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Mom has always relied on my dad, my sister and me for her socialization. I am now the only one that lives in the same town since my dad has passed. I feel that she needs to make friends her own age and am worried that her isolation is leading to depressive symptoms.

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I just went over this topic with my mother, at her Dr.'s appointment, this past Wednesday. My mother is 80 and has lived with us for a year. She has her little apartment area, and just seems to want to read and watch TV all the time. She was never a social person. She had been an only child, just like I am. Her Dr. said that if she were 60, that he would try to encourage more social activities to make her 80's a more enjoyable time..but since she is already 80 and has been this way for years, he told me to not feel guilty if she is doing what she claims to want to do. I always felt this need to entertain her. My husband and I always ask her to go with us when we leave, but she always refuses. I try not to let it bother me anymore.
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My mother chooses to be a recluse. She wants only me and certain family members to take care of her socialization and needs. She is not the most delightful person to be around. Very negative and a complaining drama queen. I am glad she lives an hour away from me. I only see her so often and only take her to doctors appointments which she is required to schedule at my availability or she has to make other arangements. Done with being a convenient doormat to a very miserable person who refuses to do anything to help herself.
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It has taken my mom over 6 months to want to get acquainted with the people in her assisted living. She has always been eager to help others and share her amazing life story and has begun to share and get acquainted. But seldom sees others except at meal times. She skips meals a lot tho. Saying she doesn't get hungry. I keep insisting she go. She lost a lot of weight over the last few years when I wasn't able to have her near me. She was widowed 6 months ago and her whole life changed, I'm just thankful she is coming back to us. She has dementia too, so I spend my time with her ( and on the phone) Answering the same questions over and over. Her physical health is good and so I keep trying to encourage her to join in to life around her again.
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My mum has been dependent on her children since she seperated from my dad 38 yrs ago! She tried a few clubs but always moaned about the people, lately ive tried everything but like assandache says ive tried a few things but was drained with her complaining and just go shopping now she dosnt seem to care if she goes out or not and never asks to go out so as long as shes happy and eating well ive stopped nagging her a terrible way to end your days but what can I do? Your mum is also greiving so I would give her a bit of time maybe try and get her to a daycentre and go with her and see how she gets on?
Its very sad to have no life outside your family my mum has never had any social life since my dad left imagine 38yrs of being alone just so sad.
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Remember growing up? Some people had a ton of friends and some had one or two. We are not always social. So first, what kind of socializing did mom do in the past? Groups or singles? Was it dancing, quilting, reading, serving?
It may be helpful to find a "service" she can do. Volunteer to arrange books at the library, or be a greeter, or read at the elementary school. If she is able to quilt, crochet, etc, she can make projects to donate. Even tying a polar fleece blanket may be simple enough. You will need to do the contacting at first, taking her for delivery, etc. Let her try different things and she may find a niche, or she may just want to limit her socialization to family. Also, churches often visit the widows.
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One thing I have learned since my Mom's dementia has evolved is that I'm the one more concerned with her socializing than she is...My Mom never was much of a socializer and now I try to think up things to get her out of the house and she doesn't even care or appreciate it...so I stopped doing it.. I'll take her to the supermarket etc.. Simple things but don't go out of my way to bring her any where else. She'll just complain the whole time anyway! She wasn't a complainer before dementia, so it's just another adjustment I had to make. It sucks, but she's happy.
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A little different perspective ...

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Isolation can certainly be negative for a person with depressive tendencies, and various forms of mental illness. But some people are naturally more self-contained and less interested in socializing. Being an introvert is not pathological and doesn't need curing. :)

Being in mourning is not the same as being clinically depressed.

Keep an eye on your mother, LynnHC123. You are a loving daughter to be concerned about her social life. But if she has recently lost her life partner and soul mate it may take her quite a while to figure out exactly how she wants her lifestyle to look. Be patient with her. Continue to suggest activities. Call her often. Visit her. If you think that she might be depressed, discuss it with her. Does she feel she needs some help?

As a recent widow myself it amazes me how long the grieving process can take, and how many emotional climate changes occur. Not everything needs to be "fixed" -- some things just need to get worked out over time.
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I have the same problem, mom doesn't go anywhere without me. I have a brother who lives here and refuses to visit mom or take her anywhere. I've pretty much disowned him. However, I will keep him informed on mom's health. I have a feeling, one day I'm going to wake up and say this is it. You're going to the Adult Day Care Center or the Senior Citizen Center or you're going to the NH? I know this is an ultimatum but what else can I do? There is one hope that we have, and that is she's going to have eye surgery soon. The eye doctor says she's legally blind. Maybe if she can see again she might want to start doing stuff again?! I can only hope. Maybe your Mom can't hear or see, like my mom? I just got mom a hearing aid, and what a difference that made! She engages in conversations wherever we go! Don't forget to hide vitamins in her drinks and food, makes a big big difference!
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I'd like to build on a couple of things that have been said. First, to pick up on something that Ginash said, if your sister is not close by, it could be a nice change of pace for your Mom to go visit her. When I moved my Dad close to me, (from East Coast to Utah), my siblings were worried they would not get to see him much. I make sure to book travel a couple of times a year for him to go visit with them. Because of some dementia, we have to book non-stop flights. Though he doesn't remember much, he knows that he likes these trips. Also, Akasun makes and important point, Dad has always been a very social person. Though he wanted to be independent, he was often lonely when he lived alone. Now, he just has to walk to the lobby to find company. He can come and go as he pleases and is rarely in his apartment. He (age 91) even calms one "older" resident (age 102) who often is anxious. It allows him to feel valued when he can help someone else. Depending on your Mom's ability, she might enjoy volunteering somewhere.
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I, too, would love an answer to that question! My mom used to love to socialize; now she just plain refuses. I wish I had a suggestion for you. Have you taken her to the senior center? The one in our town has lots of activities -- but my mom refuses to go. The desire to remain isolated is not something that I understand at this point in my life, so I try not to worry too much. If they want to get out, there are things to do and places to go. We even have a Rover bus here that will take people with Medicare or disabilities to appointments or anywhere they want to go. I wish I could be of more help. I wish you and your mom well.
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My Mom's life revolved around taking care of my father while he was sick and when he passed, there was a gaping hole in her life. She was in denial about her depression and anxiety, for almost five years. I kept begging her to get out, gets some meds, and enjoy her freedom. She was so blessed to be healthy. Once she finally got on the right meds for depression, she turned the corner, but it was almost too late. The dementia had already begun to set in. All the things I hoped she'd enjoy, were again out of reach.
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If your mom's habit of a lifetime has been to have few if any relationships outside of her family, that is unlikely to change now. You might try taking her to a fer events where the subject matter interests her and provide her the opportunity to connect with others based on a common interest. I wouldn't focus too much on age.
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id Mom has always been a loner she's unlikely to change. Of course she is sad right now she is mourning your dad. Have her see her Dr and have them assess her for depression and treat if necessary. Has she recently started on any new medications? Research the side effects. Older people don't necessarily want to do things their caregivers feel are "good for them" Try inviting suitable people over for coffee or a meal. Nothing fancy keep it simple till you see what she enjoys. Start by doing things with her where you meet new people. Our YMCA has a senior swim in the mornings and all the participants gather have their swim then go across the road for breakfast at Dennys and more socialization. Another group meets for lunch and afterwards when the restaurant isn't serving a meal they enjoy a few hands of bridge.
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My dad (88) has always relied on my mom and other family members for his socialization. My mom passed away in 2000 and he spent 12 years on his own with his only socialization being weekend visits with my brother and his family since they lived about 30 miles away from each other in NY. I was living in Texas with my family and he would take occasional vacations to visit us. He has been living with us in Texas since last year. He has expressed to me that his greatest fear is that he would have to go to live in assisted living since he has never been a joiner and does not know how to make friends. I would love for my father to have an activity once a week outside of our family with folks his own age but I know that that is not realistic given how my father has always been. I have chosen to honor the way he is but at times it is no fun being my father's only friend. I plan on having him live at home with my family as long as we are able to care for him.i'm sorry thatI don't really have an answer for you, but I can commiserate with you. Has anyone else out there dealt with a situation like this?
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We had a similar challenge with my Dad when he lived alone. He did not seem to want to do any of the things that we recommended. It turns out that when peers invited him to do the things with them, he was more likely to go. Is there any time when your Mom is around people her age? Maybe you can get them to invite her to join them in activities. Also, now that Dad lives in independent/assisted living, he does all kinds of activities that his friends sign him up for. Last week, they went to the State Fair, Yesterday they went bicycling (with a group that has appropriate equipment for people with disabilities). I think the key is that he feels independent.
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