Heart to Heart

Keeping parents busy while they are still physically active but mentally degenerating is very challenging. They still like to feel useful and a part of the family, but they are so limited in their capabilities that it is hard finding things that they can do. As far as my mother goes, we have found that she can still fold towels, washcloths, underwear, and pants. She can dry dishes, but cannot put them away, so we just make plenty of room on the counter for her to place them when finished. When cooking, I put her in charge of stirring things on the stove and cutting up vegetables. Some days even this is too much, but I always give her the opportunity. Our family plays games each night, but we confine our games to Yahtzee when Mom is here because this is the only game in which she can participate by rolling the dice as Sonia’s partner. She also enjoys being read to as long as it is simple and read slowly. I have just begun reading Grandma’s Attic series to her, and she loves them, asking for more after each is read. We also play movies and music that she enjoyed throughout her life. It is amazing to us how she remembers the words to songs from the ‘30s to the ‘50s. She also greatly enjoys I Love Lucy and laughs uproariously at Lucy’s antics. Tuck these tidbits away, as they may help you when you begin taking care of your parents.