Follow
Share
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I agree, find something your Mom can do to help her feel useful and keep in touch with her past profession.

My 86 year old Mom was having a hard time adjusting to her new residence at an ALF. She is a retired CNA, used to working in a hospital. She has dementia. One day she asked me, her daughter, if she could buy some scrubs the same color the the ALF caregivers wore. I thought she wanted them for lounging since she was used to wearing them at her past job. I picked up a couple of sets of scrubs for her. The next day the head of the ALF called me. She said Mom had showed up in her office early that morning,dressed in her scrubs, saying she was ready to go to work. Fortunately, the staff was very understanding and kind enough to "schedule" her on the morning shift as the official greeter at the ALF, complete with an official name tag from the facility. She would hang around in the common area and foyer socializing with residents and visitors. She still uses her CNA evaluation skills to call the caregivers' attention to residents who need assistance. She associates the ALF with the hospital she used to work in and thinks of the staff as her coworkers. Mom found this "job" as a way to cope with her need to be useful.
Helpful Answer (12)
Report

Is it possible to still involve her to lesser degree? We did it in stages. First sitting with her while she wrote the checks, then we wrote  the checks and she signed them, then we did it and she stuffed the envelopes and stamped them. All along if she asked to see the checkbook register or bank statement, we would show her. Gradually she lost interest except to occasionally ask a random question. We also at one point gave her a checkbook on her old bank and let her write checks to her heart's content. Due to the Parkinson's you couldn't read her scrawl anyway. But for a while it satisfied her.
Helpful Answer (9)
Report

I agree with GivingItMyAll. Can you give your mom a small task in the process of taking care of her finances? Does she have old bills filed away? If so, maybe you can bring 1 or 2 of them to her with her checkbook and have her "pay" those bills. Have the envelopes already addressed so it doesn't get too tedious for your mom and then offer to mail them on your way out. Once you're away from your mom tear everything up.

You're right to be concerned that your mom feels like she has no purpose in life. Your profile doesn't say if she has dementia or if you live with her but keep an eye out for things she can do. Folding laundry, watching and chatting about the local news. Ask her opinion on things from time to time, ask for her advice. Just be on the lookout for things that will help your mom feel useful. My dad lived with us and my then 18-year-old daughter would come to me for guidance or an opinion and if I thought the situation was appropriate I'd encourage her to ask her grandpa. She would, my dad would share his insights with her, she'd benefit from his experience and my dad would feel about 10 feet tall.
Helpful Answer (7)
Report

How about giving her copies of her checking and credit accounts and the balances of her investments and receipts . Give her the task of being her own auditor. Maintaining math skills helps the memory. Maybe she can also audit your accounts
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

Agree with givingitmyall. We all need purpose in life, it doesn't matter how old you are.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My mom worked as a bookkeeper and I kept her involved in writing out bills for as long as she had the interest to do so even though my patience would wane as her ability lessened

Her main chores became putting the silverware away matching socks and folding towels

She loved crossword puzzles too which morphed into jigsaw puzzles but lately she's losing interest in those

I still buy her the readers digest and weekly magazines to keep in her purse for those hours when she doesn't have company in memory care

At nearly 94, she will still ask what are we going to do today - the answer is always, something fun - even if it's not
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

My dad was an accountant and being part of his financial life was very important until the end. He gave up all responsibility for those matters about a year before his death after a hospitalization left him unable to focus on them. However, I did everything regarding his finances in front of him, kept the checkbook at his AL apt., and mailed all the bills from there. That way he was involved in but not responsible for his financial situation. That much he could handle and it made him feel important that he was on top of everything even though he wasn't.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

What great suggestions these are! As one slipping towards that stage myself, I think the important thing is for the elder to still feel useful for something, whether it's giving advice to younger folks, performing a volunteer job that she can do, maybe gardening, knitting, drawing, just something productive. Staying involved and informed about her finances is probably also important to her. Even if she's not competent to handle any of it herself, at least give her the information and answer her questions (even if it's the same ones over and over).
God bless you for recognizing the problem and wanting to help her!
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My alz hubby stays busy w dot to dot numbers. Spends hours completely engrossed. They are getting hard to find as coloring bus are in now. Not his bag.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Get her interested and totally engrossed in something entirely new!! If she has access to the internet, there is a whole world of charitable rescue that is open to her to study. The most appropriate one for her would be the Kiva organisation (Google it for the address), where people crowdfund microfinance loans to help individual people in developing countries get small businesses off the ground or build them up, or build a family house etc. The important aspect is that real money gets paid in once, (you could do it for her, for as little as $25, or more if you like, in increments of $25) but when that the money gets repaid, it can stay inside the Kiva system and be loaned out again and again. Surfing through all the possibilities before choosing where to lend would keep your mum engrossed for hours, then carefully tracking the monthly repayments. And it's safe for you, with no impact on her real-world finances, as she can do this without inputting new real money unless you are there to control it. Finally, if she loses interest, you can either donate the balance to the organisation or get yourself repaid through cashing out via PayPal.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

See All Answers
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter