By Julie Ferguson, AHC Administrator
My 95-year-old mother has always been active and very health conscious. As she becomes more frail and debilitated with age she works hard to maintain a level of activity and good physical and emotional health. Although she is dependent on a walker for mobility, and is stooped with painful arthritis, she still participates in daily exercise and is able to live alone in her own home relatively well. Since so often we hear from our clients that they “can’t” get around and “can’t” do anything, I wanted to share some of the things my own mom does every day.
• She greets the day with a positive attitude – whether she has had good, fair or poor sleep – she is grateful for another day. She has a morning routine, which takes a long time, but includes personal care, dressing, and making her bed.
• She has a nutritious breakfast that includes whole grains (typically oatmeal), fruit – usually an orange and/or a banana, and occasionally an egg. She usually enjoys a cup of coffee or tea a little later in the morning, with another piece of fruit, often while doing the daily crossword puzzle from the newspaper.
• She knows she has trouble drinking enough fluids, so she keeps a water bottle nearby at all times (it hooks to her walker – check out Amazon.com for lots of options).
• She schedules and participates in daily physical exercise. “Sit and Be Fit” https://www.sitandbefit.org/ is a great television show that she enjoys every day at 9am. She sits on a chair in front of the television and does her chair exercises, as she is able, along with the instructor.
• She reaches out to family and friends. Every day my mom makes a point to call one person just to chat. She is very hard of hearing so we have purchased an amplified phone that is portable and she can keep in the basket of her walker. Check out the internet for phone options – there are many varieties and we tried several before we found one that worked for her and didn’t interfere with her hearing aids.
• She stays current. Every day my mom watches the news, she reads the newspaper, and glances through magazines. She knows how to use the internet and emails with family and friends. She knows the status of all the local sports teams, basic pop culture, and fashion and fads. She can hold her own in a conversation with just about anyone!
• She wears a lifeline. This was a reluctant agreement. She knows she is a fall risk, and has had several falls. None of us want her on the floor for hours or even a day, before we find her. The lifeline gives us all peace of mind.
Even though most days my mom suffers severe and disabling pain, and is basically housebound, she enjoys her life, and is an important and positive contributor to our family. A positive attitude, healthy routines, and contact with other people keep her going, despite her limitations. Aging can be difficult, but as with all challenges, difficulties can be overcome if you look for and practice the positive!
Advanced Health Care works with many people like my mom – helping them to stay active and independent in their own homes. We have lots of ideas that can help! Call us for suggestions!