How do I cope with an elderly parent who is apathetic about activities and meals?


But then complains that she is bored. Sunday morning she woke up at 6am and wanted to get up. I asked her what she needed and she said "Peace of mind". What am I supposed to do? Apart from helping her with dressing, cooking meals and taking care of the house she also requires someone to organize her entertainment. But then complains that it was boring, no fun, not what she expected, the same as before, cant walk, couldn't hear, is cold, is hot, is thirsty. is not thirsty etc etc.
She does not seem to appreciate that once I am finished helping her that I then need time to do the same for myself. I get her up, dress her, give her the only breakfast that she doesn't complain about, clean her room, make the bed, clean the bathroom, do the laundry. Then as soon as I sit down for my coffee and breakfast she asks..."What are we going to do for fun today? I ask her what she would like to do and her reply "I don't care - whatever"

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Is there any kind of adult day-care near you? With her dementia and other issues, she is not going to want to go, but once she gets there, I imagine she will get used to it and you will get a little bit of "me" time.

Just as she is all sweet as pie for the doctors, she will probably be delightful with other people who will be a change of pace for her.

In my area, there is also a free senior companion phone line. Once a day, a retired volunteer will call your loved one just to check in and see how she is doing. If she wants to rant, she can do that with the caller. I know that your mom can't talk much, but she might be able to respond with short answers to an outside person. Check with your local Center on Aging or RSVP agency to see if there are such services available.

You mentioned an adult type of toy. I read on a blog about a talking parrot toy that has proven entertaining for elderly folks with dementia. It repeats back to the speaker anything that the speaker says. The voice is made to sound funny, like a parrot talking instead of a person. You might want to try something like that.

You are absolutely doing everything possible to take care of your mom. You realize that she can't help being a PITA, but that doesn't help you when you just need some down time. Keep up the good work and let us know how things are going, Shackled. You are not alone.
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Thank for your prompt responses and support. My mother has Lewy body dementia, a long history of depression, anxiety and OCD. She is narcissistic and borderline bipolar. She takes plenty of medications for all..enough to tranquilize a horse but she sleeps only 6-7 hours. She requires someone in line of sight at all times. The difficulty is the fluctuation of cognition and confusion plus the outright paranoia and manipulation that are characteristic of the combined illnesses.
I feel like I can never do enough and that maybe I should be doing more...
We go out for lunch once or twice a week, sometimes a dinner, sometimes a brunch. But she has constant dr appointments, refuses to do exercise/therapy unless it is free and one on one.
Deep down I know it's not going to change I'm looking for reassurance that I am doing enough.
This seems to be a realistic forum...and I appreciate any and all support/advise
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I'm in kind of the same boat... My mom is 88, can't walk, and can't do much. She's also very needy and wants me around all the time, preferably in her line of sight...I'm never away for more than a few minutes. I try all kinds of things to entertain her, but she can't really focus on TV anymore, and has no clue what's going on, she can't use her right hand at all, and she doesn't have a lot of strength in her left, but can feed herself. She likes to scoot around in her wheelchair, but the way this house is set up, she can't go nearly as far or long as she did when she was in respite care. I took her out yesterday and let her scoot around on the sidewalk, and in front of the house...I stay right on her, so I can grab the wheelchair if she loses control of it.. Trying to keep her entertained, calm and distracted from morning till night is a big, fat pain in the ass... It takes a lot of energy to constantly have to cater to someone else's needs all the time... I feel you.

It's really sad, and you need a lot of patience to handle it. It's not the elders fault that they're a pain in the ass, they have no clue that they are a pain in the ass. For them, everythings gravy. My mom has no real interest anymore in anything. She's very far gone mentally. I have to keep what I say and ask her to a work or three...she won't understand much else beyond that. I get so frustrated because I don't know what to DO with her sometimes.... She would scoot around the facility all day and night...she can't do that here at all, so... Hopefully a couple outings a day outside will get her at least some exercise and tire her out some.. Some days I'd be tickled if she took a nap... She doesn't get that I need me time. She doesn't know that it's only been a couple minutes since she saw me, or somebody, to her it might as well be forever. I've got a needy, 168 lb infant on my hands, age 2 at the most. You can't explain anything anymore..

We should invent some entertainment 'toys' for the elderly, something that would focus their attention, something hands on that they could do but nothing hard to do. *sigh* Would be nice..

Tell your mom that since she 'doesn't care' about what you're going to do that day, and is refusing to contribute any input to help you decide what would be fun for her, you'd really appreciate it if she wouldn't complain afterward. After all, she did say she didn't really care, right? Well, remind her that she gives up all rights to bitch when she plays that hand... and if all she's going to do is bitch, she'll be bitching at the walls, because you're not having it. Sometimes you just gotta lay it on the line, put your foot down. Some things are not ok, and dogging you without mercy when all you're trying to do is your best for her is definitely not ok, so tell her that, then walk. Chill. Let her stew a little. Sometimes that's just what it takes to stay sane and calm. Better that then sitting there listening to that kind of constant, never ending dissatisfaction. Your spirit shrinks a little with each word... No. Just...go. Half hour. Out in the yard. Wherever. That's what I do, and it helps. When my mom was still able to speak, I just walked away from verbal battering and non stop griping and endless complaints. I didn't want to hear it. Again. And again. And again. And...yeah... All you can do is your best and take comfort that you're doing it, if you've been given one of the grumpy ones...some people handle old age much better than others...
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I don't think it's necessary that you entertain your mom every waking hour of the day. If she has dementia she needs to be closely looked after depending upon how far advanced the dementia is but even then I don't think it's necessary for you to create entertainment for her everyday. Sometimes I get bored but no one offers to entertain me all day.

Does your mom read? Would she enjoy magazines or catalogues? Does she watch tv? Can you enlist her help in taking care of the house? Can she fold her own laundry? Feeling obligated to entertain someone is exhausting. I suspect that you do a lot for your mom and going out to lunch occasionally would be lovely for her but make it a special event and not an everyday thing.

I don't think you said if your mom has dementia. If she does than that's a whole other story and different rules apply.
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Not knowing all the circumstances of you situation... my first thought is she is depressed... what are her health issues.... ? How long has it been since she has had a good check up and could you make sure that her Dr. knows of this? They rarely go in and act with the Dr like they do with us... so it always makes US look like the crazy ones! Let us know how things are going.....sending you hugs
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