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Depression and Mental Illness in Seniors
My 79 year old mom moved from the east coast to Oakland over a year ago to help me with my twin babes and to live w/ us. Needless to say it has not been an easy transition for any of us. She was a great help w/the babes when they were infants & continues to help but she doesn't feel needed as much anymore now that they are toddlers and they are in daycare b/c my husband & I both work FT. She has some health issues and doctors have changed her meds which caused her to switch her anti-depressant med. She was used to being very active back home as she had meaningful volunteer work that she did at least 5 days/week. But she was lonely & always talked about moving to CA to be nearer to my brother & I. And to be honest I thought the timing was great as she was getting older I didn't think she would be able to drive and get around much longer in the east coast snowy winters and be able to climb stairs to her rental apartment. I thought the babes would be the impetus to get her here and that she could help out with them and as they got older I just assumed she would get settled & look for volunteer opportunities and social outlets. But that has not happened. Instead she stays in the house all day and sleeps most of the day away. She also tried to take the written test to get a CA license but she has failed twice and only has one chance left and now she tells me that even if she gets her license she probably doesn't have the confidence to get to know the area. I suggest buses/public transportation/some sort of elder transportation services etc. but she says no. She pretty much says no to everything I say. She blames me for this entire situation. She says I don't have meaningful conversations with her, that I rarely offer to take her on outings, that we leave her for hours alone. I do invite her almost everywhere I go but to be honest I have limited time with working and having two toddlers that most of my free time is spent running errands, grocery shopping and taking the babes places. We are also just very different people - she an extrovert who needs lots of social interaction/talking & i am an introvert and like my quiet time alone. I am at a total loss as to what I should do to try to help her. I have suggested therapy many times, have looked up volunteer opportunities and have offered to drive her around to look at them, have suggested joining the Y for their senior talk series, have suggested senior centers...but the answer is always no or ''i'm not strong enough.'' She tells me that she is literally fading away and dying. I don't even know what to say to her anymore.I am looking for any words of wisdom, advice, suggestions...you name it. I am not sure how much more I can take. Anon
That's the short version, and I'll spare you the rest. I hope that a decade later you might have better, more informed resources. Besides your Mom's doctor, I would start, perhaps, with Ashby Village (ashbyvillage.org). I would also see if a consultation with a geriatric social worker might be of help. Perhaps your kids' day care could use a volunteer for some hours/week? I look forward to hearing what others have to say about this topic and I hope you will be spared what I had to deal with. Sad daughter
My 76 year old father's wife died of cancer about 2 years ago. Before her death he was an extremely active person, curious and adventurous. He had many hobbies that he actively pursued and was a real role model to me for retirement. Since his wife's death, my dad has not been able to get back to who he used to be. He has tried various anti- depressants but they have made him feel awful. He moved to to a retirement community in Arizona to be near an his ex-wife who has been a very good friend. However the two of them get together in the evening and drink cocktails. This morning I called him around 10am and he had obviously been drinking. I have heard him sound ''high'' over the phone before, though this is the first time so early in the day. He has an appointment with a psychiatrist in May to try and find an anti- depressant that will work for him. I have encourage him to do some talk therapy which he says he will look into. But I am really worried that he is slipping away from heart break and ambivalence. I don't know what I can do to help him, especially from California.
Another point is that along with drinking and bereavement is very commonly malnutrition, which can affect he mood to a very significant degree. It is not always something we think of but when folks are sad and drinking, they don't usually feed themselves very well.
Then - what about helping him find a bereavement group? I have worked with many elders, widows and widowers, who have not really been ''therapy people'' per se but who have really benefitted from a bereavement group. I would recommend this in addition to individual therapy. Best of luck to you and your dad.
I'm looking for advice for my 83-year-old father who lives alone, is in poor health and is, I'm quite sure, increasingly depressed. My questions are: does anyone know a geriatric psychiatrist (he's in Marin but I could bring him over here) and, perhaps more importantly, have ideas about how to get a very resistant elderly person to consider going? Also, anyone have experience with East Bay (or Marin) retirement communities? Or, if he were to move to a house over here, social opportunities for someone that age? thank you anon on dad's behalf
I know it's hard to get our elderly parents to budge.It took me and my brother 3 years to get my mom to move out of her wonderful house in northern NH, even when she couldn't take care of it anymore.
She's also now on Zoloff and her spirits have improved greatly. How to get your dad to go see a medical professional? NOt sure how to answer that....we TOLD my mom that she was going to take ! a medicine to help her feel happier. She said OK. Good luck.
If you want to talk more about LakePark, please e-mail me. By the way, they invite people to come and stay there for 2 days so they can get a sense of what it would be like to live there. Good luck. June