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My 91 year old Mom recently moved in with my husband and me. She has an occupational therapist who recommended various exercises for her to do to keep strong. Everyday is a battle and she finds excuses not to work out. She is expecting me to do more and more waiting on her when she can do most things herself. I am exhausted at the end of the day! She is very sensitive to ANY form of criticism and cries and says she wants to die if you say anything negative. The drama avoidance keeps me waiting on her ...am I being manipulated or is she just turning into a 91 year old toddler!!??

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Thanks everyone for your insight and experience! I discussed this with her Doctor while she was in the room and he suggested an antidepressant. She is showing real progress and zipping around the living room on her walker several times a day!(Without being told to!!!) I think the move to my home, her new dependence on a walker, and daily aches and pains of arthritis are just plain depressing! She is now on Effexor and even has her sense of humor showing up more often! I'll take this positive change for as long as it lasts! Thanks again, your understanding comments got me through some difficult days!
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We tried for three years to get 85yo Dad to take small walks and do his PT exercises. While at home he managed to get Mom to do everything while he watched tv all day. Eventually he had became weaker, went from part time cane to full time walker, and had more strokes. It didn't matter how many doctor visits and how much PT he was given. Even his grandson, who he dearly loves, tried to encourage him. We finally just stopped nagging about the daily exercise after we had to put him a NH (temp at first, now it looks like permanent) when he had trouble getting out of chairs and even using the walker. He knows very well the weakness is the only reason he was moved. He actually did really well there with exercising the first month.
Mom and I finally realize everyone can make their own choices. This was his choice. I see him slipping physically and mentally day by day, but we still try not to nag. We really do not understand his choice of tv over life, but we realize it is his ultimate decision.
Blannie was really on target with that last sentence, I wish someone told me that 3 years ago.
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My mom is 94 and has always been very independent. Now it's a struggle to get her to do anything. I think when some folks hit their 90s, they just give out. My mom says all of the time she's "ready to go". She'll cry when she feels she's a burden to me. I don't believe she's manipulating me, because she'd rather do something herself than have me do it. But I do her laundry now, take out her garbage, and just about everything else. She's just tired and her motivation is gone. I can't say I blame her. Her siblings are all gone, she has no grandkids, just me and a brother in another state. She lives near me and away from her neighborhood friends. In many ways she's blessed, but there's not a lot of reason for her to do a lot of things.

The one thing I don't do for my mom is to take her newspapers down to the recycling area. She will do that on her own when the cart gets full. And she does her own dishes. If the tasks you want your mom to do aren't time sensitive, then just wait to see if she does them. I learned with my dad that you can't make someone exercise. They're choosing how to live their lives and we have to respect those choices (and live with the consequences - sigh).
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I like the way Jessie puts it, "Yes, you are being manipulated, but it isn't malicious." Or at least it probably isn't malicious unless she has been a malicious manipulator all her life.

This does not mean you have to allow yourself to be manipulated. Waiting on her when she can wait on herself is not healthy for either of you. But you do have to be willing to be flexible and make adjustments as her abilities change -- which they do quickly.

I can't think of any ways you can "make" her do her exercises.
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Mom is quite the drama queen isn't she ? Yes you are being manipulated. But you can not make another person do anything. Sometimes it helps if you do the desired activity with them. may be you can change the focus of the exercises which is themselves provide no reward to doing something like taking a walk with you at least when the weather improves if you are in the frozen north. Maybe your husband can help too. Take her to the grocery store i know it will take forever but maybe lunch afterwards will be a good reward. Would she agree to going to a senior center a few days a week. I whisper this "Would you go with her and join in the activities? Learn to just say "No" when she wants you to do something she is capable of. That being said she is 91 and her abilities will deminish so watch her carefully
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I should add to make her do things she can for herself. I don't nag at my mother to do them, but if she doesn't do them, they won't get done. She makes her breakfast and lunch, and does her own laundry. There may come a time when I will have to do these things for her. As long as she can do them, though, I am all in favor.
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Yes, you are being manipulated, but it isn't malicious. Your mother is just acting like most other older people I've known. :) It can be a battle to get them to follow through on PT and OT, even though they do want to stay strong and independent. I can understand. I don't like to exercise, either.

The thing that works with my mother is to plant a suggestion seed. I'll say she needs to do her exercise. She'll make excuses and protest. I don't push her, but let her make her own decision. Often I'll see later that she is doing the exercises while I'm not looking. The rascal! :)

I am finding the older she gets, the less she wants to do the exercises. The last time she went through PT I gave up trying to get her to do the exercises. My mother is only 87, but her body is much older. "Only 87" sounds strange to me. However, so many other parents on the group are much older that 87 sounds young.
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