Today we start our 12 weeks of isolation by going into lockdown to evade coronavirus. Social distancing will probably extend further than 12 weeks. For some, this will be a time to reflect, be with family, work from home or just recharge or become stressed from isolation. For others like myself, a sole carer, life will not change. I can’t leave my mum who has Alzheimer’s for more than a few minutes without her calling out for me or starting to freak out about my absence. When I to go the toilet now I have to leave the door open so I can shout out and reassure her. So it’s important that I keep mum active and not just sitting watching her TV, as boredom and lack of interaction worsens mum’s dementia symptoms, especially in the evening.
Tips to Fight Boredom
Exercise is a lifesaver for me with mum now. Before lockdown, we visited a physiotherapist, and each session mum came away energised and pleased with her improvement. She chatted and had a laugh with the physio team and others she encountered. Obviously, the level of exercise you do may be limited by your mental or physical capabilities. Being wheelchair-bound and having limited shoulder movement because of mum’s spinal injury makes it harder to exercise, but we’ve hired a motorised exercise bike that can power itself to move her legs but also allows mum to power the bike herself, and it can be used for her arms. We have play dough that we used to strengthen her fingers, dumbbells and exercise bands for everything else. If you are physically more capable, then many YouTube channels offering exercise sessions are available like Joe Wicks below.
2. Get Outdoors
It’s difficult if you’ve been told to stay inside, but while you can go for a walk (practice social distancing) or if you have a garden, then work or sit out in your garden. The weather this week has been lovely, so mum and I have been sitting outside watching the birds and the pesky squirrel nesting in our loft. One of the last things I bought before isolation was to get some garden compost so we can pot up some flowers and vegetables for the summer.
Mum loves to help out when cooking from being involved with preparing weekly meal plans, to basic chopping, tasting, measuring out, and bossing me about when putting everything together on the stove. We tried pickling for the first time yesterday, great for when you have too many vegetables that you’re not going to eat in time! You can also have fun working out what to eat from what you have in your fridge or cupboard if you need some inspiration why not take a look at twitter hashtag #JackMonroesLockdownLarder
4. Games and Hobbies
What do you love to do? We enjoy knitting, sewing, doing jigsaws, scrapbooking and playing cards. Why not use technology like What’s app video, Facetime (Apple), Duo (Android) and other such tools to play music together, have a sing-along or have a quiz. Painting is great fun, whether by numbers or mindful art or listening to your favourite music, audiobook or scripture.
5. Organise /Clean up
Why not use this time to clean up, go through that bag of mail that needs to be shredded, clear out your messy draw, sort out your hobby corner, all those photos in that old shoebox, can be sorted and bring back fond memories. Folding clothes is one that mum loves to do as she feels comfortable with that activity, it can be done seated and if she’s in the mood will try to iron.
Whatever you get up to relieve boredom don’t forget to keep up your interactions with your loved one. Turn the news off and focus on daily living.