Here's to “Mork from Ork”, Robin Williams' character in his career TV career breakthrough. He and the characters he brought to life will be missed! Fortunately, Mom does not, and has not, experienced clinical depression in her lifetime. Many of the elderly population do, as the reality of life changes become apparent. Also in this mix are medications. Exercise and activity seem to be beneficial in helping to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, many elders need medications that carry warnings such as "do not operate machinery" or "may cause drowsiness" in the side affects cautions. And those cautions translate to the medications having a depressing affect on the ability and desire to accomplish exercise and activities, the opposite of what is healthy.
Mom and I did not play rummy or cribbage today, as one of her friends stopped by to visit and play cards with Mom. Who won was a question left unasked, as it really is about the socialization during the playing ... mostly ...
We have tried to take a short walk outside once or twice daily. This is in addition to Mom's in house, independent ambulation. When not defeated by weather, this is a quick process, because physical ability at age 105 limits the distance to about 100 -125 feet one way, yields great benefit. To maximize the benefit the process is focused on ensuring a successful event, making sure attire is appropriate for temperature. Once again, I don't ask if she would like to go, but just say “Let’s go”. This may be difficult with some, depending upon how relationships with their parents, spouse, or significant others have evolved. To many, this may be perceived as being “bossed” or “losing control”. Strategy adjustment to keep exercise and activity habits in place need to be customized for the person. This may take some creative, out of the box thinking from time to time. This also offers an excellent opportunity to start with a drink (hydration) and a quick round of breathing exercises (This link to WebMD breathing exercises may be helpful). We go out the back door and down the back walk. I keep one hand gently holding Mom's upper arm close to her armpit. allowing her to experience uneven surfaces and to engage her balance reactions during the walk. Firm pressure allows her to depend on me for balance and lessens her ability to react to uneven surfaces. Also, at some point during the walk I have her “step over some imaginary logs”. Exaggerated foot lifting counteracts a shuffling gait when walking, which becomes an issue for most of the elderly as they are increasingly seek level, flat walking surfaces.
Temperature and humidity really control how far we go before taking a breathing rest. We may go 25 feet, or we may go 10 feet, depending upon how fast she is breathing. (Hint: When in doubt about the breathing, engage in conversation. You can usually gauge the level of breathlessness by how a person responds, and determine if it’s time to take a quick break.) The total walk is about 100-125 feet. When we get back into the house, Mom has a better appearance with respect to facial coloration.
Mom accomplished her morning and evening treadling sessions,
important for her well-being. Mom initiates her treadling sessions which underscores the benefit of making healthful activities habitual.
Hope yours was a fine day. Richard