How much more are we expected to do?

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Well, over the last month; I have taken 4 days off from work to visit mom. Mom is 91, lives independently in her own home and lives about 6 hrs away. Mom appreciates my visits and I spend quality time with her, usually a full 12 hrs a day where I go for a walk with her, drive her around town, eat meals out, run errands together and just generally visit before I head back to a hotel (no; I don't stay overnight with her). Its not unpleasant, but wearying because we go over the same "ground" over and over.

Mom is very lonely. I have done everything I can think of including accompanying her to senior center to introduce "this concept" and she always says she'll go but then never takes the initiative. SHe has no friends; all prior friends or neighbors have given up on her as she cuts them off on the phone (if she answers) and refuses any social invitations.

I have offered many options, including moving to my hometown or even AL in her town; or merely getting some help or companions for her -- all refused. SHe understands I work full time, have a family and have no intention of moving back or retiring; but sadly, it is hard for her to accept and she says little things to guilt me about not visiting more or staying extended periods. My brother has nothing to do with her and rarely even calls her. He lives on the west coast and has no intention of visiting.

This week, I visited again (as I had business meetings nearby). I took her out all day and again, we visited senior center in which she saw a friend (I thought HURRAH!). The woman encouraged mom to come and they exchanged phone numbers. Then mom asked me to drive by another old friend's house and she wondered if the woman still lived there. I drove up and encouraged her to knock on the door. She did and the woman was welcoming and we went into her home and I sat as they visited. The woman (who is mom's age) was glad to see her and told mom they missed seeing her and encouraged her to come back to church, go to senior center, etc. and even said she was looking at senior apts in the area.

Then I took mom to dinner with a friend of mine who joined us and we all had a good time. Mom spoke all evening about how she enjoyed seeing her friends again. I encouraged her to go to senior center the next day and go back to church (they even offered to pick her up).

I left and she was crying and asking me to come back after my meetings this week, but I told her that I couldn't and was returning home; but would try to get back next month.

SHe has called me 2 times today weepy. I asked if she had gone to the senior center this week and she said that she hadn't and made her usual excuses about rain, etc.

I'm fed up. Its starting to affect my ability to concentrate at work and I feel guilty. She interrupted me with calls today twice while I was in meetings. We go thru this same scenario at every visit. I realize she is lonely and I tell her only she can change that. These friends are also elderly widows and "living life"; mom refuses to do so and tells me "well they have their children here". I'M ABSOLUTELY SICK OF HEARING THAT MANTRA" -- she hasn't had children nearby in 20 years.

When we do go out or about town, she hangs on me; physically hangs on me. I know I'm her only contact but it gets to me. She won't even order off a menu by herself. If she makes a selection and I choose something else, she changes her order to get exactly what I'm having. I can't even go to the bathroom myself that she doesn't follow me (one of the reasons I stay in a hotel at night, so I get a break).

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burnedout13, you are right about the elderly no longer have the energy, health or cognitive ability to join activities or meet and remember new friends.

My parents should have moved to a retirement community 10 years ago.... too late now. Mom's eye sight and hearing are all most gone, so learning her way around a new complex and a new large apartment would be extremely difficult. Dad would be ready to move tomorrow if he could get Mom to agree [she won't] as he liked the idea of a indoor swimming pool and woodworking shop :)
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You are sooo right burnedout. Ten years ago or so when my mom was eighty she had asked me to look into A L places for her. At the time she was still doing well. Her cognitive functions were all intact and the mere thought of her being in "one of those places" scared me and I didn 't pursue it.

Fast forward ten years later and it was get her into a nursing home cause she is declining fast and I can't do this on my own anymore.

In my defense she hid her health issues from me really well. I had no idea that the groceries I was picking up for her were not being eaten, that the prescriptions I picked up for her were not being taken properly, that the "Yes I am fine dear" was not true at all. By the time I caught on to the fact that she was far from fine she nearly died.

Now as you said burnedout, she is to the point where she doesn't have the strength, energy or cognitive ability to join activities, get to know the other residents at the nursing home etc. I only wish I had listened 10 years ago and maybe she would at least be in a better place physically where she could possibly be enjoying the companionship of other people and not just sitting in her room by herself all day.
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Someone told me or I read somewhere that if you wait too long - it is harder to get an elderly person to agree to go to a retirement/assisted living community.
It does make some sense. We finally make the decision when the person demands more care than one person can provide. Unfortunately at this stage the elderly parent does not have the energy, health or cognitive ability to join activities or meet and remember new friends. If I had moved my parents into a facility a few years earlier, they would have been able to find activities that they enjoyed, leave the facility on some trips and have meaningful interaction with others residents. I think that freqflyer has a good point. I am going to write up my plan, get it notarized and give it my son. That way if I "forget", he will have proof!
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One thing we can all learn from this is what not to do for ourselves as we get older. Plan ahead, big time. Save like crazy so that we can move ourselves into that retirement community before we forget that was our master plan.
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Countrymouse, you make an excellent point with regard to the decision-making process. I have tried to explain to my cousins that the time has come to stop asking their parents what they want to do & just decide for them. Aunt & uncle do not know what they want...when they make a decision they change their minds back & forth repeatedly. Makes things even more difficult for me than they already are. Their children do not want to arm themselves with info on disease, take any necessary action...expect me to wave a magic wand & take care of everything. Driving me nuts.
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Yeah freqflyer If I made a list of all the things I've worried about that never happened......e gad!!!

The actor Michael J. Fox said once when asked about his great attitude about his Parkinsons. "When you worry about something and it doesn't happen you've worried for nothing and if it does happen you've kind of lived through it twice"
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Gershun, I am mentally exhausted by worrying about things that may never happen, too. I go through the what ifs on a daily basis :P

I am worried that my Dad might pass on before my Mom, and Mom won't want to be by herself, and she would refuse to move to a senior care facility. She refuses to let strangers in the house, so any thought of paid help wouldn't work. And that she would want me to move in with her, into a house that is like a sauna year round, and how on earth do I say no to her, yada, yada, yada. Dad on the other hand would be ok with moving. Lot of sleepless nights for me :(
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ba8alou I'm sure you are right. Worrying about things that will probably never happen can become a full time job with me sometimes. There are enough real things to worry about I guess.
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Gershun, I'm sure that there are those isolated cases of terrible things that happen to seniors. the same way that the occasional toddler gets hit by a runaway care in the care of her mother; or the teenager dies during football practise. Not the norm. Not anymore.
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I heard on the news (I live in Canada by the way) that a dementia patient had gone into another dementia patients room and beat him to death. When I hear stories like that it puts fear in my heart for my Mom. She has her own room and most of the time the staff lock it when they leave but not always. When I visit my mom quite often other residents come wandering in.

I hope and pray that my mom will remain safe in her nursing home.
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