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My mother will not eat well and will not meet new people. She spends her day driving to the other side of town to look at her old condo. She says her knees her her but they are new knees.

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Riley2166 - I hope with all my heart to be just like you as I get older! You are an inspiration!!!! Keep on keeping on!!!!!!



PS - thanks for the smile!
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Your mother is very much fine, there is nothing that is making her depressed. It happens sometimes when we just want to be alone. Every human wants sometime for itself. I would recommend to go to a doctor where she got replaced her knees and find out the problem with her knees. Because when we went from such a surgery ,physically we always feel better but in brain we always feel like its paining. And to socialize your mother you should take her to somewhere like parties, relatives, movie where she can feel happy and can easily forget all her stress and she may start eating healthy food again.
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Jennifer. Have you driven your mom to her old condo? Perhaps if you walked with her a bit in that direction she might feel better to have the company in mourning her old life. Consider taking her on a small trip. When she gets away she might regain her perspective a bit and when she returns it might feel a bit more like coming home. Watch a funny movie with her. Get her to laugh. Have an open house for her and invite one or two people from her past and her nearer neighbors. I know a woman in her 90's on hospice now who spent probably 20 years driving to her home that she had built and lived in with her husband. She had moved in with a cousin after her husband died but each day she would go to breakfast and visit with her cronies and then go to her house and sit in the driveway. Then she would go about her day. It was her ritual.
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Mother was moved from her home and neighborhood of 50 years into an apartment in my brother's home. This was 17 years ago. Daddy had Parkinson's & she proved unable to care for him at home and refused to let us modify their home to allow a caregiver couple to live with them. Finally, she had no choice and and they moved.
At first, and really, until daddy passed about 5 years after moving, she did absolutely nothing to socialize. I realize NOW she was mad at daddy for being sick, mad at herself for being incapable of handling a large home and sick man and incapable of making decisions, until it was too late and they were made FOR her.

After daddy passed, she suddenly turned into a different person. She began going to the Sr Center and going to the local pool and meeting with book clubs. It was like she was a different person. IMHO, she was "punishing" my dad by never leaving him alone. He was perfectly happy to let somebody come hang out with him so he could have some mom-free time. He was really too much of a gentleman to say that, until the very end when the filters came down and he'd sometimes be angry.
Everyone grieves differently. Mother does not even have a picture of dad in the apartment.
Mother is slowing down, tremendously. Now she is content with a day out to Bingo and lunch. The rest of her life is spent peering out her front window, spying on neighbors. She's content with that.
As far as your mom's knees hurting--yeah, mom had both hers replaced and they hurt for a couple of years. That's normal, but she should see her dr about it. She doesn't have to live in pain.
I too wonder why she is driving if she isn't able to live alone? Or is she looking back a place she lived when she was happy and by driving by there she is bringing back happy memories?
And true, a lot of people are simply not social animals. My FIL would go days and not speak a word or see a single person beyond my SIL and me.
ASK her what she wants. Try to make that happen as best you can. Some things aren't possible, but if she misses family, I know I email my sibs on a monthly basis to remind them to call/visit mother. They just get busy and forget.
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The why is ur Mom not living in her condo is a good question? Was she showing signs of Dementia and couldn't live on her own? If so, why is she still driving. And like it's been said, not everyone feels they need to be social. I'm not involved bin anything that meets after dark. I don't like driving then.
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my mom (deceased now) could never be arsed to socialize or go anywhere and that included the nh. I got annoyed when the help would try and get her to do something and tell her that I had wanted her to do it. Frankly my dear, I did not give a d*mn. I did not act like her sole source of amusement, I visited almost daily, she just preferred to sit on her butt and try to watch television. The one time I suggested we could try to walk a little bit she got nasty. Personally, I'd just let her do what she d*mn well pleases. Just don't listen to any whining about she has nothing to do. (my mom said it was boring there but, like my own advice, in one ear and out the other). I would just answer that there were various activities if she was so inclined. I knew she wouldn't ever go, so I never let it bother me. Only person she was screwing over was herself.
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I'll assume that you meant to write "her knees hurt her." Firstly, she could quite likely be right e.g. my orthopedist does NOT advocate partial nor full knee replacement. I have arthritic knees and get bilateral corticosteriod injections every 4 (months). There are certainly several schools of thought on the subject of knee replacement surgery. For many people, it is not a fantastic "cure all" as they are not their own knees. As far as driving over to her old condo routinely, this is a habit she has developed. Her car may even do the driving, if you will (not really, of course-it's just akin to an addiction that she has developed). As far as her social skills, you'll have to give us more information, e.g. was she a loner or more social in her youth? She may now be past the age of meeting new people due to a variety of reasons, e.g. hearing loss, vision loss, etc. Also "not eating well" could equate to loss of olfactory sense-yes, nothing smells good to elder. I caught on to loss when caring for my late mother. Best of luck! Most of us have seen it all and done it all!
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I imagine she feels safe and connected in her old neighbourhood, and the drive there and back has become a little ritual that helps to fill her empty days.
As others have pointed out, you can't force an introvert to become a social butterfly, but you can help her to find places and activities in her new neighbourhood she may enjoy. If she has trouble connecting with new people and trying new things it may be that you will have to be the point person who looks for something appropriate and holds her hand while you explore it together.
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My husband is 62 and will not socialize! He has been an introvert, loving peace and quiet, for the 30 years I've known him. Hope he enjoys it still in his eventual retirement, because he just will not go out, nor visit anyone, so he sits in his room reading or napping or working half-heartedly at some hobby. You can't change inward-looking types, though you can offer to take them out or to get involved in something. .... Where are you taking your mom to 'meet new people'? A senior center, a place that provides lunch, a day care type of deal? She is either really depressed or has burgeoning dementia, it sounds strange, driving to go look at her old condo! Mention it to her doctor (and keep an eye on her driving! Sounds like an accident in her future.)
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Yes I do agree We are all different. I guess that is what makes Us interesting. I would not be too worried if Your Mom did not want to socialise as so many of Us love peace and calm with nice soft music in the back ground. I'm sure new knees are like new fals teeth, they can pinch and hurt in the beginning. Best to bring Your Mom to the Doctor to check it out. Jennifer I'm sure many Elderly People Live in the past since they have so many beautiful memories behind them, that is probably why Your Mom drives to the other side of Town to look at Her old condominium as She's re living many beautiful memories. Growing into old age is no fun.
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jennifer4402, if you are still on-line, its been 10 days since you wrote, please come back in to answer some of our questions.   Knowing where your Mom currently lives will give us more information to work with :)
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I was always a people person, very extroverted, worked full time, heavy involvement in animal welfare (by now nearly 50 years), always first one to help anyone in need, lots of volunteerism, social activities, etc. Then I became disabled - my spine went and I could no longer walk. Had to give up everything (which killed me, especially losing my animals for whom I found homes - I did get to keep one in the assisted living facility where I now have to live). I was in for a major shock - most people were very elderly and feeble and many had dementia. I was terribly disappointed as it became impossible to make friends - other than just simple chats without substance - and all their activities were geared to people of grammar school age - nothing for high functioning adults. I am 83, still hold two jobs and am taking college courses and will soon be joining an athletic club to go swimming - that is one thing I can do and love. I became so disillusioned with the status quo and made up my mind to find things to do that I loved to do (jobs, going out to eat - I still drive, swimming, school, etc. ) It helped me cope with the loss of what I once was. It is possible that where your mother is has no activities that are of interest to her and the people are not mentally stimulating. My advice is to all caregivers - do what you can to encourage socialization and activities but do not force it. Sometimes the patient is much happier being alone and doing the few things they like to do. And it will be less stress on you. And, remember, these are the few remaining years - let the patient decide what he/she wants to do. Good luck. My heart broke forever when this happened to me but it is what it is - and I know I have to FIND MY OWN PLEASURE and then do it.
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Jennifer, everyone is different. I have a friend that jumps at the chance to go to the Senior center for lunch or the resturant. Personally, I am happy to be home with my two yorkies. I walk them for about an hour when it is not raining. Since my car accident, I have been it has been hard to walk them. But, that will pass. I explained to my therapist that I am quite happy with myself. I have been a volunteer and Realtor my whole life. I need quiet and no rigid schedule any longer. I take at least two hours to even get up and going in the morning. I listen to music or read my Bible. I know I am different, but I am happy. I feel bad for your mom that she misses her condo, She misses her old life. I refuse to give up my home in Oregon. Why would I want to move to the big city? Give me one good reason. I hope your mom overcomes this loneliness. As for her knees, YES, get them checked out. Hopefully, she is not imagining the pain.
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I agree that trying to look at the big picture with her might help figure out what is causing her trouble. If she's having pain, then, I might use this as a way to explore her overall health with her doctor. I'd take notes on what you are observing with her symptoms and provide to her doctor. Sometimes, depression can cause someone to lose their appetite, sleep too much or sleep little, lose interest in hobbies and social events, think of the past too much, cry, etc. Depression can also cause physical pain. Or it could be something else. I'd try to rule out things, so if what she has can be treated, then you know.

If it's cognitive decline, then keep in mind that when that happens, the person may feel confused, scared and embarrassed, because they may realize something is off and that they aren't themselves. That can make it scary to go out and socialize. My cousin stopped doing any socializing and I didn't know why. She said she had a headache, but, I didn't believe her. Later, it was because she couldn't follow the conversation, forgot names, and forgot the directions to the places. She covered well, but, eventually the dementia was evident.
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My mom was never very social, even though she claimed that before her marriage to my father, she was a "social butterfly". She blamed her reclusiveness on him, but after his death she remained anti-social and looked down upon people in her apartment who were social. Your mom, like mine, seems attached to the past, which was probably a happier time for her. My mom never physically returned to her past dwellings but did talk about them constantly. Mom did wind up with dementia and thinking back on it, there were signs of this for years previous to her actual diagnoses. Go with your mom to her doctor, and the three of you speak with him/her frankly. If mom trusts her doctor, she may feel more comfortable speaking out about how she feels than automatically resisting when you try to convince her to socialize.
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Jennifer, where is your mom living now? How long has she been there? What do you mean that she doesn't eat well? Skips meals? Eats only junk food? Just what is her nutrition situation?

If she is having pain in the area surrounding her new knees I think that is what I would start with. Sometimes if you can treat the pain other things get better, too.
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Dear Jennifer,

I would try and get your mom's new knees checked out. She might need more physical therapy or different meds? Something doesn't sound right. She might be depressed if she is driving to her old condo. It sounds like she misses her old life and her old home very much. Try talking to her and see if you can get to the root of her fears. My dad had a handful of good friends, but otherwise didn't socialize very much. Everyone is so different so try to respect what she wants.
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I think she may have some mental problems, because there is no way to have pain in a prosthesis. Get her back to the primary MD to discuss the cause of phantom pain.
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Jennifer, where is your mother residing now? And why did she move from her condo?

My Dad was no social butterfly, he would go to main living room if someone was there to entertain on the piano. Otherwise he was happy as a clam sitting in his living room watch the local 24-hour news and reading his newspaper. Dad did have a paid caregiver in the morning, so he did have someone he liked to talk to and had a lot in common. She would get him up and walking to some of the social events.

Depending on your Mom's age, let her do what she wants. But I would watch her driving, if her knees hurt, they could become too painful for her to brake the car.
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