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My mother is depressed and we both don't know how to deal with resolving it, but it's about more than just depression. I just didn't know where to post this. Up to a year ago, my 93-year-old mother was getting around easily with her walker, sometimes her cane and other times without either one. People were always amazed at how much younger she looked and acted, then she fell and broke her leg, not due to feebleness but while she was walking her cane slipped on a doggy pad that was in her hallway. She broke her leg, was in rehab for a month and came home, but that was a year ago. Since she came home, she's been sleeping 15 hours a day and when I get her up, she sits in her chair and within a couple hours or sooner, she's asleep again and I can't keep her awake. We've talked about it and she tells me that she does NOT want to sleep like that, and she says she wants to be going out doing things like she used to. The doctor tells her there's nothing wrong with her, no infections or anything . But because of the fact she has 2 artificial knees that are wearing out badly, that she got several years ago and her broken leg a year ago, she can't use a mobility scooter or wheelchair because bending her knees is too uncomfortable after 5 or 6 minutes. The doctor doesn't want her to keep her legs lifted up and straight out as she sleeps so much to begin with. He claims she should be bending them now and then to keep them healthy. We don't know what to do. She does not want to be isolated to laying down or sitting the rest of her life as she needs to get out and do things and enjoy the time she has left on this earth. If she goes to a nursing home, she would die of the lonliness of not having family and her memory would be gone in not time at all. Here at home she doesn't get confused and her memory is easy to jog just by reminding her. The few times she's been relocated, she began to lose memories of living at home and events that occured while living there. Once at home her memory began to become normal again. Her doctor suggested both nursing home and assisted living, but she doesn't want either lifestyle. She hated assisted living when she was in one a few years ago. She likes the freedom of being home and me being with her. Our main concern now is how can she get out and about with her knees in the condition they're in. It's imperative to her happiness that she's able to get out and about to visit friends, play games at the office here in the apartment complex and go to Walmart. She loved going to Walmart all the time before she fell last year. She does not want to live like a bed ridden invalid anymore, which is the way she's been living for a year now. It's effecting her badly: depression and boredom and everything negative.

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Rob; you seem to have disappeared! I too wonder if your mother's depression is being treated medically.
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Try getting Cortisone shots in her knees, usually an Orthopaedic doctor does that. Also use an ice pack to help reduce inflammation. There are creams you can rub onto her knees that may help. You can help her to exercise her joints. There are videos showing exercises you can do sitting down. I used to put my mother in a wheelchair and off we'd go shopping or visiting people or a walk in the park. Was it a hassle transferring her back and forth? Yes it was. But it got us out of the house. I especially liked going to the mall. So many things to see and do and only two transfers.
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The doctor claims she should be bending her knees now and then to keep them healthy. But that hurts. Ask the doctor to order in-home physical therapy for her. The PT should be able to assess whether it is realistic to follow the doctor's order and to suggest gentle exercises to help. Is your mother taking something for pain?

It is not unexpected that depression would accompany pain and inability to be active. And depression would make Mom less willing to tolerate the discomfort of bending her knees. And so a vicious cycle is set up. I think addressing the pain is number one -- start with a physical therapist, and explore pain medications. And then the depression needs to be addressed medically -- it is a medical condition. An anti-depressant could make a big difference.

My mother had severe arthritis pain. It took a lot of experimentation with medications to significantly reduce the pain. She had bad side effects with narcotics so that limited the options. But that got solved. She lived in an apartment, then she lived with my sister, and finally she lived in a nursing home. Her hip broke and it was inoperable. She went on hospice care. After a period of being bed-bound (and presumably dying) they got her up into a wheelchair each day using a sit-to-stand machine and she attended the entertainment and activities she liked. In three months she graduated out of hospice. She lived two more years, wheel-chair bound but content. She died at age 94.

For my mother, pain management was absolutely essential. I doubt that she would have made it out of hospice if she were constantly in pain.
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I wonder if your mother needs to be on an anti-depressant.
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Arthritic knees are difficult and are keeping my near 94 year old mom from even wanting to transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet

See if her doctor will prescribe some health Heath physical therapy - Medicare won't cover many visits but even a little is better than none
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Rob, I guess there probably is no way she could consider underwater exercises for her legs. I know people with poor mobility such as very obese people etc. do water aerobics. Obviously, I'm not suggesting a 92- year- old do aerobics but even some easy leg exercises under water.

Obviously, it would have to be supervised very carefully and maybe I'm just grasping at straws but you could look into that. Does she take her fish oil? To keep her joints fluid. What about a motorized wheelchair? Does she have enough mobility to even get into one?
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Dear Rob,

I can see you love your mom a lot and want the best for her. Are you able to consult a physical therapist or occupational therapist about different options to help your mom get out the house more.

You are so right. There mental health is very important. I hope you can find the right resources for your mom.
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