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Is it my fault Mom’s depressed?

Not at all, says our elder. You’re a good person. 

Here are some ideas on how you can help your mom.

 

Dear EWC

My mother seems to have withdrawn from the world. She keeps to herself and hardly speaks to me. I feel like it is all my fault. I was supposed to be more than a daughter. I should have been like her sister but I wasn’t and now I have to convince her to go to the hospital and take treatments but I don’t know how I begin to convince her. I am not really good with making small talk or conversations. Please tell what I should do. Above all, I am also afraid that one day I might also sink into depression like her. Please advise me on how to keep myself from falling into depression.

 

Grandpa-Bill replies

I am so sorry that your mom is depressed, but you should understand that it is not your fault. It’s great that you want to help your mom, so I will try to give you some ideas to help her pull out of it and have these tools for yourself if ever needed. 

First, you should tell her that you are very worried about her and ask her to make an appointment with her doctor for a check-up. There could be a physical reason for her depression such as a hormonal imbalance or some other physical cause. Tell her that you will go with her and make a day of it, such as after go out for lunch or for a pedicure and manicure if there is a place following virus safety precautions. Wear your masks and at the doctor appointment, tell the doctor how she has been feeling if she doesn’t so, they can look for a cause and treat it or refer her to someone professional who can help her.

Second, try to identify things your mom liked or likes to do and is good at? Art? Cooking? Baking? Shopping? Sewing? Crafts? Bowling?

Does she or did she have any hobbies or interests when she was younger? Did she play any instruments or piano? Does she like to sing?

Try to get her to start something she used to enjoy doing or go with her to an arts and crafts store (wear masks and gloves) and see what attracts her so she can get materials and start a new hobby that you can do together such as beading or painting.

What kind of music does she like? Put on some upbeat music in the house and lights.

Try to plan in some fun things to do each day and week so that she has things to look forward to. Can you cook or bake with her or help her with the household chores? Can you send out for her favorite food using a food delivery service such as Grub Hub?

Try to get her to do some volunteer work that you can join her in, as doing for others makes you feel good and concentrate on things outside of how you feel. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or thrift shop or a vet or animal shelter, a nursing home or hospital, zoo, etc. You could check with elderly neighbors and see if they would like a visit even if it is outside a window or outside or in a garage. You could help them with errands or repairs. If you live near an airport you could volunteer to welcome veterans back home from the service at the USO office and lounge there or to bake goodies for them.

Talk to your mom about what she wishes her life would be like five years from now and what she wishes she could see herself doing in five years. Then make a plan with steps to get there. What about starting a business with her online that fills a need in your area during the pandemic? 

What about taking your mom to an animal shelter and letting her pick out an animal to love and care for. This might help her get out for walks and have something to focus on. If you already have a pet, what about getting her an iPod and filling it with her favorite music and walking with her? Exercise makes your brain produce endorphins which make you feel good. Getting out in nature is good for you too.

You don’t always have to talk, just being there listening to music with her or watching tv will bring your mom comfort. 

If you have a goal and a purpose in life and build into your calendar things you enjoy along with working, you will avoid depression. It is never too late to change your life or to pursue a goal or learn a new hobby or craft or instrument to play. Hopefully you will help your mom find something she is passionate about even if it is helping others, that will give her a goal and aim in life and help her get a new zest for life.

Short-term ideas would be to create an advent calendar for any small children neighbors or grandchildren using a muffin tin that has 24 slots and getting small toys and candy and making a cover for each slot, or using a cork board with thumbtacks and 24 small bags. Or what about making baked goods for the mailman, trash men, policemen, firemen, etc.? Does your mom have friends? If so, you could download free Google Duo on a cell phone and encourage them to and set up a virtual daily coffee where they can see and talk to one another at a set time with their coffee. You could also do a weekly Friday night Happy Hour group. Are there some day trips you can go on, such as a drive through animal safari or the beach or anything outdoors like a flea market? Can you help your mom get a new haircut or hair color and get a new outfit to raise her spirits? Can you redecorate the living room or her room?   

Hope these ideas help you. Thank you for caring about your mom, you are a good person.

 

Family #467011

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