How do I deal with depression in my mother?

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My mother is 94 y.o., mobility problems, living in Assisted Living facility. She has never been sociable and isolates more than ever since she cannot walk. She sees few people other than the caregivers and dumps all of her emotions on me when I visit, almost daily. I do her chores and she emotes. I feel like I'm losing my life in her problems and it is affecting my own mental health.

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I too have a mom who suffers from severe depression for similar reasons. Her entire life she never had friends by choice and would rarely converse with people outside of the family. She is now 85 with a husband who has advanced Alzheimer's. To this day, she refuses to acknowledge that she suffers from depression and anxiety and believes that I need to be her own personal psychiatrist. She continually puts the pressure on me, calling me constantly if I am not with her and ranting and raving about her caregivers, pains, dying etc. I finally had enough after 7 years and decided since she was refusing help I would seek it for myself. After one therapy session, I have already become stronger in how I need to deal with her. I no longer allow her abusive behavior nor do I feel the need to be her therapist since she has actively refused professional help. You have to take care of you and put yourself first. Let go of the guilt and understand you have done what you can. As with my mother, she put herself in the position of being alone by choosing a life without friends and isolation. You can't change years of her own personal choices.
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Try watching Joel Osteen. He tells a joke at the beginning of every session, which my Mom used to repeat to everyone she met... It caused laughter. He also motivated us to live full and happy lives. I hope this helps...

Do anything and everything you can to stay happy. Smile. Take a shower. Walk... Smile... Think happy thoughts when ever you find that you are not... push away the sad thoughts and try to think of something nice. The longer your brain is focused on happy, the more it will be exercise and the happy muscle will be strengthened.

Tony Robins says to write 12 things you are thankful for each morning. I do it at night before I go to sleep and I sleep much better, which helps me to feel better the next day.

Put on some music and dance... or wear headphones when you walk around the block and while walking, sway to the music. People will think you are really enjoying yourself and you might be... smiling.
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Your mom sounds a lot like mine. My mother has never been very social and she never wants to participate in activities (although it's difficult now because she is declining rapidly). This is what I always say to myself "I'm responsible for keeping her safe. I cannot take responsibility for keeping her happy". Some people are just prone to depression and the "poor me" syndrome. You cannot change that. When you visit, stay positive and keep the conversation light. When things turn negative, try to refocus the conversation. If that doesn't work, then it's time to leave. I can tell you that this occurred during every one of my visits up until the last month. My mom has had three near-fatal incidents which have changed her behavior somewhat. Also, Hospice has prescribe Adivan, which seems to help with her agitation and depression. God Bless!
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Just a thought -- Can you take someone with you when you visit? That person could take mom in her chair for a "walk" while you do the chores.

But even if that can be managed, there seems to be a deeper issue here. Do you feel obligated to listen to her? Why is that? Sounds as if she has a life-long habit of being unsociable and complaining and you fell into step and have the habit of putting up with it. If you could see things differently, the problem might be eliminated. Let her be however she is and work on freeing yourself mentally. Maybe meds would help her and meanwhile please consider counseling for yourself. God bless.
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Helping a parent deal with depression is a labor of love and requires much self sacrifice. However sometimes depressed people do not want the help to change, they just want to suffer. If you find that you are "the ONE" doing all the heavy lifting in your efforts to help your mother, you are likely to become sick yourself soon. A good gerontologist modify your mothers' mood, but no one came make her socialize. My advise is for you to cut down the the frequency of your visits and look for new ways to engage your mom with you. Music, comedy and touch are my most favorite ways to bring people out of themselves and personally engage. Share old pictures, watch old movies, get mom out doors. But most importantly understand that you must take care of your own health by setting personal limits about your own time. Some facilities offer support groups for caregivers. Keep the faith.
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Nothing is going to work. She is in a self-induced prison. Just make sure you don't find yourself behind those same bars. Go to therapy. Learn some ways to survive her crushing depression.
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YOU HAVE STRESS!!! Why do you feel you have to visit her daily?

The staff at the assisted living facility noticed I looked like hell, and told me flat out that the stress of dealing with my mother daily was showing. They told me to let go and let them do their job. I was much happier after that.
I would never classify my mom as a happy person. She never seemed to be happy with anyone or anything unless it was a friend she could use or manipulate.

Try to work some kind of regular exercise into your day even if it's just putting on some sneakers and walking around the neighborhood. Water aerobics, Zumba an exercise bike anything. It's been proven exercise is better than pills for improving mood.
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Perhaps not technically correct, but I believe depression is contagious.
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I have a disabled sister in a group home and limit visits to once a week. If I go there more often, she refuses to participate in activities in the home. You have to shift her focus or continue to be manipulated.
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1onlychild, You have hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what I did after living with the same situation for 17 years. Beware the holier than thou people on here. They will be first in line to call you selfish when you don't drop everything because your elder isn't happy, even when you are overburdened with responsibilities already.
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