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).