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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?