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I am trying to get my mom active and have fun, she will even tell anyone that she is lazy and wants to do better than she is, but I don't seem to be able to get her to do what she says she wants to do, the doctor said she is to wear a knee brace every day and she refuses to do so, which will keep her from falling. I have been a caregiver for over 20 years. I don't understand what I am doing wrong?

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Love jeannegibbs' answer. Perhaps Sharond48, you're not doing anything wrong. Mom and we girls are the type who want to be left alone to our own doings. I still encourage Mom to at least walk to the kitchen, but because of spinal stenosis and bad dizzy spells, she doesn't want to. She's very sedentary from arthritis, which is horrible as she's always walked everywhere. She never had a driver's license.

We all try to get her out of the house for a drive for fresh air and see different things or go to a sister's house. Once, she looked at me and softly said, "I just want to be left alone."

Depression? Maybe. She's on a med for depression. But I believe she's aware how close she is to the end of her life even with her deep dementia. We'll gently encourage, but if she says no, we let it go. By gosh, to all us girls she's earned the right to do whatever or nothing she wants to do.
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Sharon, I doubt that you are doing anything wrong.

You would like your mother to be more active, do what's good for her, and have fun.

What would your mother like?

All my working life I looked forward to a time when I could sit around reading books and listening to classical music. Maybe even in bed some days. That is what I did on vacations. It was nice to have new restaurants to try and to sit by a window and see mountains (!) and to just be able to read when I wanted to.

Now I'm retired, from a career, from caregiving, from following very young grandkids. I can read almost as much as I want!! And I do. I have to stop and wash a load of "lounge wear" once in a while, and to bake some cookies, but I am pretty much as active as I want to be (which isn't much). If my kids got concerned and wanted me to be more active, do things that are good for me, and have "fun" I think I would resist them, except maybe the having fun part. A DIL invites me along on periodic ice cream runs with a group of her friends. She does not lecture me about how many carbs are in ice cream and ask if I've taken enough insulin. She trusts me to make my own decisions about what is "good for me." She just encourages some fun.

I have absolutely no idea whether any of this applies to your mother, Sharon. But it is worth considering whether your idea matches her idea of "fun." MAYBE some adjustment to the things you want her to do is in order.

One caveat, though. If her normal motivation is impaired -- she has depression, or dementia, for example -- getting that impairment addressed is worth doing.
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Think about it. They did what their parents told them. Probably married right into a home with a husband. Who, at that time was considered head of the house. His decision was final since he was probably the bread winner. Now she is an elderly widow that is probably realizing her limits (with Dementia they don't realize) and not liking her limitations and everyone is telling her what to do making her feel like a child.  I know its hard.  You don't want her falling and a trip to the hospital.  But if she was in a care facility, they couldn't force her to do anything.  They would place her in a wheelchair for their protection.  My daughter, RN, says you need them to think they made the decision.  Like maybe "Mom wouldn't you feel more secure walking with the brace on.  Then u wouldn't fall".
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I'll just share what I have seen with loved ones. I think the cause for a senior to just want to stay at home, not follow doctor orders, have loss of motivation, etc. I'd first explore the medical conditions. Do they have depression or anxiety? If so, I'd consider that sometimes those conditions can cause the person to stay at home and have no energy or incentive. I'd ask about treatment. Sometimes, medications can help.

I'd also consider if they have dementia. With dementia, comes all kinds of things, like loss of initiative. This is a biggie, from what I have seen. They just lose the ability to consider what they want to do and get up and do it. It's not their fault or yours. It's brain damage. I'd read a lot about dementia and how it manifests itself in the daily lives of the patient.

Also, consider that when a person has cognitive decline or dementia, they may be hesitant to go out into the public or to visit friends, because they forget things, get confused or embarrass themselves due to the dementia. This may make them inclined to stay at home where they feel safer.

My LO used to beg me to go with her to make purchases and I didn't understand why. Later, I realized that she needed my help. Her dementia later kept her housebound.

My LO used to refuse to use her cane, even though she needed it. She could not give an explanation as to why. After several falls, it became clear that she didn't have the ability to use reason, get the cane and use it. She needed direct supervision to instruct on the usage of the cane. (By this time she needed a walker.)
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I have the same problem with my father, but after awhile I figured out why he won't take advantage of the senior activities that are available. I have offered to go with him, and so did one of our neighbors. I believe that it is because he has always behaved badly in social situations, and now he is even worse. I think that he realizes on one level that his rude, narcissistic, angry, argumentative and overall negative attitudes alienate people, but he is not willing to change.  He doesn't want to have to make any effort to behave appropriately, IMO. I no longer go anywhere with him in the car because of this, with the exception of Dr appointments. So all he does is go to the grocery store by himself just about every day and since he refuses to take a list he wastes $$$ on things that we don't need and I end up throwing half of it in the trash after sitting in the refrigerator forever. He must waste a few thousand $$$ this way in a year's time. And he also thinks that he should buy useless stuff just because it is 'on sale' even though I have told him that that is not a reason to purchase things willy nilly. And now he is interested in consuming alcohol again and he has a history of alcoholism.

I wouldn't care if he was bored if it weren't for those two things- wasting so much $$$ and now drinking, and sometimes driving afterwards. The boredom is his own fault.
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I am in a similar situation, and would love to have an answer. My Mom (who recently moved to AL), still hasn't begin leaving her apartment for anything besides meals. Although she agrees that exercises classes would be good for her, and going to activities would help her meet people, she still hasn't done it.

I think part of it is related to her dementia. She just can't seem to plan. She knows about the happy hours they have with live music. But she doesn't remember they are going to happen, and forgets to look at the daily schedule that is posted on her door. So she just sits and watches TV.

Then again, trying a new thing is hard for anybody. For somebody who can't walk well, and whose mind doesn't work well , it would be extra hard to get up the energy to start something new. So I sympathize with her on that.

So I don't have any answers. In my case I'm hoping with time that Mom will start adding activities into her daily routine. Hope you figure something out. But I don't think you are doing anything wrong, I think it is just tough for your Mom to do things.
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Sharon, I am moving your question closer to the front of the forums. Hopefully a caregiver who has experience in this matter will answer you :)
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