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She had a network of friends and activities before moving in with me. Now she refuses to go anywhere but complains about just staying home and sitting and watching tv. I really don't have time to be a full time social director and to be the running buddy...since I have regular family responsibilities. I have taken her to 2 senior centers and her church where she doesn't want to be involved in anything even though when she lived on her own she was very involved. Our park district has a marvelous senior group that goes out a lot. It's been almost 2 years and still she resists any involvement in outside social anything. I've definitely cut back to one errand day a week with her and often one other day to go out to a restaurant each week. And that is pushing it for me. I absolutely cannot let her tag along all the time because she gets on the nerves of everyone. She is able to get out and there is transportation, but she won't go. So how can I encourage her to get out and about or is this just a lost cause and I should just detach from the complaining.

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addiewrain55, your aunt might need an anti-depressent which might help with her body oder as well. I gather the intrusiveness into your family's end of the house is still going on and your mother's health is still wearing heavy on your mind. I don't see how you are handling all of of this without doing some detaching or maybe your aunt needs to go to a nursing home for that sounds like what you are basically running in your own home.
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DT, unfortunately, my Grandmother has been asked to come to church and she refuses. My Grandfather is physically incapable of going and she refuses to go without him, and then tells him it is his fault that she cannot go. This results in my Grandfather saying he would rather just stop the dialysis and die. It's very sad.
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addiewrain - Nothing about it is easy - I have become sort of resigned and have tried to learn from my mistakes. More than that, I have learned to respect myself and not be absorbed by what I do. Ricky Nelson - 'You know, Ya can't please everyone so ya got to please yourself'.
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We gather laurels when we can. We can only hope someone in the future will be as thoughtful.
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Thank you all for your insights and ideas. I have to think about all this now and try to figure something out.
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DK, I love the microwave bacon and so does mother. I usually try to take a little extra of what I am cooking to share with her buddies. She has the same homegrown tomato in her drawer for the last 2 weeks. YUM-YUM She is waiting for the rest of the ingredients for that sandwich. During the winter months, I stop by a fast food restaurant and pick up enough biscuits, gravy, and hot coffee to feed her and three of her friends. The guy at the pick-up window thinks I have a very hearty appetite. On those occasions, I get the best daughter award!
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debbicakes - several years ago when mom retired from her job when she was in her 60's, she was driving both dad and me crazy (and I did not even live near her in those days - shadows of things to come...?) so I happened to stop by her old job and talked to her old boss, the owner of the small company, and asked him if they liked my mother's work. He responded very enthusiasticly to the affermative, to which I replied "Do you want her back?". He laughed, but noodled it around for a few days and then called her and asked if she would like to come back to work on a part time basis. Long and short of it is that she went back and worked nearly another 10 years. As we age (I am shortly to become 69), we like to feel we are important to Someone! I still stand behind my earlier suggestion that if someone were to approch her old church member friends and have them Ask her to come back, if she is able (which my mom is not anymore) I would hope for you that she would make the effort. She may just be unsure of her place in the world now. It could not hurt, anyway.
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It might be fun for her, I could suggest you pack a little picnic basket with a cutting board for the tomato and for assembly and assemble the sandwich before her eyes! That way the bread won't get soggy. Does she like it toasted or not? Plain may be easier. Fry the bacon at work (I like mine very crisp, very dark brown, thank you...) then whisk it all over to the home. Have you had any luck with microwave bacon? It may be easier to make if the nursing home has a microwave for residents to use. Do not be surprised if you have a half-dozen old folks hoovering around (it does break your heart, doesn't it? She may find herself the most popular resident around...!) When Mom stays in the hospital for something, I take fresh-brewed coffee up in the morning for her in a little thermos I have, and a donut or a crossant (sp) or something. Later I may take her a chicken sandwich or something - hospital food and coffee reeks!
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Addi, I completely understand! My Grandmother does this same thing. It all boils down to this...she is able to do the things she wants to do. She will do them, or she won't. My Grandmother loves church also and won't go anymore, but then complains because she doesn't go...and I'm just thinking...why complain if you refuse to go when you CAN go? And it's all just very illogical so there is no point in worrying about it. Leave it up to her. If she decides to do something, good for her, if not, block out the complaining. Some things I have learned, I have no control over.
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Thanks Dt,
I spoke to my boss and she suggested that I bring the ingredients to work and make the BLT here and take it to her when I leave in the afternoon around 5:30 or 6:00. Thanks boss lady for understanding my situation. We are fortunate to have a kitchen and I don't know why I didn't ask permission to do this before. Problem solved!!!
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silvercreek - Some of us can only do so much in a day, so you must Not feel guilty. Some of us have a pretty big plateful as it is, others are just plain thoughtless. Only you can decide which you are, and then act accordingly. The toughtless are another story - there are none so blind as those who Will not see, or as I love to quote, Proverbs 16:22 "Understanding is a wellspring unto him that hath it, but the instruction of fools is folly".. (A fresh BLT is a little difficult to arrange as an old one tastes like soggy leather--- needs a real time committment too, to not only make it but get it there in good etable condition). I must admit there is a guy I know from the VA who is in pretty bad shape, not a real 'friend' or anything, - he is always wanting me to come by and I must admit I am reluctant as ALL he wants to talk about is his own health, and frankly he is a true downer, but I also happen to know he has other people who give him lots of attention so I really would rather spend the time with my own responsabilities AND work in some Me time when I can. I am no saint and I was not blessed with a solid steel spine - I get tired too! Don't beat yourself up.
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DT, your response brought tears to my eyes. I have been able to release my tears on rare occasions. " Wish I had someone to visit or to help without begging," would be a statement of so many of our elderly relatives and friends who are in
nursing homes. My mother will call her family members and hint for a visit or a special food she enjoys. I am saddened of my lack of attention to this matter. She has asked for me to bring her a BLT for over a week. She misses us and one day I fear it will be too late for those visits and I will be responsible.
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Perhaps you could have more luck with making the mountian come to Mohammed that I have, meaning that perhaps she wants to be reaffirmed by having Someone reach out to Her instead of the other way around. It smacks of 'asking for help', and maybe she is too proud. If she has all of her own marbles and this sort of thing came easily in the past, maybe she feels strange about walking into a meeting as a Newby, 'cap in hand' as it were? Will the park district form a committe to come to her house and show photos of some of their outings? Go to them on your own and lay the situation on the line - 'prime the pump', you know. I know it only takes a suggestion to Me about a trip to get My juices going...Wish I had someone who would offer to help instead of me begging for it. Or, the church should send a group to say "It has been such a long time since we saw you last!" It is important that it Must be made to sound spontanious, though, as if they really have missed her. My mother likes it when people visit her, but she will not make the effort either. I say I have had no luck because of various obsticles I cannot overcome, but maybe you would.
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What explanation does she give for her lack of independent activities?

Since she was once active in her church, can you talk to the minister or heads of various activities and see if you can arrange for someone to call her with personal invitations to get involved again?

What about that network of friends? Do you know any of them well enough to call and suggest they call?

I have a friend who was active in her church but dropped out for a couple of years when her father died. She said it was just too painful to be reminded of his absence each time she saw the pew where he usually sat, or went to activities he was active in. Sometimes the reasons people do or don't do things isn't obvious on the surface. Have you tried to have a heart-to-heart with her about why she has dropped out of her old activities?

It sounds like you have made a good effort at getting her involved. Might it be worth a try to repeat some of these things, like visiting the senior group? If she wasn't ready earlier maybe she'd be more open to it after sitting around at home all this time.

We hear all the time about people who move into long term care facilities and refuse to participate in activities. This seems to be what your relative has done -- moved in with you and declined to participate in activities you suggest or to take the initiative in doing other things. I don't suppose the fact that this is relatively common behavior is much consolation for you, though.
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And the difficult part of all of this is that she really likes being with other people...enjoys the social contact. It is very bad and depressing for her to be home all the time.
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