I need some ideas to help my Memere

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 900
   Posted 3/15/2009 12:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all.  For once I am not writing in about myself.  Rather, I'm here to ask for some thoughts or ideas about my grandmother (i.e: my "Memere").  She is is her late 80's and lives alone in a one floor condo/apartment. (My grandfather died about 7 years ago.) She rents and as many other seniors she is on a small fixed income.  She no longer drives and is dependent upon my mother for basic things like food shopping.  She had a stroke a few years ago and loses her balance easily due to other health issues.  In fact, about six months ago she had surgery for colon cancer. 
She takes an antidepressant (although I don't know which one) and doesn't believe in any sort of counseling.  She is very depressed right now because she doesn't get out much and most of her former friends and neighbors from her home of 50 years have now passed away.
She fights with my mother all the time because she doesn't believe that anything she does to help her is ever good enough....and frequently tells her so.  ..Although this isn't true as my mother does everything for her.  I am her oldest grandchild and I am the only one she isn't "mean" to anymore as I don't live close enough to see her as often to help my mom take care of her.  Thus, I am the only one she confides in.
Today she told me that she sits in her chair and cries all the time.  She has outlived everyone of her generation that she was close to and she doesn't see or talk to anyone anymore.  She told me she feels worthless and no longer has any purpose.
She won't take any initiative to go out with or meet any other seniors.  She is not real good with other people.  It's hard for her to make friends.  And one of her arms is almost useless due to a prior fall when she broke it.
My question to all of you is can you help me think of something she could do to not feel "useless".  All she does now is read newspapers and do puzzles.  I'm wondering if there is anything she can do for other people who may be worst off than her.  Any ideas you have would be greatly appreciated.

getting by
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42609
   Posted 3/15/2009 1:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Cass,

When my grandmother was going through this, senior citizens brought in a lady who would do her hair, sing to her and do the puzzles with her. It really cheered her up. Plus I hired a lady that would come on alternate days.

Maybe you could take her out for a ride once in a while, that would probably do her good. I know sometimes it is hard, they are set in their ways. But they learn to adjust. I hope that this helps you some.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1190
   Posted 3/16/2009 6:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Cass: I went through something similar with my great-aunt several years ago. I think Karen's suggestion about getting someone to come into her home is an excellent one. I did the same thing, and not only was it good for my great-aunt, but it was peace of mind for me as well, knowing someone was with her on a regular basis, since I lived at a distance like you do. I also found a woman who went into senior's homes to wash and set their hair once a week, and it was not expensive at all....and my great-aunt really enjoyed having someone help her to care for her appearance and do something nice for her. Karen's other suggestion about taking her out for a drive is also good, IMO. I did that when I went to visit....when she felt up to it....and just being able to get out for a reason other than an errand or chore was very relaxing for her. You mentioned that she lives in an apartment....is she with other seniors? Is she able to socialize at all with anyone in her building? You also mentioned that she feels worthless and without a purpose. I don't know how you feel about this, but sometimes I would ask my great-aunt for her opinion or advice on some little problem I was having, and ask if she had ever been through something similar and what she did to resolve it. That seemed to really bring her out of herself a bit and somehow she seemed to enjoy the feeling that she was helping me in some way. I think she was pleased to think that somebody gave a darn about her opinion, you know? Anyhow, I'm glad you are talking with her and she feels she can confide in you. That is so important.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 489
   Posted 3/20/2009 2:42 AM (GMT -6)   
First I am wondering if she needs to have her medication changed,your mom might want to talk to your grandmas DR.What can your grandma do???my mom makes knitted baby blankets and hats for the Ronald McDonald house.Is she able to do any thing on this order?
Lost half of my small intestineJan.2008.Ilieostomy for 5 months then reverst in June 2008,Nerve damage to right leg,part of my right hip bone removed Jan. 2008,Cronic pain,hernia,infection in my back called discites,and depression.Gallbladder removed Nov,2008.Surgery to fuse L3 and L4 vertabra Dec. 31,2008.Mother to 9 kids 7 boys 2 girls and 1 stepson.4 grandsons,9 grandaughters.4 of my grandkids I inherited from my twin sister who passed away 6 1/2 years ago from a blood clot after surgery.God has given me my life back after I almost lost it.Even though its a painful and sometimes hard road to walk I take it one step at a time and give thanks to god for every step I take.

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