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Having Fun with Mom Again


 "My mother isn't moving too quickly these days.  She is no longer willing or able to do many of the things we used to do together, like shopping or rummage sales. She can make it about with a cane for the most part, but I am looking for new things to do together that will be fun for us both. Do you have any advice?"


What you are noticing is normal, and it is understandable to look for a change. We all have phases in life that change our interests and abilities.  Few of us still pursue our childhood activities, though it would not be a bad idea to continue some of our more fulfilling childhood pursuits. In your case, your mother's mobility is forcing some changes in how you spend time together.

The first thing to do is assess what the reason for the change is.  Ask your mother about her cane.

  • What is making her use it? 
  • What hurts? Is it her hip or knee?  
  • What treatment options has she considered?
  • Is she getting the optimal intervention?

I have never seen someone use a cane unless they absolutely needed to.  In fact, most people resist that device for as long as they can.  That suggests that travelling uneven terrain is difficult for your mother.  The rummage sales you once enjoyed together are often held in yards with unfamiliar surfaces, and the items are sometimes piled on makeshift surfaces or the ground.  This is not an easy situation with a cane.  Shopping usually involves quite a bit of walking.  Again, your mother is using a cane for a reason.  A long day with a lot of walking may simply be too much for her.

So for now, let’s talk about alternate ways to replace your love for shopping and spending time "on the hunt."

Perhaps you could go to sales that are not in yards. Some involve entire communities, with many booths in one location.  Consider a wheelchair for the day. You may need to find someone strong to push it for that long, but it could be worth it to you. You could also borrow the scooters you see at most stores and malls.

Other than shopping, I suggest finding a new, “seated” adventure the two of you can do together.  Knitting, art classes, and book clubs can be fun, as they require less mobility. Explore what interests the both of you, and try a few things.  No activity needs to be a complete success; rather, think of them as an adventure that the two of you are taking together.  Even the bad ones will give you shared stories to laugh over for months.  The hunt for new pastimes may be just as much fun as the activity itself. . 


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