My MIL (82) lives alone, gets meals delivered, is depressed and isolated, not ready to consider assisted living. Ideas?


She barely eats, is losing weight, losing strength, and spends most of her time in bed indicating she is tired. She has a house cleaner who comes in every 2 weeks and has very few friends. I am not able to provide her emotional or physical care. Ideas?

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EvaLynnPearl wrote "I wish Medicare and our Government saw things this same way but they don't. In most cases Medicare will only help an elderly person if they only own $2K to their name."
I hope you will remember, money from the "Government" is everyone's, your neighbors', your children's & grandchildren's.
There is always going to be a requirement to have individuals spend their own money, to take care of, their own self. Yes it is good to have saved money up for old age, and then, to spend it on your needs.
For the unfortunate ones who exhaust their savings, then the rest of us can step in, thru "government", to pay for their needs.
I only wish they taught kids in high school to start saving 10-15% per year after college towards their old age needs.
ALL of us needs to be more Responsible! And quit asking for handouts. If it means your kids will not inherit anything, that is fine.
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Mannose is good stuff, and there is a fair amount of it in cranberries, pineapples, apples and currants and a little in peaches and some other fruits too. Regarding statins and amlodipine, they may be statistically great for reducing risks in the population, but they certainly don't agree with everybody and tolerance may decrease with age. I can't take statins due to cognitive side effects, and my mom had several risk factors for and actually got rhabdomyolysis and I had to make sure she stayed off them too. And she got fluid overload on pioglitazone that I was hoping would be a breakthrough for her (instead of just taking insulin and being ravenously hungry all day with lousy glucose control)...phooey. She did better on Januvia. Just realize you should talk it over with your doctor who hopefully is not some nut who does not believe in side effects, and that not everyone gets every side effect possible on every drug, for some folks, those drugs can be excellent.
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geo123 - your mother is a sit-down comedien! She could go on the road with those one liners! She reminds me of Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey who plays the grandmother with the one liners - just enough to make a great point.
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This is a little off-topic, but I think it might be related, but...

I was just helping my Mom fill-out a form for the clinic she's going to and it asked personal questions, such as what your hobbies and interests are, what are your greatest achievements, etc...

When anyone asks my mom these questions, she says there aren't any. For "occupation" she wanted me to put "couchsitter" because she said, "Well, that's what I do all day is sit on the couch and do nothing." Her initial answers indicated that everything of any interest is in her past and not worth mentioning.

Experts at the clinics know how to drag these things out of her. I was able to do the same by going off the form I had to fill out for her and by suggesting things to her. Here's a little of our conversation and I'm including this because I wonder if seeing these answers (not verbatim, but close) would help you figure out ways to get your MIL to do anything differently.

Me: The form asks for your hobbies and interests.
Mom: I don't have any.
Me: I thought you liked to read?
Mom: Oh, well, sure. That's true. I DO like to read. You can put that down.
Me: Anything else?
Mom: No, I'm not interested in anything.
Me: You've been doing some nice-looking embroidery. Don't you want me to include that?
Mom: That counts?! That's silly. I've been doing that my whole life. They don't want to hear about that. No-one does embroidery any more. No-one wants to know about that.
Me: Well, you might be right, I don't know, but it's an interest. Can I include it?
Mom: Sure, why not. It's a waste of your good ink, but fine.
Me: How about music? You like music.
Mom: But I don't play an instrument. Don't put that down.
Me: I wasn't going to say you played an instrument, but it's just asking for your interests and you have an interest in music. I don't have to write it down if you really don't want me to, but I think it counts since it's one of your interests.
Mom: Fine, but I'm tired of this. I'm taking a break. All these questions -- it's so complicated!!!

Anyway, you get the idea. Also, I have to learn when to stop pestering her. Forms can't be filled-out in one sitting, usually, and I just have to plan for that. :-)
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Start with a visit to her doctor to get an antidepressant, after about 2 - 3 weeks if that doesn't show some improvement switch antidepressants. It is an art to getting the right one for her body. Once she is not depressed, suggest visiting people in a nursing home, go to the library where they hold events, take a class, join an exercise class - and get moving. Nothing improves a depressed person like exercise, all those endorphins stimulating the brain! Good luck!
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Even though I have sent the following message to another person on Agingcare.Com requesting help, I feel my information may help you too. Please note I have been a Care for the past 5 years. I know and understand what Care Givers go through and experience taking care of a loved one

To make a long story short, and not to repeat what has already been previously said, I highly suggest that you ask your father's PCP to write him a prescription for either Trazadone, Remeron or Celexa. From my understanding, the lowest dosage of these meds are 50MG. I presently have my mother take 1/2Tab (25MG) of Trazadone and it has made a world of difference with her behavior and attitude.
I would say after your father takes the med for about one month, you could increase it to 50MG. Trazadone should only be increased by 25MG at a time.
For those of you who are taking care of a loved one who is taking any med with the word (Statin) in it, please see that their PCP agrees to have them stop taking it. From what I have learned, any med with Statin in the name is very deadly. If those of you who are taking care of a loved one who is taking Amlodipine, please see that their PCP agrees to have them stop taking it. Amlodipine causes tremendous swelling throughout a person's body.

What a lot of seniors don't realize is that they could possibly have UTI. Men can have this infection too. Your father's PCP needs to request your father to give him a urine sample to be tested. I highly suggest ordering a powder called
"D Mannose" which is a natural antibiotic. My mother has been taking
"D Mannose" for one week and it has been a miracle to see how much better her behavior and attitude have changed. Please note "D Mannose" is not a med prescribed by a PCP and it can be taken every day for the rest of a person's life.

What we Care Givers have to remember is that no one likes to give up their "independence". Try to put yourself in their shoes. Some elders can adjust to this change in life and others can't. What I have had to learn as a person who takes care of my mother, she is no longer the mother I once knew. She has reverted back into being a little girl. As a child some good things happened to her and some bad things happened to her. I have had time to view her behavior and it leads me to believe that she was badly abused as a child. These are stories I will never be told. When she has done something wrong, she always says that she didn't do it. This indicates to me that throughout her childhood she had to always protect herself. What we also have to remember is that our parent(s) grew up in a time of great depression. As long as they are not hurting themselves or anyone else, it is important to just go along with them in what they say and do. Please be aware of things that deal with their safety. We have spent a great deal of our life seeing our loved one taking care of themselves. We tend to over look the sample things in life that could actually hurt them. If you tell them how proud you are of them for doing what they need to do to take care of themselves, you will see a big change in the elder you are helping to take care of.

In respect to an elder's banking and money, they most likely spent a great deal of their life saving this money. Please keep in mind that most elders lived through a horrible depression and money was hard to come by. I am the POA and MPOA for my elderly mother. She had her "Living Trust" set up so that I only have access to her checking account. I only have access to her CDs after she passes. The way I look at this situation is that the money wasn't mine to begin with. If it takes all the money she owns to take care of herself, God bless her for saving her money. I wish Medicare and our Government saw things this same way but they don't. In most cases Medicare will only help an elderly person if they only own $2K to their name. If your father is having problems in your having access to his money, I would highly suggest that you talk to him and have him agree to set up a checking account with both your names on it. Tell him that this will help you to pay for his medical expenses when he personally can't do it. Tell him this is a safe way for him to know that the money will be there for him. The time will come when banking makes no sense to him.Tell your loved one that you would like to help eliminate this stress from their mind. Have the monthly banking statements, CD statements, Social Security letters, and yearly tax information sent to your address. You can do a monthly spreadsheet showing the elderly person exactly what he/she has in their account(s). This makes an elderly person feel much better knowing and seeing the money they have.

Please note that I don't know everything. What I do know from being a Care Giver, I am very happy to share it. It is very hard to see an elderly person growing older and suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer. The best we can do is help them, take care of them through the last of their years, and love them. My prayers are with you and your family.
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In my area we have a program called "Active Minds". Several times a week there are talks at area assisted living facilities. the talks range from Chocolate, The Syrian Struggle, Internet, you name it! My mom goes to day care M-F, but her hubby of eight years just sits at home. We are beginning to plan for placement of my mom as she is entering the severe stage of Alzheimer's. So, I need to watch the Active Minds schedule and get him out more. Maybe he will see a facility that he would like, or meet some friends, something. He is a retired federal employee and used to attend NARFE meetings monthly, that gave him an outlet. But since a hip replacement 2.5 years ago, he just doesn't get out or even want to and I also think the incontinence he is experiencing has a part as well. Where are the bathrooms? What if I can't get there in time? All those questions that if I had to deal with those problems certainly would be hesitant to go to unfamiliar places.

Check to see if you have Active Minds or something similar in your area. The programs usually have lunch or snacks available, and may serve as an additional motivator to get her out.
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Don't let her be the boss make her
Get up out of bed. Sometimes you have to use tough love.
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My MIL got into kind of a funk where she was depressed and stopped doing the things she liked. However, she has her husband and one son in the household and feels like she HAS to cook and clean for them. She resents doing it, hates doing it, but she feels it's her duty. In about the past year, she's actually started adding some outside and enjoyable activities to her schedule, all of a sudden. The only difference I see between her and others is that, even though she hated doing it, the chores she did for others kept her from becoming totally sedentary.

By contrast, my Mom lived alone and didn't have to do it for anyone else, so she just kind of stopped doing most of it.

By the way, my MIL's activities come from her local park district, so that's yet another place to look for activities.

I just had a thought, though -- one of the things that is helping me now get my mother doing things is that there are experts now helping me and talking to her. If you have a senior center or clinic where you can go get advice and possible get them to go talk to her, I don't know if that would help, but I think it's helping me out getting my Mom out.

I'm just wondering this -- if I had found someone who would have routinely invited my Mom to do something specific and that she'd enjoy, I wonder if that would have gotten her out of the house? I'm not sure but am thinking if someone had routinely stopped by for coffee and to invite her somewhere, she would have gotten to know them, maybe to like and trust them, maybe would have gotten in the car with them to go to some activity or another. The problem with this is that I'm getting this because I'm taking her to them -- I don't know if there would have been a way to get them to go to her. It's just an idea, though...
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Adult day care  
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