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Over the past few months we have noticed my mother in law who is normally a lovely, bright & bubbly person slowly become less interested with people around her & seems to have no interest in doing anything. On several occasions we tell her we are taking her out for lunch or a day at our home & she just decides at the last minute she want’s to go back to bed. She has been in an aged care hostel for 6 years as her sight is failing & her mobility is not as good anymore but she always made an effort to be social & get about. We had a meeting with her doctor, nurses & carers & we were told that sadly she has given up the will to live. I try to cheer her up with treats she has enjoyed in the past & I always talk about happy things. Any ideas to encourage her to feel happy would be truly appreciated as this sadness is really upsetting to see.


Posted by ashblonde, 22nd July 2015


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  • It must be so distressing for you to witness this. But it’s sadly a fact of life that at a certain age, some people just quit, they’ve had enough. Not much you can do about it

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  • if she doesn’t want to go out, have a picnic or something like that with her. Read to her, play her music. Buy her a lovely perfume to wear everyday- just because she can. Brush her hair. Talk about the past. Get her to help you put together a memory book or family tree.


    • Thank you for your ideas, sadly MIL has gone downhill rapidly & is in a very confused agitated state of dementia. We continue trying to brighten her up though but she isn’t responding as well as we had hoped.

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  • Maybe just persist in getting her out as much as possible. I think if I was confined to a home / hospital environment, I would be depressed too. Once they get into a rut, it’s hard to get them out but you just have to keep trying to inspire her. It must be hard on the family but don’t give up……good luck!


    • Thanks for you comment, my MIL was accepting when she had to go into her hostel years ago & it’s only just lately she has withdrawn from activities or wanting to go out. Hopefully we will get her motivated for a lunch date with us next week.

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  • Sending you, your MIL and family every good thought and well wish as we are experiencing the same thing. It is difficult and all that you can do is be there for her and take special treats and things to her and gradually encourage small outings when and if she feels up to it. Being surrounded by family and being present is the best gift and thing you can do for your MIL. Take care of yourselves too as self care is so important. Thinking of you. xx :)


    • Thanks Mom93821, you would understand our difficulty then, the Dr decided to reduce her antidepressants the other day & surprisingly she seemed alittle brighter yesterday. We are organising another lunch date so let’s hope she’ll feeling up to it.



      • I am so pleased to hear your news! I do understand and all of you must be feeling a bit brighter too! I hope your lunch date works out well. xx :)

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  • The vision loss must be very upsetting indeed. My mother-in-law is having problems too. Sitting behind the computer is still so tiring, even more doing puzzles, what she always enjoyed. She’s reading the newspaper with a magnifying glass. Probably not the best solution, but better than nothing. With e-books it should be easier indeed, because you can adapt the dimension of the letters. I was going to suggest audio books, but if she’s having hearing problems too, that’s not the best idea either. Sorry I can’t help more.
    I’m sure she enjoys having her grandchildren around. When the weather gets better you could organize maybe one picnic in the nature. I’m sure she’d enjoy it! :-)


    • Thanks for your concern. I meant to post audio books not ebooks to you sorry. My MIL has had monthly injections in her eyes to slow the macular degeneration for several years now but even the specialist thinks the bleeds are taking over so her vision is now only a blur.



      • That’s really so upsetting. So difficult to accept that your vision is degenerating. And if the same it’s happening to your hearing, it’s normal to get depressed. I hope you will all help her to accept it. There is nothing to do at her eyes to get better thus?

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  • Thanks Mums for your comments, she finds her vision loss probably the most upsetting thing for her as she loved to crotchet, read, & watch TV. She does have electronic reading books supplied on a weekly exchange but again her hearing loss affects her ability to hear as she often sits without her hearing aids in. We did manage to get a smile when we took her newest great grandchild to see her last week so that was a bonus!

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  • So sorry to hear this. It sounds like you are doing wonderful things for her. I am sure she appreciates it.

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  • It’s terrible indeed. But she has to find in herself the need to stay around other people. I think you are doing great staying around, inviting her to go somewhere. Just don’t press her, if she prefers, for now, to stay alone, just let her be. I think I’d buy her a book of inspirational quotes. About life, about family, love, nature… Something that she can read quick and maybe helps her to think about herself and her feelings. She surely needs to stay around people. Are there any courses she could do with people of her age? Maybe you could try to put down a short list of what is available around that she could enjoy (dance, cooking, pottery, painting…) and give it to her. Just asking her to give a look. And if she’s interested, maybe offering her to bring her there.
    I’d suggest you to bring her some beautiful colourful flowers… They generally brightens everyone’s mind! :-)
    Success! What a hard time indeed!

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  • That’s very sad. I’m sorry.what about taking a lunch to have with her at the nursing home. It does sound like you are doing everything you can

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  • It sounds like you’re doing all you can.

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