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I am concerned about my mother, who lives alone out in the country in another state. She does not want to come and live with me, and I couldn't afford a place with space for her, anyway. She is 72 and doesn't have friends or anyone really who ever visit her, so she is very isolated and depressed. She told me tonight she could die and not be discovered for days. She's had a few mild strokes and has COPD, not to mention PTSD. It's not easy for me to get to her for a visit, and we have no other family to help. Neither of us have a lot of money. I feel like she needs someone in her area to frequently check in on her, at the very least. I am at the very beginning of this process of seeking help for her, and I have no idea where to start. She lives in central Texas, and I live in Washington state. Can anyone point me in the right direction with this?

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Sorry! - and for immediate practical support, look up social services for older adults in her county and see what resources they can suggest. You should find the contact details online, with a bit of digging.
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I can give you the other side of the story, if you like!

My daughter is concerned about me. She would like me to live closer to her. I can't possibly afford anywhere near where she lives. I am a little too far away for her to visit me easily. And - yes, although I wouldn't say it in her hearing, it has crossed my mind to wonder how long it would be before anyone noticed I wasn't around, and especially how long before they became sufficiently concerned to do anything about it, and especially now that I don't have my dog any more.

But here's the thing. I have three children, and I am as confident as anyone can be that they love and care about me very much.

But healthy, well-adjusted adult children do not stay closely involved in their parents' lives. It is a GOOD thing that they are grown, gone and thriving elsewhere. That means that you have succeeded as a mother.

And the corollary of that is that a sensible older adult does not base her emotional wellbeing on the involvement of her children. She looks around her, and thinks 'what next?'

We on the forum have been discussing 'building a good retirement age' - to try to name the topic; and the BBC is currently making a big thing of the whole subject of loneliness - they've surveyed 55,000 people with the aim of addressing what is an increasingly difficult and damaging social issue. It might be worth looking it up (though I must admit I tend to turn the radio *off*, there's only so much concern and positivity I can take in one 24-hour period) because there is a lot of material and shared experience there.

So, where does all that leave you? What I'm saying is that you are very important to your mother, and she I'm sure loves you as much as ever, and knowing that you love and care about her does matter.

But you cannot solve this for her. The changes she needs to make have to come from her. You can research, you can suggest, you can care. But you can't do it for her.
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Dear DMC, I feel so sorry for both you and your mother. I am 71, and I have been in much the same position as your mother, although I am married to a good man. I was going around the bend being isolated in the country, without good neighbours, and with almost no remaining friends, certainly not within visiting distance. 'Situational depression' means it is caused by a genuinely depressing situation. Tony was fairly happy with jobs on the farm, although he was getting over-exposed to too much work, but there was very little there that I could do to keep myself busy. Tony got desperate about my feelings, and moved us to a different place where there is lots going on. I have been sufficiently together to make myself take advantage of all the opportunities. Can your mother move, perhaps to Assisted Living? Even if it is not closer to you, it should give her opportunities that simply aren’t there at present. The farm or the old family house is not worth killing yourself for.
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