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Granted, at 92, her attention span has shortened, but I wish she would do more than just sit. She has very little signs of dementia... I end up feeling guilty for not "entertaining" her. She won't even watch TV! I'm going to go to the library and check out huge books with beautiful photos... maybe that'll help. She doesn't even want to do puzzles, or word games or anything. Any advice?

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Some people don't want to live in an unfamiliar place with a lot of other people; no matter how nice it is different than what they are used to and comfortable with. Making new friends may not be easy for them. I sold my house recently because it was too big and remote, even with a friend sharing--and decided that I would be better off moving while I'm still young enough (70's) to adjust to a change. Am living with a daughter who is an "empty nester",both of us are gone during the day (I still work full time) and I enjoy coming home to an almost empty house. One of my DIL's was pushing me toward senior housing and frankly, I'd be more bored and bothered there than on my own. I don't eat a lot but I know what works for me and do it myself. I'm active in my church; most of my friends are younger.
If your folks were readers but have vision problems, perhaps books on tape would work for them.
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Jocelyne, both my parents are bored to tears but it was their choice to continue living in their home in a subdivision, by themselves. They have mobility issues, so getting around is tough on them. Dad will do a little yard work. Mostly they sit in the living room dozing off whenever I stop by. Mom [97] will still do light cooking, laundry, and some cleaning. But they don't have anyone to talk to, except me. All their neighbors are 50 years younger then they are.

Oh how I wished they would have moved to that really grand retirement community just down the road, which they can easily afford. They are missing out on so much. Dad loves to swim and that place has an indoor pool. And all the new friends they would have made.... sad.
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126cher, I think many people have allowed TV to suck the life right out of them. Everyday they see what everyone else does (is it even true!)... and what they can't do. They have both given up. Yeah, how sad to see our parents become like that. That's one thing my mom won't do, is watch TV all day long - but - she won't do anything else either, so she's not much better. If your dad gets tired just from dressing, then maybe he really IS tired, and there's nothing you can do about that. yeah, waiting to die.... Lord God, I pray I will not be like that when my last days come. But we don't always have a say in what our last days will look like. I guess that's why they say we should age gracefully... it's not always a pretty picture!
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Freqflyer, is your dad 93 right now, and that much alive??? Congratulations to him... he sounds like my dad. I have to say I'm surprised at my mom, but... she is tired, and I think a lot of it has to do with pride. She is humbled daily by the fact that she cannot do most of what she used to do. I would think her pride would stir her up to do more, but no, she is just without any motivation. I think she is a very sad person. She has in the past put up great appearances of social stamina, but bottom line, she never has had very many close friends and has always been a bit of a loner. It is sad. I had no idea she was going to be this depressed. But it is not my responsibility to change her at this point, only to make her life as pleasant as I can while she is with me.
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I know when the time comes if this was my Dad (93), he would be more than happy to go into a senior facility where he can be around other people his own age, and tell all his great stories to many new set of ears..... he would be the first one to sit down for Bingo.... and he would probably sign up for all the senior trips. :)
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My parents are both going to turn 90. They both act like they don't care about anything. It is so frustrating!! Spent almost now 3 years to try to help them but nothing. They get out of bed, eat oatmeal for breakfast, watch TV until lunch, watch more TV until dinner. Eat dinner than back to bed. Anything that my husband and I try to do for them does not work. They are angry at me when I try to help. Don't remember how to cook anymore so they go out for lunch & dinner. Dad use to crab, swim, rollerskate etc. etc. Now he is tried from getting dressed. Both go in and out of hospital and re-hab every few monthes. When they come out they are always worse off than when they went in. Good advice from the other posters. Let Go Let God!! Easier said than done--I know.Sorry that we are all in the same boat. Wish we were not. Mom says that she is just waiting to die!! She keeps asking me why they keep old people alive like she and Dad? My heart is broken.
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Mom lives with me.... and I have just had to adjust to her lack of interest in anything. It gets a tad difficult when I wish she would interact more with me and others... but hey, she's 92, and probably just downright tired. I have come to accept it. I am so thankful I can care for her at home for now.... and I pray she never has to go to a home. Thank you for your input, Donald82!
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My wife was a resident of a nursing home for approx 2 years. She had been in and out at 90 to 100n days as just a patient probably 3 times. Her care was at the best marginal..She had dementia and other related ills.Parkinson settled in and that was that beginning of the end.A lot of the moods that affected her,as well as the others was the activities offered and the louzy food that was supplied. All that does not do good for these unfortunate human beings.Most nursing homes or assisted living are great ,but there are a lot that are notThey are just interested in the $10,000-13,000 monthly payments.Sadly all these ailments come with us getting older.Iam 82 Iam experincing some of the ills that others caregivers are dealing with.Just be patient with those you love, because you may be in the same pridicament they are GOS BLESS THEM ALL
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She also has this incapacity to make conversation about others.... I suggested she talk with the young ladies that come to help, because she might have good thoughts or bits of wisdom that could help them in life. She looked at me like, yeah, uh huh...

But, I think she has turned inward and she doesn't care for anything or almost anyone at this point. As far as strangers go. It's not totally true regarding me though, because she'll often thank me profusely for the things I do. She gets very grateful, which I think is so sweet. But she doesn't try to engage in conversation... even when I sit there in front of her during meals. Like, I even have to come up with all the things to talk about. Whew! So, as you say, I do it when I'm able, and that's as far as it goes.
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Sandra.... thank you ever so much. It seems that is all I can do! It's taken me seven months to realize what you have told me. I still get nagging thoughts like I'm not doing Something she needs. Others have told me.... she's choosing to do nothing, it's her choice, just let her be. I did try to get beautiful yet simple puzzles (NOT kiddie puzzles).... but thinks they are just a waste of time. I was thinking I would do them and maybe she would join in, but heck... I'm not even sure if I want to "waste" the time trying to find out if she will eventually participate or not! lol....

So... you are totally right, and when I'm freed from the guilt, I am a better caregiver! I have been able to acquire in home health help daily... and I'm seeing that even with other people there, she does not behave any different. Except she's irked that I'm taking breaks.... you can't win! ha ha

So, thank you again, you are so right and you articulated your thoughts so distinctly and clearly and with compassion. Thank you Sandra...
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I have that problem with my mom. The only thing she cares about is me. Am I cold, am I hungry. I just ordered some bingo cards online. I'll try them tomorrow after trying to get her to eat - that is a constant ordeal. She is picky about her food and the stuff the nursing home feeds her makes me nauseous.

When the bingo set came I realized I do not remember how to play bingo. I didn't order little dots I am guessing I can find something at work that will work.
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Jocelyne, my mom's behavior is exactly what you've described, and one of the most difficult issues that I struggle with. It makes me feel as if she's just waiting around to die...unengaged and uninterested in anything at all. She does not read, does not make conversation, does not watch TV, does not tend to any personal hygiene.

She's unable to articulate whatever it is that she is going through, which leaves me feeling "responsible" for every facet of her personal happiness, comfort, and quality of life. All I can do is "guess" what she needs from moment to moment, and every day for the past 3 years I've felt as if I'm failing miserably, completely overwhelmed and helpless. She doesn't remember how to sew, paint, knit, crochet, read or write. I have repeatedly adjusted my expectations downward in terms of what she can handle. Last month I was at the bottom of the barrel, just gave up on even the simplest of crafts and hobbies, and brought her a coloring book and crayons instead. Well, she was not able to do that either, and I just had nowhere to go from there.

So I spent the weekend praying for guidance, praying that God would give me the insight that I needed to be able to care for her. I had to stop being "responsible" and give everything over to Him; to step back and open my heart so that he could work through me. What a relief it was to give over that burden! I don't do anything differently than before -still have the same chores and things that need doing on her behalf - it's the attitude that's different. I came to undertand that all I need to do is really, just LOVE her the way she deserves to be loved, the way God intended for us to love one another.

I don't tear my hair out with worry any more - I have faith that God's got my back. So I've let go of the anxiety, fear and frustration that Mom used to see in my face and hear in my voice. I do whatever I need to do, with a soft voice and patient manner, listening carefully and directing her gently and with tenderness each step of the way. That, with frequent hugs , touches, and encouragement, is what she needs most of all. For the time being, Mom has been responding very well to this, in terms of her moment-to-moment sense of contentment. As she deteriorates in the months or years to come, this equilibrium may not last, but at least I will know that I was able to give her the very best of myself when she needed me the most.

I hope this will help you in some small way, even if you are of a different faith or none at all. Any person can find a way to tap their inner strength and serenity and to use that for the benefit of others, with no expectation of recognition or appreciation. And BTW, you'll probably get the best results engaging her interest and attention with pets, children, and movies or picture books of that genre. Take her to the park, to school plays, the daycare, the petting zoo.
God bless and keep you and your mother!
---- Sandra
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Thank you so much everyone... another road block to bringing variety is that she is upstairs and my husband has not yet agreed to giving up the living room downstairs to use as a bedroom. (We still have a parlor and formal dining room downstairs, as well as the kitchen). She says she would feel less "private" downstairs, but to me, it would give us the possibility of being outside a bit each day... and making it easier for me to actually take her somewhere in the car.

So she's content to do nothing, and you could say she is depressed, but I don't think it's depression. She's just not interested in anything... and as fredflyer says... she is tired. I don't think she's capable of sewing either, doesn't have the concentration it takes... I could see her easily hurting herself. She doesn't crochet or knit...


Thank you so much everyone...
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Jocelyne, oh my gosh, at 92 she is probably feeling very tired. I notice that with my Mom who is 96.... hard to believe that just 6 years ago she and Dad use to walk around the block [mile long] several times a day.... now just going from the kitchen to the living room tires them out.

Every year after the age of 90 I noticed quite a decline in my parents energy.... I remember reading somewhere that every year after 90 is like 5 years for that one. They are aging very quickly now. More aches and pains. Reduced hearing, poorer eyesight. Still somewhat sharp, but at times their reasoning is a bit fuzzy.

They do enjoy football even though Mom can barely see the TV set... she still knows all the major football quarterbacks, and all the head coaches. I never inherited the football gene so I just nod when she talks sports :)

Oh, they both love classical music and Big Band music and I always hear it in the background whenever I call them.
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Jocelyne is there any way your mom could do some volunteer sewing? There are organizations that make very simple dresses for little girls in Africa made from pillowcases. Maybe something like that would spur her interest, if she could still manage something like that. Your profile doesn't say your mom has dementia that I can see, so that's why I'm making that suggestion. Or if she can crochet, people make little bird nests for baby birds that are rescued. Maybe feeling needed would do the trick.
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Does your mom seem depressed or sad? Does she seem contented? What does she say about her lack of interest?

One thing I do that may or may not help your mom, is I get my 94-year old mom out of her senior care living facility so she can still see there's still "life" going on. So she can see dogs and kids and trees and new cars (she'll always comment on how bright the colors are or how big they are or how much traffic there is).

While she enjoys her routine and is pretty happy where she is, whenever I get her out for a drive or a bit of shopping or to a restaurant, her mood over the next few days is really brightened.
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You're welcome, Maggie... mom loves kittens and puppies, she was also a great seamstress, so I'll get her some books on fashion - maybe the 50s and 60s... and she loved Europe. So, there too... great over-sized books on favorite subjects. She won't read them, I don't think, but I'll see how that goes! :-)
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Jocelyn, thanks for the synergy! I just ordered mom Dog Fancy magazine. I think she'll really enjoy it.
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Your profile states that your mom has dementia. She may not be able to process things like puzzle books and word games anymore. Tv may be too chaotic for her. A coffee table book with beautiful pictures is worth a try but don't be upset if it only holds her interest for a minute or two. Many times people with dementia will loot AT something but not actually see it. They'll look AT the newspaper but not read it. Stare AT the tv but not follow what's going on.

Try to find articles or books on subjects she used to enjoy and try reading them aloud to her. A two-page article, for instance, may need to be read to your mom over the course of several hours or days since she may not be able to follow it all at one time.

How about photo albums? That's always a great go-to activity for elderly people, especially those with dementia.
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I just posted on another thread that my "guilt" from care giving mom for the past year has come from her just sitting in her wheelchair day after day . . . looking sad much of the time. She's 87, dementia.

Sometimes she watches TV, but I know she can't follow what's going on which is probably why it doesn't interest her. She can't read anymore; sometimes pages through Blair catalogs, but all-in-all, doesn't have much interest. I always ask her if she found anything she likes; if so, I'll order it for her. (I like your idea of photo books!! Mom would love some with animals. You've given me an idea; I think I'll order some doggy magazines! Thank you!!)

Mom's safe, surrounded by people who love her. She feels safe. Her every need is accommodated. But it's hard watching a once-vibrant woman reduced to sitting in a wheelchair all day looking sad.

Really hard.

I try to fuss over her "things" -- put jewelry on her every day; comment on how pretty it is . , . I've bought her sparkly hats and shoes because she always liked those kinds of things . . . yesterday, she wore a pink sparkly hat all day that we fussed over the day long (as did her visitor). But still, left to her own devices? She just sits. And looks sooooo sad . . .

Oh, to your question: I ask her to help match/attach socks out of the laundry. Some days, I just detach all the clean ones and give her a pile of them to sort. Fold my and Tom's undies. Today, I plan on asking her to help clean all of our costume jewelry. If you have a tangled chain, you might find out she'd enjoy messing with it to untangle it. We give her all the plastic bags from the grocery store so she can ball them up and gather them together in one bag. I wheel her to the front door sometimes, when she has the interest, so she can people watch a little while.

Like . . . I want to keep her brain busy. But then I just have to realize she doesn't have the "same brain" she had ten years ago. And it makes me sad.
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