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My 87 year old mother has dementia and has suffered from depression, and worries about EVERYTHING, even though she lives at home with me and is well taken cared of by family. I feel she gave up the will to live life years ago. Doesn't want to do anything, doesn't want to go anywhere. Refuses to go to the Senior Citizen Center even if I accompany her. She wants no part of socializing with people she doesn't know. She has been on various antidepressant medication that haven't seemed to make a difference. She is still very capable, physically of being active. When I can convince her to take a walk with me she can walk approx. 3/4 mile without any difficulty. I have tried to explain the importance of staying active and how lucky she is that she is still very mobile. She always agrees but will not do anything without constant coaxing. It is so very frustrating and exhausting trying to encourage her to do anything. She prefers to sit in a chair and stare. She has no hobbies she likes. I have tried giving her a movie or something to watch on a laptop and most of the time she loses interest. All her meals are prepared for her and she eats pretty well. But I feel like I am beating my head against the wall trying to keep her active and interested in life and not fall into the abyss of this dreadful disease. Bless you all for any advice.

People in age do tend to become more contemplative, less wanting to engage with others, more withdrawn often enough. They begin somewhat to separate from life and with my own aunt this was profound. When I asked what she thought about staring out her window day after day she said she liked just seeing the birds, and liked thinking about her life, everything she had seen and done; she said most of her thoughts were good ones and she enjoyed them. She was not suffering from dementia, but was for many years in care due to body incapacity. She took part in few things, though eventually she did do some art that was wonderful. Much like children's lovely art it was freed from the "draw in the lines" stuff, and very interesting. I do think depression is part of it, and not honestly an unrealistic reaction. At 76 I am seeing that eventually it does become about losses. Sadness is a real part of life and cannot be denied. Not everything is good and not everything can be fixed. I hope she will find something that brings peace for her.
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Tiger55 Jul 12, 2019
Beautifully said AlvaD.
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Not having the motivation to do anything is often caused by depression. Does your mother take care of her room? Fold laundry? Wash dishes? Cut vegetables for meal prep? What activities of her adult life is your mother still capable of doing? I suggest you encourage her to do as many of those activities as she still can. Medication may take longer to work or may need to be adjusted.

Being uncomfortable in social situations seems to go with cognitive issues too, particularly if the person is aware of their problems. My mother reluctantly attends senior day care because I need to know she is somewhere safe and cared for when I attend my doctor's appointments and run errands. She came home Wednesday telling me how much she had enjoyed talking with a couple of the elderly gentlemen about the community where she grew up. This morning she didn't want to go back so I ask her why and then we go through the whole "you have a good time there" and "I need you to go" conversation again. Ultimately she went out the door looking forward to day care, but we will probably have another morning discussion sometime soon. She will forget this morning's conversation and her fears will return. I try to put myself in her shoes and consider how I would feel if I couldn't trust my own mind.

Playing music from the era she was young and going through old photo books can be very simulating for those with memory problems. Mom loves to identify every person and building in an old photo and tell me each one. We can talk a couple of hours on one old photo. Mom always sang when she worked so now I sing when working around the house and she joins in.

I don't think our seniors really do well learning/adopting entirely new hobbies. If you can find something that is a variation on something they did in their childhoods or pre-cognitive issue days, that seems to be more workable.
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This2shallpass Jul 12, 2019
Thank-you TNtechie for all the great suggestions. This site and the people on it are wonderful......just knowing you're not the only one going through this struggle helps tremendously. Blessing to you and your Mom.
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