Restoring the rhythm to daily life

Change is hard on anyone, but life-altering change has to be extremely difficult on the elderly.

Restoring the rhythm to daily life

In a couple of weeks I am heading to Newfoundland once again, to spend a couple of weeks with my mom.

I returned her to her marital home, after she spent the winter at my place, in the middle of May, and while my sister has visited her for a while, she’s had some time to be on her own that she hasn’t had for a very long time.

My plan is to arrive with my sleeves rolled up to work. Aside from the fact that she’s not really capable of doing outside maintenance on the house, the man of the house getting up each morning and heading out to putter with her to-do list is a lifestyle she was very accustomed to.

My father was always up early in the morning, heading out to paint something, fix something, move something or fish for something.

Inside, my mother would clean something, cook something, boil down something or launder something. There was a rhythm to their daily life that brought them both comfort and a sense of purpose.

In the context of our current millennial values, their roles might seem stereotypically gender-based, but they were happy.

They were good to, and for, each other, and the division of labour that worked for them was simply the way it was.

I don’t think either of them ever thought they were being forced into a specific role by the other.

I spent all of last summer and fall with my parents when my father’s condition had worsened. I did a lot of puttering around and berry-picking at that time, and while I dragged him along when I could, he still spent most of his time in the house and my mother felt the stress of his care and condition.

They both seemed a bit out of sorts with the new reality.

So, my objective for the couple of weeks I am visiting is to restore a little familiarity to my mother’s day. The outside will be my domain and the inside her’s.

I’ll be popping in more often than my dad did, to check on her and reaffirm I’m doing the work the way she wants me to; that’s more to keep her engaged in the process than to really ask her handyman advice.

My father told me long ago that you just had to let her have her say, then do it the way that makes sense anyway. He could have been a diplomat.

My sister and I have both noticed a certain disorientation in my mother since my father passed away. Perhaps there is some natural decline in the information processing pathways, but I suspect it’s more the confusion that has accompanied routines that were not those she’d become accustomed to for many years.

Change is hard on anyone, but life-altering change has to be extremely difficult on the elderly, particularly those whose mental processes have already begun to deteriorate.

I am hopeful that a little normalcy in her routine will, in fact, give my mother a two-week vacation from the uncertainty she has felt for some time.

She needs that vacation a lot more than I need one.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A small memorial to Rich Goulet at Pitt Meadows Secondary honoured the late coach. (The News files)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows petition signer lobs gym naming question back into school board’s court

Thousands of people have signed a petition to name a gym after the late coach Rich Goulet

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Maple Ridge resident impressed with frontline workers when husband hurt

From police to health professionals, everyone who cared for injured senior deserves praise

Residents of Golf Lane say they are tired of their houses and vehicles being hit by golf balls from the nearby Maple Ridge Golf Course, and worry someone is going to get killed by a wayward drive. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge Golf Course neighbours say they need protection

City willing to explore solutions says director of parks

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Ineke Boekhorst with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association says Sparkle has been a huge hit with downtown businesses. (The News files)
Maple Ridge business to get free Earth Day window cleaning

Event put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and Christian Life Assembly

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read