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How do we deal with my elderly mother-in-law being very emotional?

My mother in law has been very sad, lonely and very emotional. This is the very opposite of her personality. How do we deal with the extreme sadness, loneliness and extreme emotional state? She has never been one to show any affection, to cry, or show any emotion except hate. Now she is the opposite. How do we deal with this? She keeps asking "is my mom dead?" How should we answer that? This happens several times a day, often several times within 30 minutes. We have tried redirecting her, but she keeps asking.
Status: Open    Jul 22, 2015 - 10:08 AM


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2 answers


Jul 23, 2015 - 02:35 PM

Tell her that her mom can't be here right now. That might help once in a while. Another response might be she went out for a while.
If telling her that her Mother is dead upsets her don't tell her. Just use another response.
As for the depression she should be evaluated by a doctor possibly a Neuropsychologist. There are medications that will help with the depression.
As for the loneliness does she have a pet, or can she have a pet? A cat might help. Adopting one from a shelter, might help her out. I suggest a cat rather than a dog as they don't need to be walked but if your M-I-L walks well getting out to take a dog out might help just as much.

Jul 24, 2015 - 11:52 AM

Have you checked to see if there are any 'day care' (day respite) programs or programs at your local senior center for those with memory loss. This may help with the loneliness factor and help with her overall sadness

I do agree consulting with her doctor about her emotional state may be a good idea. He/she may have some thoughts or ideas for medication that she may benefit from.

As for asking if her 'mom is dead' if that is in fact her focus it might be a good idea to put an album together of pictures of her mom or her when she was younger. Families sometimes find that a picture album stirs some memories, conversations, and provides an easy redirection tool.

She is very lucky to have family by her side trying to help her through this journey.
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