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She forgot how to crochet, puzzle book has gotten too hard. Help. Nothing i do can make her happy anymore.My older sister is the main caretaker and i go every other weekend to stay with her and give my sister a break.I would stay more but im raising grandkids myself.At first she enjoyed atari,dice games and puzzle books.She wont watch tv anymore she cant keep up with it commercials are part of the movie.She gives my husband bad looks when he comes to pick me up she thinks he is keeping me from her .I love this woman with all my heart and my sister is about broke down.My mom refuses to go to nursing home she said she would run away.she has already broke hip and cracked the other one and thats when we knew she couldnt live by herself no more and she had a bad experiance in the rehab-nursing home and she bucks.What can me and my sister do to help ease her mind.And she has dreams now for about a year now and its the same one same place same people and it seems real to her no matter what we do to tell her its a dream.

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I wish you were my sister! My 4 siblings flew the coop after dad moved in with me. I can''t make him happy but everyone else can. Try to involve mom in in very simple activities. One I like is folding small amounts of warm laundry. Just tumble up some socks or towels (I do clean ones over and over,) and put them on her lap. The warmth feels good and maybe she will feel like she is helping out. Does your mom have dementia? Regarding the dreams, let her live in the place where her mind is, it is very real to her. I learned with my mom to just go with it and it calmed her down. She was also satisfied because I didn't argue or try to tell her she was wrong. My mom was mentally in about 1940 and then would always shoot off to Easter, early sixties. Try to remember to be in the moment, it made my visits alot easier with her. My dad argued with her till the day she died (October 2012,) he recently admitted he didn't think anything was wrong her, to me that is denial. We had to put her in skilled nursing because he couldn't care for her let alone himself. Now I get the brunt of it as the caretaker. Is your mom able to get out? I take my dad to stores like Lowe's where they have scooters and he'll go thru the whole store, holding tools, reminiscing, looking and touching. When he rides the scooter, I think he feels better about going out as he can barely walk an aisle in a store and has to sit (then gets mad because "every store should have chairs all over for seniors like him." Mishka had a great idea about catalogs. My mom loved clothes so we would go thru the Blair catalog and she would pick out clothes and shoes! If she likes gardening, try this. I used to get a small bag of potting soil, a little six pack of flowers (fragrant ones are the best!) and a couple of inexpensive pots. She would pot flowers all day! Activities like these will give her a purpose and maybe something to look forward to. You are trying your best, and that is the best you can do! My heart feels for you and sister, remember to take care of yourselves also, burnout really sucks. Hope these words help!
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Such wonderful ideas from wonderful caregivers:)
My Mother did crossword puzzles until she couldn't see anymore. Then I would tell her the clue and we would do them together. After a while, she would say " I don't know ", so we stopped.
My Mother has sung all her life, so I have them play CDs non-stop in her room. Irish music, Perry Como, Frankie baby, Nat King Cole. I sing along while I feed her, and when I take her for walks. She is never left without music playing. It gives her a focus, if that even matters anymore. I don't know. We all worry and try our best. Love to you sweethearts:) xoxo
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Good for you and your sister for being caregivers together!

You've got some great ideas here. How about looking at old photo albums with your mom? You can ask your mom to go into detail about some photos ("what was her name again?") and get her talking about the people in the album.

Your mom may not be able to participate in any activity for a long period of time but if you can come up with enough ideas you can keep your mom busy in half-hour increments or so.

I agree about the dream. It doesn't do any good to tell her it's not real. If she keeps talking about it try to redirect her attention to something else. Ask for her advice on something or tell her about something unusual or funny that happened that day. If you're cooking and the recipe calls for dry mustard (for example) ask her opinion on that. Should you use the dry mustard or the chili powder (again, for example).

I did the advice thing with my dad up until he became unable to answer. I'd usually use my daughter and ask for some parenting advice. We'd talk about the situation a bit, then my dad would give me the advice, and then usually he'd come up with a story or two of his own on a related topic. I loved him the most during these times.
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My husband was able to enjoy videos after regular television became too confusing. Especially good were nature shows and old television shows (without the commericals!) For example, did your mother enjoy I Love Lucy or Lassie? If you can find DVDs of shows she once watched that may capture her interest.

My mother loves sorting socks and folding towels while she watches game shows.
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I agree with MiskaM, especially about "jobs" for your mom - maybe winding yarn or folding socks or tearing up junk mail.

Also, touching is something that old people don't get a lot of. Imitate Jesus and wash her feet. Hold her hand. Rub her back.
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I think, but am not sure, but it is possible that you just may not be able to make her happy. It may be that you can only now make sure she is safe and well fed and loved. I wouldn't stop trying different things to try and make her happy but I wouodn't be upset if they don't work . IMO you just have to come to the realization that it just may not happen.
Some things I do for my Mom when I care take -I am part time too -
**I have a big window and I made a little flower garden with a little teeny water pond that has a solar fountain. It has beautiful butterfly bushes and roses. And lots of different bird feeders. My Mom likes to look out the window and watch the birds.

*** dogs. Dogs that love to be pet. My westie adores my Mom and climbs on her lap in her wheel chair just about all day.

***catelogs. I went on line and ordered a bunch of free catelogs for flowers, seeds, home decorative items. We look at them and say which ones we like the best on each page .

****walmart. I hate Walmart but Mom loves it so off we go.

****once we wet to north carolina and my brother caught a bunch of crabs and he boiled them ( ugh-I hated tht part) and then he declare that his part was done, though I did not want any part of his caught crabs . But he wanted someone to shuck them so Mom and I did. We covered a table with newspaper and looked up on line how to do it and we ripped off legs and pulled out crab meat. Mom loved it. I gave her her own utensils, none too sharp, and she made a mess of things and her bowl was full of shell but she just loved it. That busy work. We talked and played music and she worked worked worked . And then discreetly took her bowl and fished out as much meat from it I could and tossed the rest.
Can your Mom have a task like that? Shucking beans, separating buttons, separating socks, finding good coupons, anything that is what I call busy work and something that you won't mind getting messed up. Stay with her and talk . She can't talk very well but she likes to listen to me talking. Happy talk.

****we go deer hunting. Well ,our version. We drive around a state park by us and and look for deer. We usually see quite a few. My daughter loves this. We pack snacks and go really slow in the car. In the winter months we bring blankets and roll down the windows.

****i do Mom's hair -brush it for a long time -it feels so good to her and I paint her nails, give her a hand massage and everything. Mom is like me and loves to be pet. We are both anxious gals and crave touch. Maybe even a pedicure. I really feel like our elders need touch as much as a baby does. One of my convictions. We don't touch our elders enough, IMO. Stroke their arms, rub their necks, gently of course. It may take them time to adjust but I think they will like it. Say the doctor ordered it if she is a bit reluctant. But don't force it if she is feeling too anxious.

Good luck. I am sure your Mom is happier than you think by just having you there. And you know your sister is!!
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You are a good sister. My sister gave me a break of 4 days when my father was dying, and it was a life-saver.

It's so sad that your mother can't be happy. Has her doctor offered antidepressants? I hear more and more about miserable old people whose personalities improved SO MUCH, and more important, who were so much more at peace. You don't have to tell her what they are for. Is she in pain? Even mild to moderate pain can make a person cranky.

My father enjoyed nature DVD's. Does she like animals? They are so cheerful, and don't require brain power. What about a teddy bear or baby doll? Have you tried music? If you have a computer there is a service called Pandora - free - on the internet where you can name an artist or type of music, and they will select songs to play for you. Is she the right age for Frank Sinatra, or for Elvis?

You may need to accept that she won't be happy, the same way you have to accept that she can't be on her own. You need to "hand it over to God" and do your best to be at peace - and even happy - even if you can't help her. You need to keep strong to continue to be with her on her hard journey.

Don't fight with her over the dream being not real. She thinks it is. Tell her something to calm her down, rather than trying to make her "face reality."

Good luck.
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