My Mom lives in a wonderful retirement community; however, she has quit socializing at all. Any advice?

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She used to eat dinner with a very negative lady, who has left the residence. Now she says nobody will sit with her because of that. She is 87 and had a stroke which affects her short term memory. We never know what the truth really is. How do we get her to quit isolating herself?

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I don't really think it is realistic to expect to protect our loved ones from the consequences of their own behavior and attitudes. I imagine that the other residents are only too happy that this narcissistic, perfectionist, know-it-all doesn't want to socialize with them much.

Do the "friends" she used to socialize with come and visit her often?

I know that you are trying to do what is good for Mom, but you can only work with the material you are given.
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I think in some facilities, the way they set up the dining room causes issues for some residents. My mom had an assigned table and she wasn't crazy about some of her dining companions. I tried to get her to ask for a different table, but she was never assertive about that. Eventually the people she sat with all died or ran out of money and left. She quit going down to eat because she's so far away from the dining room and she doesn't get dressed half of the time (I bring her all of her food that she heats up). She's been there for 13 years, so she's far outlived the average stay in those kinds of facilities (which is 18 months). I bring her library books and she's perfectly happy to stay in her room 90% of the time.

She's 94 and I think some people hit a certain age and socializing is just too much trouble. Her short-term memory is gone, so I think she's embarrassed knowing that she repeats herself endlessly. So if your mom is happy (or as happy as she can be with her OCD, narcissism and other issues), I'd say let her be.
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Tell your homeopathic sister to break out her material medica and break out the passion flower, valerian and what ever else it takes to get mom on track.
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Mom used to be very social. I live 350 miles away. However, I'm the medical pro I'm the family while my sister lives near Mom and is in to alternative healing for herself. I have to explain everything to Mom & her for them to understand what the docs think. Mom has been OCD, narcissistic, perfectionist, know-it-all all her life. Boy, are we having fun yet?!?! (Sarcasm)
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when one resident gets more than their fair share of visitors the other residents ARE jealous. my cuz terry, who looks like jesus, and myself who looks like the devil, both visit aunt edna every couple of days. its driving the other residents nuts trying to figure out why wild men from borneo love edna so much. its really simple. edna loves us.. lol. wait till they see edna ripo outta there on a 3 wheeled motorcycle this summer. ( if shes still able )
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It could be that a "guilt by association" aura is still hanging around her from when the unpleasant person was there, I suppose? If you're worried, have a word with the staff and ask if she's mixing generally. If not, see if you (or, better, the staff) can help her break the ice with one or two likely candidates.
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I am of two minds about this. I understand that isolation is not mentally healthy. I worked hard to avoid isolation during the year after my husband's death.

On the other hand, a lot of socialization is not every one's cup of tea. Introverted people don't need a lot of social stimulation to be healthy.

Was Mom a Social Butterfly before moving to the retirement community? Was she social when invited but seldom initiated social contact? Or did she gt along fine with little social contact?

Aside from meals, does she participate in any activities? Bingo? Crafts? A bus trip to the mall? Anything?

Frankly, when I wind up in a retirement community or ALF or NH, I hope I'll be able to afford to have some of my meals delivered to my room. I definitely do not need nor would I thrive on a social setting three times a day. On the other hand, if I holed up in my room and never came out, I hope someone would investigate that and keep me from being totally isolated.

Sigh. It is never easy when one size does not fit all, is it? You need to be guided by what you know of your mother's past socializing history, how her memory loss is impacting her personality, and what is available to her. You are a loving child to be concerned. As you work this out, please let us know how things are going. We learn from each other.
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Check with the staff, because the "nobody likes me" routine is often a manipulative quest to get you to come to meals so she can show you off in a "hahaha my children come here more than your children do" Yes , they do compare and compete with each other. Don't play into it anymore than you would play into your young child's squabble with playmates. It's better if they sort it out on their own.
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There isn't any background on your profile so it's difficult to know what to suggest. Do you live near enough to visit and join her for dinner (occasionally). If it is a spur of the moment thing, you will see how she is greeted in the dining room. The host may give you more insight into Mom's habits. (You might ask, is there a group my Mom usually eats with, I'd like to say hello to them). Sometimes our parents become our children and need our help navigating social situations. Other times, they need us to come with them the first time. There may be a social worker on staff that can offer ideas as well. Good luck.
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