How do you cope with an angry and mean parent who is really only suffering from loneliness?

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Caring for my Mother (84) who is otherwise in good health (thankfully). Trouble is, all her friends have died and she has lost interest in everything. Most of her days are spent in her chair, reading or watching TV. Luckily, she functions pretty well. It's just her attitude is horrible. She's a miserable person who had a very active and full life. Why can't she just accept her station in life and be kind? Any input would be appreciated. (I've reached out to the medical community and senior resources w/o any luck.)

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People do what they are comfortable doing. You can't fix someone else's life. You can suggest a visit to the doctor, attending meetings at her church, or taking up painting. But in the end it's her life and you have to let her be miserable if she wants to be. You can decide the, behavior you will allow others to treat you with. With my mom I ignore all negative or manipulative statements by changing the subject. I will not play that game. So make suggestions but then let it go.
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A woman with asthma died alone in the senior apartment she was living in, at age 80 . Her husband was living with the adult children.
Think about providing equally for both parent's health and safety in their later years, even if one or both are mean.
That is all I can say.
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First, I'd recommend patience. LOTS of patience. My mother was the same way and the reality is, with dementia, she may never be kind again - so don't expect that to change.

While Dad doesn't have dementia, he's still in great shape - since Mom passed away and he moved to our home (1400 miles from his home) he's depressed & lonely and I couldn't seem to get him interested in much more than sitting in his chair.....it's an ongoing worrisome battle. If you can't get your Mom to go out (my Mom was afraid to leave the apartment at the end of her life)...then perhaps you can set up "visitors." A local agency on aging might have a "buddy" program - where they match volunteers with seniors - the buddy visits once a week or so. Or your Mom may qualify for a visiting CNA - someone to take her blood pressure or give her a shower. Meals on Wheels delivery folks are known for getting to know their "clients" when they deliver - find a person who comes to her to break up her day or week a little.

And....my favorite at the moment - does your Mom have a companion animal? We rescued a dog from the animal shelter about 6 months ago, and it has made a HUGE difference to my 90-year-old father. Another little living being in the house to talk to and fuss over when hubby & I work. It's made him get up and out to take walks during the day, play "tug of war" with her from his chair(she's only 25 lbs. so it's not likely to throw him down), he feeds her lunch,,,,and she does crawl up into his lap fairly often and gives him a comfort effect.

If I was in Mom's shoes - with or without dementia - I'd be depressed, too. You can't force her to go back to having an active lifestyle, but maybe you can peak her interest in a thing or two and give her something to look forward to & break up the long "sameness" of every day.

Good luck, sweetie. I hope you find a trick or two to bring a smile back to Mama's face.
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Rachel, does she have dementia? Her brain is dying, if so. Dementia is not a normal condition, it is a disease, in fact there are more than 70 types of dementia. None are healthy or normal and will cause many issues including depression.
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As Jeanne says, dementia is a game changer. "Reached out to the medical comminity"? Not sure what you mean by that. Has she been seen by a geriatric psychiatrist?
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"Only suffering from loneliness"? But your profile says she has dementia. There is a HUGE difference.

Could you please clarify? Does she have a medical diagnosis of dementia? Has she been diagnosed with depression?

Has she been an angry and mean person all her life? If not, when did this change in attitude start?

More information will get you more relevant answers.
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I'm afraid you can't always make someone else's life jolly and fun (unless they're under 10), or change their attitude. She sounds depressed. Does she go to church? Can someone from the church visit her and maybe get her involved doing something there (coffee hour, a little light work at the rectory)? Will she go to a senior citizen center? Do some volunteer work with children or animals? Nothing strenuous, but something to ignite her interest and get her out of the house. It's hard, I'm getting that way myself. good luck
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If she is only lonely she would probably like living in a continuum of care community. They have many different activities that she could get involved in and make new friends as well. My grandma had the same issue of lonliness and decided she wanted to move. She lived in the community 10-15 years. The advantage was that as her care needs increased, they had the services available so another move was not necessary.
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Have you considered an adult daycare?
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