Mom lives alone now. Dad passed 2013. She wants company everyday and it's hard with work, my children, my home responsibilities. I go there about 3-4 times a week. She is 84 does not have dementia but is slowing down more. She is making me feel very guilty and by crying and complaining how she is alone all the time and even the family that lives in the same home ( it's a 3 family house) does not come to check on her. She is extremely dependent on me. I do her finances , work part time so I can see her and bring her to her doctors appts. Any suggestions would be helpful, thank you

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If I'm reading correctly between the lines, your valid and good suggestions are being rejected. You could probably suggest something that would suit her very well but she'd reject it.

Refusing to go to a facility where she could be happier would not allow her to maintain the dependent hold she has on you. And she may be afraid of change as well. So she won't go, regardless how appealing the place might be. But I doubt that she even realizes how this closed circle of control is playing out.

Thus she is able to perpetuate her loneliness and isolation, and the hold she has over you in trying to make her feel better.

I've seen this too...been there, done that. It's a difficult situation when you're trying to solve problems that someone may not want solved in any way but one.

She also may not even realize it but she may resent that her husband is gone and has left her in the situation she's in now. You wrote she's extremely dependent on you now - that speaks volumes to the situation she's in and the relationship between the two of you.

So you have to be stealthy in your actions. If your mother has religious preferences, check with local churches and see if they have home visiting programs, such as GeeWhiz mentioned. Don't ask your mother if she would like company; just one day bring one of the women along with and introduce her as your friend. Keep doing this; perhaps she'll become more used to the new friend and begin to look forward to her company. Then that woman can bring another friend, and so on...the circle expands.

If she enjoys music, check local churches and libraries for summertime free music events. In our area, one of the United Methodist Churches has a great variety of free summer programs. Two of the local communities have one of the youth fiddling groups play during lunch hour. If you can find an event that doesn't interfere with your work, take her there.

You don't mention mobility problems, so I'm assuming she could go to a local park for a picnic, with you and your children? That way she would at least get out of the house, get some fresh air, and be with her family.

Eventually you may just have to be comfortingly candid and tell her that (a) you work and can't take any more time off, but (b) you've found home visiting friends, (c) you're trying to arrange for socialization but don't have any more ideas. Then ask her what HER suggestions are but be prepared how you'll respond if she asks for more of your time.

A negotiating tactic I learned at work several decades ago is to find a solution by "going between the horns of the bull." In other words, isolation and loneliness is one horn; living in AL, a senior center, etc. is another. The solution may lie somewhere inbetween. So you have to think creatively. Maybe you could even start by taking her to events at a senior center, if she'll go.

I'm wondering if your children could make these suggestions, and if she would accept them more readily as I'm assuming there aren't any control issues between her and the children.

It's easy to sit here and give advice but this is your mother, and I know I'd have difficulty saying this to my own mother because I'd feel so cruel. And given the recent loss of her husband, she's probably dealing with a certain amount of fear of being left alone, so that's an obstacle as well.

I wish I could think of something more helpful, but this is all I can come up with.

However, if she's been depressed most of her life, it could be a personality or medication issue. And unless those are addressed, you can't solve her depression or her problems.

I wish you luck and success and hope you find some solutions.
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NO don't move her in with you. She will get along better with people her own age. First get her some antidepressants, and then look around for a one month trial at Assisted Living. Mom tried one and loved having the company of peers, the activities and dining with her new friends.
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Thanks for all the great advice. Unfortunately she has been a depressed person most of her life. My dad took care of her. After he passed I stepped in and it's not enough for her. I told her this is the life she wanted, to stay in the apartment and she had to at least try something different. But the stubbornness takes over a lot. She will notice I begged and got her in2 places and she refused to go anywhere. I mentioned the senior center but she is so unsociable she refused that too. I don't have ro for her aty home but I offered her to come live with me and we could figure something out but she does not want to live with me. It's exhausting but thanks for all the good sdvice. Appreciate it!
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jd, ask your Mom if she would be willing to move to a senior village where she would be around people her own age, and all the new friends she could make. Or is she like my parents [mid 90's] who you couldn't get to move from their home with a team of oxen, a fire hose or a bull dozer!! Sometimes we need to try to use tough love.

My Dad complains that he hasn't been out of the house in weeks... well my therapist told me that I need to realize that my parents made the choice to remain in their home, thus they need to take ownership of that choice. Therefore whenever Dad grumbles I remind him that he and Mom decided not to move to a retirement community [which they could easily afford]. And I am not going to resign from my career to become Julie McCoy, their cruise director.

My parents recently are seeing the reality of having just me to depend upon [only child] as I had fallen and broke my shoulder... oh my gosh what are they going to do, who is going to drive them???... well if they had lived in that wonderful retirement community there would be community transportation. Thank goodness we have Peapod on-line grocery with home delivery otherwise "they would starve", according to my Dad :P
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:( Your poor mother.

But here's the thing. Even supposing you had no family to look after and didn't need to work and could move in with her and chat all day long, you still couldn't fill the hole in her life.

At 83, two years is nothing and she must still be missing your father terribly. I expect you are, too, but you have a job and a family and a life while she has nothing but the distant sounds of other people going about their business… and there's the nub of it.

I agree with both Geewiz's practical suggestions and Babalou's heads-up about depression, which could be part of ageing or part of her grieving process or both but in any case warrants investigation by your mother's doctor.

It's not hopeless, because with encouragement and the right environment your mother's world could soon begin to look very much brighter to her; but what won't work is pointless sacrifice on your part. Instead of allowing her to lean on you, help her to repopulate her life. Best of luck, I wish her happier times ahead.
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She may not have dementia, but she certainly sounds depressed and emotionally needy. Please talk to her doctor about the crying and sadness and dependence.

If she is going to continue to live alone, she is going to have to agree to participate in some "non you" socialization. Call your local Area Agency on Aging and find out what there is...Leisure Clubs, Adult Day care and the like where she can be around others and not be so isolated. You need to think of cutting back to a reasonable level of assistance so that you are not resentful and not enabling her self isolation.
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JD, it sounds like she is renting in a 3 family home. If that is true would she consider a move to senior citizen housing? I know they vary, but I was just at one of the complexes near me and I was shocked at how nice they were and the level of services they offered. They had an activities person, a gathering place, card and bingo games scheduled etc. And it was income scaled so I'm not talking about an expensive complex. An other alternative would be an adult day care center which can often be available for just one or 2 days a week. Aging can be quite lonely and frightening. Contact the county office of aging and seek guidance for your community. My area has many services but they aren't all well known. We have a non profit that send out a companion for 2 hours a week. The VNA will do likewise --- both at no cost to the person. My church will give a volunteer to visit with our seniors or housebound, or run errands for them or take them to doctor visits. Do a computer search for senior services and your Mom's zip code. The care will increase as she ages so seek out more help now. Good luck.
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