Posted by: Angel | 2008-12-05

Help elderly Mom enjoy last years

Dear Doc. My Mom is close to 90, had to relocate 2 years ago which was a major change for her and taken her a long time to settle. S he now lives closer to me .And in essence I am her only " carer"  i.e. shop for her or take her shopping, take her on outings, or to doctor, etc etc. She' s still fairly independent in her own flat in a retirement village. Even does her own washing of small things.Although she has osteoporosis quite badly (fractured spine) she is still mobile, and of very sound mind. Reads, paints, does suduko, plays cards BUT recently she has just gone down hill, especially when hearing someone in the village has died (which is often) she has become negative, and basically making herself more miserable. While I understand that giving up independence more and more must be extremely can I be of any more encouragement or help, especially when she says that I cannot understand that she is just a short way away from death. I am taking her to the doctor for a vit B injection. She had a check up a month ago and was declared healthy - nothing wrong.(amazingly so). If her back gives her pain I make sure she doesnt suffer. All this is affecting me now and I find that I am now dreading old age. Can you suggest anything more than what I am doing to help her be more positive. IEvery negative thing she comes up with I give her the positive and this makes her angry. She is in fact angry with life and a lot of things. Do I go for counselling or do I get a counsellor to visit her (can they do house calls). I still work full time and have just turned down and increase and asked rather for time off so that I can tend more to my Moms needs during the week and try and leave at least a Saturday free for my husband and I. Thnaks

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Our expert says:
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There's not always a simple answer in these situations, which I have experienced personally. You're lucky that your mom is so intact and well at her age. When she talks about being near death ( as she may be ) don't look for a clever answer, just listen, maybe saying something like "How does that feel, for you ? "
And discuss with her the problems you experience, and ask her advice ( apart from one's failing body, one of the tragedies of age is to feel redundant and unnecessary ) Say that you really want to care for her as much as you can, but feel you also need at least a weekend day opff for your husband and yourself--- and how does she suggest you handle that ? Which day would suit her best ? ( this way, you're not asking her if you can have a day off, but which day, which usually leads to a more fruitful discussion ).
I haven't found a good book on caring for an aging parent --- I wish I had found one to help me when I was caring for my mom, especially during her last years of increasing dementia. Maybe eventually we'll have to write one !

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Our users say:
Posted by: GP | 2008-12-05

You are absolutely wonderful to care for your mom the way you do!!! And it must be hard on you. I have no advice for you, just wanted to say that you are doing a great job!!

Reply to GP
Posted by: Angel | 2008-12-05

Just in addition to the above I do try and spoil my Mom, give her flowers and she spend 3 out of 4 Sundays with us.
Maybe if you can just recommend a book I can read which will help.

Reply to Angel

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