Caring for Seniors

Cal20sailor

Super Anarchist
12,823
3,331
Detroit
My mom, 93yrs sharp, fell the other night and is in a local hospital. I'm the local kid and I adore her and my GF is great about everything. She's heading (I'll take her) to rehab for a week or two. What are some good ideas to brighten her days. Please, no balloons.
 

NaptimeAgain

Super Anarchist
1,696
388
Annapolis MD
Have been through this with many relatives. Unfortunately falling is the start of the downward slide. In my experience it just gets worse as time goes on. How about asking her what she wants to do? Road trip? Favorite places?
 
If she is still getting around well for 93 then congratulations, I second what Naptime suggested and take her places to keep her active and her mind sharp.
My wife and I are dealing with her parents, both in their 80’s. Neither one of them are physically able to do anything short of trips to the grocery or doctors visits. We try to keep them stimulated by playing board games but that wears thin after awhile. The lack of energy and mobility has them battling depression at times which can be taxing on us as well. Be thankful for a supportive girlfriend.
Just keep at it you are appreciated by mom probably more than you realize.
 

Willin'

Super Anarchist
4,149
1,805
The Burg, Maine
My Mom, who lives alone, fell and broke her ankle about 4 years ago, fortunately while my SIL was visiting. She finally accepted it was time to move into an apartment with some daily care, which was a major change from her large house, but she adapted well at first.

Covid made things a little tougher and despite things relaxing, she is now feeling lonely and pretty regularly, while not begging us to visit, dropping little guilt bombs on the phone. The trouble is, there are only so many things we can do together when we visit... eat out, take a drive around the peninsula, go to the store/ doctors/ errands, so we've been feeling pretty worthless as far as providing stimuli these days.

Two weeks ago during a visit I had a brainstorm. Growing up an uncle had a cottage on a little lake in western NY state that we used to spend July 4th and some family picnics at. Boating, skiing, fishing, campfires, soda, pretzels and beer type stuff.

The cottage was sold, demoed and replaced by a monstrosity about 10 years ago now and the shoreline of the lake is almost completely built out now, but my cousin still keeps a trailer cad pad on the lake and has a pontoon boat. He agreed to meet us at the town dock and take her for a lake tour. Ordinarily there's no way she, at 98, could negotiate stepping onto a boat but it happened that the lake level was just so and it was exactly flat stepping from the dock to the boat.

MOM had an absolute blast, reminiscing, pointing out old landmarks, remembering old friends and neighbors and feeling the soft summer breeze on her skin. She was beaming for days afterward. I would never have even dreamed at her age this was still possible, but due to cousin Bobby's kindness and local knowledge she got a lift like she hasn't had in years!

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NaptimeAgain

Super Anarchist
1,696
388
Annapolis MD
The elderly decompensate quickly when in hospital or rehab etc. even just over a few days. Physically and mentally. It can be surprising how much function they can lose in a short period of time. Maybe look through her place and remove tripping hazards like small rugs etc. Many old people have accumulated a ton of clutter. Can a wheelchair be maneuvered around, especially to the bathroom? Does she need more handrails? Does the toilet seat need to be raised up? Someone who could previously arise from an armless chair may need to use a chair with arms so they can push off. Small pets can be tripping hazards. The list goes on and on.
 

Cal20sailor

Super Anarchist
12,823
3,331
Detroit
Great thoughts.

She does have an iPad only used to communicate with kids/grandkids.

There's nowhere she hasn't been. Other than seeing her grand/greatgrand kids. she has no urge.

Thanks all. I believe she survives...this one.
 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
44,107
9,535
Eastern NC
No advice, really, other than bring flowers and spend time with her.

Visiting my parents went from going out to sitting and talking to me sitting with them while they took a nap. But the time together was a gift for us all and they are pretty much the only humans on the planet who seem to enjoy the sound of my voice.
 

SloopJonB

Super Anarchist
68,601
12,297
Great Wet North
Ask her all the questions about your family history now.

Go over all the old family photos with her and get the people named.

I couldn't believe how much of that stuff went away with my dad.
 

Snore

Super Anarchist
3,097
328
DTSP and on OPB
Suggestions of what my Mom liked when she began to lose mobility.

1) Speak to the facility about a private room with a table, bring in food from her favorite restaurant or cuisine. She will love it and be a hit with her new friends the next day.​
2) face time the grandlkids.​
3) just hang out with her and her new friends​
4) spend an evening watching TV with her.​

Hang in there what your doing ain't easy!!!
 

tizak

Member
Work on reminiscing over past great experiences you and other family members or friends had with her - holidays, vacations, special visits from special people, unique events. Gradually work those older memories to newer memory connections to help the brain try to stay current.

Even going over some of the connections you may have found on sites like Ancestry can help. Have done this sort of thing with family members who are now gone and found it quite rewarding - they brightened and I learned some family details I wasn't aware of.

Also, as mentioned, Grandkids are great for buoying up those nearing the end.

Getting old and sick can be a horror and I think losing memories and the ability to stay current with / connected to those we're close to can compound the negative effects of illness / failing bodies.
 

LakeBoy

Random Internet Guy
@Cal20sailor Sorry to hear about your Mom's accident. I wish her a speedy recovery.

Many of the answers here seem geared toward final days. I don't think that is exactly what you are looking for.

Presumably when she is in her own home, she can find plenty of things to interact with and occupy her mind. The rehab stint will be in a sterile environment. As already said, make sure she has the iPad and ask the whole family to help fill her time.

Is she an "animal person?" There are groups who have therapy pets, both dogs and cats, that could visit her in the facility. If she has a dog (or you do) take the dog to visit on the rehab place's grounds. Some quality minutes with an animal will do wonders.
 

veni vidi vici

Omne quod audimus est opinio, non res. Omnia videm
4,376
874
My dad lived to 93 and was still sharp as a tack and a wonderful resource about this and that when we were growing up. When I last saw him he was literally a bag of bones. When I hugged him goodbye on our way to the airport I could feel his bones in his back and shoulders.
This stage of life is difficult for everyone in the family, a tough part of the life cycle…
 

LakeBoy

Random Internet Guy
Slight hijack but related. Does the collective mind have any great ideas for technology our elders can use easily? My Mom has an iPad but has given up on e-mail communication with friends & family because of too much spam and issues paring the keyboard with the device via bluetooth.

I've heard of the Grandpad. Quick google confirms this looks to still be available. Viewclix.com also popped up on the Grandpad search as an alternative.

My Mom is 90 and technology adverse (hence the difficulty transferring knowledge from PC to iPad) so simple is key. Maybe single use device would be good. I'm looking to enable provision of photos (Mom prefers printed photos now) as well as video / FaceTime calls.
 

veni vidi vici

Omne quod audimus est opinio, non res. Omnia videm
4,376
874
We bought one of those electronic picture frames that scrolled through photos that were downloaded , MIL liked that. It is really the little things that mean the most, you reminiscing as if telling the story. They lose , hearing , judgment, appetite and taste, each case is different it’s important to read them for clues as to what interests them , small doses are better
 

Cal20sailor

Super Anarchist
12,823
3,331
Detroit
LB, you nailed it. Not dying but I expect her to be in rehab for two weeks. She only knows how to hit reply on her iPad for emails. The idea of a geriatric iPad is awesome. A low-powered machine, no memory to speak of. Big ass buttons. Keep the price under $400.
 

giegs

Anarchist
755
359
Arid
A good set of noise cancelling headphones is always appreciated, especially if she's in a shared room.

I brought my mom a bunch of unlabeled photos, mostly from before my sister and I were born or when we were really young. It was a good distraction to talk about something other than how much being stuck in the oncology ward during covid sucks and we got a lot of family stories that would have been lost out of it. We labeled the backs of some, especially group photos with extended family that didn't get together often and place names from trips and concerts. She had a great time making fun of her kids with the grandchildren.
 




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