It occurred to me that one change I've noted in Mom, and that seems to be ubiquitous among the elderly, is her decline in initiating conversation. She responds to questions, be it regarding a past event involving family or friends, or other past events. In fact, her recollection of past events is quite accurate. She will also ask if we have a particular food that she wants for her next meal, or a similar personal request. And she always says “thank-you” for services provided. I attribute some of this to difficulty in hearing, or difficulty with her hearing aids. Sometimes they are not turned on or the volume is not high enough. Battery replacement is often an issue-a hearing aid with a dead battery is an earplug! Background noise is a conversational hindrance; turning down a TV or radio during conversation is very beneficial, especially during phone conversations. Facing her during conversation enhances communication as she does benefit from lip reading at some level. And do not neglect the removal of ear wax buildup which impedes hearing.
Engaging the elderly via conversation is a very necessary and important aspect of socialization for our seniors. Time in silence tends to disengage them from their surroundings. Very poignant. I had to ask Mom how this was spelled, a real time spell check. Lyrics, by John Prine in his song, ”Hello in There”, provide some insight related to this aspect of life for the aged.
I can't seem to string together two wins on the card table against my 106 year old opponent. I won rummy, lost cribbage. Just in case you might wonder, there is no quarter given. Neither of us is interested in losing. Mom shuffles her own deals. Her hand eye coordination and tactile sensitivity are unimpaired.
We went out to lunch today. Mom jumped at the opportunity, as she usually does. “Well, I'd better get ready” she says, as she heads upstairs; the thirteen steps that everyone who knows her inquires about. “How's your mother doing with the stairs?” It takes her 15-20 minutes to change clothes, chose earrings, and come back down. She does her lipstick, but likes help with eyebrow liner and rouge. This is a first for me, but after the initial days' application of a bit too much rouge I'm doing better. Cosmology is not a future skill to master on my bucket list.
She continues to treadle daily using the Treadwell® System and there is absolutely no doubt from my professional experience as a Physical Therapist that this activity is a fundamental factor in her sustained good health and mental acuity.
Once again, I marvel at her, and cherish the memories of time spent with her.
Hope yours was a pleasant day. Richard