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How to help my mentally sharp but housebound MIL?

(10 Posts)
Athyrium Wed 29-Oct-14 10:50:23

She has multiple health issues that have rendered her housebound and she has become lonely and bored out of her wits. Many of her old friends are either dead or too infirm to visit her, she isn't able to go out without help so has no independence, and there is only so much that telly/radio/reading can fill her life.What can I suggest? We are limited in what we can do since both me and DH work and we have small children, plus live an hour away. What can I suggest to help keep her busy/get her some company somehow?

AMumInScotland Wed 29-Oct-14 10:56:15

Is she ok with a PC? It's not quite like 'real' contact, but Gransnet would at least give her people to chat to even if it's not face to face.

joanofarchitrave Wed 29-Oct-14 10:56:48


Can she knit (I know it's difficult with arthritic hands or poor sight) - she could join the Wooly Huggers or other craft charity?

Friends of the Elderly here run a telephone befriending service and Age UK do something similar, could she volunteer for them?

Would she be able to sort your pictures into albums and caption them? That's the sort of job I never get time to do. It would be worth your while to print out ALL your photos and drop them in her lap with a cry of despair - just ask her to do them roughly chronologically, or by themes (weddings, holidays)?

joanofarchitrave Wed 29-Oct-14 10:57:53

Has she ever shown evidence of interest in a religion? Could you have a chat with the local leader in that religion and ask for any advice, maybe there is a lunch club she could be taken to that might lead to a new friendship or two?

Athyrium Wed 29-Oct-14 11:04:24

Thanks for the ideas. She is just about able to use a PC, maybe a forum she could chat in would be a good idea. She can skype too, so we will be doing more of that to catch up with her more regularly. She isn't religious, but thanks for the thought. Too arthritic to knit now, but yes, handing over a few jobs to her might well work smile Thanks.

bonzo77 Wed 29-Oct-14 11:05:04

Would she use the Internet, either on a tablet or laptop?

Have you contacted Age UK? They might be able to help. Also local church / synagogue / other religious community groups. Also dial a ride might help her get out.

Actually, Age UK are a great resource, they can help make adaptations to her home, supply mobility and other aids, and access various services. My grandma (89, sharp as anything but crippled with RA) found them a great help.

joanofarchitrave Wed 29-Oct-14 11:30:05

I have read in a favourite book of mine how the author and her very elderly mother used to have long garden planning discussions. Do you have a garden? Is/was she a gardener? Could your MIL do some garden research for you - for that tricky shady corner, or the best yielding runner bean variety? She could even house some seedlings for you?

Hamuketsu Wed 29-Oct-14 11:47:53

If there's anything that she has experience/knowledge of, tapping into that could be useful for everyone. Or (similarly), would she consider putting together a family archive or memoir?

SuperFlyHigh Wed 29-Oct-14 11:51:59

what about Dial a Ride where they pick old people up and take them out to day centres etc?

Is there a neighbour of a similar age but mobile who wouldn't mind taking her out sometimes.

CMOTDibbler Sun 02-Nov-14 13:59:57

AgeUK might also know of befriending schemes where she could phone someone who needed a friendly voice.

Our local volunteer centre have a scheme where they collect people (wheelchair accessible bus) and take them to the shops and assist them. The day centre also collect people - she might like to help the less mentally together clients with puzzles etc while there.

Has she tried a mobility scooter? That has changed my dads life as he can drive it to the shops, but sit and chatter on it too so he now has some sort of social interaction

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