Thursday, November 12, 2009

Enjoying Mom As She Is

My mom has been in a nursing home for almost three years. In my previous visits, I was always looking for my mom of my past. Throughout my childhood, my mother was always an energetic caregiver for her family, e.g. raising kids, maintaining the household and while keeping spotless home, which was her pride and joy. In the few years prior to my dad's death, my mom's capabilities were clearly declining. She no longer would clean the house, she stopped cooking and wasn't as agile with her grandchildren. She had loss the initiative and spirit she had in her younger days.

When she entered the nursing home, it only seemed to get worse, since she lost her ability to independently control her life. The visits to the nursing home have been challenging for me since I wanted my mom to match my memories . However, on this visit, I decided to follow some advice I heard on the radio, which was to enjoy my mom as she is today.

Here's what I did:
  • Let my mom control the visit. Instead of taking charge, as I did in previous visits, I would ask my mom questions and let her take charge. For example, my mom requires assistance for eating and did not seem to be eating enough. So in previous visits, I would always use the opportunity to feed her. This time I asked her if and what she wanted to eat. If she didn't want to eat, I didn't try to feed her.

    Also, I let her do what she wanted. Even when her schedule required her to be sitting in the common room, I would take her back to her bed when she wanted to sleep. As she slept, I would stay in the room, watching TV. If she woke up, I would talk to her about my childhood memories.

  • Know my mom is a different person. As much as I want my mom to be the person with whom I grew up, I realize she is the is the person she is today. I accept that she will never cook my favorite meal again, nor will she help me with my new challenges. My mom of today enjoys life in a different way, and I have accepted that.

  • Change me, instead of change her. Instead of trying to recreate my mom of my childhood, as I had done previously, this time I adapted to become her child of today. I decided I would be there and be company. We talked about the past, I thanked her for raising us well, and let her rest. She seem to appreciate having me there, even though she spent most of the time sleeping.
  • The last visit has been my best time with my mom so far since my father passed away in 2006. I visited with her 6 - 7 hours each day, talking with her when she was awake, and reading or watching CNBC on TV when she was asleep. I'm sure she enjoyed having me there, since she asked for a nurse much less frequently, and I enjoyed sharing time with her or when doing my other activities.

    For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or senior care advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    1 comment:

    financialfreedom said...

    This has been a heartwarming read. It must be tiring having to look after your mum now that she is different. My prayers are with you