In Lean Manufacturing, managers are required to do a lot of observation. Often, they are asked to stand in a single spot and watch a single assembly process for entire days.
One of the reasons I stayed at my Dad’s assisted living apartment is so I could observe my Dad in action. I wanted to see how he operates and what he might want help with.
Now that Mom is gone, the aides assumed Dad would want them to do the laundry. When I was there before, Dad propped the laundry basket on Mom’s wheelchair handles and pushed. She was his eyes at the laundry as he loaded and operated the machines.
Now that she’s gone, he still does his own laundry. He can’t carry the basket so he drags it with his cane. He uses the tools he has. Once the machine is loaded, he does ask an aide to start it.
He can’t see much and he can’t hear well. His balance is shaky. But he is at home and he enjoys his sunset days, staying as functional as someone in his situation can be. He makes it work, using the tools he has.
It’s a sweet observation.