Assistance, Please?
Sunday, February 12, 2023 by C. F. Sherrow

It’s so hard to watch your loved one struggle to accomplish tasks that were once second nature. The deterioration of motor skills can be devastating, or at least highly frustrating. And imagine how frustrating it is to be in their place: the body is not working well and the soul hates it.

The big question I find most often is how much do I help? And then how much can I wait, expecting her to do what is needed, however slowly? It’s a juggling act, all right.

On one hand, I don’t want her to be angry at herself (or me) when things get hard. On the other, I want her to do as much as she can. I want her to feel like she still has a modicum of independence. And I want her to feel needed as much as possible. In that regard, she volunteered to clean the litter pans, and she does her own laundry with a little help. I try not to do more than give her gentle reminders when things slide. I am seriously blessed that her attitude is usually on the positive side. And that we have a good relationship.

We know that safety is the first priority. If she tries to do something that might make her fall, I try to be there in support. Coaching is a good option, instead of doing it for her completely. And we are both learning just how much she is able to do without over-balancing . . . most of the time. Fortunately, she has learned how to curl up and go down instead of fighting gravity. Less potential for injury that way.

Last week I followed a friend’s suggestion (thanks, Kathleen!) and applied small strips of glow-in-the-dark tape to the wall leading to her bathroom. Now she has a reminder not to turn off the path in the middle of the night when she’s half asleep. I guess it’s come in handy once or twice. Every little bit helps, right?

Next time we’ll talk more about independence. It’s a big subject!

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