How can my mom keep her mind engaged and active as she ages?
November 1, 2008 8:45 AM Subscribe
I need tips to help my mom keep her mind engaged and active, despite her vision problems. Help?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My mom, who is 67, had a large non-malignant brain tumor that was removed ~18 years ago. As a result, she experienced some loss of brain tissue, and also suffered damage to her optic nerve. She has no direct vision in one eye, only peripheral vision. Consequently, long-term reading or computer use aren't very comfortable.
She works part-time, and when she's not working she has a tendency to veg in front of the TV. She talks with folks on the phone, does occasional (1x/2x a month) volunteering, but she's not out and engaged, largely because she can't travel far independently (she still drives, though I'm not sure for how much longer, and not in the dark, which seriously restricts her in wintertime) so she's not doing much to challenge herself. Her work is not particularly engaging, mentally - following processes, no real problem solving involved - and I'm concerned because she has some occasional short term memory lapses as well as a somewhat short temper from time to time (unusual for her) and I'm worried that these are early signs of troubles.
She will be seeing a doctor for an assessment, and next month she and my sister are about to begin going to a gym together a few times a week, which I know will be a help. I've thought about giving her a Nintendo DS with Brain Age, but I know that's just one of many things that would have to be undertaken to have any meaningful effect.
She claims "tiredness" a lot which I think is more boredom. She seems afraid to try things that she did in the past (like sewing or crochet, for example) because of her eyesight, when she foibles a stitch because she can't see as well as she'd like, it's a serious blow, so she shies from that. She's a widow and lives alone, so there's no one "right" there to have spontaneous conversation with. One of her closest friends is battling lupus and is rarely up to going out and doing things (they try to have a monthly movie and lunch date that often has to rescheduled) and her other best friend has Alzheimer's now and no longer knows who mom is when she visits.
I know that there is decline with age, but I want to help her stave that off for as long as possible. She's terrified of ending up like her friend, stuck in a home, not knowing her own friends and family. She's at 99% right now. What can she do to stay there?