While some elders can get by at home with practical assistance in the morning, others need more help. Your mother's agitation may be a sign that she feels too isolated
and alone in the afternoon, which is an important transition time that can affect her mood for the rest of her day.
As an experiment, plan some enrichment activities for the afternoon. Make sure each activity has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Start with something practical and sneak in some fun along the way.
To start off, do these activities with your mother yourself. Later on, if you hire a person to help, you'll know the routine well enough to train the helper. Here are some suggestions:
- Schedule any doctor's appointments for 3 p.m., then stop on the way home for a little recreation. What about a cup of tea or a drive to the park? When you take her home, get her settled into her next activity. Help her pick up a book, turn on the news, or put out ingredients for her supper. Then say good-bye with a quick hug or wave and go. If you hire someone to spend time with your mother in the afternoons, make sure you familiarize this person with the routine.
- Ask a friend or neighbor to come by for a cup of tea or lemonade at 4 p.m. Put out napkins, a plate of fruit, and cheese. If your mother is doing fine, you can move to another room, but if she seems agitated, try facilitating the conversation by starting with simple subjects -- local news, information about friends, and so on. Afterward, help to wash the dishes and get your mother started on the next activity before you leave.