In a couple of my past posts, I told you about some of the tasks I do to help my mom in the kitchen. Do you know what a task is? It is a trained behavior that I recognize and respond to when given specific cues. These tasks help to mitigate my mom’s disability. Oh no, another new word for you! Mitigate means to make less severe. Or in other words . . . I do a special type of work that helps make it easier for my mom!
I told you about helping my mom with the dishes in my post Doing dishes!. And how I help her with the refrigerator in my post A new refrigerator and learning new ways!. Now I’m going to tell you about another important task I do. Opening and closing the cupboard doors and drawers!
Do you like helping in the kitchen? Our kitchen has lots of drawers and cupboard doors that my mom needs help with. Whenever my mom goes into the kitchen I am right there to do whatever she needs me to do for her. Sometimes it is just to help her with making a cup of coffee. Other times she does things that are a bit more involved where she needs lots more help from me. And even sometimes she needs help from my dad.
As you’ve probably noticed my mom’s wheelchair is kind of big. It maneuvers or moves around fairly easily but takes extra time to get positioned and repositioned to open doors or drawers. And some of our kitchen drawers are heavy so they are hard for my mom to use. Sometimes it is even difficult for her to get close enough so she can reach due to the size of her wheelchair. These could all be obstacles for my mom but with my help, she can be as independent as possible.
With so many ropes to tug in the kitchen, you might wonder how I know which one to grab. If she just told me “tug” while sitting in the middle of the kitchen I wouldn’t know which one she needed me to open. I would have to guess which one and guessing is not something I am very good at doing!
So . . . How do I know which door or drawer my mom needs help with? I go by the position of where her chair is facing. I work on both sides of my mom’s chair. “Heel” on the left side and “side” on the right. If my mom is pulled up to the counter and there are drawers on both sides of her she will tell me which side she wants me on. Then when she says “tug” I know that she wants the drawer opened that is in front of me.
Remember how I told you that I need to practice doing all of my skills so I don’t forget how to do them? “Side” is a good example of one that I don’t use very often. Like I’ve told you before, my mom has limited use of her right hand and arm. So she seldom needs me to work on that side. But every once in a while it is best for me to be there. I will open the drawer for her and she reaches across with her left hand to get what she needs. It is challenging for my mom to do it this way but sometimes it is just the best way at that moment. If I didn’t practice I might not be ready!
As you can see in the video there is a drawer and a shelf in the cupboard that are down low. For the drawer, my mom taught me “down bottom” so I would know when she needed that one opened. She most always just needs me to open the top one but I listen closely so I know which one she wants me to do. For the shelf in the cupboard, she can just tell me “tug” because it is the only one there that she needs me to help with.
I love my job and I am always ready to help my mom with whatever she needs. With the assistance I provide for her she is able to do more things independently. I also help with saving her energy so we can spend more time doing the fun things she enjoys.
I hope you are enjoying my blog as much as I’m enjoying sharing with all of you. Let me know if you have any questions. Or topics of interest that you would like me to write about. Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss any of my posts. And share with your friends so they, too, can learn about me and my mom!
A short video that shows how I open and close a couple of the drawers for my mom. I also show you a low shelf in a cupboard that she needs me to pull out for her. A tight space but I learned how to do it like a pro! See how happy I am when helping my mom!