Q: Six months ago we placed my mother in an assisted living facility. She gets along fairly well, but we thought she would get involved with all of the activities. Instead she complains that she is very lonely, and won't participate. Do you have any suggestions?
A: There may be a number of reasons your mother doesn't participate in the actives offered.
You may want to step back a bit and assess your mother's situation. Ask yourself a few of these questions
1. What kind of activities has my mother always enjoyed doing?
2. Does my mother enjoy social gatherings now?
3. Does my mother enjoy a one on one visit?
4. Are there health factors present now that keeps her from enjoying group activities?
5. Before my mother needed assistance with activities of daily living was she a homebody or a social butterfly?
When determining what kind of facility your loved is best suited for those 5 questions should be asked. Often times, we as family members think that all sorts of activities would be good for our lonely senior. But, if group activities have not been a part of their lifestyle, it may be hard for them to just jump in a do the activities.
Your mom may just be a slow starter. One thing you might try is scheduling time to go in and participate in a few activities with your mom. This might help her feel more comfortable. If this is the case she will soon be attending activities on her own.
If however she still wishes to remain in her room, and still complains that she is lonely, you may wish to consider further investigation. Perhaps consulting with a neutral, long-term care advisor would be beneficial. I would suggest speaking with someone who is not interested in keeping your mom in their facility at all costs.
While these suggestions are not exhaustive, they will give you a place to begin.
Renee "Dutchy" Reeves is an Elder Care Consultant with over 10 years of working with the elderly and their families. Her online advice column, "Ask Dutchy" provides practical ideas and advice for assisting the elderly with Alzheimer's disease, Dementia, Parkinson's, disability, and those needing long term care. See other articles by her at http://www.askdutchy.mycarelink.net