Mom is miserable. She can't remember that family were just there to visit her. I hate seeing her unhappy, what can I do? - AgingCare.com

Mom is miserable. She can't remember that family were just there to visit her. I hate seeing her unhappy, what can I do?

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My Mom has been living with me for almost a year. She is 96 years old and has slight dementia. She cries all the time even though the Geriatric Doctor has changed her anti-depressant a couple of times. She also says constantly that she wants to die because she can't do the things she use to do. She is physically healthy but uses a walker and wheel chair. She says thing that upset me and I usually wind up crying. (Maybe I'm too sensitive.) I know she doesn't mean to hurt me but sometime she treats me like I'm 12 years old. If I go to the store she wants to know why I took so long. If I go to my room she'll talk to herself and say "I'm all alone again. She leaves me all alone." She complains that no one comes to visit her when she has company almost every day. Her grandchildren and my brother and sister come over frequently. If I tell her they were visiting her this afternoon she tells me that was last week. She doesn't remember that they were here. Then she'll get depressed because she feels all alone. I feel so bad for her. I hate to see her so unhappy. .

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Jinx - Thanks so much for your input. I will definitely try it with my Mom. What I've been doing is telling her how much she has to live for and I count all the blessing in her life. I've never acknowledged her feelings in the way you mentioned. Thanks.
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In the same boat and i agree I dont think there is such a thing as SLIGHT dementia! My mum is only 75 and mobile she refuses to go to a daycare centre she sits and knits all day and watches telly so depressing theres days when shes upbeat then the dark days but as yet havnt seen her cry and dont think I could handle that BUT i will have to. This is all new to me and everyday im seeing her deteriorate and soem days i feel compassion other days i cry and most days im angry and overall im depressed as I dont know what to do am waiting a diagnosis so I can get some more help and learn more about what I can do. All im doing right now is making sure shes safe and has eaten she had lost ALL interest in anything she used to like but depression goes hand in hand with this so its a mixture of both. I will say though that I know im doing everything I can to make her happy,shopping,foods she likes,videos,books etc... it breaks my heart to see her like this but I cant do any more than im doing and I think you are too we are just human and can only do our best for them I think the only real help we can give them is not beat ourselves up over it although my mum was a very unhappy woman most of her life I know she wouldnt want me to this sad or depressed because of her. You mum is lucky that people pop in thats huge even if she dosnt remember at least they care! Hugs!
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GinGin, When my mother-in-law was still living in her house alone and her dementia was causing her to forget pretty much everything, I started keeping a journal for her that I called her "brain book". Every time she and I would go anyplace for any reason, I would write it out as if she were the one writing it. When someone came to see her, they wrote in the 'brain book' that they had been there and taken her somewhere or just visited etc. That was 5 years ago and although we're on the second 'brain book' I try to keep it going. Her eyesight is too bad now to read it because of macular degeneration, and I'm afraid I forget (ha) to write in it sometimes, but we have tried to keep it going. When she still could read with the magnifying glass, she enjoyed going back in time and re-reading what we all wrote. She has three sons (I'm married to #3) so I would write, "well it took three times, but mom finally got it right with number three son" knowing full well that my brother-in-law would be reading it at some point. She loves the banter between us kids. Anyway, just a thought for your mom. Also, I know it's hard, but your mom really needs to stop looking at herself all the time. How depressing would that be to focus constantly on what you DON'T have, as opposed to what you DO have? Jeesh. No thanks. ♥
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GinGin - I can tell you what to say when she says she wants to die, and what not to say. At least I can tell you what I would want to hear.

Don't say, "Mom, you have so much to live for!"

Do say, "Oh, Mom, you're so lonely and sad. I love you, but you are still not happy. It feels like you're all alone, doesn't it? It feels like you have lost everything, You used to be so strong, You could go anywhere you wanted to. Now you're stuck in this rotten wheelchair. Of course you're sad." Use this when she cries, and use it when she verbally lashes out at you, because she's sad then, too.

Let her know you UNDERSTAND why she's not happy. Face it, it just plain sucks to be her. It would suck MUCH more without you, but it still sucks.

Human nature being what it is, If you tell her all the reasons she has to be sad, she will just naturally be forced to contradict you, by admitting that it could be worse. But she has to be the one to say it.

We always think we should console the sufferer, but the first step should be to acknowledge their suffering. Offering solutions and pointing out the positive both come later, if at all. IMHO.
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Almost there & Blannie - Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I know you're right about my Mom and her dementia. She is no longer the person she use to be. I try not to let the things she says get to me and I do say to myself that it is not really who she is but it still hurts.

Hugs to you both.
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Is there any way you could take video or pictures of her frequent visits from family members and show them to her when she's feeling lonely? Post them around her room? I know dementia isn't logical, so I have no idea if this would work. You could also take video (like with an iPad) of family members talking to her and telling her how much they love her or telling stories about something they've done with her or how she's helped them or what she's taught them) and show the videos to her when she's feeling down.

Like others have said, you're doing a wonderful job and since you don't control the universe (don't we wish!), you can only do what you can do to make your mom happy. Her brain isn't right, so there's only so much you can do to help. Hugs to you and your mom.
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Your Mom has dementia (even if it is considered slight) and all that you have described here, the crying, the not wanting to be left alone, the depression and saying she wants to die is all a part of this wretched disease. And because it is the dementia, it has absolutely nothing to do with any failings on your part - None whatsoever. Please try always to remember this. The dementia is the one speaking to you for the most part and not your Mom and who she really is in her spirit. I know it hurts at times and at times it may even make you a bit angry. Anger is a common thing that we as caregivers of people suffering dementia have to deal with on a somewhat regular basis. It is a very stressful job. In fact, having taken care of my own Mom now, full-time, for 3 years with very little help, I have experienced every human emotion there is to experience ... and much of them I experience all in the same day. Anyway, I understand that you want to see your Mom happy, but please never feel that you are not doing enough to make sure that she is happy. You do not have a magic wand but if you did you would use it. Dementia is a wicked disease, to be sure, and you are doing all that you can to make your Mom's daily life as happy as it can be. That is all that any of us can do.
Hang in there!
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Veronica - Thank you for your help. I'm new at this Website and have felt not so alone by reading the postings and have found some helpful hints and some really nice people. Thanks to you and others like you.
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StandingAlone - The aides take her out in the backyard and take her for long walks in her wheel chair. I planted a tomato garden with her in our backyard which she did every year and that gave her some pleasure to watch them grow. I sit outside with her and we barbeque occasionally. I have a Golden Retriever who loves her and comforts her when she's upset. My mother loves the dog and is amazed at how human-like she is. I try to do things with her that she use to enjoy but she doesn't get pleasure in them anymore. Even her likes and dislikes for different foods has changed drastically. Thanks, again, for your input. *Hugs*
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It is so sad to see our loved ones unhappy and I agree with Barbara and her suggestions. Comfort her when she cries, hold her and rock her if she allows it even as she is saying hurtful things. If you can't have a pet a stuffed animal she can hug. I see she has a wheelchair but an indoor chair that rocks can be comforting.
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