Mom has the beginnings of senior dementia and is isolating herself in the house? - AgingCare.com

Mom has the beginnings of senior dementia and is isolating herself in the house?

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She needs to get out with other seniors to socaiize. Help! Stays in the house a lot, afraid to go out unless family is with her. She desparately needs the contact with other people and make friends. All of herfriends and family are gone except for me, she is understandalby holding onto me for deal life, and I cant get anything done or go anywhere without her panicking when will I be back.

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My mom is in AL and she won't do anything unless someone is with her. So, for the most part, she does nothing. I have just learned to accept this. I can't be with her more than I am. She was never a joiner in her former life, so why would she start now? She could do all sorts of things. But she does't. That is actually ok. she is 90 years old and is shutting down, I suppose.

It is hard to accept but she is letting go of the world and I have to let go of her.
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You say your mom has the beginnings of dementia. Why do you think this? Has she been diagnosed by a doctor or is it things you have noticed? I'd be careful with my expectations of her. Seniors have many reasons to not be the social butterfly that they once were. Often, the senior has balance problems, bladder or bowel problems, gas problems, low energy, anxiety and confusion.

If she is panicking when you leave, consider that she is having problems and try to comfort her. I'd discuss her anxiety and possible depression with her doctor to see if medications might help.

And I would read a lot about the conditions that may be causing her to panic or isolate. Sometimes, going out alone, socializing, etc. is not a good option, especially if this is dementia. She may be confused about where she is, who people are, and how to get home. And perhaps that's why she panics when you leave the house. Maybe she can't recall how to use the bathroom or the remote. Maybe she becomes disoriented. All of this can cause panic and anxiety. The senior may be embarrassed to admit this to family members.

My cousin used to call me and another cousin a lot and sound panicky wanting us to come and visit her. We couldn't figure out why, but she was getting dementia and she was scared due to how things seemed strange to her. She told me that things seemed like she was dreaming and she wasn't sure if she was dreaming.

I'd be sensitive to her feelings and just try to comfort her without pushing her out of the house. She may need that support and reassurance. Offer to accompany her to a place that she feels comfortable with for a short time. Keep it short and limited until you can see how much she can handle. I would back off if she is not happy or comfortable with it.

I would keep my eye on her dementia. Except for the early stages, it's not wise to leave a dementia patient alone. You might check to see if there is a senior center that she could go during the day, though, there are many considerations for that, depending on her abilities and comfort level.
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This sounds like it might be depression or anxiety; I know my Mom dug her heels in and stopped leaving the house completely this winter. Having read about the importance of socializing, I kept pushing her to see her friends, go to her weekly women's group, etc., but the more I pushed, the more anxious she became. There are rules, and then there are individuals who don't fit the rules!

The most enlightening point made during my caregiver courses is that each person living with dementia will have a different reaction to their brains shutting down; brains are highly individualistic and so, therefore, is the course of the condition. You know your mother best, but in the case of my Mom, reverse psychology seemed to work. I stopped pushing, let her stay in the house, and made a point of enthusing about how good I felt every time I was with my friends, and how positive it made me feel to be around people. Even if she couldn't remember what I was telling her, she could read my energy. After three months of self-isolation (I was there every day to keep her company and help her with her routine, of course), she decided she was "ready to go out again." Again, this might not work with your mother, but I thought I'd share my experience.
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My Mom has been living at home after release from hospital and rehab since start of the year. She's been adamant about not having visitors, telling friends who call not to visit. She has a lot of friends, and, fortunately, some are people who aren't easily dissuaded. What I found out is my Mom is afraid of not being able to maintain conversations with people - due to hearing loss, and having trouble keeping a train of thought going for long enough to discuss things seriously. (I think part of the latter might be long-term effects of anesthesia, plus the disruption of her normal routines being in hospital and rehab). She does have normal conversations with me and my sister, and I think is starting to regain her social confidence talking with friends who've stopped by recently. She's decided to go into assisted-living, which I think will help with this -- simply being around other people in a social situation will force her to apply her communications skills (which I think are sort of "use it or lose it") and find out that she really can get along with people as she has in the past.
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How do you know that Mom has dementia?

Persons with dementia cannot live alone beyond the very earliest stages. Sometimes dementia progresses very gradually, and sometimes it is very rapid, and most times it is a combination of fast declines interspersed with plateaus.

This is a time for you to learn about her condition and, in general terms, what to expect. It is time for thinking ahead to when Mom can't live alone.

An adult day health program may suit your needs right now. It is a safe, nonjudgmental place, with professionals used to dealing with the fears and insecurities of elders with some handicaps such as cognitive loss.

You need time to yourself! Be firm, but be sympathetic. This new situation is definitely not of your mother's choosing!
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Deniseec63

Hi, I can sure feel the stress you are under. As we work out the solution for this situation, please take care of yourself. Since you are the only one left to care for Mom, it is imperative that you take care of yourself.

Mom's uneasiness may be related to something other than what is on the surface. She may have a diagnosis that can be treated by a medical provider. Seeking help from her doctor and clergy will not hurt, to find the answers.

My social work background tells me she may be depressed. And therefore seeking solitude and not being out side of her comfort zone. This could also have something to do with a situation in her background. Some older adults especially when sustaining frequent loss will seek a place of comfort.

It is hard for us to feel all the loss being sustained by our parents. We are talking not just about friend or family member also the loss of abilities such as hosting an event even when it is at the senior center. When a person cannot get past the grieving of such losses they will frequently stay away from others so as to protect themselves. This can usually be helped by some counseling and medication.

I am sure the thought of money for such medical care has now entered your thought processes. I of course do not know the circumstances of her husband's health. However if Hospice is or was involved they offer free help for family members. Also, many a time county agency Senior Information and Assistance funded by the Older Americans Act offers this type of help. This agency's involvement can work to your relief in many ways. Since you are living at a distance from your Mother, calling the agency will help you and her. They can do in home checks for you and with a vast knowledge of what is happening in the community it is possible to get her connected with another person in the community to involve her in activities.

Whatever your decision please know that you are not alone in this area. The local hospital for you can provide a support for you in your geographic area. Take care of your health, as you will need to be able to help her.
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I agree that its probably because he realizes she is having problems with memory and speach. We go out or dinner almost every day. Mom said she wanted me to stop signing her up for these things. Explained its just eating out. That I was not cooking something for her and then husband I going out. My Mom is in a Daycare 3x a week. Does she like it...yes and no but I have from 8 am to 2pm to get things done. I was the oldest and couldbe made to feel guilty. At 66 no more. I was always the one who was there. I feel I should be allowed time to myself now I'm retired.
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I totally understand her withdrawal. Afraid she'll pee her pants. Afraid she will run into someone she knows and she won't remember their name. Or she will offer a familiar greeting to someone who does not know her.. She might forget where she was sitting in a restaurant. She will mentally wander in a conversation and be horrified when she gets "the look". She will fear being separated from you in a store. Or losing her coat or purse. Nothing is certain but the uncertainty.
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My Dad was always the social leader in every group, the life of the party, or the first out onto the dance floor. You'd never know it, now. He won't go to the senior center, doesn't get along with the others, & insists that my brother or I do everything with/for him. He HAS other choices. These are his choices alone. Many times I will find out the reason for something during a dr's office visit. He will just explain very clearly why he does something and it will make perfect sense. Why he never said it to his family astounds us all, as we will beg him for an explanation. Who knows? They know. They will tell you (if they can), when they choose to. Some are manipulative & seem to know what they are doing & why. Others are truly confused & try to hide it. Being clingy to those they live with is very common, though. I get the feeling your mom is suffering from some form of separation anxiety. Talk to her doctor to see if she can see someone she will share her feelings with. Perhaps someone who will counsel her AND you. Good luck & keep us posted. Take care. blou
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I'd like to suggest an additional option. Depending upon the person and other factors, there may be additional opportunities for socializing that aren't necessarily "senior oriented". Perhaps if one has a hobby or strong interest in something, there may be relevant clubs or organizations that include people of all ages. No matter what their age, people are still individuals and not just members of a demographic group.
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