By Joy Loverde
Last time we learned about an 80-year-old woman who had a stroke, and whose family decided to move her across country to live them. The woman is mobile, intelligent, and the only side effect she suffered from the stroke is a slight droop in her right jaw. The 80 year old Mom and Grandma get along fine, but their main concern is that she sits around the house all day watching TV and reading the paper, and relying on the family to be her sole social contact. Now her grooming is starting to slip and she seems a bit withdrawn. There are numerous stimulating opportunities for seniors in our neighborhood--bridge club, swimming classes, a book group—activities she’s enjoyed in her lifetime that have been suggested, but she just says “not yet” or “not today.” The writer wrote and asked, “what else can I do or say that will help the situation? Her homebody rut is suffocating for us and I think it may be depressing her and she doesn’t know”
There are specific things you and your family can do to help Mom at this time, and since I, too, am in a similar situation, I’d like to share some of my strategies:
- When my daughter calls me for assistance, I also ask my Mom to offer advice and direction. How might your teenage son gain from asking his grandmother for advice?
- Does your mom have a special talent she can share with the rest of the family? I’ve asked my Mom to show me how to make her fabulous spaghetti sauce.
- When I need an extra pair of hands, I ask my Mom to sew buttons on shirts, water plants, fold clothes, and vacuum rugs. Which odd jobs would best suit your mom?
- Asking my Mom her opinion when we go shopping for household purchases gives her a sense of importance and lifts her spirits.
- When I volunteer at the nursing home, Mom comes with and joins in. This also becomes a social event that my homebody mom looks forward to.
When all is said and done, and when I walk by and see that my mom is sitting in her favorite chair, watching TV or reading the paper, I give her a hug and kiss, smile at her and walk away. I figure she deserves her peace and quiet in that moment. And that’s as good as it gets.