My mom is very sweet, but always going on about how lonely she is and she lives with my sis. - AgingCare.com

My mom is very sweet, but always going on about how lonely she is and she lives with my sis.

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My sister and I are caregivers for our 91yr. old mom. My sister is becoming ill from the stress. My mom lives downstairs of my sister and husband. My sister can't go upstairs even if she's been downstairs all day , without Mom saying "Don't forget about me, it's so lonely down here". When I come over to visit several times a week, as I am leaving for home, she gives me the same "lonely" speech. She refuses to go to any senior center and be with those of her age. We know she doesn't want to burden us. How do we talk to her and help her to see what she is doing to us, especially my sister?

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My grandmother was fiercely independent and as social as she could be, she belonged to local seniors and women's groups, had many pen and telephone friends, was the linchpin of the family. But she was lonely. It was the kind of loneliness all the socializing in the world couldn't mend, when all was said and done in the end she ate her solitary supper and went to bed alone.
Your mom might thrive in a different environment where there were opportunities for company and activities right outside her door, or she might be like my grandmother and feel a need that can never be met again in this life. You and your sister can only do so much for her, you can't be her everything. Sis may just have to harden her heart a little bit and try not take these statements to heart, she deserves to have her own needs met as well.
Encourage your sis to take more time for herself, be there to listen, and leave the door open for a dialogue about changing mom's living arrangements.
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I would make sure that she's had an evaluation for depression.
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I don't know if this will help to add, but it may make me feel better :) My mother moved states to be near me, in her early 70s, then proceeded to pressure me to see her all the time, came over unannounced, etc... she 'hates people,' so won't do any social stuff, just consistently says that she is lonely because I don't spend enough time with her. And when really angry, screams that I have ruined her life. I had to do a lot of work to realize I can't fix this for her, no matter how sure she is that I can, so I know you can work on this too. I understand about them saying they're lonely yet rejecting any outside activities. Just keep her realizing she's making that choice, and if she were truly lonely she'd choose differently.
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Cwillie...I agree with you. I deal with this all the time with Mom. Loneliness is an interesting topic. When Mom lived with us our little dog became her dog. I had her records, my brother bought all kinds of CD's from her era. Like my mom, I believe they are lonely for their "familiar" which can't be found any longer. I recall one time my mom being lucid enough to tell me what she wanted. She wanted to sit around the kitchen table again with her dad, mom, her brothers and her sister. When she lived with us, I'd spent crazy amounts of time with her having coffee, talking, playing cards, singing, etc., but she'd still say how lonely she was. I'd make myself sick over it, losing sleep while she slept like a rock😉.
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If your Mom likes animals, I think the suggestion to get a cat is brilliant. I have had pets all my life; recently lost my cat and I feel so LONELY now... I live alone, I never wanted "people" company, but I love having an animal in my life. This makes so much sense to me... as long as it doesn't add to your sister's stress, of course.
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Hi Cindy& Pam. I know it is very tough for You and Your dear Sister but Your Mom probably is lonely. Try music from the 1940 s when Your Mom was in Her late teens and early 20 s. Music is very soothing and calming, or try leaving the radio on for those chat shows. I live alone now and I find I'm listening to the radio all of the time, and it's great company. You could also get a little house trained pet for Your Mom and after a time Your Mom will become very attached to it.
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I agree with most of the wonderful comments above after going through this with 2 elderly divorced parents You and your sister can not fix her loneliness and do not need to feel guilty. Only she can by moving into an assisted living facility or spending the day at the Senior Center giving her some activities and socialization and you a necessary break. Be pleasantly firm with her while setting some boundaries. Guilt trips between mothers and her children are common ways to control behavior so avoid allowing that to occur as much as possible.
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With these other good answers in mind, I think #1 you must fully recognize that you can't fix everything for her. Her peers are gone, she's no longer needed in the workforce or as a homemaker, etc. I'd prepare some appropriate phrases; ideas: "And what are you going to do about it? No? So, it's sort of the state of things, we can't change what you feel. But it's important you know that you needn't say anything to make sure that we keep checking on you and being with you." Maybe there's a part of her brain that thinks she has to state a plea in order to control her environment, like a child does. I second the query whether she could have a pet (cat comes to mind)! Is there odd juju to her being 'below stairs' - how often does she come up? Might she mean afraid sometimes when she says lonely? Lastly, is there *any* kind of duty she could be assigned that will make her feel useful? Redirect her words - get creative - and work on not feeling guilty or put off! She's lucky to have you girls.
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You need to get someone else in to help your Sister..and you.
Statistics show that many caregivers die before the person they are caring for does.
You do not say if your Mother is ill or what her conditions is.
If possible Adult Day Care would greatly help all of you.
If there is a Senior Service in your area or a Senior Center that has gatherings bring her there. Games, lunch, cards, outings will all help to get her a little less lonely.
Has she been seen by her doctor for possible Depression?
If she can not get out another caregiver that could come in 2 or 3 times a week would also help. The could do a bit of housework or just spend time. If all she needs is company if there are any Teens in your neighborhood that "baby sit" this might be something that they might want to do once in a while. If no direct care is necessary and it would be going for a walk, reading it might be fun for your Mom.
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Cindy and Pam, My heart cried for you when I read your post. I brought my mother, who has Alzheimer's, to live with me and my husband. She lived in our downstairs apartment with us for several years. My life slowly became consumed with taking care of my mother, but no matter what I did or how much time I spent with her, it was never enough. My health continued to decline, and although so many wonderful people here on this forum tried to tell me to think about myself, my health, and my family, I just kept trying. As so many have said here, you cannot "fix" your mother's loneliness. She longs for something that is no longer available to her and her poor mind cannot comprehend where the loneliness is even coming from. I was finally forced to change my own circumstances, since there was no way I could change my mother's and I moved my mother into an Private Care Assisted Living Home. This was by far the hardest decision I have ever had to make and I felt like such a failure. I truly believed that I could take care of my mother and had intented to keep her with me until the very end but I just couldn't do it. It is natural to care for love and endure the hardships that come with raising our children and watching them grown into responsible adults. It is not natural to have to care for and endure the hardships that come with watching our parents regress into little children that cannot be satisfied. Please be sure that you do what you can and be realistic with what you cannot do. If it becomes to much to care for you mother then do not feel like you have failed. If you are able to make necessary arrangements so that she can be cared for somewhere else, then you are still taking care of you mother. Your love for her means that you do what is best for her, even if that means placing her somewhere where she can be cared for and you can take care of your own health and family, something your mother really wants for you, even if she no longer can comprehend that now. Please take care of yourself. My mother is very settled in now and in her rare lucid moments she tells me how happy she is where she now lives. She loves the food there and she has a roomate now, so she is never really alone. Although she stills complains about being lonely, the never ending unfixable problem, I now have a better understanding of what is happening and I no longer feel that it is my fault and I have to do something. I just change the subject with her when I can, and when I am leaving and I get the "I am so lonely" speech, I simply listen, leave, say several prayers for strength and remind myself repeatedly, that there is nothing I can do and the loneliness she feels is not fixable. I know she is well cared for and I have done the best that I can do for her. I hope this is helpful to you. You are in my prayers.
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