Any suggestions on how to help with the boredom?

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My parents are still both healthy and living on their own but I'm starting to worry about my mother. She's getting very bored and has very little options of things to do due to her failing eye sight. We have made suggestions of word puzzles, crocheting (which she used to love), writing in a journal anything to keep her mind sharp but my father is a very stubborn man and wouldn't understand her sitting around doing these things so she's just always cleaning something and on edge and sad most of the time. I don't know how to help her, he has a garden and I suggested she do this also but there isn't a lot of space for another, it's just getting hard. I can't visit as often as I want, I usually try to visit every 2-3 weeks and send a full day. I try to call but again she can't be on the phone, it's just a hard situation all around and I'm starting to feel very sad about her situation and guilty for not being there for her more. Any suggestions on how to help with the boredom? Thank you so much.


Nancy

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You don't actually need their permission for YOU to talk TO their doctor. Their doctor would need their permission before the doctor could tell you anything, but their doctor can listen -- and can use the information you give.

Definitely a good idea to let the doctor know what's going on. Sometimes that will fill in a picture that the doctor has been concerned about and allow for improved treatment or better diagnosis.
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Reply to maggiebea
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I don’t think it’s so much boredom as it is your father’s disapproval and controlling your mother. She has to feel trapped that she can’t take time for herself without your father’s unspoken or spoken disapproval. You say he is a stubborn man, so does he insist your mom does nothing but clean and maybe serve him? I’d be a bit concerned about Dad’s mental state. If this is a new behavior, or if it’s gotten worse, he needs to go to his doctor.

I’d wonder why Mom is afraid to defy him and do her own thing. If her eyesight is failing, crocheting may not be an option. Puzzles as well. You say “we”. Are there other sibs or family who could visit and observe what’s going on? Dad may need to have a little one on one counseling from a family member about his treatment of Mom. If he is, as you say, healthy, he should be able to understand that his treatment of Mom stinks and he needs to “back off”.

For Mom, there are organizations for the sight-impaired who offer aides for them. You can google them in your state to see what might help. And, if Mom hasn’t been to an ophthalmologist lately, it’s time for her to go.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
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If a pet might be an option, perhaps a cat? Also, how about audio books? There are also lamps that magnify with arms that bend down. Perhaps your dad would accept her doing crafts if she could sell them, give them to a needy charity or hospital, make family holiday gifts, or make something for HIM. How about gardening in pots?

I agree that there are organizations that help the sight-impaired. You might look into what the public library has to offer. They can deliver books and videos to homebound folks. Maybe your parents could watch a movie once in a while?

I also agree that your dad's controlling behavior is unreasonable. Maybe you could begin by talking with his doctor. Do you have permission for their doctors to share information with you? If not, it is probably time to seek permission. Your parents would need to fill out a form with their doctors giving you permission. Also you could seek healthcare Power of Attorney.

Are your parents connected to any social groups, such as a church?

You are right to be concerned. Aging in place can be quite lonely.
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Reply to Connie421
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My sweet mom was in a living hell... my father drank daily and his verbal abuse escalated. Brother and I tried to talk her into staying with me three states away but she insisted that he took care of her, and she was worried that if she left, he’d fall and hurt himself drinking.
as her health declined with a bunch of “ odd symptoms”- unexplained 40lb weight loss, forgetfulness, nausea, unsteadiness... it became difficult to move her away. She passed away in her bed peacefully at 74.
The guilt of not being able to “rescue her” and make her life better is overwhelming at times. After her death 7 months ago, doctors have seen my fathers irrational, adamant, stubborn, and belligerent behavior, and he is now medicated on a strong “chill pill” and off alcohol.)hospital detox after a drunken fall). I should’ve stepped up and taken on my fathers behavioral issues sooner. In the back of my head, I feel like I could’ve made my mom’s life happier, instead of hearing her saying “I’m ready to go whenever God takes me” at 74!!!
Do what you can to step in an corral that behavioral issue of dad’s. Talk to his doctor, have a family intervention, try medication... ANYthing is better than nothing.
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Reply to Rattled
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You might want to check with Visiting Angels. They can drop in daily or every other day. Have easy lunch food available and they’ll fix lunch and sit down and join your parents with conversation. Or, they can drive your mom to the store for groceries, play a simple game with one or both of them. Just knowing someone is stopping by to visit them will give you some peace as well.
I used them for my mom a couple days a week for about 2 hrs. Each visit, and the Visiting Angel vacuumed and dusted and also fixed or brought a snack to eat while they just talked and got to know each other. If you’re ever not thrilled with the person coming, the agency wants to know and they will send someone else.
Aging includes losing interest in the things that were once enjoyed, more difficulty focusing, and less activity means less appetite. Enjoying favorite TV shows and music is sometimes enough to make a nice day for them.
You have a caring heart. God bless you with the wisdom and guidance you need.
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Reply to ConnieMH71
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How about music? Some tunes and a playlist from her younger years on a device that she can listen to with ear phones while she is doing her cleaning routine or cooking. Rent some old movies she might like to watch and share on your next visit. If you have an interest in family history, now is a good time to have her talk about her memories. Go over old photos, get names, birthday and death info to start a family tree.
Why can’t she be “on” the phone? A few good phone “visits” with old friends and family could be encouraged and a good way to rekindle those relationships and to plan future meetups or home visits.
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Reply to GAinPA
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Exercise. Daily walks. I mean daily.
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Reply to cetude
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Like GA says, I found asking about family history put me and my mom on a good track for quite a while. If you think you’re *not* interested in family history, reconsider! I thought I’d heard it all until I started ‘interviewing’ her. And it gave her something that she could speak knowledgeably about which was good for her as well.
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Reply to Zdarov
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Sounds to me like your mother should come stay with you (if you can work it out) and get her away from her husband. Mine was like that, I always had to be doing something he wanted me to do instead of doing what I would like to do. It's like being in hell. When you say she "can't" be on the phone, do you mean he won't let her or she can't hear you? If it's because he gets upset, then all the more reason to get her out of there.
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Reply to whaleyf
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This is sad & close to home. My daughter suggested we go to counseling. I suggested this to my husband & he said we can solve our own problems. My daughter said go alone. Well I wish I had the guts then to do that. Yes we had a lot of good times but I didn't have college degree & had no idea how I'd survive. Now I believe if my daughter said she'd pay & go w me. I'd have gone. So now my husband has alzheimers & takes antidepressant which chgd him from lion to lamb. He shld have been on it years before. I believe the rt counseling could help your mom in becoming herself even tho sad it didn't happen when she was young. I doubt your dad would go but get her free to be herself. Counselor could maybe give you steps to talk about your mom's needs. Then she can enjoy sitting to hear books at least. Maybe you could get soil & pots for her to plant flowers/veg. Get her into Bible study or senior ctr talks. She could help just visiting w lonely people. Make sure always ck no UTIs. Also pay for her counseling so she'll go.
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