Monday 19 September 2022

Resource limitation.

Pat the Salt my venerable FiL, now has an electric all-angles recliner / ejector chair since the beginning of June. There is debate in the family, not always vocalized, about the trade-offs between having an easy life by lending Pat a helping hand vs encouraging him to do a little bit more work for himself. The argument is that work keeps things limber and stronger and will result in a longer, fitter, happier life. Sounds a bit Protestant, if you ask me, and so I'm inclined to buy into it. One potent metaphor from Pat's OT team was that getting out of a chair for a 90yo is equivalent to running 100m for a 20-something. I've moved a bit towards Team Cut-him-some-slack since hearing that. Everyone agrees that there is not a lot to be said for living as long as possible, without concomitant fitness, autonomy, and, well, joie de vivre. Then again, life (however compromised and diminished) is sweet if you don't believe in heaven.

I had a three day session, batching it up with Pat, at the end of August. I thought that I was to be there as emergency bail-out for the afternoon and only at the last minute packed a toothbrush and pyjamas, but half a week is the same as half a day once you're in the zone. I plenty of chances to test out the capabilities of the recliner chair both for myself <weeeeee!> and using pat as a proxy.

20-something Dau.II gave me another angle on the tough-love vs take-it-easy conundrum last week. If the elder expends all those calories on physical exercise, there will be less available [decision fatigue etc.] for cognitive work: leading to more confusion, which will adversely affect quality of life . . . for everybody. It is interesting that make-him-work arguments tend to come from physio- and occupational therapists: people whose care and expertise is in the body corporeal. The calculations are difficult but surely a more holistic view - including cognitive, sensory and spiritual - well being is appropriate.

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