My eighty-eight year old mother has congestive heart failure for a variety of reasons. After a recent visit with her and the rest of my family, I am now convinced that if she lives to see her eighty-ninth birthday in October, it will be a miracle indeed.

I am now trying to figure suggestions I can offer my sister (with whom my mother lives and whom my mother trusts as a health advisor) that can improve my mother's quality of life, help ease her stress and pain, and allow her to approach the end of her life less anxiously.

I am mostly concerned about nutrition and exercise.

For years, Momma has dutifully done what the doctor has told her about cholesterol, calories, fat: RUN AWAY FROM THEM!

So, basically, she has avoided real food, though she eats desserts with gusto. Her rationale is that she has "been good" with the rest of her diet.

This drives me a little nuts. My sister's view, is of course, why not let her have what makes her happy? And mostly, at this point, I agree. But she gets some kind of wild dessert every evening because my sister's partner is a chef. Momma is in many ways being killed with kindness.

She needs to eat more of things she is paranoid about and much less of things she loves. Chocolate pudding with avocado is the only thing I can think of that might be of some benefit.

Because of various meds she takes, she has problems with fatigue. She really doesn't do a lot at home at this point except go up and down a short flight of stairs or back and forth to the mailbox. She's now using a cane.

I understand that--according to a study done a few years ago--lack of mobility is a sign of health on a major downhill slide.

Inability To Complete Quarter-Mile Walk Is Significant Predictor - UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

However, there have to be some simple things Momma could do standing or sitting that would, I don't know, keep her from feeling less congealed and inflexible.

My sister said she probably would do some sort of movement if her doctor wrote her a prescription. So if there is anything she could do that a doctor might be willing to prescribe, I would certainly suggest it to my sister.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.