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How do I encourage mom to be more positive?

Her doctor says she is fine and doesn't meet the clinical definition of depression. No matter what we suggest as far as fun things to do she snaps back with a mean comment. Anytime someone does something nice for her she says they are just doing it to get in her will. She looks at the pessimistic side of everything. I'm a very optimistic person by nature and I just don't get it.
Status: Open    Mar 05, 2015 - 04:54 AM


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Oct 25, 2015 - 08:10 AM

My mother was a negative person all her life....was your mother? Because, if she was, you can't expect her to change now that she is older and finds life more and more difficult. You don't have to "get it" but I think it is important to accept her for who she is and not try to force her to change. My mother's reaction to anything was "no" so, over time, we just learned to ignore her judiciously. We knew she loved animals. She said "no" to a therapy dog. We invited a lovely lady and her darling poodle Pierre to visit Mom, and, sure enough, Mom brightened up with the dog in a way she wouldn't with us. Turns out the lady had the gift of conversation so she and Mom turned out to have a lot to chat about. I'm not saying a therapy dog is the answer to everything. My mother didn't want to adopt another dog after her Angel died, but she enjoyed stuffed animals being on her bed and took comfort from petting them and remembering pets she had given omes to in the past. You know your mother and what she likes, so don't ask but do. And, for heaven's sake, don't try to argue her out of her mood. She is probably very worried about the end of life, and being abandoned. My mother hated churches (she had a bad experience in her youth) but she was fascinated by Native American drum circles, so our Hospice team found someone who could bring some of that experience to her (my mother was bed ridden at that point), and she found the woman who brought the information to her to be quite comforting. I would keep alert for signs of interest she has. If she is still mobile, certainly take her out but don't overwhelm her with social acitivities. If she wasn't social before, she won't suddenly become social now. She may be self-conscious about how she appears. She may not want to participate in activities....but she might enjoy viewing something. We used to take our mother (when she still could move around) to native plant gardens because that's what she loved. Surely you know what interests your mother has and build from there. But take her at her word. Something that sounds "fun" to you may feel stressful to her. I know you mean well, but she has the right to feel the way she feels.

Source: Personal experience

Comments (1) | New Comment

By queen30338 on Jul 30, 2016 - 08:17 AM | Like (0)  |  Report

Have you considered having her evaluated by a different doctor? I am assuming he/she did not put her put through the a battery of paper testing. The diagnosis of "depression" with all all it's forms and layers, in the course of normal exams and office visits with a primary care doctor, is frequently out of comfort zone. Try to find a geriatric practice in your area, they can assess your mom, suggest behavior changes to your mom, will do talk therapy or direct you to another non-MD (cheaper) source if they are overbooked, prescribe drugs if needed for depression, they communicate with the primary doctor, and want to know about drugs and treatments from all specialists, as they are often the ones that discover that depression is a really a drug reaction or a combo reaction. With my mom, I tell everyone involved never use the "P" word, "Psychiatrist", while that is his primary treatment function today, he helping the family coordinate the timing of moving her to different levels of care, arranging home psy nurse visits, and more.

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