
Good to have album to follow the words. That is an experience you and your mother can "disappear" into to transform one's experience and grow back out into life again.

Get a "world's greatest poems" book(s). There are probably books titled "Poems to get over Grief," but don't get that (though you can look there for hints. Just get the GREAT stuff.)

Here's a poem I was made to memorize and perform in the 6th grade. I was totally clueless and recited in a monotone race to get it over with. I was bright in many ways, but clueless in this case. My poor teacher was disappointed, I could tell. "Don't you know what the poem is about?" Err....Sailing??? "It's about dying and reuniting with one's true self or God..." Ohhhh...

I Must Go Down to the Sea

I must go down to the seas again,
to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star
to steer her by,

And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

- John Masefield
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Cee-as mentioned, I would go to the group or mealsite along with your Mom and join in---this way she may not feel so isolated from the others, and gradually you can wean yourself away as she becomes accumstomed to this. Try to be sure that the environment/activites do fit her individual needs-as not all senior centers are alike.
Best to you and to your Mom~
Hap
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I do not know why some elders feel their adult kids owe them so much of their time my MIL was not there for my husband when he was growing her parents came first but when she got to be 50 he owed her all his time even when I called him at work not to stop at her house when I was in labor he did anyway before comming home from work.
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Tracylyn26, my mom says the same thing!!! She lives alone and she depends on me for all her human interaction, and then tells me she is bored and lonely. When I suggest a group to her, she says no and asks me to come more often! I already go there 2-3 nights a week and Saturdays and Sundays. I have a family too and they suffer because she is so unwilling to give anything a try. I stopped feeling guilty for the few times that I do get to go out, I need to have a life too. Don't feel guilty for living your life, we have no idea how long we have to enjoy ourselves either.
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What a great question.. I have a similiar issue feeling guilty all the time going out with my husband and friends and my Mom just sits home.. she refuses to join a Senior Center stating "its a bunch of old people who just sit around" .. well, its better than sitting home alone..
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Is hospice involved I understand they are very helpful at a time like what she is going through an MD could arrange this and if her friends would call or maybe visit it might help her a lot may God bless you and her and give you strength at this time.
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I have called one of her friends and asked her to phone mom this evening.
The trouble now is that my father is back at my sister's place and had all iV and supports removed so he can die in peace. Since he has forgotten how to swallow and has not had anything for five days, the only thing mom can do is sit by his side during the day and watch him slowly die of starvation.
She won't be redy to mingle with her friends until after he dies.
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Are guest allowed for lunch maybe you could go with her one day-some people are afraid going in alone and then she would see her friends or tell her you both will go for a short visit and once she is there she will feel comfortable and lots of people will probably tell her they have missed her-my little town has a lovely center and I will be going tomarrow.
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