I had to put my mom in a memory care this past March. She will be 91 in May and still talks about getting back to her own place once her hip has healed, but that's not going to happen. She did have her own apartment in a senior facility, but fell this past February and once she was out of hospital from hip surgery, her memory has gotten worse. I don't know if it is the medicine for pain they gave her, but sometimes she doesn't remember me. I try to visit her at least twice a week, but I get so stressed and depressed that my health has declined. My 5 siblings are not much help in spending time with her or calling to chat and she tells me she is sad and lonely. What can I do to make life better for her without fighting with my family or having the staff sit her front of a TV all day.

You are witnessing what would have happened, fall or no fall. It's heartbreaking, but -

You will never be able to get siblings to help. If they'd wanted to help, they'd have done it by now. Fighting with family over it will not do one bit of good. You're taking on way too much responsibility for your mom's issues. Sure, she's sad and lonely. She's 91. That's what happens and it's tragic, but even if you were with mom every minute, she'd still be sad and lonely.

Also, I've been down the "spending time with mom" road myself. It was like what you're going through and eventually ended with her endlessly pleating her blouse hem or blanket with her fingers while watching out the window for Elvis to arrive. She didn't know who I was.

Parking a person in that condition in front of a TV to watch endless "I Love Lucy" episodes seems like possibly the best pastime for them in many ways. It's amusing, requires no interacting, and familiar to their age group. TV provides colorful scenery, happy-looking people, and opens up the world to the housebound. The TV can be her friend and yours as you take care of yourself, which should be your priority now. Mom has lived her life. You haven't. Hang onto your own health and stop worrying about mom, who is clearly in the best place she could be for her condition.
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Reply to Fawnby

Talk with the staff about how your mom is doing and if she is taking part in activities. Do not trust what she tells you. You are family and most likely to get the complaints.

My mom is always telling me how she hates it, there's nothing to do, etc. But I see her in the activity photos on their Facebook page. The staff all tell me that's she's a joy to have around, she likes to help with activities, she never misses the art therapy group... and on and on. You will get the real story from the staff.
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Reply to Missymiss

Been there, done this with my MIL. You can't guilt or force anyone to visit her.

Is she on any meds for depression and anxiety? If not, please consider this for her. If she was hospitalized for a broken hip, sometimes seniors get "hospital delirium" which changes their behavior temporarily or sometimes, permanently. Your Mom is 91 so the likelihood her memory was bound to get worse anyway is pretty high plus she may have the beginnings of dementia. Dementia robs people of their ability to bring their own minds to a place of acceptance and peace, and this is why so many need meds to help.

My own Mom (94) is a retired RN who rarely took meds for anything. She lives in her own little house right next to mine and is still semi-independent and mobile, with the beginnings of memory loss, mild dementia and aphasia. Just last month she started being weepy in the mornings and asked for meds (which blew me away). Her doc started her on the lowest dose of Lexapro and it's helped her a lot. It's merciful to help them in this way.

There's lots about aging and decline that is depressing... so talk to the admins or her doctor. If she's already on meds for this they may not be the right ones or the right combo or dosage. It's worth working on it to get the right solution, for both of your sakes.
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Reply to Geaton777

Most people posting on here are the ones taking on the lion's share of their LO's care, while siblings do little or nothing (other than make unhelpful suggestions or complain sometimes). My brother only visited my mom a handful of times in the 6+ months she was in hospice, and even less prior to that. He did however move into mom's house and start driving her car 2 weeks after she died.

We have to decide how much we are willing to do and at the same time stay sane. We can't make our parents happy, and we definitely can't make siblings do more.
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Reply to LilyLavalle

I have been through this myself. I made a plan I would only go twice a week every Tuesday and Saturday. I also had a 14 year old at home and I had to take care of her and myself. To be honest they don't know if you are there everyday or once a month. So you have to figure out what you can do as far as schedule for you not her. I wouldn't even waste my energy on the rest of the family, they know where she is, it is up to them when they want to go visit...let that go aqnd you will be happier. Best of luck.
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Reply to annems

Your family has made it CRYSTAL CLEAR by their actions that they do not intend to nor wish to help in this matter.
You cannot change other people and you use the word "fighting" in regard to them. You have a plate that's already very full. Why would you add useless fighting with family members to it.

Many do not HAVE family members. Simply pretend that you do not, as well. Try to decide rationally how much of your own physical and mental health you can risk, and then continue to be as much of a support to your mom as you can.

I am sorry, but to use Dr Laura's favorite expression: "Not everything can be fixed". It's an exercise in futility to try. I wish you and your mom the best.
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Reply to AlvaDeer

Your it. I read very seldom on this forum where all the children help in a parents care. Its usually one child and a girl. We have had men too. I am one where brothers did not help.

It is depressing to watch Mom loose her mind and become frail. It was the frail that bothered me. Please don't let this disease stress u out and depress you. Mom is in care and safe. The MC should be trying to keep Mom busy with activities but they can't make her do them. Visit when u want, bad day, don't go. You don't have to stay for hours. Eventually, if not already, she won't remember you being there or not. A member wrote the other day that her Mom was on the phone with her brother when she entered her room. When Mom hung up, the member asked how her brother was, Mom said "I don't know, haven't heard from him in weeks"

Use Moms money not yours. I would pay for Moms stuff when out but I wrote that check once a month for reimbursement. Keep good records. If Mom had eventually ran out of money, I of course would have used my own. But those children who are not willing to help, tend to have their hands out when it comes to an inheritance. Don't try and save that inheritance. They do not deserve it. As an Executor I had to sell her house. I was out of pocket for utility bills. I was reimbursed when the house sold. I did not take the fee but because my brothers allowed me to have shares my Mom had totaling 5k.
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Reply to JoAnn29
JuliaH Apr 21, 2024
I was there too,dear. Many wouldn't accept her credit card,deceased, so much of that was on me and our joint account to which I was reimbursed. Yes,the hands come out after the work is done. Selling the home and arranging the funeral, taxes etc,I don't know how I made it? Well, I do know, this forum!!!
((((Hugs)))) You can't make others do what they don't want to do. Nor are you responsible for your mother's feelings. I think you are doing a great job looking after her with little help from your family.

Please look after yourself. I was a distance caregiver and couldn't visit my mother more than a few times a year. If visiting twice a week is stressing you then cut back. Your mother says she is sad and lonely but more visits will not necessarily change that, She may be developing dementia. Unfortunately there comes a time when there are no answers that solve some problems. Your mother is well looked after. That is the primary concern.

Also a primary concern is your well being. Caregiving is very stressful and caregivers need to look after their own health - mental and physical. That means putting your needs first sometimes. Sounds like you need a break. Please take one. You are important too!!!
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Reply to golden23

Yours is a very common story , been there. You can’t make your siblings call or visit more. And you can’t make Mom happy either . You have to take care of you.

Mom hasn’t been there that long . I would cut the visit back to once a week at least for now . It takes some 6 months to adjust to a facility . More frequent visits or phone calls are not going to make her adjust any faster .

Her life will never be the same , you can’t change that. Mom needs to come to terms with this on her own . She may never be happy again . Or she could end up liking it there .

Visiting and calling someone who is miserable is difficult. When you there try to redirect her with a funny story , read to her , listen to music together while looking at photo albums. Watch a movie together . You could do a virtual tour of places on line, like a museum .

You could make a virtual vacation . Bring food , treats of some place like Hawaii or Italy etc , and look at pictures online that people took while on vacation at these places. All you have to do is google “ images of …………”, fill in the blank of wherever your virtual destination is. There will be tons of photos .
My family and I did this during Covid . We hooked up the computer to the TV to see the pictures big.
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Reply to waytomisery

If your mom is in a memory care facility, it isn't because of her pain medication, but because she now has some form of dementia. And you're right when you say "her memory has gotten worse and isn't coming back" as it will only continue to get worse with her having dementia.
You can't worry about what your siblings do or don't do, as you're only responsible for yourself. And if visiting twice a week is getting to be too much for you then try cutting back to just once a week, or once every other week.
Your mom would not want your health suffering because of her I'm sure.
If your city has a Shepherd Center, they have volunteers that will come out for free and visit your mom. And you can also check with your moms church or place of worship, as they usually have folks that will come and visit, as do some local ministries. You can Google to see what's available in your moms area.
And of course when the time comes for your mom to go under hospice care, they too offer volunteers to come visit.
You have to now take care of yourself. Your mom is safe and taken care of where she's at, and you ARE NOT responsible for her happiness.
I wish you well in finding other visitor options for your mom.
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Reply to funkygrandma59

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