Monday, April 20, 2009

Friendly insights help me be there for mom

One of my oldest friends just completed her Masters in Social Work and has been working as an advocate for some elderly clients. I asked for her advice and here is what she had to say. She knows me well enough to tell me to take time and just listen to Mom; I get so engrossed with my to do list that I neglect to take time to just BE with her and that's what she really wants.

From Gay L, Seattle, WA, April 17, 2009:

Sounds like you tried to do all the right things when you prepared to move your mom. I would just take a guess that part of your mom's pain in back and hips was probably stress which would be normal. It is a huge deal to move elderly from some place they are comfortable with to somewhere they know nothing about. And remember your mom has lived in the same house for many many years. That is hard also. Even if the move is needed. What I learned by visiting with the elderly women I spent time with is this. When they talk about being uncomfortable or scared or depressed don't try to fix it. Listen to them and acknowledge that it must be very hard. They need to talk about it with out somebody telling them why it is important. They know why, but they still feel like they are losing part of who they are. Grieving is a process in this and it is so important they are allowed to grieve.

The other thing I wanted to say was that there are sometimes support groups for people who are taking care of their elderly parents. These groups are for both those whose parents live in the adult children's homes or assisted living homes. Check with some agencies in the area to see if they have one. If not look into starting one. It gives people a place to come and talk about what is going on, the feelings around having to move parents, and everything else between diminishing mental capacity and/or physical difficulties. Your not alone and the care givers need support to deal with the guilt that sometime accompanies the process of doing what is right.
I will comment more later but hang in there and listen to her and acknowledge her feelings. She is scared and it is normal.