Taking care of mom

Hi, I am a nurse and a caregiver for my mom. A year ago, my mom fell at home and hit her head. She ended up with bleeding on the brain which left her with dementia and stroke-like symptoms. She is unable to walk and also suffers from sundowners at night.

Before all this happened, my mother was very active. She took care of my farther who was suffering from Altzheimer's. My dad passed away last January, but before then, I was caring for both of them in my home.

I ended up quitting my job to care for them because I could not keep up with caring for them and having a job was too much. My mom is 24-7 care. She has a stage 3 pressure sore on her tailbone fron when she was either in the hospital or nursing home for "rehab". The nursing home gave her 10 minurtes of therapy a day and then Medicare discharged her due to no progression. Well , 10 minurtes a day is not much therapy and no wonder she didn't progress!!

Anyway, due to her pressure ulcer, she is only allowed to be up for an hour a day. She is quite depressed. She doesn't care for TV, but will listen to the radio. 

Does anyone have any suggestions of activities I can do with her while she is in bed to give her a little more stimulation? She doesn't care for puzzles, but will watch someone playing a game but   will not participate.

Thank you,

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AARP Expert

@eunicef403167 I'm so sorry to hear of yours and your mom's challenges. Caregiving while grieving for your Dad and having to stop working - all of it is a lot to deal with. Your mom is so lucky to have you! My mom had many falls and it was always my fear she would have a brain bleed. I, too, have been caregiving for both my parents for the past 10+ yrs (living with me the past 5 yrs) my Dad has Alzheimer's and my Mom passed on 4 yrs ago after many years of health issues including a stroke 25 yrs earlier. I totally am with you on how stressful and challenging it can all be...


Quick question - is your mom receiving and physical therapy at home at all? 


So - to get to the heart of your question about activities she can do while in bed. Here is just a brainstorm list of things I can think of! 


  • Massage - massage her hands and arms, and her feet and legs (my Dad loves his feet massaged but not everyone's really good for getting whole body results without touching the whole body). Use good lotion scented with essential oils she likes. Lavender is calming, citrus like lemon, grapefruit and orange are more uplifting or stimulating usually. I wrote this post for AARP about ideas of things to do when loved ones have sundown syndrome and includes some thoughts about essential oils. 10 Ways to Manage Sundown Syndrome 
  • Variety shows - If she likes radio perhaps she'd enjoy listening to the old Lawrence Welk TV shows because they are mostly music. My Dad doesn't watch the TV but I got him special headphones that are wireless and connect directly to the TV so he can listen. PBS shows the LW show every Sat night and we DVR it, but we also got a Roku that was super easy to attach to our TV so now we can pull up LW and other variety shows on YouTube and he really enjoys listening to those - from Red Skelton to Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams and his fave LW!  
  • Madlibs - remember Madlibs we used to to play when we were kids? They come in a sort of paperback notebook and I used to do this with my parents. You ask for a noun, verb, pronoun etc and then read back the stories and it always brought some laughs and stimulated their minds. It's a game that doesnt require her to move or do anything - more brain stimulation and social interaction.
  • Would she enjoy coloring? There are a ton of adult coloring books available now and she could do that sitting up in bed and research indicates its great stress relief! AARP also has a number of coloring books - and I actually did a new one with themk out this week called Color Your Way Content When Caring for a Loved One. The two of you could both color at the same time too - stress releiving for everyone! 
  • Do you have an e- tablet? There are many games in the app stores that are good for brain stimulation but are not too taxing. My Mom used to play them. Matching games etc. If you do a search for stroke rehab games or even look at some of the children's games maybe she would try them if they are on the tablet and you hold it for her. Sometimes the novelty of doing something on an etablet is motivating - my Mom loved them!

Hope something here is of help but happy to keep brainstorming with you! Good luck and I hope you are doing things to fill your tank too!!!


Take care,

Amy Goyer

AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

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