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to want a good conversation with my mum?

(18 Posts)
minimo Fri 03-Nov-17 17:16:30

My mum is 87 and prone to being a bit maudlin. Understandable to a certain extent - her health is deteriorating and she's becoming more limited in mobility. I visit as often as I can and take her out if possible. She's beginning to find leaving the house too much of an effort though. She used to be such a vibrant, enthusiastic person but recently she moans a lot and complains about family members, and her health even how bruised the apples are in the shopping.
I understand why she's low but how do I possibly lift her up and get her feeling more positive? Any tips on having a more light-hearted conversation? I've tried talking about funny anecdotes I remember from childhood but she'll always take it to a more sombre discussion. I feel terribly guilty to admit that I'm no longer enjoying the visits though of course I'd never let on.

nanaK54 Fri 03-Nov-17 17:19:05

That's really sad
Has she had any recent blood tests - my dear old mum was lacking in vitamin B so was given regular injections they made lots of difference to her mood

paddyann Fri 03-Nov-17 17:30:31

does she like music? Have favourite songs and artists from when she was young? Its been found that music therapy is beneficial for older people ,lifts their spirits and and helps bring back happy memories .I bough my mil cd's of all her old favourites and she says she plays it when she's down and it really helps

Luckygirl Fri 03-Nov-17 17:48:46

I confidently predict that I will be a bit of a grump if I make it to 87! grin

cornergran Fri 03-Nov-17 17:58:23

Me too luckygirl but I suspect looking through the photos of younger times would cheer me up. Remind me of what I did achieve, rather than the restricted future I would be busy predicting. Also like paddyann’s thought about music, nothing likely to trigger tears though. I also wonder, minimo about your Mums health, perhaps a health check to see if there is an underlying problem? I’m sure she will appreciate your efforts, even if she doesn’t show it.

Iam64 Fri 03-Nov-17 18:04:20

Music is a good idea, along with a health check. My father was depressed in later years but his generation didn't really acknowledge depression, or understand it, give it a name. It's tough isn't it to continue to visit and leave feeling a bit down and sad. The grumbling seems normal for many older people and maybe all we can do is accept that rather than try and make it different. I do hope I don't become an inward looking grumbler as I get (even) older but we can't guarantee anything. My parents died a number of years ago, I still miss them and continue to thank them for teaching me what I needed to learn about life, even if I was in my 60's and still trying to tell them how things should be grin. That isn't entirely true because they'd taught me well to accept the things I couldn't change and try and make the best of it. As others have said, your mum will enjoy your visits even if it seems she doesn't x

Grannyknot Fri 03-Nov-17 18:15:14

My adult children would be very quick to tell me if I were to slip into the habit of moaning about everything or anything.

Just tell her! Kindly of course.

Tabismum Fri 03-Nov-17 18:20:38

It sounds as if she might be suffering from depression. She would probably benefit from a check up at the doctor's, if she's willing to go..

humptydumpty Fri 03-Nov-17 18:48:21

I agree with Tabismum, depression's very common in elderly people, it may be just what she needs to lift her mood and help her enjoy life again.

citygranny Fri 03-Nov-17 19:29:37

I'm in the same situation with my 90 year old mum. We will go out for lunch and all she does is complain about everything . I have to count to ten and try and be patient with her but it can be very draining.

Smithy Mon 06-Nov-17 09:25:13

I can't believe people are surprised/slightly fed up with old parents. Often living alone, probably not in good health, with little to relieve the tedium - no wonder they moan! I don't think you should tell them off. Try to deflect their moans, make it into a joke, be loving and attentive when you see them. I'm sure these people KNOW they're grumbling a lot, telling them off will only make them feel worse. Just be tolerant and patient and kind.

Grandma70s Mon 06-Nov-17 09:35:56

Smithy, I think you have the right idea. Unless we’re very lucky, real old age is pretty awful. No wonder people moan and get depressed. Be as kind and sympathetic as you can. It may be you one day.

MissAdventure Mon 06-Nov-17 10:13:47

Maybe a trip to the doctors might be in order.

Jane10 Mon 06-Nov-17 11:36:57

My MiL certainly perked up a lot after a kind doctor identified that she was depressed. She became her old self again after moving to a care of the elderly ward. She'd wanted to move to a care home as she really enjoyed company but her GP insisted that care in the community was best. We did our best with visits three times a day but she really deteriorated. Just being with people her own age and experiences did the trick. She was so interested in other people.
Maybe the OP's mother is a bit lonely and depressed too despite her best efforts it's not the same as being with kindred spirits.

JackyB Mon 06-Nov-17 11:44:05

My mother is cheery, but very repetitive. It gets a bit wearing at times but I just ring the changes every time a subject comes up again (usually at 3-5 minute intervals).

So I am grateful she is not grumpy like Minimo's.

Can you just keep replying with a positive answer? Even if it's made up, or not quite true, and gets a bit tedious and can be hard work.

Her: "Raining again" - You "but bright sunshine predicted tomorrow (even if it's not what was forecast)
- I love the autumn sunlight, and the beautiful sunsets"

Her: "Dinner didn't taste very nice" - You: "Next time we'll try adding some (spices, salt, sugar, peas)? Or - "It's my favourite, but I take it with a pinch of (cinnamon, knob of butter, spoonful of honey...)?

Her: "My back hurts" - You "Can you stretch your toes out and wriggle them?" Distracting her might help her forget it and making her move slightly might alleviate the pain a bit.

Nanabilly Mon 06-Nov-17 13:25:50

When my mil dementia first started but we didn't know it at that time she was like your mum very draining at times.
From experience music is the key or it was with mil. Any type of music made her sing along and tap her feet and dance in her chair ,we got her a cassette player that she could use easily and lots of tapes , rock and roll, country, Daniel o donnell. Church music and when we visited we would sit and listen and sing along with her while we had tea and cake. Eventually she ended up in a nursing home and is no longer with us but we lived happily with this routine for a few years . It worked for us and stopped the maudlin chat she always turned to.

Willow500 Mon 06-Nov-17 13:35:07

I found my dad slowly slipped into apathy and depression as he started with dementia - likewise my mum just stopped talking when the same happened and she became really deaf. We did find though that taking them to visit relatives, to places of interest or areas they used to go to helped. As has been said music did help too - upbeat, singalong stuff.

Elrel Mon 06-Nov-17 16:27:14

My aunt, in her 90s and beyond, loved to hear and join in poems and songs from when she was young. She would look alert and comment on them. This distracted her from asking what relatives died from and sadly telling me that all her friends were dead.
Family photos, both old and new, got her smiling and chatting and prompting her to recall incidents involving the people pictured.