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TaraG

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #1 
Mom is 88, in general good health although hardly eats anything. She used to be very vivacious, life of the party. Now her friends tell me she sits quiet at lunches and doesn't participate. Still goes to knitting circle but doesn't knit , just sits there. recently had thoro checkup and nothing unusual found. Was never prone to depression, plus she'd always enjoy being with friends. Does this seem like a normal part of aging??
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #2 
Tara,

I think many elders get tired as they age, so the things they used to enjoy doing start to take too much energy.  For some, it could also be related to a change in their hearing.  I had an uncle who was always very outgoing, but as he aged and lost some of his hearing, he became less interested in socializing.

Having said that, if this is an abrupt change, there may be something else going on.  My mother is very outgoing, but once she gets a UTI, her whole personality changes.
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TaraG

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks. Mom does get utis, but I've noticed this as a gradual change over the years. I freel pretty sure it's normal but her friends keep contacting me to say how worried they are, because Mrs So and So who is older than mom still goes to the beauty parlor every week and Mrs Such and Such is the same age and is still the life of the party, etc. I've taken mom to,doctor, for blood tests, have talked with her ...when her friends contact me like this I feel,bad and worried, like I'm not doing enough. I just kinda wish they would accept that this is how she is aging, unless there is something further I should do.
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #4 
Something to consider....

My mom is about to turn 88, and she and her acquaintances pretty much fill their days by talking.  Their worlds have gotten very small and they don't have a lot they can physically do, so a lot of their days are spent simply chatting and filling time. 

If something disrupts their routines, it affects them deeply.  Since your mom is no longer doing the things she used to do, it is likely affecting these other ladies and their routines.  Whenever my mom decides to stop communicating, I get calls.  Some use the conversations with me as substitute time fillers and some just like to feel important.  (I also get calls when my mother is acting badly and they want me to get her to stop, but I don't have any power to fix that for them......)

Anyway, some of these people may actually be concerned, but I think others are just bored and looking for some drama to fill their days.  And some miss the days when they had power to parent or push others around, so they hone in on good natured people like us to fill that need. 

I used to get really annoyed, because it felt personal, but nowadays I realize that this is more about them needing to feel important and busy than it is a commentary on how I am caring for my mother. 

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TaraG

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you, splotchy, this makes me feel so much better. Those are all good theories. And yeah it just makes me feel like crap when they give me these reports. There is one friend who doesn't understand why mom won't give up the house she's lived in for 55 years to go to assisted living. Like how is that so hard to grasp???
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Splotchy
Reply with quote  #6 
I hear you about that.  I think we have to keep reminding ourselves that everyone's situation is different, so people have to make the best decisions they can, based on their own individual circumstances..  My father-in-law, for example, lives in his own home, whereas my mother and mother-in-law live in assisted living.  Factors such as mental health, physical health and money all play a role in these decisions, and there is no one-size fits all answer.   

I think people sometimes want everyone else to make the same decisions they have, so they can feel good about their own choices.  I have to remind myself of this whenever one of my mother's acquaintances gives me grief about the fact that my mother lives in assisted living as opposed to her own home.  My mother is frequently in and out of psychiatric facilities due to mental health and addiction issues, and she often gets physically violent, so she needs to be watched 24/7.  Her acquaintances don't see this side of her, so they really do not understand.  I have learned to trust myself and not let their comments take up too much space in my head.

But it's still annoying to hear them suggest that I am not a good daughter.  They have no idea what I have experienced behind closed doors with my mother.  But I do. 

Anyway, I hope your mother's friends will stop bothering you.  You don't deserve to be treated that way.
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TaraG

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks again. It's so helpful to learn that other people have the same issues so maybe it's not just me doing something wrong. It's ironic that I'm sort of being criticized for letting mom stay in her own home, when you think about it. Usually kids get criticized for "throwing" their elders into nursing homes. Best of luck to you, it sounds like your situation is more difficult than mine.
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Christa4

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Posts: 47
Reply with quote  #8 
I wonder if some of these busy bodies just can't deal with the world around them changing. They see change in your mom as a bit scary - like what next?

I applaud you for letting your mom stay where she wants to. None of this is easy, but whatever you do, it's still not going to be easy! People have asked me why I don't get my dad in assisted living. Guess who would have to take care of every detail? Guess who would receive the constant complaining?
Something dawned on me recently. I think if I had put Dad in assisted living, I would interact more with others of my generation going through the same thing -- as in new friends that would understand.
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TaraG

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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #9 
People are so casual about suggesting we put parents into assisted living. It's horrendously expensive, and most of our elders do not want to go!
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