Visiting My Mom

My Mom
August 2, 2021

Do you visit someone old? We do. Dan and I visit my mom usually twice a week. My mom is 98 and will be 99 in December. So while I like to think age is a state of mind, at 98 – my mom is old.

Sometimes it can be hard to visit my mom. Hard because I don’t always know what to talk about. It seems I have the same questions and topics over and over. Hard because at 98, there are some days she just doesn’t engage very much. Hard because I don’t want to just sit there and watch TV with her; that doesn’t feel like a visit to me. Although, sometimes watching TV is the best we can do.

But most times, we can do better than just watching TV. This post describes some of the things I do when we visit my mom. My hope is our visit makes her day better in some way. I do know, when I feel I’ve done that, it makes my day better, too.

Math Problems

Math workbook page with division problems.
She did all these problems in her head.
Pretty Impressive!

I give my mom math problems to do. I tell her it’s time for some brain exercise, and she gladly complies. We use workbooks from the Dollar Tree. I could always print some worksheets when I am at the library, but I’d have to remember to do that when I am at the library.

I have her do all the basic math operations – add, subtract, multiply and divide. I like to throw in a few word problems, too. My mom does amazingly well. I give her a lot of compliments. Everybody likes to hear compliments.

As a side note – For a while now, my mom has been repeating phrases, sometimes with much frequency. Having her do math problems is one way to break her out of this.

Another side note – During Covid times, when we couldn’t visit my mom, I would try to call her every day. It would be hard to think of things to talk about, so I started asking her math questions over the phone. I would tell her, “Okay, I want to do some brain exercise with you.” We (my sister and I) would also try to ask her general knowledge questions. The hard part was thinking up the questions.

Board Games

My mom
July 7, 2021

Dan and I enjoy board games very much, and on good days, we will take my mom to one of the community rooms where she lives, and we will play Farkel. We’ve played Farkel with kids as young as four. It’s an easy game for young and old, and it’s great for groups.

It’s surprising to me that something as simple as rolling a cup of dice can reveal someone’s personality quirks and lead to laughing.

In my mom’s younger years, like when she was 97, we also played Scrabble. Sometimes two or three games. And then we followed that up with a game of Farkel. I felt her having to make and connect words in Scrabble and later adding up the score in Farkel was a great combination to stimulate her brain. Plus it was fun.

Video Chat

Talia and My Mom
November 28, 2019

Often times, we will do a video phone chat with my daughter, Talia. This is a great way to spend time with family even when we can’t be physically together.

Decorations

My sister and I put up decor to go along with the season. My mom just watches us but even being around the activity can enhance her day. She has several items we still use, but I like to supplement with decor from the Dollar Tree. I think festive decor adds to everyone’s day – unless you’re a grouch. But in that case, you’re probably not reading this.

Puzzles

My mom working on a puzzle.  The puzzle is a deer with antlers.
January 29, 2020

We don’t do puzzles anymore (although maybe I should try it again on one of her good days), but this was something my mom and I enjoyed quite a bit. Initially, I started with 300 piece, then went to 100, and then 24. Sometimes I put white glue (from the Dollar Tree) on top of the puzzle and used it for a decoration.

Crafts

Two clowns made out of a hanger, pantyhose, and scrap material.
These were made by my daughter, Talia, and my grandmother
about 34 years ago.
Talia was about four years old at the time.

We don’t do crafts anymore either, but my mom did do crafts until this past year or so. Dollar Tree is a great source for simple crafts (or puzzles.)

Years ago, when my daughter was growing up, I did simple crafts with her and my mom’s mom – my grandmother. The very young and the old can be a great pairing – to everyone’s enjoyment.

Whatever we choose to do – even if it’s just watching TV – the idea is to spend time together and enjoy the day.

What about you? Do you visit an older person? What kind of things do you do? What are some of your best memories when spending time with a loved one?

My mom
January 10, 2021

26 comments

  1. We so often mix up spending time with visiting. I had the same problem with my friend Miss Liz, who was already 92 when I met her. I always thought we had to talk and I felt uncomfortable when we didn’t. Later on I learned it’s like it is with my husband, sometimes it’s enjoyable to be quiet together. Time spend together could mean watching TV together or just looking at the stars or watching people go by. As long as you are there, truly there, that’s all that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good morning, Betty. I appreciated this very much this morning–it gave me a few chuckles and some lovely memories. Sis and I are the “old people” now–we are the elders left in our family, so that is who I spend time with. With my mom and dad however, they just wanted us there with them, no matter what we were doing. My favorite times those past few years were when Sis and I were there at the same time, and having coffee together with dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being together is what matters, even just doing the daily routine activities. Those simple times can be the best times. Our memories are our true treasures. I’m glad this post brought back some lovely memories for you and gave you some chuckles. Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The very young and the very old make great companions and collaborators. I see this first hand when I take young children to sing at nursing homes. Somebody really wise once said, “Action is the antidote to despair.” So much of your advice fits this quote, Betty. I hope you and Dan enjoy your weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, David. My mom really perks up when she sees my sister’s grandchildren – whether pictures, video chat or in person. She also has always had a special relationship with my daughter, Talia, which really warms my heart. I hope you and your wife have a nice weekend, too, David. Happy Thanksgiving to you all, too! I am so grateful to still have my mom!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So wonderful that you are able to visit your mom so often. I feel bad when adult children live across the country from their elderly parents and hardly ever see them in person. When my dad was in a nursing home after a stroke, we would try to have family meals a couple of times a year in a common room that was available. The staff who work at these places are saints.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My mom is fortunate to get a lot of visitors. My sister also goes a couple times a week, and I have two brothers who visit weekly, too. She gets more company than most of the residents there. Dan and I make a point to talk with others we see there. With Dan being 6’8″, this is always a topic! And oh yes, you are so right. The staff who work there are truly saints. It is a hard job. We appreciate them so very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One of my best friends turned 90 on Friday. I took a tiara and sash over to her the day before her birthday so she could wear on her actual birthday and yesterday at her family party, she was very excited. I’m 59 and somedays wish I had the energy and quick responses she has, and other days it’s a bit easier to see she is 90. I love her stories and try to spend the time we talk totally engaged in that conversation without distractions. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So wonderful that you are still able to visit with your Mom. Just being together is what really matters. How I enjoyed what time I was able to spend with my Mom before she went home to be with the Lord she loved and served. The time we spent playing games, watching TV, sharing memories, and even dreams of what could be were so precious and I hold these times close to my heart today. May you be blessed with many more days together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I was hoping readers would find this post inspiring, and maybe that it would give an idea or two to people who visit an elderly person. Living to 93 is pretty darn good! We should be so lucky! God bless you, too!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that is very comforting to us. We could not visit for four months at the beginning of Covid. I know she suffered from us not visiting, but she did not get covid. So, I am very happy about that, and I appreciate her facility for keeping her safe. Thank you for your kind comment, and many blessings to you as well.

      Like

  7. You’re lucky to still be able to share time with your Mom. Mine was in a nursing home for 7 years with dementia before she passed. She still remembered all the verses to her favorite hymns and we sang a lot. We made a big deal of watching Lawrence Welk on Saturday nights and I’d bring popcorn. She could make one Reese cup last 20 minutes, purely enjoying it as she nibbled to make it last. Treasure these times; they are fleeting and precious. Your ideas for what to do with an older person are great. We played scrabble, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right. I am lucky to still have her. And I do treasure these times because someday these days will be gone in a blink. I’ve thought about playing music, but I haven’t done that yet. That’s a good idea to try. It sounds like you have wonderful memories of your mother. I am glad. The peanut butter cup lasting 20 minutes gave me a smile. Thank you for your kind words, and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.

      Like

  8. This is such a sweet description of your time spent with your mother. I very much like the mathematical brain exercises. I might try it with my 84 year old mother, but my guess is she won’t do it. Heck, maybe I’ll just do it for myself. Time with those we love is never wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I am a firm believer in the brain exercises. Sometimes (but not always) it’s all in the asking – “I want you to do some brain exercise. It’s good for you. Do you want to do addition or subtraction first?” Yesterday, we played Scrabble with my mom. I just think it’s so good for her to think. (and actually all of us!) The first game, she made two and three letter words. The second game, three, four and even one five letter word. Hope you and Grammi have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, Betty! My Mom is a very young and very active 87, so thus far, there’s no shortage of conversation topics. The majority of my nursing career was spent working with the elderly, and I was also a dementia care coordinator/educator for many years. The activities that stirred up the most engagement were singing old songs together and bringing objects that encouraged reminiscing (wash boards, hand crank egg beaters – those sorts of things)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will try the old songs and the objects that encourage reminiscing. I feel like when I show old pictures, my mom just gets sad. My sister is able to talk about old times without my mom being sad. But perhaps, if I brought objects, it would be better. Thanks for the suggestions!

      Liked by 1 person

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