Have Mental Health Questions? Ask a Psychiatrist Online
Welcome to the site.
I am Dr. Kaushik and i believe i can help you with your problem.
It is first of all quite nice to see that you are so much concerned and devoted to your mother's health and doing your best to make her life better. I really appreciate your efforts and will encourage you to continue doing the same.
Now coming to your question, well you see at her advancing age the body's cognition / thought process is on the decline ( senile degeneration) which not only effects her thinking ability but also brings in some depressive cognition / thinking which are reflected through features like feeling gloomy, withdrawn from others, lethargic and lacking energy, reduced intent or activity , lack of pleasure and interest in previously pleasurable activities and while your efforts of motivating her to go outside the house and do some outdoor interactive social activity are much welcomed and to be considered a move in the right direction but I believe it is something extra than this that will improve her depressed mood and that can be through the use of a low dose of an anti depressant drug such as Prozac ( fluoxetine ) at dose of 10-20 mg / day to be taken in the morning only as a single dose after breakfast starting on the lower dose first and if the need arises then going up to 20 mg. This drug shall not only make her more alert and enthusiastic but most importantly it will uplift her down and depressed mood and when this happens she will be more forthcoming in venturing out of the house and listening and interacting with significant others.
Also the drug may take around 2-3 weeks at least to bring the positive effects on her mood so that much patience you got to have with it plus try not to put pressure on your mother to make herself more outgoing ( being supportive is essential but do not go overboard) since at her age many people lack the will to do that so once the drug starts to improve her mood and energy she may herself seek this kind of interaction and activity so until that happens please avoid putting any sort of pressure on her to be more active as this may invariably add stress to her already declining cognition thereby making matters worse.
I hope this helps.
Wish you all the best.
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Doctor, that's good information. Her age is having an effect upon her overall physical ability to do what was once normal. It's also affecting her emotionally, too. It concerns me to see her feeling so low when I think she's making matters worse by her own negativity. That may be expected at her age. Nevertheless, I'd like to help her by reducing the amount of negative thoughts and the rut she's in with something positive. It's not easy to know what will work with her. Otherwise, the information you gave me is very good.
Hello Doctor, Your follow-up to my question is appreciated. The problem I'm really dealing with is a mom who just had her 93rd birthday, tires out quickly and has low energy. It requires her to lay down and take naps all day long except for the few times she gets up to go to the kitchen and eat a little. And, she only eats a little these days. Meanwhile, life as she once knew it and was able to deal with it is much more difficult now. I'm talking about doing everyday, normal activities she did as a regular routine, e.g., get up make breakfast, shower, wash her hair a few days a week, dress and go about doing whatever people do. Everything now is a chore and hard for her to accomplish. It's easier now to have a hairdresser in a salon wash her hair, for example; that's something she used to do all the time. Life is just more difficult than it was 10 years ago. But, that's how it is when you get into that age bracket. She used to do everything, including travel which she looked forward to. And, many of her friends are gone, relatives are gone and, of those who are still living are having their health problems, too. Her attitude is affecting her, too. She's a complainer which she always was and it's not helping at all. Regardless, I wish I could improve the quality of her life, but it's not easy dealing with someone with her mindset. I've given you quite an explanation. Changing her at this time may not even be possible. Yet, I do everything I can to help her out and make her life easier. Thanks for your help, Neill
Thanks for the valuable inputs.
Well I can understand your predicament and I really appreciate your genuine efforts to make your mother's life as easy as possible but may I take this as an opportunity to say that albeit your hardships in making her life comfortable you shall be prepared to see no appreciation from her side the reason being at her age coupled with her inherent personality she must have become rigid and as you rightly mentioned in your post at her age it is very difficult to mould her or change her so the best way to deal with her is to let her live her life on her own terms and regularly keep on checking up on her health and demands and try to fulfil them if possible, other than this at her age like any other old person her body is on the decline both physically as well as in cognitive functioning so for your peace of mind better will be not to have any sort of expectation from her to make an effort to change her attitude or behaviour as it is on a decline and will continue to be so as more time goes by , so just take and give love and affection with her and spend quality time with her.
I hope this helps you to see the bigger picture.