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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 money...you, 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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This is a big question for me also. Adult day care near my mom was full of really bad off people. My mom has really no friends or family. She does like visiting at my house too crabby. She tried to join church senior group but they said they were too full? She is on a waiting list what? I bought her a bunch of things to paint but she's too depressed or not motivated. We got her an iPad she loves to play candy crush. I guess if you aren't surrounded by family and friends when you age you are screwed. She won't even entertain the idea of independent living. If she would just go and look she might get happy. It's funny how some people turn like thus and some don't. My mother in law same age us perfectly content. She is the same alone but she has a list 9 miles long of things to do
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Sadly, this sounds like my mother. She wouldn't move, wouldn't try things like the senior center, was kind of going downhill because of it. There was nothing I could do to make her do it, either. Now that she's finally gone downhill enough to come live with me, she's really pretty happy. She thought she could last it out and end up dying in her own home. But, now that that plan hasn't worked, she is really pretty happy. I'm increasing the things she's doing, incrementally and she's doing more things, too. But she wouldn't be active or doing anything if she still lived at home.

I've been doing some stitching for charity and thought maybe I could get her interested in that. I thought it would make her feel useful. When she was alone in her own home, she just couldn't feel motivated to do it. She didn't see the point and wouldn't do it. Now that she's with my husband and me, she started doing charity stitching.

I think part of it is watching my husband and I constantly busy, she sees how sedentary she's become, where she didn't realize it, before. I think that she just felt kind of like "what's the point" for anything, before, where she now is part of our little community -- the three of us staying busy and being useful.

So, if your MIL is like my Mom, I think you've got a hard road ahead. I'd describe my Mom as being in the "blah" zone and maybe that's where your MIL is at -- where nothing matters and nothing is worth making an effort for.

I always felt if I could come up with just one thing that was regular that would get her out of the house that I could introduce other things. For one example, I tried to convince her to go to knitting lessons and make me a sweater. She didn't understand the purpose, and I was honest -- I said it would be good for her to get out and that I'd treasure a sweater made by-hand by my own dear mother. As with anything else, she thought about it and that's as far as I could ever get her. I wonder if I had scheduled and paid-for a taxi to pick her up if she would have done it? Not sure, but it occurs to me, now, that that would have been one more thing to try.
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Tim LaHaye claims depression is a self motivated illness and perhaps is cured by the person themselves. However I would encouraged a physical to determine if any other issues exist. Neighbors could be of some help. Getting visitors for company can alleviate the self centered thinking that dominates depression. I would try to get her to talk about her feelings by asking specifics related to her not wanting to be active. Or if she is feeling physically ill and nauseated.
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Sending your mil prayers ...As one ages unless we have interests to occupy us we very often feel helpless. Good luck on your search. There are many good responses..Namaste...oliveoyl
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Perhaps a visit from a service dog will give her something to look forward to. Orgnizations such as Paws4People and others like them make home visits on request at no charge. If she had a dog as a child it could bring back memories and lighten her mood.
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Depression is internal, lethargy and boredom are symptoms. Somebody can still be very much depressed while sitting in the middle of a party surrounded by friends who are having a good time.

Curing the symptom won't cure the disease, so do not drive yourself crazy trying to entertain someone out of their disease. This will only result in temporary benefits.

Having said that, if you can arrange for something she enjoys it will at least get her out of bed. If you can find an activity mom enjoys do not judge it, my mom likes word search, she goes through a 300 page book every 2 weeks. She also enjoys getting her nails done. Doesn't sound exciting to me, but it is better than staring into space.
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" adult day care "
funny, i remember someone on here a while back said their mothers thoughts on ADC were ; if she had to listen to one more out of tune country musician wannabee songs she was going to lose it. that would be my reaction too -- who do i pay to get these guys to stfu ?
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You said "...not ready to consider assisted living." Is that her that is not ready to consider assisted living? or is it you that is not ready to consider assisted living?
My brother's mother-in-law lives in independent living and it is working out great for her and the whole family. Also, how would your mother feel about Adult Day Care? A friend of mine took her father to ADC while she was at work and it was a great experience.
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Has she had a complete geriatric physical, one that includes checking thyroid, kidney function, mental health? Is she on an antidepressant? There are indepenendent living places, sort of like apartments with meals, activities and socialization. Let us know how it's going!
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Mine is bored too, but not losing weight. Ask the MD for an antidepressant. Ask those few friends to visit or call.
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