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1. Folding laundry after it comes out of the dryer.
2. Sorting dirty laundry into darks, mediums and whites.
3. Loading the dishwasher.
4. Using that "spritz & wash" type of all-purpose household cleaner with a sponge to clean the bathroom sink & fixtures.
5. Look for coupons in the paper for things you use.and circle them with a "sharpie" pen.
6. Take inventory of what it is in the fridge and draw up a grocery list of what you are "low" on.
7. Straighten up utensils in the kitchen drawers.
8. Straight up the linen closet, re-fold towels.
9. Set the table for dinner - or at least the flatware & napkins.
10. Carry dirty plates one at a time to the kitchen sink after dinner.
11. Feed the family pet, change his water a couple of times daily
12. Let the dog/cat outside, let him inside.
13. Retrieve newspaper from front of house.
14. Bring in the mail from front of house.
I could go on endlessly. The most important thing is that she feels she is making a "contribution" to the household, in the same way that a 3-year-old might do. We would only give a 3-year-old what they could reasonably & safely manage. So, too, with the elderly.....we have to consider what they are capable of.
Hope that helps!
Of course, if no one else in the household does chores and that is reserved for hired help, then it would not be appropriate to expect a mother or mother-in-law (or father/FIL) to be the only family member to do them. But the majority of American homes do not have paid household help, and everyone pitches in.
Before my dad's death last year my mom was the early riser, her private time to herself, she would get her own breakfast, her and my dad's meds, she would also swiffer the kitchen floor and dust the furniture surfaces in the kitchen, dining room and family room. Since my dad's death she does not of these things. Mornings I awaken her, I lay out her lifelong breakfast of graham crackers and coffee, manager and monitor her meds, some mornings even help her get dressed, and no, she does not dust of swiffer. We do have a cleaning woman and partner who comes every other week so that chore has been taken away from my mom (they do the deep and heavy cleaning and there is no reason why my mom can't still dust/swiffer when she wants to). Everything changed over this past year with the grieving thus depression.
I cannot make my mom return to the earlier riser cleaner woman she was a year ago. It is heart breaking to see the depression consumer her. Yes she is on meds for that and that's been only about two months though. She does offer to do things around the house but forgets. I was amazed that she was even putting the trash on the curb Thursday nights. She has stopped doing that lately as well.
She does have a doc appt next week. I am looking forward to it. With the depression consuming my mom's life, I am fighting for it not to consume mine.
Chores may be associated with our parents' (or others) lives when those lives were less painful. Doing those chores now might trigger a memory too painful to recall at this time.
Will my mom ever be the early bird around here anymore? I hope so. Will she dust and swiffer three rooms of this large house again? Maybe not. She wanted the house to look nice for my dad, and without him here her motivation is gone as well. Maybe that's something to think about when we want the octogenarians to help. Helping with a chore they did previous to a change in their lives might be psychologically and/or emotionally harmful for them.
Just thinking aloud this morning. Maybe therapy for me; thanks for listening.
It's not too late to learn to search E-bay. It's not too late to learn the intricasies of the Tax Code. It's not too late to learn how to knit one, purl one....etc.
A lawyer can learn motorcylce maintenance. A nurse can learn to paint ( the canvas, not the house). You get the point, I'm sure.
If it's the word "hired" that perhaps offends, then get over it. Some spend their money at Starbucks, and others spend their money on hired help.
My mom's routine of dusting and swiffering around the house was what she wanted to do. She also did academic things that have fallen by the wayside since my dad's death. Doc and I are working together to lift the cloud of depression so as to open the doors again to those things you mentioned (except auto mechanic, she doesn't like to get dirty). A year ago my mom was uploading photos from her camera and proud to edit and print her own photos. Grieving/depression is holding her paralyzed and I pray the meds, doc's suggestions and time will enable her to have the strength to do that again.
I agree trips to the library would be wonderful. Some people are not as interested in doing that and we need to remember that. I know people spend their money on Starbucks (the lines are enormously long on campus!) and I would prefer to spend my money on books and new computers when one is failing or hired help so I can do the things I like to do and not dust and vacuum.
The point I was making about her household chores was moreso the "routine" that depression robs one of. My mom also did volumes of word searches! And she loved to buy the most recent booklet that enabled her to increase her vocabulary. But the routines of the past are now being governed by the deep grieving of the loss of her beloved of over 65+ years. The grip grieving has on her (and many, many others) is holding her (and others) back from enjoying this part of her/their lives without her/their spouses.
Academia is not for everyone as we see with the undereducation in this country. Doing the things you mentioned, like knitting, crocheting, seamstress work are all important for the continuance of hand-eye coordination.
I agree there are words that people attribute to other social stratus they may not be a part of. Perhaps "hired" doesn't offend but may be a memory trigger of an unpleasant experience. We don't know. For some mopping a floor is theraupuetic and not mundane; for some it has been part of their lives for so long, losing that chore is yet another loss. Too many losses in one's life too close together could be detrimental.
I think at this point I am sad that grieving has encapsulated my mom's life and I pray that all resources available to her will eventually lift the cloud hovering over her and she will find new and different enjoyment at this point in her life. It is all about change, transition, and moving forward whether you are knit, fix a car, can do taxes, paint, do word searches, drink coffee, or mop the floor ... we must all keep moving forward and encourage others to do the same.
I'm sure that you are getting the best advice on these anti-depression drugs. Good Luck!!
She's lucky to have a daughter like you.
I found I had to adjust after spending 35 years raising children and then it stops and adjustments have to be made. Then I finished my degree and planned on a second career as a teacher but my dad moved in and once again, adjustments had to be made.
Moving across country away from family and friends was a depressing feat we had to endure and adjust to. We did.
There is no sure deal and their is grieving, disappointment and adjusting all along the way in life.
It is hard to see our loved ones going through this and when we go through it, we have a deeper understanding. This too shall pass and she will be back I am certain. Routines are what keep some of us sane I believe. Getting ourside of ourselves is very healing as well such as volunteering in something we once enjoyed, helping a child read, being a substitute grandparent, meals on wheels, etc etc
Traditionally my mom and Dad would put pieces of candy in paper Halloween motif bags and give those out to trick or treaters. Last year Halloween was just weeks after my Dad's death and so my Mom did nothing.
This year we packaged up over 100 little bags for the trick or treaters. Also, traditionally for over 35 years, my children have come over prior to Halloween. When they were little they showed off their costumes to my Mom and Dad then as they got older (my kids ... not me ha ha) they would bring over their children in their costumes. Yesterday evening one of my daughters brought over her children.
LIttle things like making bags for trick or treaters or seeing children and grandchildren is what makes life worth living.
We did have dinner last night which I did it all but Mom says she will unload the dishwasher. We will see, last time she said they, the dishes stayed in there for two weeks (at least they were clean) and I would take out what I needed to use.
It doesn't matter if it was only putting napkins on the table last night or putting the stickers on the Halloween candy bags, I think it is the feeling of being a part of what the family/community is doing.