My husband has been through quite a lot on the past 2 years. There was a period when he needed a lot of help with everything--transferring, dressing, showering, toileting, etc. He couldn't walk (due to bad shingles that affected the nerve in his leg); was super fatigued, due to bad anemia following blood loss during surgery; and then he had diagnosis of Parkinson's. He's doing way better now due in part to natural recovery (from the anemia and shingles nerve damage) and in big part to physical therapy and exercise. He's very motivated to exercise and graduated from wheelchair to walker after about 6 months and can do most everything for his own personal care--still needs some standby help in the shower and some help in dressing. His balance is still bad (Parkinson's) but he has good mobility now with his walker (rollator). So what's the problem?
I think he can do a lot more and that he's gotten very used to asking me to do small things he could do for himself. Granted, it might take longer, but he'd also be more independent. I think he could get up from his recliner and reheat his own coffee in the microwave; get himself food from the refrigerator or cupboard; get clothing out of the bureau, etc. He had OT as well as PT, and they worked with him on cooking while using the walker, and he did fine--but he'll barely try to fix food at home, and he used to cook a lot and really enjoys it. I think part of the problem with using the kitchen is that he's no longer used to it in his "new normal" situation, and is very paranoid about falling. (He's never fallen, knock wood.) I'm now able to leave him alone for longish periods if I need to --2-3 hours -- but we have to have things set up so as to minimize how much he needs to move around because he worries about falling. We've been getting into arguments and he gets angry when I say to him, "Can't you get that yourself?" when he asks me for what seems like the umpteenth time to fetch him something. I can understand him being reluctant to do a lot that involves moving around when I'm not home, for safety reasons. However, when I'm here I think it would be good for him get in the habit of getting and doing things for himself if feasible and safe. Any ideas? [We do have a home health person here two mornings a week for 4 hours at a stretch, so I'm not "on call" 24/7 as I was when he was much more debilitated.]