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My Mom is a sweet, remarkably tough, woman who in the last year has lost most of her eye sight, ability to walk, developed AFIB, has CLL, and other debilitating health issues. She is sad! My sister who co-caretakes with me talked w her GP who put her on Prozac. I believe that she has the right to be sad/depressed and allowed to process losses. I don't understand why our elderly are expected to be upbeat etc. And believe it is so our job as caretaker will be easier. I know, if I were in "her shoes" I would be depressed. I my trying to wrap my head around mom taking one more drug, and not be profoundly angry w my sister.

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Taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication is stigmatized; although, less so than in the past I have heard comments that an elderly person or older-middle-aged-ill person "just gave up" and "didn't try to recover. " I call this the "blame the victim" mentality." We believe the same thing won't happen to us, because we would try harder. The examples I give were from 20 and 40 years ago. What if anti-depressants were more available and accepted then? Would taking such medication help the person to pursue physical therapy, social interaction or activities? Why not try this even if the person does not have a life time history of clinical depression?
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Do you understand that your otherwise sweet mother's anger is a symptom of her depression? Your mom will probably be less angry if she were less depressed. Anti-depressants take about two weeks to begin to work.

The anti-depressant was probably prescribed to free her up emotionally so that she can more easily process her losses intellectually.

She sure has a lot of loss to process and at 86 that's a lot of adjusting to make.

Why would you want it to be more difficult for her by not giving her an anti-depressant? Have you even been as depressed as she is with as much to be depressed about as she has?

Remaining in a depressed state can have bad implications for one's physical health.

I think doing some research about depression and the elderly on this site would be a good activity to do.

Good luck and keep in touch.
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If there ever was a reason for a person to be depressed a lot of our elderly have it. Why wouldn't a normal person be depressed when they can no longer see, hear, ambulate or think clearly! Depression can be either endogenous (from within), think chemical imbalance or exogenous (from without) think situational. I personally believe that many of our elders and those that care for them can easily fall into a situational depression. There has been so much loss. For the elder the physical and mental capacities they have lost as well as their independence. For the caregiver all the plans, career, money and freedom that they have lost so they can care for their loved one.
Depression is no fun, JessieBelle is absolutely right and the meds may help. In fact they may help a lot. But we also have to remember to allow and expect people to grieve. It is a major part of coming to terms with loss.
Don't waste your energy being angry with your sister. Even if your Mom is taking the Prozac she's still going to need all the emotional support and understanding you can give her.
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I think having occasional depression is quite normal and therefore should not be medicated. Your mom certainly has her share of challenges and it goes without saying, that it directly impacts the quality of your life. However, if the depression becomes more unmanageable for your mother, I see (IMO) no reason to not help make everyone's life less stressful. At 86, I think the goal for the care of your mom is to give her better quality of life. Does giving your mother anti-depressants make it easier on the family in general ? Yes, it does! However, you and your sister sharing the care taking responsibilities is commendable and an act of love by both of you. But, speaking from my own personal experience with my mother, 87, there are days when I am not my best and feel terrible because I showed frustration and fortunately her memory loss works in my favor . She forgets that
I had "a moment" where I lost patience. But, I think in your situation everyone can benefit from a low dose Prozac etc, which is carefully monitored for any side effects. To watch our parents lose their sense of self, before our eyes can be so emotionally draining. Most nights I go to bed at 8:30, just so that I have some alone time. I am learning that trying to take care of my needs in not being selfish but, I am a work in progress. All of us who share our own story in this forum understand this and it's profoundly difficult to juggle all the balls of elder care and not fade into the background of life. I hope you and your sister find some comfort and even some useful suggestions on this site.
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mb, there is a definite difference between mourning and depression. Sadness is not depression. Mourning is a natural and normal response to life's circumstances. Sadness is not pathological.

But true depression is different. When I am clinically depressed I am "not me" -- I feel robbed of my own personality. Who is this snarky irritable person who has inhabited my body? I don't want a pill to make me "happy" -- I want help to make me "me." It is hard to describe to someone who hasn't experienced both, but in my opinion depression should be treated; sadness and mourning seldom need medical intervention.

What I can't tell you is whether your mom is, in fact, depressed. Many PCPs hand out anti-depressants without much investigation. In contrast, when I saw a psychiatrist for not being myself I filled out a five-page questionnaire and had a one-hour interview with a psychiatric nurse before I even talked to the doctor, who concluded I was depressed. I don't think I'd ever accept a psychiatric drug prescription from a PCP again.

Given your situation, here's my advice:

1) Ditch the anger at your sister. She wants what is best for your mother. The two of you may disagree about what that is, but it is not as if she is being malicious.
2) Don't worry that Prozac is a "happy" pill. If Mom's chemistry is out of balance it may help correct that, so she is facing her recent losses as her normal self, and not as a person with an imbalance that makes things worse.

If you were in her shoes you would be sad. You would be angry. You might feel defeated. You could probably work through this with loving support from family. But if the flow of bad events overwhelmed your normal coping mechanisms and you became truly depressed and hopeless, I would very much hope you would seek some treatment to give you a fighting chance to cope in your normal ways.

It is acceptable (in my opinion) for a loved one to be sad. It is acceptable for a loved one to mourn major losses. But true depression is a disorder and a loved one deserves a chance to have that corrected.

(BTW, Jessie is absolutely right -- depression is no fun.)
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When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia even my father-in-law was given a prescription for anti-depressants. This is not so uncommon.
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mb, it may be because depression is no fun. Although it is understandable when there is so much loss, depression is still no fun. If the medication helps relieve the depression, then it would be a good thing IMO.
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