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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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So, jk, have any of these ideas spurred more thought in you? Anything new happening since you posted?

 

Jane

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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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Sounds exactly like my parents. My mom was 87 when she passed away and my father was 95. Everything you described about your mom, my folks did the same. Of course, when they get to that irritating age, we unconsciously treat them different (we don't include them in our conversations, we think we know what is good for them taking away their individuality. We unconsciously make them feel BAD about themselves. When I realized these mistakes I was making with my dad (my mom had already passed away) I realized I should respect him, listen consciously to him, make him feel he and his feelings mattered, changed how I did things to make it easier for him, my view of him changed and he wasn't all that irritating. I started paying more attention to him, asking for his opinion, including him in choices we had to make (for instance, what we should have for dinner). What I really did was reverse our roles. And, GUESS WHAT, he became more playful, laughted more, he even wouldn't mind when I would make suggestions for him (not as a tired caregiver, but as an interested and loving daughter. ACCEPT THEM COMPLETELY! So what if my 95 year old dad was to proud too wear a hearing aid. In stead of telling him he needed one, I some how made him think it was his idea eventually. Then all I had to do is not get too embarresed when he would pull it out of his ear and show complete strangers how great they were! LOVE THEM
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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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JaneCares -

 

That's so true, about keeping people engaged, and that it's a great way to collect family history!

 

My aunt had to go into a nursing home, after we realized she had serious heart problems, after hip replacement in her early 90s. I'd visit her every day, bringing something for "show & tell" that we could talk about .. sometimes a family album, where I could ask her to identify friends & relatives whose names I didn't know.

 

One time a very attractive resident came over & said she so enjoyed listening to us, and it made her think of her own youth, when she was a fashion model! I felt so bad for the residents who didn't have company regularly, and the idea that they'd become "non-people" in their elder years. I suggested to one of the managers, that besides the names on each door, they include an old & current photo of the resident. The resident/family could supply the old photo, and everyone would remember what they were like once upon a time!

 

I was lucky that I took my aunt to her doctors & was her medical surrogate as well, so they knew me & her trust in me. It allowed me to explain some of the strange incidents she had, privately with the doctor, who could then tailor questions appropriately. One of the symptoms also happened to be abnormal sleep patterns, where she'd wake up in the middle of the night, insisting it was day & time to get up. Since she realized she was having trouble sleeping, it was the perfect way for the doctor to suggest medication to help her sleep, although the primary purpose was to address the start of Alzheimer's.


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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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Hey JK,

 

Astraea is right. She's working HARD to maintain what cognitive abilities she still has, and by now has experienced so much loss (of people, independence, dignity) that she's exhausted.

 

Was she kind of negative before? If there's a dramatic difference between how she was, say, in her 70s, and how she is now, then it must feel really bad for her. If she's been irascible all her life, and kind of critical, then this is her modus operandi. In either case, it's worth getting to that doc, as Astraea suggests.

 

I have a trick i use when i am arranging for a client to see their doctor (i am a geriatric social worker, as well as a person with lots of caregiving experience in my own family.)  I fax them a one page note. In BIG FONT or LARGE HANDWRITING so it catches their eye. And i'll say something like, Dr. So and So, My mother, ______, is coming to see you on _______. She seems very depressed and anxious. Even though she resists seeking help, perhaps you can ask her how she's doing and then prescribe something. I'll be with her when she comes. Thank you.

 

Docs are busy. This gives them a heads up that says HEY DOC PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO MY MOTHER'S MENTAL HEALTH DURING YOUR VERY BRIEF ENCOUNTER WITH HER.  Basically.

 

Are there any activities you can involve her in? Perhaps you or another family member could engage her in sorting photos. When she's gone, a whole lot of family history goes poof. Maybe she'll tell cool stories. Gather 'round the children. Adult Day Care may also be a good thing for her. Even one day a week gets her out of the house and engaging with others. Funny thing, but, both walking and talking keep the brain going. One gerontologist that a client of mine sees told her "you need to have 30 minutes of sustained conversation to keep you sharp."  Is there anyone who can engage her, even over the phone? Doesn't have to be you.

 

Here's an article about cranky old folks: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/08/a-very-ungrateful-old-lady/    I found it reassuring. We are not alone!

 

Keep sharing! We're here!

 

Here's

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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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Need to check out that book.  Thanks so very much! 

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Re: Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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It sounds like she could be depressed.

 

Does she have a good primary care physician you're familiar with, and could talk to about it? Does she keep track of her annual physicals, or could you manage to get her in to talk to the doctor again, on some bogus pretext? A good doctor can direct a conversation with a patient, where they might be able to tell if it's depression or early stages of dementia, where it wouldn't seem like an examination.

 

If you read "The Thirty Six Hour Day", there's a section that talks about how people who realize they're "slipping," will cover for their shortcomings so others don't notice them. One is to avoid having to do anything out-of-the-ordinary, that might confuse them .. and superficially it just looks like they're being "negative".

 

Good luck!!


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Normal for 86 year old to be so negative?

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My 86 year old Mom is in good health physically, but is getting forgetful.  She's OK in her normal routine, but anything or anyplace out of the ordinary really confuses her.  Except for her annual physical, she will not see other doctors.  She needs cataract surgery, but won't have it.  She needs hearing aids but also refuses those.  She would never submit to any psychological tests for Alzheimer's or depression.  Still, she manages pretty well.  My question is whether or not it's normal for a person her age to always be so negative.  She continually brings up the fact that she's "so very old," and doesn't have much longer to live.  She works that into just about every conversation.  I'll say "what a Mother's Day we had together."  She'll say "Yes, and who knows if I'll live long enough to see another."  It's sad and depressing to be around her.  I don't know if this is normal behavior, Alzheimer's related, or if she is depressed.  Any thoughts?

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