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Will mom ever be happy again or has old age taken that away?

Mom lives with me and while she used to always be laughing or have a twinkle in her eye she now seems to not care. I want her to enjoy retirement and I try to give her anything I think she might enjoy. When I ask her she says she is fine and very happy. Her doctor has found nothing wrong with her physically or mentally. I just want her to have fun and smile for real but each time I try I end up being disappointed. She is social, attends church and a quilting group and enjoys both activities. Is it normal to not be happy in your 90's?
Status: Open    Feb 25, 2016 - 10:17 AM

Senior Health & Nutrition

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2 answers


Feb 26, 2016 - 03:16 PM

I think the way we show "happiness" may change.
When you were a child and were happy you might skip down the street, laugh at the clouds that looked like elephants or skipped rope (for the fun of it not because the doctor told you to get some cardio work in)
She may be slightly depressed but not enough to have a doctor suggest an anti depressant.
But if she is social, attends church her quilting group I would not worry much about her. She may have friends that have passed on, possibly some are ill and she is thinking of her own mortality.
Slight aches and pains may also take some of the twinkle out of her eye as well. It is also possible that she worries about you worring about her and if you are doing more for her she may feel guilty about that.
Make a date with her, go to lunch have a nice ladies day out and both of you enjoy the day.

Feb 28, 2016 - 07:15 AM

You don't say if your Mom has any level of dementia but either way I wouldn't worry. As you said , she is involved with people and that is great. I'll bet she is aware of the changes in herself and around her and part of this may lead to mild fear and depression. Her friends are dying, her memory may be failing and her physical self has slowed. I think there are very few people in this world that can take that in their stride and continue as though life is as vibrant and cheerful as it once was.

My Mother is 95 and until about a year ago she was still traveling with me to Arizona, New York and even Denmark. WIth all that I would say the biggest smiles came when she received attention either from a waiter, a flight attendant or physician. The joys seem smaller but no less significant. We are the ones that have to adjust to their new world. So I've let go the expectations of belly laughs or long conversations with constant smiling. Instead my heart is warmed when Mom laughs at The Golden Girls for the hundredth time or chuckles when I give her a hot chocolate with an extra dollop of whipped cream.

At 90 they've probably seen and done what they wanted and the memories that are retained are hopefully soothing. Contentment is as valuable as happiness.
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