Is Mom getting ready to die? - AgingCare.com

Is Mom getting ready to die?

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We lost my dad last Christmas so 89 year old Mom lives alone now. She is alone a lot because she's shy. She likes her family, but has no interest in social activites or hobbies. We kids are her caregivers.
She is quite healty but weighs only 85 pounds. She is a very small person, but still, that is malnourished according to her doctor. We've tried to get her to eat more but she just can't. Congnitively she seems to be declining a bit, but I notice she worries about things, and that directly affects her cognitive functioning.
The other day, as I was leaving, she quite matter of factly said, "I think I'm just wearing out." Then she said, "I know it's natural." I questioned her a bit, and the only thing she mentioned was that she doesn't see as well as my sister and I. Then I found out the next day she told my sister the same thing, she's wearing out.
Yesterday she was having trouble and thought she was losing her mind (dementia). I asked some questions and found that she thinks that her kids are going to move away and leave her alone. My sister and I are her primary caregivers. We are both thinking of moving eventually, but not anytime soon, but Mommy worries and thinks it's going to happen very soon, and maybe that's why she is more confused sometimes. I notice the difference when she is worried.
Last night when I was leaving, she mentioned she wanted to call her 90 year old cousin, and other people "while she still can." This morning she added a little more detail, saying "before she gets too dopey."
Do you think based on these things that maybe she knows on some level she won't be around too much longer? Or is she just getting worse cognitively?
Now that I write it down, it sounds like she's more afraid of getting dementia, but when she told me she's wearing out, it made me feel like she's getting ready to die.

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We didn't really notice my MIL's decline really until last year even though it's been going down for a few years. Looking back, there definitely were signs, but it's hard to know because she can be a bit of a drama queen. She'd been going to doctors thinking something was wrong, but no doctor found anything even though she had AFib, which caused some of her falling issues.

However, during an MRI at the beginning of the year, it turns out that she had had a mild stroke in 2008, which no one knew about. This could have enhanced the AFib and dementia. She'd been getting crankier and crankier, but again, it wasn't fully out of character.

Babalou, your mother sounds like my MIL, not a joiner at all and not social unless it's on HER terms. Glad she found fun activities with her friend.

My husband has been caretaking in stages. First, he would be over with his mom in the evening, making sure she had dinner. Then, last September, he started working from her house and spending most of the evening there as well. In March of this year, he started living at his mom's full-time. I'm at our house, which is just over a mile away, to relieve him when he needs to go to work, one day a week. Otherwise, he can work from home. At the moment, I'm not working and spend more time with him and her so it takes some of the burdens off of him.

She has anxiety that we're going to leave her, but then she'll turn around and want us to leave immediately. There's no rhyme or reason to it. My husband says that my presence make her a little happier and I know that it helps keep him calm so I try to be here as much as I can while I'm not working.
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Cheryl my mom and dad moved into the place near me together. They had moved into a retirement place where they lived (3 hours from me) until it got to be too much for me to run down there whenever there was an emergency. So I moved them up near me. By that time, they were used to living in a senior living place. So it was much easier for me than what you're experiencing.

Some places have "buddies" that they'll match a new resident with - people who already live there who will help your mom adapt. When you look at places, ask about that. Or suggest it to ease your mom's transition. Good luck!!
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omg, really? Yes, your mom sounds like mine: "I look so awful," LOLOL!
I just know if my mom got one on one with someone she would make a friend or two. She really doesn't read or watch much TV except at night. Her fingers are numb so it limits what she can do. But my sister remembered that she liked to play dominoes and cards years ago, so she's going to try to see if mom would be interested in playing some games with her, which I thought might bolster her confidence to just play a game and be good at it, not to mention using her brain, but more important, eventually down the road, if/when she does go to a facility, those could be actiivities that she could participate in and make the transition easier. How did you get your mom in there? Did she want to go or did you have to talk her into it?
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Cheryl my mom is very similar to yours. She lives in Independent Living and says things like, "I don't like to go out, I look so awful." She's lived there for 13 years and initially (when she was 82), she made friends with some of the individuals she sat with at lunch and dinner. Over the years, they've all died or moved out, so now she's happy to stay in her room most of the time. She never did the activities the facility put on (bingo, church, singing, chair exercise, crafts, etc). She loves to read and watches TV and does word puzzles. She no longer eats in the dining room (I bring her all her food), so she doesn't socialize that way. But she tells me over and over how happy she is, so I think just knowing she can go out and see others if she wants is very helpful to her psyche. I take her out as much as I can, just to be around young people and to see that there's still life going on...so it worked well for my mom to live in IL.
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I'm sorry to hear that Cheryl. I've had spectacularly good luck with Zoloft when I needed it. Mom took it once (one pill) and declared it made her feel suicidal. But after her stroke, they put her on it ( she didn't know) with no troubles. She's now on both Lexapro and Remeron with good results. I've been very impressed with the ability of the geriatric psychiatrists and the psych Nurse Practioner in getting her on the right meds without doping her up.
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Oh, you mean for the obssessive worrying about what other people think? Well, I personally have been on them a few different times and I haven't had a good experience with them. I know sometimes you have to try a few different ones to see what's the best fit, and I was never willing to sit through another 6 plus weeks of trying to get past the side effects and see how you're going to feel on a different one. I know they're successful when you find the right one, but my sister and I are trying to avoid that, if possible.
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Is your mom on antidepressants ? You might think about talking to her doctor about this issue, or getting her to a geriatric psychiatrist for an evaluation.
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Babalou, that's really encouraging to hear that your mom who is not a social person actually adjusted and made friends and tried new things. It gives me hope. I was just sitting here looking at facilities, and when I read a list of the activities offered, it's like nope, my mom wouldn't do that, or that, on down the list.
My mom suffers from such low self esteem that she's afraid to try new things or participate in anything for fear of failing or looking stupid. I mean, it's really bad. Today she told me, "I wonder what the neighbors think when they see me out in my same old clothes." When she says something like that, I just tell her, "Mom, they don't know it's your old clothes, and they really don't even think about you that much anyway to notice if you are wearing the same clothes or not. People just don't think about you that much! They probably just see you and say, Oh, there's Addie, and that's it!"
And, I actually did find a place that offers a trial period, like you guys suggested. That's the way to go for sure. Thank you for the help and encouragement!
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With regard to a "trial period" we did that with mom. The I L we were interested in (and since this was after two disastrous weeks in an AL where other family members resided) had a temporary studio apartment that they used for situations like people needing to be out of homes during renovations, bad weather, etc. Mom agreed in October to go for the winter, since she lived on top of a hill that was difficult to get to in bad weather.
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Some assisted living facilities will allow a trial run to see if the resident is happy and adjusts well to the new environment. My mom's facility allowed a three month stay before requiring the initial "buy in" to be paid. (Once the buy in was paid, the monthly rate was less.) It sounds like your mom is afraid of being alone, which is understandable since she lost her spouse recently. Even if she is slow to join in activities at an AL, she would still have the comfort of knowing that help was always available if needed.

Another option would be to hire companions to visit with your mother when you and your sister are not available.
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