Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys, and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer at www.SeniorLifeGCM.com.
We tried to take my mother out for Thanksgiving. It was a fiasco. She was afraid to walk, let alone get up two steps to get into my house. It took us 45 minutes to get her to the car and another 45 minutes to get her in the house. By then it was time to eat as soon as we got in. My mother barely ate a bite. And then she wanted to go home and we weren’t done with the meal. All I can think about is the next holiday. Momma won’t want to stay home and it’s a mess getting her out. Do you have any ideas? My brother says we should leave her at the home.
Oh boy. Here are my recommendations:
1. Talk with your mom. What does she want? If everything frightens her and she doesn’t have an appetite, she may appreciate the option to stay home. If she wants to stay home, wherever that is, plan a smaller affair. Maybe she would like to spread it out over the week with small family groups coming to visit for an hour each. And maybe that’s too much. Perhaps she would like you to visit between meals for a limited time. Ask. And accept her wishes.
2. If your mother wishes she wasn’t so fearful because she wants to be out with everyone, then consider hiring a wheelchair mobile, or obtaining a transport wheelchair to get her to the car and into the house. Transport chairs can be purchased at medical supply stores and many drug stores. You can borrow one from loan cupboards which you might find at your local ambulance office. You will either need a couple strong men to lift the wheelchair inside or rent/borrow/purchase portable ramps to wheel her inside.
3. Remember to consider today’s technology – perhaps your mom would like to Skype her way into the pre- holiday festivities – she would be in the comfort of her own home, free from her anxieties and yet “see” everyone. Heck, you could all tip a glass of eggnog to each other.
Use your imagination and your heart. It will be a different holiday, but it will still be filled with love.
SNOW SHOVELING SAFETY:
1. Ask your doctor if you should shovel snow. Follow your doctor’s advice.
2. Do not lift full heavy shovels of snow. IF the snow is heavy, lift small loads at a time.
3. Do not use your back and do not twist to shovel snow. The correct posture is to bend your knees, jut out your butt a bit (thank goodness for winter coat coverage) and toss the snow with your arms, not by turning. I imagine some of you are wondering about “jut the butt”… our backs are healthiest in the natural position. Our backs are the most vulnerable for injury when we bend and twist. (Add a sneeze or cough in that position and you can blow a disk.) When we bend our back is vulnerable. When we jut our butt a bit, we regain the natural posture.
4. Do not hold your breath when you lift the shovel. And if you feel you must hold your breath reread line 1… you are lifting too much snow.
5. When the snow is falling, get out there when 3 inches have accumulated. Don’t wait to shovel when the snow is done falling and there is a whole foot of accumulation.
6. If anything hurts, STOP SHOVELLING!
Brain Workout Trivia
Which one of the following US states was the only one of the original 13 colonies that did not have any ocean shoreline?
C. West Virginia
The correct answer is B. Pennsylvania did have access to the Great Lakes through Lake Erie. West Virginia broke off from Virginia, principally over the issues of slavery and secession from the Union (it became the 35th state in 1863). Maine was originally considered part of Massachusetts. It became the 23rd state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise when Missouri was admitted as a slave state (in order to keep a balance between the northern and southern states in the federal Senate). Although Vermont residents fought against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War, the area was not considered a separate colony at the time of the war. After the war ended and the US was formed, Vermont became the 14th state to be admitted to the Union in 1791.