Mayo Clinic Connect
My husband is confined for the most part in a lift chair. His eyesight and hearing is limited. His hands are shakey….his days are long. Anyone know of any activity for him to do.
Liked by Scott, Volunteer Mentor
I augmented the subject line of your post bring in more discussion. I'd like to invite @IndianaScott @duvie @harriethodgson1 and @rmftucker to join this discussion about activities when abilities are limited.
Minnesota, how limited is your husband's hearing? Can he hear or feel music? Do headphones help? I'm wracking my brain for meaningful activities that would largely rely on gross motor skills. I wonder if @hopeful33250 might have some ideas or know of Parkinson's resources that you could research. Teresa, any tips?
Liked by Scott, Volunteer Mentor, John, Volunteer Mentor
Good morning @minnesota I wish I had a briefcase full of ideas to help you out with your husband! I am thinking back to my wife and her activities as she declined.
One thing we did was get a very loud speaker phone so as her hearing declined she could continue to use it and talk to folks.
Another thing I did was establish a rotation of her day to have her sit in different areas of our house (she was in a wheelchair at this point). That way her visual input and feeling of being 'out' improved. This also gave her a feeling of knowing things would change during the day and not drag on quite the same.
My wife loved Scrabble so we would play that with me placing her tiles for her. The games got hilarious as she would decide a 'theme' for each game and the rules went out the window, but it passed the time for her, even with some laughs.
My wife also loved to talk, so I used our baby monitor to chat with her when I was out of the room and that helped pass some of the time too plus I could tell her what it was I was doing when she couldn't be in the room with me.
My wife could not tolerate music, TV, etc. so we were in silence all the time so I have no ideas there.
When my dad was in his late stages of his life he had congestive heart failure and macular degeneration. He was able to find a special screen for his computer, which had a magnifier on it so he could actually see the screen letters. He also used one of the voice recognition software packages where he could talk to his computer to input information rather than typing.
As I said, I wish I had more to offer! I'll keep thinking and look forward to reading what other folks have done!
Courage, strength, and peace!
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Terri Martin, Volunteer Mentor
Everyone in our family is hard of hearing. I wear two hearing aids and my husband wears two hearing aids. Although my husband has good hearing aids, they aren't sufficient because his hearing has gotten worse. This makes communication difficult. The volume on television programs is so loud I can hardly think. Worse, he is fascinated by World War II history and Civil War History, all blaring at peak volume. I have to shout in order to make myself understood. My challenge as his caregiver is to convince him to get new hearing aids. John doesn't want to do this because of cost. Hearing aids aren't covered by insurance and getting new ones would cost more than $4,000. Still, I'm going to try and persuade him to get his hearing checked and buy new hearing aids to improve his quality of life. Thankfully, he hears me when I say "I love you."
A few tips: Eliminate background noise to improve communication. No television, no radio. Face the care receiver while speaking. Don't speak to your loved one while you're walking away from her or him. Rephrase a sentence to foster understanding. And finally, shorten your sentences. Spell out words if necessary.
Successive hospitalizations for pneumonia have weakened John. He, too, spends his days in a wheelchair and we do all we can to strengthen his body. Each morning a paid caregiver comes for two hours to help get him up. The caregiver starts the day with leg stretches recommended by Mayo Clinic. After he is dressed, John practices walking with a leg brace and walker. Some days he can only walk a few steps. Other days he can walk several feet. He used to be able to walk the width of our townhome and regaining this ability is his goal. We put two suction grab bars on the kitchen counter and he practices standing there. If he can only stand a few seconds, at least he has been upright. I bought him hand weights and he uses them while watching television. He uses the weights to strengthen his arms.
I arranged for some home physical therapy covered by Medicare. We hope it helps John to regain his strength.
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Teresa, Volunteer Mentor
Does the use of closed captioning on the TV help? I can keep the volume much lower when I use the CC function on the TV.
What a great question. I'm happy that your husband has such a good caregiver to support and encourage him.
You mention limited eyesight and hearing and I'm just wondering about his speech. Music has a very powerful way of overriding some other brain deficits in chronic illnesses. I have known of people who have used singing with (or for) folks with limited daily activities. If you know the type of music (especially that could be sung) it would be good to use that for at least 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. You can make it a sing-a-long type of activity. Lots of people like the older music, Frank Sinatra, etc. or music of the 50's, 60's, etc. Here is a post about music and the positive effect on the brain as well as the emotions, https://www.facebook.com/ScienceNaturePage/videos/1284891671643088/
Here are some discussions on Connect that may be enlightening, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/music-helps-me/
Also, pets can have value. If you do not have any small pets in your home, you might invite a friend or neighbor to bring their pet over and place it near your husband so that he can pet the animal. Here is a discussion group on the value of pets, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/the-value-of-an-animal/?pg=2#comment-88003
I hope that some of these suggestions help. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Liked by John, Volunteer Mentor
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Yes, closed caption TV is a Godsend. My writing office, actually a notch cut out of the laundry room, is only a few feet away from the television. Closed caption TV helps me to concentrate and meet writing deadlines.
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor
Thanks to all….
Yes, he can hear music. Took him outside in wheelchair today, he loved that. Also reading book to him.
@minnesota Reading to him is a great idea! Teresa
Seasons Hospice has brought pets…he loved them
Also, Seasons hospice has great singer/guitar player who has entertained my husband at Madonna in Byron, a fabulous place to live.
Yes, spelling is a great idea. I use that tool a lot with my 92 year old mother. While she is very hard of hearing, her cognitive processes have also slowed. If I use the same volume but spell a word (rather than just repeating the word) it seems to get-through to her. I don't know the reason for this, but I know it does work.
Is your husband currently in Hospice care?
I am glad that we could be of help, @minnesota. Thank you for starting this important conversation. I believe that it will help a lot of people.
I look forward to hearing from you again.
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