Mum just cant be bothered

daisydi

Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
255
Norfolk
Can anyone give me any ideas how to get my mum involved in activities. She has been in a care home since January. I visit her regularly but whenever I go she is just sitting in the same chair looking out of the window. The home and staff are very good and try to get her involved but she wont do anything. I try to take her out for a coffee, they try to get her to have a walk, they do various things but she just will not join in. Tried to play a game of cards yesterday but she wouldn't join in so I ended up playing snap with another resident. I have racked my brains to think of something she would do but I cant think of anything. She just has no interest in anything. Don't know what to do as she seems so down and isolated. She is not on any medication and I am wondering whether I should get her assessed for anti depressants or something to perk her up. The home always say she is happy but in my opinion she has no quality of life. Whatever we try she just says can't be bothered and I just want her to come to life. Is this normal behaviour for someone with vascular dementia?
 

balloo

Registered User
Sep 21, 2013
227
northamptonshire
my mother in law is very much like this now she been living with us for 21/2 years up until 3 months agai she would do puzels on the computer but now would not eve know what I was talking about .my MIL has VD as well . Sorry have no idea I tried to get herto do painting as that's what she liked but she just got upset because she could not do what she wanted to do .
 

backgirl

Registered User
May 12, 2015
1
I live with an elderly friend who has dementia...I also struggle to find things to do with her but I do find music helps. I play some cds that she finds soothing and it makes her feel more settled..not sure if your mum would connect with that
 

susy

Registered User
Jul 29, 2013
801
North East
What was she like before? I would ask the GP what they think about anti depressants and if they think it's a good idea, see if it makes any difference. X
 

daisydi

Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
255
Norfolk
What was she like before? I would ask the GP what they think about anti depressants and if they think it's a good idea, see if it makes any difference. X
She was similar in the last few months at home but there was nothing on offer for her to do. Maybe I just expect too much from her but when she was at home at least she was out and about. She needs fresh air but she wont even go into the garden at the CH. I think she just wants to curl up and die but she is fit in every other way apart from her mind. She could go on for years. In the past she was always out and about, playing bridge, bowls, rambling, travelling,history of art classes. She was up for anything.
 

count2ten

Registered User
Dec 13, 2013
186
She was similar in the last few months at home but there was nothing on offer for her to do. Maybe I just expect too much from her but when she was at home at least she was out and about. She needs fresh air but she wont even go into the garden at the CH. I think she just wants to curl up and die but she is fit in every other way apart from her mind. She could go on for years. In the past she was always out and about, playing bridge, bowls, rambling, travelling,history of art classes. She was up for anything.
My mum has also been in a care home since January and I've been struggling trying to find the right words to describe how she's responded to this - she's had a few ups and downs, a couple of infections, and I visit regularly and try to get her "involved", we moved her tv into her room and I watch videos and programmes with her, we take her out for lunch or tea once a week, the staff try to get her to join in with activities etc. .... but I'm reaching the conclusion that maybe she now feels she can just "relax" almost into her dementia - does that sound strange? It's as if she was holding herself together for as long as she could, with all the anxiety and problems that went with her illness, and now she's got all this support she can just sit and let it all happen around her - maybe it's enough to just be around people and watch what's going on without having to be doing something or talking to someone. I've stopped trying to get my mother to be "active" and now accepting that she 's happier just watching the world go by. She now just eats and sleeps most of the time (and I have to remember that she wasn't doing much of that before she moved into the CH ) , and she sits in her allocated chair in the lounge with her new peers and seems reassured and far less anxious than she has been for years, she's not in pain or frightened anymore, the hallucinations have gone, so that's good enough for me now.
 
Last edited:

daisydi

Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
255
Norfolk
My mum has also been in a care home since January and I've been struggling trying to find the right words to describe how she's responded to this - she's had a few ups and downs, a couple of infections, and I visit regularly and try to get her "involved", we moved her tv into her room and I watch videos and programmes with her, we take her out for lunch or tea once a week, the staff try to get her to join in with activities etc. .... but I'm reaching the conclusion that maybe she now feels she can just "relax" almost into her dementia - does that sound strange? It's as if she was holding herself together for as long as she could, with all the anxiety and problems that went with her illness, and now she's got all this support she can just sit and let it all happen around her - maybe it's enough to just be around people and watch what's going on without having to be doing something or talking to someone. I've stopped trying to get my mother to be "active" and accepting now that she 's happier just watching the world go by. She now just eats and sleeps most of the time, and maybe that's all she can manage at her age. That's got to be enough for me now,
Yes maybe I need to relax and count my blessings that she is being well cared for. It is so hard though!
 

Dustycat

Registered User
Jul 14, 2014
215
North East
My Dad is a bit the same as was my Mum when she was in care. With both of them the main thing that brought them out of their shell was music. My Dad particularly had a full life pre dementia but has little interest in anything now. X
 

daisydi

Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
255
Norfolk
What I forgot to mention is that she cant seem to sit still. She gets up mid conversation (sort of) and wanders off. She is wandering about all the time as if she is bored. One of the other residents, not with dementia, says she just walks around all the time. This is why I want to try to occupy her with something. She even gets up at meal times and cant seem to stay in one place for any length of time. I just dont know how to help her. She sits in her chair, gets up, walks about, back in her chair. Even when she has visitors she's up and off. I spend more time with one of the other residents who likes to chat with me than with my own mum who doesn't. Her only past time is looking out of the window. Maybe that's enough ....
 

Witzend

Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
4,291
SW London
My mother was the same - long before she went into the care home she couldn't be bothered with anything except sitting with the Tv on, not that I would say she was actually watching it, since she couldn't follow anything. In the care home she hardly ever wanted to join in any activities, but I think this was also partly down to her personality - she was never much of a sociable type, or a joiner-inner.
Sometimes I think it's the case that the effort of trying to so anything is just too much for their poor old brains.
If your mum seems generally more or less contented, then I would try not to worry about it.

By the way, wandering about, or pacing up and down isn't common feature of dementia. My mother's care home was purpose built with plenty of 'wander room', and several of the residents do spend a good part of their day wandering back and forth. My mother used to do a lot of it, too, but she is too far gone now.
 
Last edited:

katie1

Registered User
Aug 5, 2014
122
Kendal Cumbria
What I forgot to mention is that she cant seem to sit still. She gets up mid conversation (sort of) and wanders off. She is wandering about all the time as if she is bored. One of the other residents, not with dementia, says she just walks around all the time. This is why I want to try to occupy her with something. She even gets up at meal times and cant seem to stay in one place for any length of time. I just dont know how to help her. She sits in her chair, gets up, walks about, back in her chair. Even when she has visitors she's up and off. I spend more time with one of the other residents who likes to chat with me than with my own mum who doesn't. Her only past time is looking out of the window. Maybe that's enough ....

Would she tolerate a hand massage, a foot spa. Would a quiet corner with some sensory lights or bubble tube be useful a personal CD player and earphones?
or a box of things to explore like unusual objects or those stress balls and those ones that you squeeze and goo comes out?
DVD's such as popular classic TV programmes or musicals
An iPad with easy touch screen apps such as fireworks, doodle buddy, pollock etc
?
 

count2ten

Registered User
Dec 13, 2013
186
What I forgot to mention is that she cant seem to sit still. She gets up mid conversation (sort of) and wanders off. She is wandering about all the time as if she is bored. One of the other residents, not with dementia, says she just walks around all the time. This is why I want to try to occupy her with something. She even gets up at meal times and cant seem to stay in one place for any length of time. I just dont know how to help her. She sits in her chair, gets up, walks about, back in her chair. Even when she has visitors she's up and off. I spend more time with one of the other residents who likes to chat with me than with my own mum who doesn't. Her only past time is looking out of the window. Maybe that's enough ....
There's a couple of ladies at my mum's CH who wander up and down all day long, the manager says this is "purposeful walking", and the trick is for staff to get them to sit down long enough to eat something! But they always manage it, so I suppose my mum is lucky to be in such a good home. Dinners are served wherever they happen to be , chairs and side tables are produced from nowhere, and staff somehow manage to get them to eat at least some of their food before they're off wandering again.
 

Kezzamac

Registered User
Apr 28, 2015
31
Somerset
My Mil wanders around at home a lot. She can't sit in one place too long. We're having terrible trouble occupying her. She's always been a bit of a loner. She came to live with us 10 years ago, long before dementia set in, but she was always very happy on her own. She has no friends here and didn't want to join any groups or meet people. Now she is very lonely. She is very restless and wanders about because she doesn't know what to do with herself. She used to do lots of crosswords, but now she looks at it for a few minutes and gives up.
So glad someone mentioned music. We're going to put together a CD for her, because she always used to sing - she would have a song for every occasion, but recently she hasn't sung at all. We're hoping she'll enjoy some background music.
 

tealover

Registered User
Sep 8, 2011
168
this is really worrying me at the moment too.

Mum has been in her RH for a year now, at first was OK with it in that she thought it was a hotel, would like to "go down for dinner" or breakfast or whatever, and wander around chatting to people. Gradually she has become more and more withdrawn, and now rarely leaves her room, if ever.

Partly her fear is the security of her items.....I managed to get a really big shoulder bag she had that she would fill with Everything, on the pretence it needed washing, and replaced it with a small one that will take a pack of tissues, brush etc. She was so worried that we got her a key cut, I put it on a lanyard around her neck and both the staff and I tried to encourage her to use it, but of course, she forgets shehas it.

Partly is because in her more lucid moments she says she hates it. It is noisy, she doesn't like the people, the activity co-ordinator or anybody, she hates it.

I have thought of looking for somewhere else I don't know if this would help. She doesn't eat much, but will fill herself with biscuits and chocolates, I take her fruit and natural juice which she likes, but most of it ends up in her bag.

I am at a loss, I hate seeing her like this. She said she'd like to go somewhere with younger people, bless her! I think she thinks she is at work........

Just so say you are not alone, and I suppose there is no textbook behaviour that we may all comprehend

x
 

daisydi

Registered User
Feb 25, 2015
255
Norfolk
Thanks for all your suggestions and replies. The CH is good, she is settled and I do not wish to move her. I dont think she would be different anywhere else and really when I think about it she didnt want to do much when she was at home in the last few months. I just wish I could make her happy but I guess this disease doesnt allow for that. I will try to get the home to play music in one of the other lounges away from the tv. That may just give her a bit of enjoyment. They do have music in the dining room but I must say that whenever I go, and I go a lot, there is never any music playing. There is always a tv on. I did buy the Vera Lynn collection recently on a double cd but I haven't heard it being played. Maybe I need to take a more active role in her care having stepped away when she went into the home. It's worth a try!
 

katie1

Registered User
Aug 5, 2014
122
Kendal Cumbria
Do they have visiting musicians from the locality? someone who can play a guitar and sing well known songs that everyone can join in with?
Maybe one of those DVD's with songs where the words go along at the bottom of the screen so staff and visitors can join in and sing? Do they ever have creative types who sing do actions and bring in musical instruments for residents to play?

Do residents ever join in 'tasks' or 'chores' after all many people (especially many women) will have spent years looking after a home and might feel 'useful' helping to set a table, use a duster wipe surfaces, tidy up cushions, sweep the dining room floor etc

Maybe people just need more real things to do?
 

LYN T

Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
6,962
Brixham Devon
My Husband was a 'wanderer'-at home and in his CH. Music helped for a while (he used to dance) but eventually that enjoyment stopped-then the wandering stopped all together. He just sat, or shouted or went to sleep.
Another lady resident was persuaded to help the carers by setting the table for lunch or folding the washing. As each task ended she was off again! I'm afraid there are no real answers-just keep trying. Sometimes it is as it is. Wandering at least keeps a person active-but it is upsetting to see.

Take care

Lyn T XX