Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Experiment

The honeymoon is over. After seven weeks back at her old resthome, Mum’s feeling low. She thinks she might be depressed and keeps asking what she can do. She’s saying she’s no use to anyone, that she has nothing to aim for. No purpose in life. 
Mum’s from the pull-your-socks-up generation. She feels bad for feeling bad.
Yesterday we were sitting on Mum’s bed talking about how she feels.

“I’ve been thinking,” I told Mum. “And I’d like to make a suggestion.”

“Yes?” said Mum, sitting up a little straighter.

So I told her about the Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing - things you can do to give yourself some purpose and make you feel happier.

"Sounds good,” said Mum. “Let’s start.”

I got out the printout and pointed to the first strategy - Give.

“Volunteering and community involvement have been strongly linked with positive feelings and functioning. Helping others, sharing one’s skills and resources - behaviours that promote a sense of purpose and team orientation - increase self-worth and produce a positive emotional effect.”

Mum’s always been crafty - knitting, spinning and sewing. She’s also a keen recycler and fixer. All her adult life, Mum’s run an informal mending service for family and friends. In recent years, she’s stopped.

So for ‘Give’ - the first wellbeing goal - we’ve come up with a two-step plan:

1. I will advertise Mum’s services among family and friends. On Saturdays, with my help, Mum will mend. Darning, hemming and button replacement.

“You wouldn't believe what people can’t do anymore,” said Mum. “Or don’t have time for.”

That’s Saturdays sorted. We still need a project for the other days. Something to be going on with.

Since learning to knit at age nine, Mum’s never stopped. Patterns and complicated projects are too taxing these days so Mum knits scarves. And more scarves. Just the other week Mum asked about knitting for charity. So here’s the second strand:

2. I will find a charity that wants knitting done and source wool from op shops. Mum will knit to the required specifications.

“You have to write about this,” said Mum. “We’ll call it The Experiment.” I wrote that down. Then she came up with a subtitle - “The Experiment - in relation to ageing dependent mothers.” I wrote that down too.

So we’ve started.

“If it works,” says Mum, “we’ll write a book.”

Here’s the link: Five Ways to Wellbeing Best Practice Guide

No comments:

Post a Comment