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             23 May, 2022

Category:  Articles » Home Management » Elder Care


Caregivers - Move Over, Mom is Moving in!

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2007-09-26 10:33:36     
Article by Nanci Biddle

Mom was the youngest of 8, I am the youngest of 4 and my husband is the youngest of 3. Mom did her best to be independent as long as she could, but the day came when she needed help. This is the day most of us have either experienced or will in the future.

She lived in California, we lived in Nevada. I didn't get to spend much time with her during the short visits of traveling back and forth and I looked forward to Mom coming to stay with us.

We moved our furniture from the master bedroom into the smaller guest room, to give Mom more room. However, it did take some convincing that all of the furniture from her condo would not fit into the master bedroom. Giving her the larger bedroom made the most sense as she would probably spend a lot of her time there. It was bright and sunny with lots of windows and a slider to the patio over looking the swimming pool.

I set up a card table next to a window for her to work her crossword and jigsaw puzzles on. I also hung a hummingbird feeder just outside the window. Mom always loved hummingbirds. She would talk to them whenever they came to drink from her feeder in California; I think she even named a few.

Our lifestyle changed once Mom moved in. It was more me than her. I think she would have been fine, but I had a tendency to worry about her when we weren't home. She loved to chase our Springer Spaniel around the swimming pool even though she never learned how to swim. She would say it was great exercise for both of them, never giving a thought about what would happen if she fell in.

One time she tried to toast bread in the microwave oven. Another time she used Dawn liquid detergent in the dishwasher, which was quit a sight. Have you ever had soapy bubbles trail from the kitchen into the hall and onto the carpet in your living room? What Fun! Of course, she would never do this intentionally, she thought she was doing the right thing, bless her heart!

Mom saved everything, including the cardboard paper towels are rolled on. When we returned from grocery shopping she would roll up the plastic bags around the cardboard one bag at a time so when a bag was needed it could be neatly taken off the cardboard roller. My husband teased her about being the "Bag Lady", which she thoroughly enjoyed. Mom loved to tease and loved being teased. There were many times my sides would hurt from laughing so hard watching the two of them.

Several years later it became necessary to move Mom to an assisted living home. I did a lot of research until I found a home I felt would best fit her needs. Then I checked with the Better Business Bureau and the County Health Department to see if any complaints had been filed. The home was within 5 miles of our house and was family owned and operated. I arranged for Mom to visit for a few hours several times a week so she could become acquainted with the residents and staff, making it a smooth transition when the day came for her to move. We were invited to stay for several meals and I must say; to my surprise the food was very good.

We would visit her on Sundays and take a special treat. She loved chocolate ice cream and hard peppermint candies, the ones with red or green strips were her favorite. Mom was funny...she would unwrap a red peppermint and put it in her mouth and then ask for a green one. I would say, Mom you already have one and when you are finished with it, I will give you another. She would say, but I have two cheeks and I need another one to make them even. I was afraid she might choke. She would put up such a fuss, she reminded me of a two or three year old who didn't get their way. Of course, I gave in and guess what? Mom never choked, it was more me than her. Mom was in her nineties by this time.

Every holiday we would bring Mom home and she would spend the night. A change of clothes, a bag of Depends and meds accompanied her. We celebrated Birthdays, Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the times family or friends came to town for a visit. As the years past, I began to wonder if this would be the last time Mom would be strong enough to come to our house.

On her 95th Birthday I recorded her singing her favorite little song she had made up about how she took all her troubles and just threw them away. She sang that song so often that it became part of her legacy. I told her I was going to have it engraved on her tombstone, which I did; "She took all her troubles and just threw them away". People who visit the cemetery may not have a clue what it means, but we know and I think she is delighted. I dedicated a webpage to Mom on the day she left this world for a better place. It has her picture and the recording of her singing her song. Visit http://tinyurl.com/37ddsm if you would like to meet Mom and hear her delightful song.

It wasn't long before Mom starting showing signs of dementia; her biggest fear was forgetting, she said she was so frustrated because she couldn't remember anything. I would smile and say; at least you can remember that you can't remember which means you can remember something. She said she never thought of it that way and then she would laugh. I made a memory book for her of her baby pictures, childhood and family pictures, the home she grew up in, wedding pictures of her and dad, their first home together, the homes that followed, the children's pictures in chronological order, the grandchildren and great grandchildren. I put a label under each picture with dates, the name/names of people and place. She found the memory book to be helpful in remembering the past.

Fortunately, years earlier Mom had signed a Living Will and had a pre-need plan for her funeral arrangements. She had even picked out her coffin and burial plot. So, when the time came for her final resting place and arrangements, everything had been taken care of by her. There was no guess work on our part, which was a huge relief when going through a difficult time. I feel she even orchestrated her funeral. I love the hymn, In the Garden, but after she passed I kept hearing Mom singing How Great Thou Art, I hadn't heard her sing that hymn in over thirty years. So I said okay Mom, the song played at your funeral will be, How Great Thou Art and it was.

It may not have always been easy having Mom move in with us, but those are years and times I will always treasure and be grateful for. Was she the best Mother, probably not, was she the best Mother she knew how to be, absolutely!

So, if you need to move over because Mom or Dad are moving in remember the time will pass quickly, make the most of it and have no regrets. We do not get the chance to do it over, so give it your best, get the support you need and cherish your memories; you will be glad you did!

Written by Nanci Biddle IAC-CC, CVCC, CEC

Author, Boundary Queen, Certified Life Coach and Licensed Personal Freedom Trainer

Visit http://www.YourCoachingPartner.com for more tips and tools on Taking Great Care of You, while you are there sign up for 50 Great Self Care Tips on the home page.

Get your Take Time for FUN e-book at the introductory price, Thirty stories written for women by women about how they have FUN

Specialized in: Coaching - Personal Coach - Life Trainer - Small Business Coach - Personal Freedom - Teleclasses - Boundaries - Nancibiddle - Yourcoachingpartner
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