Just got back from visiting with my Mom. I now find my concerns about my Mom’s situation moving from the “let’s hold and observe” category to the “it is time to start researching things” category.

It’s a fine line to walk – whether or not to start raising red flags or focus more closely on specific concerns. This is a tough one. As I mentioned in a previous post, my Mom has a degenerative muscle condition – polymyositis. While on my last visit, I noticed (or think I noticed) a slight slurring of speech and some difficulty with driving – most notably making turns. Additionally, my Mom did not get out of her chair to come and greet us as she usually does. My family understands that the quality of speech will be impacted by this disease.

Make no mistake, I can still understand her. I am just noticing the little things in her speech that I am not accustomed to. Regarding her driving, my Mom was never the “best” driver and her sailor’s vocabulary left an early impression on all of us. Now though, it seems as if her hard right and left turns in the car are less fluid and somewhat choppy.

You may be thinking that I am being overly critical or picky but I am a big believer in observing with a focus on the small variations feeling that they could grow in importance and could be indicative of a trend worth being aware of. I have asked my brothers and sisters to see if they notice any changes in my Mom’s speech and driving skills. I don’t feel as if I am waving a red flag at this time. I am asking everyone to tighten their focus on these things. Not to the exclusion of other concerns but more to validate or refute my observations.

Overall, my last visit is shifting my focus with my Mom from the “Ten Warning Signs” previously posted to “I wonder how she is doing with the five instrumental activities of daily living” which are key to independent living. These activities are what I consider “the next level” as the aging process continues. I look at the aging process from a linear perspective as we all move forward along a timeline.

After the “Ten Warning Signs” on my timeline, I have the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.” More on this in my next post.

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