As I mentioned in my last post, I think that my Mom and my family are transitioning into a new area as it relates to my Mom’s needs and the assistance that we can provide. The 10 Warning Signs that signaled us to start paying attention are now leading us into the observations and actions associated with the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.
These activities include:
- Using the telephone
- Doing light or heavy housework
- Preparing meals
- Shopping for groceries or personal items
- Managing money
These are the most commonly mentioned and agreed upon Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. Looked at from the independent living perspective, the 10 warning signs and the instrumental activities of daily living allow for independent living but with increasing levels of assistance depending on the need.
My feeling is that my Mom is trending in the direction of living less independently and will start needing more assistance. Although she is still able to perform these activities, they seem to be more difficult to accomplish. Opening containers whether food or medicine is becoming increasingly difficult as is grocery shopping. Her telephone skills are starting to get in the way of communication. She gave up her land line several years ago and refuses to use a smart phone staying with her old flip phone.
As the effects of her disease advance, using the telephone is more of a challenge. More importantly, she is starting to experience fainting spells on a more frequent basis. If she were to fall and not get up, reaching out for help would prove difficult. This is worrisome. Our observations at this stage are becoming more important.
The conversations at this next level are going to be interesting. Reaching a consensus on our observations will require a lot of communication between all of us –Mom and family. Keeping everybody focused on what’s best for Mom will be most important. Getting my Mom to tell us what her needs are and having her agree to activities or services to address these needs will be difficult. All of this will be made difficult not only by varying opinions but also by my Mom’s unwillingness to spend money for her own good.
She is part of that generation that witnessed the Depression and its effects. That event left a lasting impression on those who lived it and survived. Her generation is very independent. Their “I can do it myself without help” attitude is a tough attitude to work with. They are also used to pinching pennies to the point of self-denial even if it means denying themselves something that may be good for them. These two combined will make for many interesting discussions.
Convincing my Mom that she needs help without insulting her is our first and primary task. Getting her to spend some money to help herself will be the second task and no less daunting. I can imagine that we will have to tell her that we will use our resources if she won’t use hers to leverage the desired outcome. Identifying what help she needs and who can provide it will be an ongoing activity.
I will keep you posted as these conversation points advance.
For more information on caring for an aging parent and to help support our efforts, please take a listen to our educational podcast series.