Mom is 66, had a stroke 20 months ago, lost about half her vision, lost her husband a month before that, and now lives with us. A month or so ago, a family acquaintance issued an invitation to a weekly church fellowship meeting which Mom said she’d like to go to. But the acquaintance called today to make sure she wanted to go and Mom told her she didn’t want to go today, maybe next week. This is not the first time she’s cancelled on this acquaintance.

Mom’s reasons were that I would have to drop her off and then the acquaintance would have to bring her back. And she was hungry (just starting to eat breakfast when the lady called.) And tired from our visit with family yesterday. And she had to get mentally prepared to go. I realize the people at the meeting are all strangers except for the acquaintance. (Most of Mom’s friends live about 2 hours away from us.)

Mom wasn’t very social before all this happened. All of her friends were people she and Dad knew and were all couple friends. But she did like being around people and now she practically avoids social activities. She is on an anti-depressant. But I don’t know if I should just let her be or insist she get a higher dose, take her to a therapist, or something. She says she is happy just being in her room, watching tv. We do see family about once a week. But she gets so little social interaction.

Plus, I was kind of looking forward to a couple hours in my house alone. Now, to get a break, I have to leave. Which I can do anytime, but I don’t get any alone time at home. I mean, I can be in my room alone or on the porch. But she’s still always here in the house. I don’t know why it was important to me for her to leave, but it was.

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Thank you for the helpful insight. I do think my going with her a time or two will help. She has always said she likes meeting new people and talking to strangers, but she seems to be hesitant about doing it now. Probably her disabilities are bothering her.

I did talk to her about my husband and I having some time to ourselves while she was away (he is off on Mondays). She said if we ever needed some alone time to just tell her and she'd go into her room! I had to laugh (so I didn't cry) since she didn't seem to get that her being in her room wasn't really that helpful for some kinds of privacy.
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cmc, I agree. You may have to suck it up for a few times and take your mom to church for an activity to break the ice. Once she finds another lady that she clicks with, then you're off the hook. She's just scared. First time alone has got to be scary, and she's being pushed outside her comfort zone big time.
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If Mom was not very social before, it probably isn't realistic to expect she'll suddenly emerge as a social butterfly, or even have minimal interest in such activities. Can she keep in touch with friends from her old location by phone?

My mother (92) visits with her sister by phone almost daily. She has kids dropping in one or twice a week. But since Dad died she hasn't shown any interest in maintaining the couple friendships that were basically his friends. She is stand-offish with people in her building. And she seems perfectly content this way.

Would it help if you went with them to a church fellowship meeting? I'm not suggesting every week -- that would defeat one of your purposes -- but just to break the ice the first time?

Also, Adult Day Health Programs can be excellent even for non-very-social people. It is nice to be exposed to other adults, and to have someone else say, "Oh Mary, I love that shade of lilac on you!" Going one day a week would give you respite and might be pleasant for your mother, also. We've used two different programs, and the one that didn't require every attendant to participate in every group activity was much better for my husband. Some programs pick up and return folks by van or bus.
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Hello, Socializing is crucial to anyones well-being. As my mother got more sick, she didnt like being around people that she knew. And didnt like new people either for that matter. She didnt like for her oldest friends and family to see how she had declined. I looked around the community for weekly groups etc. Perhaps your mother doesnt feel like she fits in with the chruch group. Well, look around for something that would interest her.
Most importantly, you need to also sit with your mom and explain to her why you need time to yourself. Let her know that you dont mind taking her where she wants to go because in the end it benefits you both.
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