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What to do?

by Gloria Kirk
(Martinsville Va.)

Question:My 87 year old Mother had a servere left brain stroke three months ago. She lost her ability to walk, talk, and eat. She was very active up until this point. She was dancing twice a week and always on the go. She went from 60 to 0. Mentally this has been very difficult for her. She is on continuous feeding from 8 in the morning until 8 at night. She is in the nursing home part of a health and rehab facility. I visit her everyday and try to take her outside awhile or take her to attend activities at the facility. Every time I get ready to leave her in the evening, she gets very agitated and doesn't want me to leave her. I think a lot of it has to do with her not being able to communicate and it just tears me up inside. Do you have any suggestions how I can ease her anxiety? Also I'm wondering that when the weather gets colder and I can't take her outside what we can do together to make the time go by. I don't want her just sitting in her wheelchair all day looking at 4 walls. Also I forgot to mention that she's being getting therapy at this Facility but because she's in the Nursing Home part and on Medicare Part B she's not getting as much therapy as she was. About a month ago we were trying to feed her and she got pneumonia so we're afraid to feed her again. I'm Taking her to a specialist this week to see if they think she can try eating again.

Answer: Gloria, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother. I'm not sure what you can do about her anxiety. Maybe you could put on some music or have staff come visit with her when it's time for you to leave. As far as indoor activities, again I would suggest music activities (if she likes music). Also, you could take photo albums or home movies to share with her. I don't know what her mental capacity is, but you could try jigsaw puzzles if she is able to put them together (there are larger, easier puzzles if the small ones are too hard). I would suggest to you to go onto an online caregiver forum to get more ideas from others in a similar situation as yours.

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