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Trying to get disabled SH interested in a hobby or something....

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

You all are giving me a push in the right direction. I wish I could find a craft he was interested in. I have tried some things but nothing took.

These are things i have tried in the past 7 years to interest him in a hobby. Remember he can't use his right hand--well -- if he exercised it, he could 'have it back' the therapist said. But he won't exercise it without someone with him. Yup--I am frustrated!

A 3D puzzle of NYC. He is from near NYC. The first layer is a map. the second layer is building replicas. And these are put in following their numbers. In order of the populating of NYC. the whole thing is fascinating! He would not do it! Finally Ginny and her boyfriend and me did it at Christmastime. He watched a little and got to talking sometime. I really wish it had lit him up. He loves history and knows lots.

Legos were recommended so I got a kit that made a big construction truck. It had batteries I think and would move when it was done. He was an engineer and worked first as an inspector on construction sites. I thought he'd like it. But no.

If we had kids around I guess he'd make the lego thing with them or at least watch. But daughter is not ready for kids. I could befriend someone with kids, I suppose, but all that would be a huge thing for me. Our condos have mostly older people who dote on their grandchildren. I have not befriended them--yet.

The computer--- he will use this only if someone helps him. Email was too hard for him now. (Remember he changed from engineering to computer programming!) He did some solitaire. And he'd read the bookmarked blogs he set up before his stroke. There is a new kind of computer for older people. But I hesitate to spend that money now. and, again, he needs me to sit with him.

I bought him Dragon Naturally Speaking .I had some friends come here to help him. the woman was a computer pro at my school. She brought her older son. But when John tried to use it the program made too many mistakes. I think his voice is not clear enough for it. And he got flustered fixing the mistakes.

I asked my woodworking brother to give me an idea of something John could sand and/or polish. John collects old woodworking planes. My brother sent him an antique plane. First of all you should not sand and polish an antique. Second John wasn't interested. He thought it was busy work.

I have had him cut up the vegetables at holiday time. That went OK. We worked together to make the holiday meal. As a rule he is not interested in food preparation.

These are only a sample of the things I have tried. As I said, nothing takes. Motivation has to come from inside him. He has not gotten over the grieving process of the stroke consequences. He has not don the anger step. You can't force a person to do that.

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    Does he have a power chair? Will he go walking with you? Maybe if he just got outside a little bit each day.

    My DH would get an idea for a hobby and then it would be too much and get set aside. It made him feel like a failure. Board games even frustrated him. One thing that he did enjoy was the binoculars. We lived in the country and he liked watching the birds, the traffic on the highway, deer, coyotes, anything happening on the railroad tracks and the neighbors ponies.

    Do you have a day senior center and a wheelchair bus where he could go hang out with old cronies also with limited mobility and talk about the good old days a couple times a week?
    1807 days ago
  • 02SERENE
    Continue doing the best you can under trying circumstances. Know that you are loved and cared about. emoticon emoticon
    1807 days ago
    Wow, there are some great ideas here! I hope they help. The thing that struck me is that you said he likes history. There are books (probably web sites too) that guide people through the process of remembering and writing down their own stories. Maybe that would help? An aide or even the right high-school student could help him write down his memories. It can count toward community service in our school district or as a scout or church project. There are also classes on tape or computer that are taught by college professors on various historical topics. Maybe that would be of interest? My parents very much enjoyed a present we gave "them" where a company came to their house and interviewed them several times and then produced a family history. Keep going! Stay strong! All the best!
    1809 days ago
    My husband, by the way, uses Dragon. He has severe hand tremors. It works for him, but it frustrated him, too. However, he HAD to keep at it or he would not be able to keep up with his caseload at work. Your husband has not had sufficient reason to be motivated yet - for him.

    If his mood improves, which will probably involve feeling more sense of control in a lot of areas of his life, he may try again. Don't give up on all these things yet. They may have been too hard, too soon, for a man who was unable to control very basic things that he's been able to handle since he was 2 - like getting to the bathroom on his own.

    In the meantime, keep letting us know not only WHAT is happening and how you FEEL about it, but also how your HEALTH is doing, too. We want to make sure you are not letting yourself slide. We care about you.
    1809 days ago
    When I am working in client's houses, I put on music that we both enjoy and sing along. Usually I work it a little more towards their interests and age than mine and occasionally I ham it up. I'm 47; most of my clients are in their 60s - 90s, so I am appealing to whatever music they heard mostly in their 20s. I play a lot of Broadway tunes, Patsy Cline and blues. I haven't met a man yet who could continue being grumpy long over a woman singing Patsy to him. And you're his wife! :)

    Also, keep some pop-up wipes by the bed so he can wipe his face or hands or whatever when he is dirty, thus giving him some sense of control.

    Edited to add: it's especially helpful to play cheery music and be casual during a bedbath, which is a lot easier for in-between freshening up. If you can wash the face, hands, peri and underarm area in bed, you can get by with a full shower twice a week. Believe me, this HELPS. Bring in a warm container of soapy water, a couple wash cloths and a few towels. Both of you bathe him. Don't you do it all. Give him a wash cloth, too. With some music on, and you in a good mood, it will be ok. Maybe not the first time, but the second or third time it will. When you are done and he is all dried off, lotion his hands. (Let the caregiver clean and clip his nails if he is not able to. But YOU lotion them. That is loving and wonderful.) Give them a kiss. Then wisk all the washing stuff away and see what your magic has done! :)
    1809 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/10/2013 10:13:00 AM
    What about taking him to a game store or a craft store and seeing if anything piques his interest? You could try a game like bingo or some relatively simple trivia games. These would work his mind and could be fun for him. What about pulling out picture albums or family videos and ask him to tell the aide some memories? It would work his memory and get him talking. He likes woodworking but can't use many of the tools anymore. You said he thinks sanding something would be 'busy work'. That's why I thought if you could find some simple wood projects he could work on (that need at most a small hammer for small nails) he could feel accomplished by making a simple spice rack, picture frame, or birdhouse. If he can create something that he can be proud of, it may give him that feeling of accomplishment that he doesn't have much opportunity to feel anymore.

    Everyone wants to feel like they have a purpose, have a reason, and have a meaning for their existence. If you can find something that gives him that it may help raise his spirits and want to do more.
    1810 days ago
  • ELSCO55
    Hope you are taking care of your self too. Wish I had some suggestions.
    1810 days ago
    1810 days ago
    Hello. I am a home health and hospice aide while I'm back in college (second go around). I took physical therapy classes for seniors along with my nursing school prereqs. The aides in my company are a fairly mixed lot, as they are in most companies. However, our owner is very careful to interview clients and match clients with aides as closely as possible. You need to be fairly clear about what you want.

    If there is an aide who is very skilled with rehab work for whatever reason (may have hated working in a facility, so left there and went to home health, even though it pays less - it does happen!) and is gentle without being sentimental and over the top, that might be your first choice. Your husband probably is irked and depressed by his impairment and wants things to be as "normal" as possible, even though they are clearly not normal. Someone who coos is not going to be a good choice. Neither might your hovering be, even though your intentions are very honorable.

    It would be best if this person did some range of motion exercises if it were in his/her capabilities (depends on the training and agency) and took him out of the house sometimes, even if it were just to the back yard. Wheel chair to back porch chair to eat lunch and look at the birds, maybe. Nothing too dramatic, just a wee little bit of exercise and a small change of scenery, with a blanket over his legs to keep him from being cold. Exercises can be done while in the bed or chair - with the aide or pt helping support his hands, arms and legs if need be. Just a few minutes at a time, but every day the aide is scheduled. No coaxing, no pleading, no whining. Just matter of fact, this is what we are going to do. Then on to something else.

    By the way, I also read that you wanted someone to bathe him in the morning and get him up. I read further back (why I had to edit this) and saw that he was pretty badly incontinent). Being bathed by a wife or an aide is sometimes a difficult thing for men. Send me a message privately if you want some advice. I don't need to give body descriptions, just ideas for how to make it more pleasant. If this chore can be removed from YOU, your relationship will probably improve tremendously. Also, you will be less likely to hurt your back.

    You said his voice was not very clear. Strokes often damage the epiglottis, the flap that closes off the airway from the food pipe. So be careful what you feed him - smoother or easier to chew foods will be better than chunkier or chewier ones for awhile. If the aide can stimulate him to talk, that would be great. He/she might, just by being new and novel. Especially if he or she is chosen to be similar in interests.

    Even if you have an aide coming, it may be helpful to have friends drop in, too. Make sure it seems semi casual. Don't let them dote on him too much or act like he's going to drop dead any minute. Let people act like he is going to be vibrant again, and he has a much better chance of regaining what skills he is able.


    1810 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 9:14:02 PM
    He is blessed to have you. I hope he knows it. emoticon
    1810 days ago
    When you were talking about your exhaustive list of "tries" -- even I got tired.
    But the one thing that I'll be would be great would be a peddler and have the aid sit with him while he used it with his arms. That would make his arms stronger.

    I think we all agree..... you need some respite time -- time away, don't stay and watch (maybe the first time or two) and let the chips fall where they may and you go do something.... even if it's going to a movie or getting manicure or pedicure or going to a senior place for the day and making new friends.

    Keep talking to us.... if nothing else we can encourage you every day!
    Do you live in PA?

    1810 days ago
  • FROSTY99
    Have they offered you any counseling to help both of you in dealing with all this. I know this has gone on for a long time but with medicare possibly some outsider looking at things could give both of you a new perspective. You are so right, the interest must come from within and if he never gets to that point, then you can't help him. It is like our kids-we can want so much for them, but if they don't want it for themselves then it is no good.
    Praying for both of you.
    1810 days ago
    I hate busy work, so I can't fault him for wanting purpose. I would look for some kind of kits to put together to be used as gifts.
    1810 days ago
    you do so much for him maybe the school tip would work
    1810 days ago
    You have tried so many things, I am really impressed! And you focused the activities on his interests and abilities. All you can do is keep trying, and at some point a spark may catch his motivation. I hope the health aide will be a success, it will certainly give him another person to interact with.
    1810 days ago
    Chris, you've tried a variety of things, which is great - naturally you want your husband 'back' as much as possible. I'll be praying for John regarding being stuck in the anger stage of grieving. You're right, nobody (but God) can get him out of that.

    There are some good ideas in the comments already made, and I'm afraid I don't have any suggestions at this time. But I can pray. For you both.

    You asked earlier about what an afternoon caregiver could do. Well, a few of those suggested things (including what you've tried before) might be good - such as exercising his right hand and/or several days a week having him help somehow with dinner prep.

    1810 days ago
  • 123ELAINE456
    So much has been suggested to You already. What about having a Man Friend come over and they could do outings and things that would be interested to the both. Putting Moldel cars, planes, buildings, bridges etc. Maybe the National Stroke Agency would have suggestions and ways to get him to do things too. Try some of these things and see what happens. God Blessings to Everyone. Have a Super Nice Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    1810 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 11:44:27 AM
    Emotional outbursts are often a problem. I hope he can find something he is interested in doing. He will probably have to decide for himself what interests him.
    1810 days ago
    Does he enjoy books? If seeing or holding a book is an issue a Kindle or other ereader might be helpful. Also there are millions of audio books available to sit and listen too. I know books don't fill the void of an activity but they do help fill big voids in time and might spark some enthusiasm.
    1810 days ago
    Chris: Here our high school students have to put in 40 hrs. of some type of community service (not paid)--can vary--volunteering for various groups, homes, or just people in the community. Don't know if there is a similar program where you are? If, so maybe a teen could help with Legos, etc.
    1810 days ago
    It sounds like he had a left brain injury if his right hand is affected and that bodes ill for language/understanding too. He may not be able to go back to computer programming work (my husband is an electrical engineer/computer programmer) or anything that linguistically complicated?

    Are there any groups in your area for stroke victims or families?

    If he enjoys history, maybe you could get him interested in his genealogy or something (I'm a genealogist and have a history degree is why I mention it :-)

    That could get him interested in going and "seeing" history; I know my father was interested in the "Civil War" for example and my parents would travel, in their 70's to Civil War battle fields, etc. and he'd read books and study it. If he could get interested in a period of history in some way, there are lots of things to "do" from dioramas to travel, to joining the local history society, library groups, etc. and socializing with them.

    Maybe with his engineering background "trains" would interest him (they do my husband) and he could work on a small layout.
    1810 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/9/2013 9:52:55 AM
    You are so right My husband at tines is angry at the situation and then gets angry at me .
    1810 days ago
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