Dear Family Resource,
My mother is 94 and looks 20 years younger. Her mind is sharp, and her memory is better than mine. But her hearing is poor, even with hearing aids, and macular degeneration has all but taken her sight. A fall, 2 years ago, compromised her ability to walk and now she cannot get around without a walker.

In short, her mind is all there but she feels her body has betrayed her and she is angry. She lives at home and has a caregiver for a few hours a day. She could afford full-time, but she hates being dependent on someone to accomplish what she could easily do by herself a few years ago. I know that some people find contentment as they age. They discover a kind of Zen approach to seeing good and feeling gratitude for the small things. That’s not my mother. Is there anything I can do or say to help her appreciate what she does have?
~Hurting for Mom

Dear Hurting,
It’s tough to get old, especially when you have a sharp mind and your body doesn’t cooperate. There are so many things I am sure your mother would love to be doing, but can’t do due to poor vision and hearing. I have a few suggestions for you and your mother. Make an appointment with her ophthalmologist and an audiologist to review her current sight and hearing status. A hearing aid specialist is focused solely on diagnosing and treating hearing loss with hearing aids or assistive listening devices. I found a great resource to look into assisted devices for the hearing impaired. You can access it by clicking here. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation provides a wealth of information and tips on age-related macular degeneration. The right assisted devises can make all the difference!

Another idea is to make a list of things your mother used to like to do and is still able to, even if it is modified. Some ideas that come to mind are: participating in a wheelchair exercise class, taking a wheelchair walk outdoors on a beautiful day, books on tape for the hearing impaired, a manicure or pedicure once or twice a month, enlarged word and number puzzles or jumbles, a trip to the grocery store or local arboretum. There are so many activities you can set up which allow for interactions with others, engagement, using her mind, all of which will stimulate your mother and make life more meaningful for her. I think you can help your mother find joy in her new and unexpected situation.

~Family Resource


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