My mom is 91, living with me and my husband. We have a caregiver 5 days a week to help with meals and take her to Bible study, shopping and doctors appointments. She is mentally sound. She can use a walker to get around and can transfer well to her chair, toilet and bed. Her main health issues are COPD, a-fib, hyponatremia and CHF. She was a very active woman but fell and broke her femur on the same side she had hip replacement so it has excellerated her need for more care and less independence. The COPD keeps her a bit winded so she can't walk a great distance. She loves to read and watch her Hallmark channel but needs to find some purpose.
Any ideas would be appreciated!
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I've been glued to Ancestry. Pulling out all the old photos and trying to identify who are these people. There are old U.S. census where not only family all lived together, but also lodgers, who may or may not have been relatives.
Again, I'm so grateful for your responses!
Also have you seen those Little Free Libraries? It looks like something kind of fun ... your mom could curate her own little library. If it's something she might be interested in, they're at littlefreelibrary(dot)org and then click "Stewards" for more information on how to participate.
Several times I brought a stack of cookbooks or the small recipe booklets sold at supermarket checkouts to the nursing home. All the ladies at my mother's table loved looking at them and would converse about what their mothers cooked and what they cooked for their children, etc.
I wonder if your mother would like to look through a recipe book or two with an assignment like, "Chicken breasts are on sale this week and so are mushrooms. See if you can find an interesting recipe that includes chicken breasts and mushrooms."
Does your mom use the computer? What did she like to do when she was able to get around?
My aunt likes to shell pecans or walnuts. She likes to snap beans and shell peas. She's also good with chopping onions and celery, peeling eggs. Anything where she can sit. She loves fruit salad, egg salad, potato salad. I'll get her started and she'll chop away.... For about 10 min. She is also adamant about cutting her name and address off of all mail to thwart identify theft. Keeps her scissors handy. ( I doubt she remembers why she does it anymore). She likes to sit and visit with almost anyone. If I say I need to find a picture of Uncle Bobby she will go through all the albums looking for him. Of course she forgets who she is looking for and several different conversations will begin as she discusses the people in the album. Sometimes that doesn't work out. Straightening the flat wear drawer is good for a few minutes. Mostly she watches tv but she has her moments.
If you like to cook, maybe you can cook together. Can she still use a knife? Maybe have her make the salad and cut up the cucumbers and tomatoes? If she can't do that, reading recipe books and picking out meals together could be both useful and fun. Perhaps your library has some large print cookbooks.
How about getting some travel brochures and books and having your mom help you plan your dream vacation? Tell her you want to give your husband a trip as a gift for his retirement or your Nth wedding anniversary. And if you do get to go on the trip, it will be extra special.
I also tried to have her fold underwear but she couldn't figure out which were legs and waist. Any kind of small laundry items your mother could handle might be worth trying.
Sorting my costume jewelry by color and rearranging it neatly in its drawer also appealed to my mother.
My grandpa loved watching the birds and squirrels. He had a friend in her 90s who would mix batches of seed cakes to put out for the birds each week. I wonder if an aide could help your mom with a project like that and place them so they're visible from a window your mom sits near, so she could see the animals enjoying her treat for them?
Does your mom knit or crochet? There is a group of ladies at our old church who knit little patches (just 2"x3") and they tie a little guardian angel prayer (printed on the computer) and charm on it and leave them in a basket near the Holy Water for people to take. They call them prayer quilts or something like that, but it is a sweet thing and the kids especially love them.
This is a tough stage. It really helps to have people around (or at phone's length) who can remind your mom that she is still the same special person she's always been. My sister typed up friends and family's phone numbers in big print so my grandparents could call and check on people. They enjoyed that.
I hope other people have some good ideas!