Mom's brother who lived with my parents died. Now mom with Alzheimer's just stares off into space and won't eat. What can we do?

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She goes into his room and sits on his bed with her head in her hands. Sometimes she gets defiant--won't take her medication, doesn't want to bathe. Her doctor prescribed an antidepressant as well as Xanax as needed, but it's going to take a bit for that to kick in. Is there anything immediate we can do? My dad is her primary care giver, but we do have some help that comes in about 15 hours a week. Next week, we will collect her brother's ashes from the funeral home and finish taking care of affairs since my dad can't do it. All of this is taking a toll on my dad who is 87. We just don't know what to do.

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I am a counselor, an R.N. & have over 40+ years in the profession.
I have lost my 2 daughters in the past 5 years & I fell into a deep dark hole & I suffer form no mental illness.
Xanax works immediately. A very benign drug for anxiety. Sits on the same receptor sites as alcohol in the brain. It can be addictive but my Lord, she is at an age where who cares? Let her be where she is & not where you wish her to be. She may be overmedicated too?? More information in needed to give appropriate feedback.
Some antidepressants work fast-some it takes a good 10 days or 2 weeks to work. If she has stopped eating, perhaps she is getting ready to die herself.
We are never ready for death, no matter what we do. I lost 4 years of my life from the loss of my 2 daughter's-both died at age 39. 15 months apart in birth & to the day, in death. This just happened 5 years ago for my oldest daughter & my youngest passed not even 3 years ago. I, just in the past 6 months, have crawled out of the deep dark hole I found myself in called depression. I do not suffer from Alzheimer's. That is an entire different place to be. Maybe she has no idea that he has died? Alzheimer's steals the cogitative part of one's brain.

I also am a care giver for my husband who suffers from Solvent Dementia.
I was going to write another book & was turned onto this site. I so wish to serve in what ever capacity I can.
Blessing are all about you-we just forget, only to remember...a moment at a time. Keep offering her food & more important drink, fluids. I so wish I could help you. Feeling so helpless....Your not alone. Keep writing in here. Share.
WE all die alone & we all die. It is a part of living to go home to GOD/ or what ever name you choose to give the Power that IS.
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Your mom is grieving and it's difficult to know how the Alzheimer's affects the grieving process. But with anyone, allow her to grieve. This is a very difficult time for her and it may be difficult for her to express what she's feeling. Allow for new routines, a new normal. It's what we all have to do when we lose a loved one.
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When my mother's sister fell and hit her head, my mother's memory started to worsen. When that sister died a few weeks later, my mother stopped doing anything but sitting in her recliner zoning out. She stopped eating and totally lost track of the time. In fact, even though she only has mild memory loss, she doesn't remember the funeral, at all.

Part of the problem is how it's affecting your dad, and I can't think to do anything but do what you can to offer him help and support as much as possible.

My mom was also defiant about doing anything, including eating, but I just kept after her about it. It's a different situation because she has mild dementia, not Alzheimer's, and she lived alone so there was no-one to really help her out.

As luck would have it, she just happened to have a doctor's appointment with her primary care physician right after my aunt's death. She respects her doctor and tries to be on "her best behavior" (according to her) when she has her appointments with him. He gave her a kind "talking to" and that helped more than anything else.

If your mother has anyone like that, someone who can talk her into things, like a doctor, priest, another sibling -- someone who can shake her up and get her back into her routine -- that might help.

However, the grieving process takes time and some of it is going to linger.
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Just to be clear, I believe the mother has lost her sibling - her brother who lived with them most or all his adult life. Xanax kicks in in about 15 minutes and should help in the short term until the anti-depressant builds up enough over the next 6 weeks. In the meantime, keeping mom and dad busy may be helpful. I would bring them surprises to engage their interest, take them on outings to distract them as much as possible and bring joy into their lives such as taking them to the zoo or a museum or out to eat or visits with the grandkids where they engage in a group activity together - whatever they can still handle. If you make your mom still feel needed, even in small ways, it will mean a lot to her at this time. The tincture of time is what is needed to heal your mother's broken heart. I'm so sorry for your loss of your uncle.
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I certainly agree with Pam. I lost my son 20 years ago and life has not, nor will ever be the same. However, I read this as Mom brother, not son. The loss of a sibling, at that age, makes them see their own mortality clearly. Either way, the depression should be addressed with her Doctor.
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OOOOOh call their doctor and get them both in for a good checkup. Give the MD a heads up on their depression and talk about griefwork. Have their pastor visit and counsel them. Losing a child is the hardest thing anyone ever goes through, no matter how old you are.
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