Is there such a thing as a "Happy" pill to give my mother-in-law?

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She has been beyond miserable lately and is getting worse partly because she is 85 and we won't let her drive anymore since her last accident. Really the driving is not even up for discussion with her but she doesn't want to hear it or accept it. I totally understand that this was a freedom that she has lost but we feel that it is best to have her off the roads for safety reasons as well as the fact that she cannot hear and refuses to get hearing aids. The biggest mistake we made was having her move in with us. She has a Dr.s appt. coming up next week so am I thinking of calling ahead to the Dr. to see if there is something they can prescribe her to take to maybe the edge off.......TIA

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Thanks for all the input/advice and it would be great if you could get her to agree to any of it. We do not live in an area that has a lot of access for senior living other than a few Assisted Living and they are pay out of pocket which is why she ended up with us since she does have any assets or own a home or Nursing Homes which she certainly would not fit into that category. Her last Dr. didn't think she needed a hearing aide either but would have to shout everytime he talked to her, really!! It just gets very frustrating as I am sure you all can relate too!!
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Talk to the MD on the side if you can. What they say to the patient is not what they say to you. She would be happier in an assisted living setting, see if she will try it for a month.
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And also get ready to be able to make other hard decisions nobody will like either. i agree that mom needs diversions. Becoming more isolated is a bad idea. That right there leads to a lot of physical and mental decline.

My mom was told repeatedly not to drive anymore by doctors, and she ignored them. She didn't care if she killed others. She was going to drive, come hades or high water. I ended it with a visit to a new doctor who figured it out really fast. He handed me a form for a handicapped parking sticker with the box checked to disallow her driving privileges. When we went to get her "new driver's license", it was just a state ID. I could say that the doctor made the decision. Thank you, thank you Dr. Love!!!

Of course, mom was mad as a wet hen. We moved her into an apartment in a continuum care campus, so she never needed to drive again.
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Alas, there are no happy pills. There are anti-sad pills, that help the patient react in his or her more normal pattern. Sad things still make you sad but at least you have a chance to feel the happy things, too. It sounds like an anti-depressant might be a good idea for your mother. Contacting her doctor ahead of the appointment is an excellent idea.

Giving up his car keys was a HUGE loss for my husband. He mourned that loss for at least a year. He did not fight it. He understood that driving was a risk for him and for others on the road. He was simply angry and deeply sad that that was true. As far as he was concerned, not being able to drive was the worst part of having dementia.

When someone suffers a great loss they are usually emotionally fragile. They need special consideration and patience. They need to have their loss acknowledged.

Here's a thought: Instead of ignoring her and moving on when she laments the driving loss, commiserate with her. "Oh, Mom, it must be really terrible to not be able to drive. I know that when my time comes to give up the keys I'll miss it something fierce. I am so sorry you are in that situation." Don't agree with her that she could still drive, of course, but do sympathize with how that makes her feel.
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Maine there a lots of pills the Dr to try, the question is will Mom take it if she knows what it is. there are short acting things like vallium or Ativan but they are used more for anxiety. It sounds as if something like Zoloft would probably help her the most. keep in mind that the effect won't be immediate and you probably won't notice a difference for a couple of weeks. depending what else she is taking the dr may be reluctant o prescribe because of her age. Drugs act differently on the elderly andoften are not excreted properly so there is a build up in the body and that can cause feeling light headed or dizzy and maybe even falls. it is an excellent idea with any problem to alert the Dr ahead of time so he/she can broach the subject then your loved one does not feel you are trying to take over everything. Hope the appointment goes well.
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Thanks for the responses and unfortunately she is not in any financial situation to move to Assisted Living as all the local ones are pay out of pocket only and she is no where near being able to afford it on her SS income :( She is just so grumpy all the time and tells us if she had a car that she could come & go things would be so much better but of course we just ignore it and move on. We mentioned assisted living once and she about went thru the roof that we are trying to get rid of her etc.etc. We tried telling her it would probably be a good thing but she wasn't hearing it........and she doesn't hear much!! I am hoping that the Dr. can help out a little or maybe suggest something to her as I feel she may be better hearing it from someone else other than her family :(
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As I look back I can now say that my dad changed when he gave up driving. He gave up driving because the Dr. and I thought it was best. He refused for the longest time and it was a process but once the Dr. said "no driving" dad took it seriously. And while I was there to take him wherever he wanted to go that wasn't the point and I know that now.

We do the best we can for our loved ones and sometimes that means making hard choices that make us feel bad. And our loved ones go through a lot when they need us to care for them. I'm sure it alters the brain chemistry and I think if an anti-depressant or a sedative (does anyone say "sedative" anymore?) helps our loved ones feel better then they should have it. As my dad used to day, "Old age ain't for sissies."
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I'm sure the doctor can prescribe a myriad of medications to help mom. I also think it's a matter of trial and error. "Let's see what works."

I know how difficult it is to take away someone's keys. My late husband used to say something like, "Getting old is a process of giving things up...losing abilities we once had and thus becoming less and less involved." Losing the car keys is a biggie. Huge! I know how difficult it must have been to take that away from your mom; and (because of my husband) I know how devastating it is to HER. Like, our last shred of independence. Gone.

Some people don't want to take the flack you're enduring. They can't quite make that hard decision. Good on you that you did.

Sans going with her to the doctor appointment, I think your plan is a good one. Give the doctor a call and ask the doctor to gently lead her to accept some feel-good medication to help her mood.

Maybe you could rethink her having moved in with you, for your sake and hers. An assisted living facility would give back some independence to your mom. It might be better than any happy pills she could take. A menu to choose from, social events to decide to join in (or not), transportation, surrounded by others in the same boat. It's a big decision, but maybe worth a thought or two.

If mom has enough money, perhaps she could regain some freedom by using taxi's. My mom did -- because she never drove. The town she lived in (suburban Chicago) had a deal with several taxi companies -- transport to anyplace in town for a flat $5. She used it often for doctor appointments, socializing, shopping, etc. Even without that kind of special deal, maybe getting back some of her independence is worth it . . . ?

I'm thinking if you could somewhat change her situation, that might help her quality of life: get involved at church...senior center...town activities... If you're working all day, she may be quite lonely. Even senior day care. The lonely aspect is another good reason to consider assisted living.

Hope you find a solution. The doctor is a great place to start.
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