My Mom (79) has suffered from depression for 3 plus years now with no physical ailments to speak of. Any suggestions?

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she has had every imaginable treatment, drug, and therapy, but all she wants to do is lay on the couch and when asked all she says is "I can't" and I won't". My dad is 81 and is in good health and is now care taking her completely because she refuses to do anything. I have tried my best to let my father understand he needs to change his behavior or my mother will remain in this state until one of them passes away...which will probably be my father. I used to be close to my parents, but since all this has transpired, the frustration and anger and pain throughout the course of 3 years has caused health issues for myself. I have stepped away completely from this situation because frankly, my parents have been together for 60 years and now I look at them as one dysfunctional unit. Any last ditch effort suggestions for the both of them? I really don't think my father will listen to anyone...so I guess I am just venting...I do suffer from guilt because I have chosen to not have any contact with them because nothing changes. We live in the Scottsdale Arizona area...any suggestions? Thank you.

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What do you think triggered her 'depression' (you say it's been three years)?
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Depression is a serious illness. Does your mom receive counseling? If not, maybe she can benefit from it. Has her doctor checked her for other medical issues? Maybe she needs a medication change as her current depression meds aren't working. What does dad say about mom's behavior and depression? Depression isn't something you can just snap out of. That would be nice, but it's not the way things work. Your mom may not have physical symptoms, but depression itself can cause lethargy and a sense of 'illness'. Maybe your mom has fears about growing older and death, she's closer to death now than she was when she was 25. Continue to be supportive, encourage her to participate in family events, make arrangements for her to get out of the house occasionally to do something she really enjoys. It takes time, I know 3 years sounds like a really long time but for some, it takes time for change. Don't let your mom's depression cause you undue stress, take care of yourself. contact your local area agency on aging for their caregiver support program. Your mom and dad made a commitment to each other, through thick and thin. Don't let your anger and frustration change your life. Encourage and support both your parents. I hope things improve. You are not alone in feeling frustration.
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Also, I'm not coming from a position of judging you. I've been a help and a trial to my parents (90, 85 and stepdad 88), and my kids the same, although my kids are probably thinking I'm more a trial since I'm slower to make changes than they want me to be. This is a good site for help and blowing a gasket :-).
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Hello again skyresq1 (cool name). Would it be difficult for you to copy and post your mail to my wall, up here? Others might have different suggestions. Plus, I don't want to be an alarmist, but I'm seeing now that personality changes in my parents that made no sense to me years ago, make sense knowing that both my parents have had mini-strokes/dementia coming on them.
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Stop trying to change them. You didn't make them how they are, nor can you control or fix them. The only person any of us can control or change is ourselves and even that is a challenge sometimes.

They will only change when they are wanting to change. Take care of yourself and make sure that you are on healthy path.

Just cutting them off and abandoning them does not accomplish much. Be a loving, supportive person regardless of what they chose to do.
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BTW, this "dysfunctional unit" raised you. Nature + Nurture. Without knowing more about you and your situation, can we assume you feel you turned out pretty well? I'm not being snarky, but wouldn't it be grand if people took a bigger-picture look at relationships?
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Definitely get her some better meds. Maybe a 72 inpatient psych eval is a good idea. Talk to her MD.
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Why does it have to be all or nothing? If you had a good relationship with them for all but the last three years, isn't that a very long time? Stepping back entirely seems awfully radical.

None of us lives a perfect life, or in total cooperation with another human being. At some point, your life choices might've seemed just as dysfunctional to your folks.

The previous suggestions are good; in particular try to step back, see them as friends and human beings, and enjoy them a little bit.
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If they've been together for 60 years, they've got their parts in this dance well learned, and you'd going to have to use dynamite to change that.

If your father doesn't want this to change, it won't. You can support him by taking him out to lunch or to a movie.

As for mom, what do her psychiatrists say about her intractable depression? They are having good results, I hear, with deep brain stimulation devices. Might she be eligible for a clinical trial? There are often combinations of meds that work sometimes, I'm assuming that has been tried.

Stepping back is probably best for your health, mental and otherwise.
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