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After spending 19 days in the hospital, including some days in the ICU, my 80-year-old mother was moved into a local nursing home for rehab and recuperating. My mother is normally an easy going person who doesn't complain much and keeps things bottled in. Now, I'm wondering if it making her feel worse on top of the pain she normally feels and acclimating to a new chapter. I think it would be helpful to encourage her to voice her frustrations and get those bottled feelings out. I've asked her to do so, which only shut her down more.

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I agree that giving her the opportunity is a good idea, but pushing too hard may be negative. She may not want to talk about it or she may be okay a she is and pushing can stir up negative feelings that she was happy to let lie.

The point that it's often easier to talk without someone outside of the family is a good one. She may feel that she's laying guilt on you where as the social worker may be a better "target."

Just go gently. Use validation if she has dementia - that's vital. Allow her to lead no matter where she is cognitively.

Please keep us posted on how you both are doing,
Carol
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A person will talk only when they feel loved, safe and secure with the person with whom they are conversing. Give her time to adjust and do not rush her. She probably is taking pain medication which is dulling her senses. This generation was not big on exposing their feelings...
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Ask the social worker or ombudsman there to chat with her. Often it is easier for the patient to open up to someone who is not family. Get her to the beauty parlor there monthly. Women spill their worries to hairdressers quite readily.
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My mom is 90 with lewey body, and her emotions are almost shut down, no expressions. But I notice if I smile at her and keep asking her what is wrong she will tell me. Eventually. She is sad, tired of being in that place, once she told me she felt trapped. We always talked and she trusts me. All I can do is be there and understand, i CAN't help her. It is out of my hands at this point.
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Google: validation therapy & Naomi Feil.

As best I can explain it... Validation therapy integrates redirection techniques, and it is also about validating feelings & emotions for seniors w/ dementia & or trouble communicating. Hope this helps. All the best!
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Agree with having a non family member talk to her. She may not want to reveal inner thoughts to those closest to her. A hairdresser is a good idea especially if it one in the N/H who is used to hearing patients confidences. do you feel her unhappiness is associated with her current illness and she will be happiers when and if she gets home. if you can alter things that are bothering her about her present location you may be able to sort things out that she is afraid to tell the staff.
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Family members are more likely to speak to a non family member more readily than to another family member. The social worker at the facility can speak to her as can the long term care ombudsman. She's in a facility for rehab and to recuperate, I'm assuming she's planning on going home. You can contact your local area agency on aging to ask about in home programs & the ombudsman can also speak to her and you about what options are available. Getting used to a nursing home or rehab facility isn't easy, attend care plan, ask questions & get to know the staff.
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