How can I motivate my mom to help her situation? - AgingCare.com

How can I motivate my mom to help her situation?

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I recently took in my mom who has the beginning of dementia and a bad knee which means she can only walk with a walker for a short period and then gets very weak and tired. She also broke 2 fingers during a recent fall and babys that hand to avoid discomfort. She has therapist come in twice a week and she does everything they say but as soon as they leave, she is done. She can dress herself but always says she can't do it and wants help. I have stopped helping her because I want her to keep up her strength. But she doesn't want to get up in the morning and shortly after she gets up she wants to take a nap. She always wants to be left alone so she can shut her eyes. When I talk to her about it, she just says she is a lazy old lady. I fear some day she won't be able to stand on her own and I won't be able to take care of her anymore. I work 50 - 60 hours per week and have in home caregivers during the day. She also gives them a hard time about her naps and exercise. I almost feel like I am giving up on her at times and I hate that feeling but I just need to see a little effort or motivation on her part to give me hope. Any suggestions on how to motivate her so she will remember the next day?

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ChristyDist, if your mom is coming to live with you, I suggest you start with a thorough medical exam, so you know where you stand. I wonder if depression has been part of the picture for a very long time? I think in some ways your sister is correct. But I know from experience that drugs can help depression even if the patient never admits being depressed. Almost 20 years ago (10 years before dementia set in) my husband had a severe head injury. He recovered, but his personality was flat, he lost interest in activities, etc. Finally his psychiatrist put him on an antidepressant. Hubby insisted that he was not depressed, which was understandable because he did not feel sad. But the doc explained that the injury affected a part of the brain that has screwed up a chemical balance. A pill could help restore that balance. So he took it and it changed our lives! It didn't make him Sammy Sunshine -- it just allowed his true personality to come back. If a doctor can explain a prescription in a way that doesn't focus on "depression" (which most people see as an emotional problem) and your mom will take the med, that could make a big difference.

Don't give up! I wish you both good luck in finding and using some medical help.
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ejbunicorn, my heart goes out to you! You must feel "trapped" in the situation, and that is an added stress on top of the actual work of caregiving. I urge you to not give up on "we can't afford help."

First of all, if your mother has any funds at all -- pension, ss check, property, other assets, it should be used for her care, and that definitely includes hiring some respite help. You NEED to get away from the situation regularly, for her sake as well as yours.

If she has no funds or they are inadequate to cover her care, look into every possible option out there! Maybe she would qualify for Medicaid (and it is not just for nursing home care). Maybe your community has a volunteer program for caregiver respite. And one way to find out about the options is to talk to a professional whose job it is to know about them. Call your county's Social Services and ask about having a social worker assess the situation. That is what I did nine years ago when my husband developed dementia, and it made a huge difference. Don't give up! Get help!
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I'm worried about the same thing: depression and/or lack of motivation.

My mom is only 66 and I'm actually in the process of bringing her up to live with me tomorrow. She has been essentially sedentary most of her life. Office work - come home- plop on couch - watch tv- go to bed. That's it. She has NO muscle tone and that really is a major issue with the fatigue and tiredness she feels now. And I'm sure she has some depression but won't admit it. My sister is BSRN of many years and says this is fairly typical but if she won't admit it, nothing will help. I need to get her motivated to improve her life by living it rather than just sleeping it away. She can spent up to 20 hours a day in bed. I'm a military officer and spend a minimum of 60 hours a week at work and soon will be commuting to DC during the week with her at my home alone save for sister's visits. She is far too young and healthy to be so sick...if you know what I mean. What more can I do?
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I am in the same situation, my mom lives with me and I care for her, she has many diseases, she is only 74, she has copd, high clorestrol, diabetes, restless legs syndrome, depression bad bad, weak legs, had vertigo a year ago, took several falls and broke a rib, therpist came in took 3 months to clear up the vertigo, told her she had to do leg exercises as she has no muscles in her legs now, she did them as long as the therapist was here, now refusing to do them, she has now begun dementia, sometimes doesn't know what day it is, where she put something, what she is saying, sleeps all the time, is argumentative and yes it is very frustrating, I kept on her about sleeping so much and not doing her leg exerxises for over 8 months, I am exhausasted so now I just let her sleep and try not to let her upset me, I bathe her, cook her meals, clean her room and get her to all her doctors appointments, I try to get her to go to dinner or lunch with me and my husband but she does not want to go, I also put out all her pills in pill boxes labled sunday through monday, morning and night, I order her pills, keep her checkbook and anything else she needs, while she was still in decent shape she gave me power of attorney so I can handle all things for her. I am glad you have caretakers to help you, it is just me, we can't afford to bring anyone in to help so it is all on me, I will keep you in my prayers and ask you do the same for me, hugs
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Sorry, no.

I really understand why you want her to at least maintain the strength to stand, and to transfer from a wheelchair to the bed or toilet, etc. This is a very reasonable desire. Ask the physical therapist what is the minimal easiest thing your mother could do to maintain these strengths. Try to focus on just those exercises or activities. I'm not sure you can educate her about it so she will remember it the next day (depending on where she is in the dementia process.) But you can do the minimal exercises with her and each day say, "Let's do that silly dance that will help you be able to stand up each day." (Or have a caregiver do it.)

You don't say if she is 66 or 93. That might be a factor on whether you should let the "lazy old lady" be inactive.

Is she being treated for the dementia? For example, is she taking Aricept or any other dementia drug? How about depression -- do you think that could be part of the problem? (It is a very common symptom in dementia.) There are treatments for that. The treatment options that are available for dementia tend to work best in early stages, so there is no point in putting off treatment until she is "worse." Sooner is better. Is she taking any pain medications that could be contributing to her lack of energy and interest in activities? Has her "laziness" been discussed with her doctor?

You can't give somebody else motivation. You may be able to clear some obstacles, such as dealing with depression, and you may be able make certain things more enjoyable for Mom so she has fewer objections, but ultimately you can't make your mother want to do something. Keep trying. Don't give up on her. But also be realistic enough to know that you don't have control. Do your best and then don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out the way you wish it would. Know that whether you can get her to exercise, dress herself, etc. or not, some day you might not be able to take care of her anymore. This is not your fault or her fault. It is the nature of dementia. You won't abandon her. You'll still advocate for her, visit her, see that she gets good care, help her know that she is loved, but you may not be able to control whether you can keep her in your home until the end.

This is a difficult journey you have embarked on. I wish you strength, hope, and acceptance of what you can't control. Best wishes to you.
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