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Mum with Alzheimer's is lonely

JessN12

New member
Nov 24, 2021
6
0
Hi All,

I am hoping for a bit for practical advice here. My mum (74) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in Feb and has been put on Memantine which is great and she seems to be doing well on it. However every now and again (getting more frequent) she complain of being lonely and fed up. She gets very down in the dumps and has a low mood for a while. Apart from the Alzheimer's she is fit and healthy, fully active
She lives with my Dad, they have had a bad marriage for many years, stayed together for some unknown reason, but they have long since stopped enjoying each other company. She did not want him involved with any of the diagnosis calls or anything. He mainly sits upstairs in the study on the computer while she is downstairs watching TV. According to my Mum they barley talk. So she feels fed up and lonely a lot of the time.
I live about 70 miles away, an hour on the train, but door to door the journey is around 2 hours. I visit once a month. We text every day and I call once a week. (I often feel guilty about moving away, but thats another story for another post). On the advice of the nurse I have bought her her some word searches to help both with cognitive ability and boredom but they are not really enough. She needs more social interaction but I don't know how to help her with this. There is Dementia group near us but I doubt she would want to go, she is in very early stages so can still go places independently.
She does have friends but seems unwilling to make the first contact with them. I don't know if this is because she has lost some communication skills, or if she is just stubborn, a life long trait!

Does anyone have any ideas that might help this situation or know of anywhere I can find somewhere that I can encourage some social interaction so she stops getting so bored and lonely, its really sad to see her with such a low mood. Or even how to go about encouraging social interaction as all I seem to get is a lot of "hum I don't know about that" or a excuses for not doing something.

Thanks in advance
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
891
0
Apathy is common in the early stages of dementia and this might account for why your mother does not initiate meet-ups with her friends. Would it be possible for you to speak to her friends to explain the situation and ask them to be pro-active about meeting up with your mother?

There are befriending and sitting services run by charities (both national and local). If your mother is fit then a befriender could take her out to places or to a club or class. Care agencies could also do the same thing. Many churches run lunch clubs which are not just for people with dementia. Your mother might initially be resistant to a 'stranger' but if you find the right person she could come to see her as almost like a friend. Some charities match older people with a younger befriender and this can work very well.
 

JessN12

New member
Nov 24, 2021
6
0
Hi @Violet Jane, Thanks for the reply. I will try and find out about befriending services and getting in touch with her fiends. I Just hate the thought of going behind her back!
 

Andbreathe

Registered User
Dec 17, 2021
42
0
Uk
I have found that I have to book things like lunches, films and then tell my mum and dad about them. They don't seem to have any interest in arranging things for themselves. Sometimes they enjoy what I have arranged and other times not. You win some you lose some. I have found that the local Age concern charity has a good programme of events.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
891
0
I would advise you to try to help your mother make the most of her early years with dementia as, unfortunately, many friends and even family members drift away as the disease progresses.

If my assumption is correct and your parents have separate social lives then your parents will not be socialising with other couples which could keep relationships going as your father would be there to support your mother.

I am also assuming that your father is not going to help your mother keep her own friendships going, perhaps by encouraging her to make arrangements, reminding her of arrangements which have been made or even driving her to see her friends. If your father is not minded to do these things and / or your mother does not want him involved then it really is down to you - and I know that it’s not easy as you live some distance away and can’t just pop round to take your mother to her friend’s house or be there when her friend(s) come round. As I said above, apathy is common in the early stages of dementia. For whatever reason (impairment of processing skills, loss of confidence, depression etc) people lose the ability / inclination to organise things and need support and encouragement to do so.
 

cobden 28

Registered User
Dec 15, 2017
133
0
Hi All,

I am hoping for a bit for practical advice here. My mum (74) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in Feb and has been put on Memantine which is great and she seems to be doing well on it. However every now and again (getting more frequent) she complain of being lonely and fed up. She gets very down in the dumps and has a low mood for a while. Apart from the Alzheimer's she is fit and healthy, fully active
She lives with my Dad, they have had a bad marriage for many years, stayed together for some unknown reason, but they have long since stopped enjoying each other company. She did not want him involved with any of the diagnosis calls or anything. He mainly sits upstairs in the study on the computer while she is downstairs watching TV. According to my Mum they barley talk. So she feels fed up and lonely a lot of the time.
I live about 70 miles away, an hour on the train, but door to door the journey is around 2 hours. I visit once a month. We text every day and I call once a week. (I often feel guilty about moving away, but thats another story for another post). On the advice of the nurse I have bought her her some word searches to help both with cognitive ability and boredom but they are not really enough. She needs more social interaction but I don't know how to help her with this. There is Dementia group near us but I doubt she would want to go, she is in very early stages so can still go places independently.
She does have friends but seems unwilling to make the first contact with them. I don't know if this is because she has lost some communication skills, or if she is just stubborn, a life long trait!

Does anyone have any ideas that might help this situation or know of anywhere I can find somewhere that I can encourage some social interaction so she stops getting so bored and lonely, its really sad to see her with such a low mood. Or even how to go about encouraging social interaction as all I seem to get is a lot of "hum I don't know about that" or a excuses for not doing something.

Thanks in advance
My mum - 91 in less than a week - also has Alhzeimers and complains she's lonely/never sees anyone/can/t go out and about - but there's a valid reason for this. She only has three known living relatives in the world ; myself her daughter and only child therefore NOK, my 30 yr old daughter and a male cousin liivng up in Yorkshire. None of us live in the same city as Mum and only the cousin in Yorkshire drives. A visit to see Mum costs me around thirty pounds a time in train and taxi fares, which is the same as a week's worth of groceries - and I'm an OAP myself so not exactly flush with cash.

Mum is also deaf but refuses to wear hearing aids, no longer drives since her diagnosis of macular degeneration 25 years ago, and doesn't believe in mobile phones or the idea of having the internet, so she's stuck really. Can't go out unless someone drives her where she needs to go and can't tuse the phone simnply because she's deaf and can't hear the person on the other end .

What can i do to help Mum feel less lonely?
 

GillP

Registered User
Aug 11, 2021
1,721
0
My mum - 91 in less than a week - also has Alhzeimers and complains she's lonely/never sees anyone/can/t go out and about - but there's a valid reason for this. She only has three known living relatives in the world ; myself her daughter and only child therefore NOK, my 30 yr old daughter and a male cousin liivng up in Yorkshire. None of us live in the same city as Mum and only the cousin in Yorkshire drives. A visit to see Mum costs me around thirty pounds a time in train and taxi fares, which is the same as a week's worth of groceries - and I'm an OAP myself so not exactly flush with cash.

Mum is also deaf but refuses to wear hearing aids, no longer drives since her diagnosis of macular degeneration 25 years ago, and doesn't believe in mobile phones or the idea of having the internet, so she's stuck really. Can't go out unless someone drives her where she needs to go and can't tuse the phone simnply because she's deaf and can't hear the person on the other end .

What can i do to help Mum feel less lonely?
Some charities have befriending schemes. There maybe something near your Mum’s.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
800
0
In our area there are a number of community and church run clubs (the church ones we attended had no religious aspect). Some offer a lunch and activities (or, at least did pre Covid), others maybe just light exercise, Knit and Natter,or something similar. Many are able to cope with some aspects of dementia. Their local council website may list what is available (possibly under "old age services"?), otherwise it might be a more time consuming internet trawl.
It should be possible to arange transport, either via Dial-a-Ride, or a community car scheme.
 
Last edited:

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
76,307
0
Kent
For those trying to find some social support, please see if you can get any by using these links.


 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
800
0
For those trying to find some social support, please see if you can get any by using these links.


FYI (and I no longer need these services) there are no AS local venues in my area, and only 1 non-AS venue within 40 miles.
I realise Covid has had a great bearing on this, but, by contrast AgeSpace lists loads of local lunch clubs.
I am in the Home Counties, which, being densely populated, would be expected to be a better served area.
 

Vincebeer

New member
May 13, 2022
5
0
As a recent discoverer! that my wife has Az,
have found the local churches & community centres & events helpful .
The U3A , Univetsity of third Age , has an extensive programme .
However ,it still needs a lot of grit & resilience ,
to turn dreams into positive small winning steps .
Still a mystery & the need to know what the affected party Feels .
My sympathy with all . Glad to help as I learn 💫
 

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