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My mother-in-law is in the early/moderate stages of dementia. There is a wonderful Memory Center here in NY which has many activities that I would like to see her get involved in (she lives alone and does not have a large circle of friends). The problem is Mom was never told she has dementia nor does she admit to having any type of memory problem what so ever! How do we try to get her involved when the place clearly states it is a "Center for Memory Disorders, etc"? All answers are appreciated!

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Thank you Kathy! Although this question was posed a while ago, I am still so thankful for all answers. Mom has gotten worse but is still in denial. She has an aide (finally!!!) a few hours for three days so it is our hope that with the aide, they will be able to start doing things outside of her "comfort zone". Not quite sure how you found this question but am so grateful you did! Hugs to you!
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Why is a question from three years ago being posted?
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When trying new activity or go to places tell them let's just try this. It is wonderful that you have friends that want to be around. Sometimes friends do not know what to do or say and they are scared themselves. Hire someone to take them and introduce them as your friend. Have them at home visit you and then set up a place to go for them. Maybe for coffee, tea, lunch. A ride then a park and home.
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You can tell mom that she has dementia or memory problems but she may be in denial and doesn't want to be treated like an invalid or think there is nothing wrong with there. My grandpa has dementia and in his own world, he believes he is not invalid but then he keeps asking the same question over and over again why he needs to go here or there. The only way he's going to get out of the house is if he has an "appointment" or has church. So if we have to get him out of the house to go to the store or park or to a party, we will say that he has an appointment.
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ppc...something is wrong..what does her doctor say? Surely he doesn't think this is normal or acceptable. Of course at 86 I guess she can do whatever she wants, but if it's just to keep you as her "slave", you need to seek some professional help for both of you. Maybe she's just afraid to tell you that something hurts or is painful because she's afraid you'll put here in a home...that is a major fear for our elders. Still, you both need help...professional help. Make some calls and get her to a good doctor soon. Good luck!
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Mom turned 86 Sunday, April 7. She is in ABSOLUTE good health; no aliments or medical conditions to contend with. She is strong and physically able. Unfortunately, she refuses to get out of the bed. I've been at this five years, and tried EVERYTHING. She "plays" a very with-it role for others, either in person or on the telephone when talking to others. But she stays in bed. She is mean, cold, callous, indifferent, bitter and unappreciative. Never a kind word - just critical.
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MIL is so afraid that if she leaves the house someone will sell it. I went as far as having my daughter (sings opera) volunteer at the senior center to sing. I said, "we are just going there to listen, it's your granddaughter". She said no way and flipped out. (this is the same woman that paid 100.00 for a ticket to watch her sing) after that attempt ....I couldn't get her even to my house for 2 weeks she was so afraid I was going to leave her somewhere. Keep in mind she loves to hear her sing at church and family events and 2 weeks ago at Carnegie Hall. But the idea of a senior center is like the Susquehanna hat company (Abbot and Costello). Next month we will try again this time no mention of the senior center. And, still, who knows where that will take her, and if she will ever trust me again.....It's exhausting trying to get her out and about. But one thing I can tell you....you have to be persistent, get creative, and talk to the senior center, they might have a free support group that have good ideas as well. We have a travel group around here for seniors called Prime Time Travel. They are wonderful but a little expensive. I think MIL is too dependent for that but it might work for you. ( I still leave the magazine around hoping she will make it her own idea to travel). Good Luck
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Patience is something that has come from gosh know where,i try to look at who she was before and remember how happy,loving and what a great mother she was to me,But remember you are only human and we all have those days where we crack and raise our voice or cry.She would understand if she knew what she was putting you through,i take a deep breath and i cry behind closed door .As daughters we learned all from our loving mothers.Hang in there,keep smileing and talk to the rest of us when you need too.
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My answer for getting someone to change their behavior is: she needs a boyfriend. Something to make her feel Alive and give her a reason for being interested in something. If she's the type. My mother was boy crazy forever. Hey, you never know.
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tooyoung shares wonderful words of wisdom that i am drinking in. Thanks so very much for sharing. Sooooo true, so spot on! So difficult, and yet so simple (as is most wisdom). I too am fairly certain that I am in this to develop patience and the understanding that I cannot control everything (or anything?) (SO well said!).

The depression and misery is greatest when I resist these things and look past them to focus on the big picture (my "lot in life") rather than to allow myself to learn the lessons of each moment. What helps is continually reviewing the understanding of the condition of dementia, which allows me to draw on feelings of compassion for my mom. The difficulty (slippery slope) is being able to maintain more compassion than indignance and annoyance at the behavior that is not logical or intentional - but is sooo easy to take personally. And it takes a lot of prayer for me to get through all the times of failure at that.
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My husband and I are not at the 24/7 stage YET, but I know it's coming. I was really struggling (depressed) with my "lot in life" until I ran across some notes I wrote over a year ago, when I was taking one of Oprah's Lifeclasses. The notes said in quotes (they may be by Echart Tolle), "Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because it is the experience you are having, at the moment." Then I had written Secret of Happiness - Make peace with the present moment. Some how this really helped me, well this and taking SAMe. ;0) I think I'm supposed to learning patience and that I can't control everything (or anything?).
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Trustpact4, yes SUFFOCATING is an apt word. It is Saturday night and another day and night of total togetherness, making me truly nuts. I can't wait for Monday and the Adult Center to come. I sometimes get sad and think is this what my life will be like for the rest of my strong years, and then I just pray and let it go.
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to scared..I am in the same boat with my husband...he just wants to be with me 24 7 and its sufficating....will read all the suggestions, go from there, it is a journey for all of us....
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My mother is in a great CCR in independent living still, but very depressed and lonely and thinks moving out will solve her problems I have a couple of lovely women who take her places (Arthur Murray dance studio!), but part of the problem is also her basic personality issues. Some of these suggestions seem very helpful - I am glad to have seen this post.
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i started with taking my mom to the local senior center to play bingo .25 a card and bunko and to social lunches they have.she loved it and met lots of folks,now she is getting worse i try to take her but it very hard for her.but everyone is always glad to see her even if she doesn't remember them.i have made good friends there as well.someone to talk to that see every kind of issues and are always friendly.
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The most important consideration is what does SHE like to do, or what did she use to like to do? Getting her involved is the objective, whether it is at the Memory Center or not is somewhat irrelevant. Try to start with something and someplace she is familiar with. Then try to ease her into the Memory Center with just a visit so she can see what they have to offer and if she feels she would fit in. She is probably aware there is something going on, but is afraid of admitting it to herself even. She is also probably afraid she will lose her independence if she acknowledges what is happening to her.
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I wish my husband would acknowledge his illness and agree to try new things, but he is in denial and says he "just forgets somethings once in a while". He doesn't or won't realize that as soon as you tell him something, he forgets. Like, "it's time to take your medicine.." OK. Then he just sits there, not coming to take his meds or just gets us and leaves the table with the pills still sitting there. It's so sad.
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I don't understand not telling people they have dementia. My husband had symptoms for years, and we couldn't get a diagnosis because it was early onset. It was such a relief, for both of us, to know what it was and even though we couldn't cure it, there were things we could do. We openingly talk about it between ourselves and others. It has really helped him accept his limitations, because he knows it is a disease and it is not his fault. Then together, we talk about things we can to slow down the progress, such as keeping active, or keep everyone safe, like him not driving.

My husband had a time when he didn't want to go out. Partly caused by anxiety, and when we got meds for that, he has been more willing. The other part of that was he also worried that people would think he was stupid, but the fact that we are open about his diagnois helps. I've told him we are all getting older, forgetting things, and he is just doing it faster, and people can be understanding if they know. Also, people can learn from us about this terrible disease and maybe it will help someone else.

Sometimes he is afraid of new doing new things, so I tell him, "let's just go and watch, and see if it is something we would like to do." Then I ask if he wants to give it a try, or I try it first and ask if he wants to join in. Because our friends know, they are amazing. When we play cards or board games, everyone cuts him some slack, helps with hints, or bends the rules so he can participate. When he says weird or silly things, because he is using the wrong words, they go with flow.

Knowing something is wrong, keeping it secret, or trying to pretend everything is ok is scary. I think staying home is a way of keeping the secret. Knowledge it power. Talk about things and work on solutions together.
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Interesting. Never heard of it.
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I am really impressed with the SCWW, Senior Center Without Walls, The events are by telephone, for shut-ins. It's great.
The participants are ages 55-90s and mentally sharp.... but the mental stimulation may dissuade dementia some.
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You may try to pose it as she is volunteering there to help others. Some activities revolve around doing things that help others. (I am an activity assistant in a skilled nursing facility and often structure my activities that way) Or you may pose it in a way that these activities are preventative measures to help her. The old "if you don't use it you lose it" approach. I hope this helps. My mom lives with me and has no friends because she has been transport away from the only place she has lived for the past 65 years!!! (shes 82) I wish I could get her in a center too!
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I"d like to see my husband do this, too. He is in the early/moderate stages of dementia, too, but won't admit it. He says he "just forgets things once in a while". He was a very successful, on-the-road salesman all his life, out-going and made friends easily. Now he doesn't want to do anything with anyone. Just wants to sit in the recliner all day sleeping or watching TV. It sure would be great to get some ideas of how to get him to socialize again. Wish I had some suggestions for you; maybe we'll both benefit.
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Perhaps you can start with an Adult Day Center, your MIL may not at this point not need a memory center right now, my mother is in the Adult Day Center and it is good for her and for me. I don't think though that she will even recognize that it states a Center for MD. My mother does not think she has dementia, and the doctors have not told her??? This used to puzzle me why but now I just go with the flow, I know and she knows her memory is not that good. So, I would just have her go there and enjoy it, I don't think she'd notice.
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