My mom is doing well living in her own home, using her cane rarely – her walker even less. She hasn’t had her hearing aids in for years, but she manages. My brothers and I are always talking, always scheming of ways to help mom. . .then when we run our “idea du jour” by her, she often tells us “No thank you,” whether it’s replacing her old chair or suggesting some new device which will help make her life easier.
We care about Mom. We want her golden years to be enjoyable. But our form of caring, with all our ideas of what she needs or the new gadget we think she should have next, isn’t necessarily what Mom wants. Mom wants to know her boys are doing well. She wants to hug her grandchildren and remember with them the times they stayed at her house and baked cookies together.
Don’t let your role as caregiver turn you in to an automaton who simply looks for the newest, the best, the safest, or the most-likely to prevent tooth-decay robot. Remember that this is your mom, or your dad. Remember that this is the person who helped bring you into this world and helped raise you to be the man or woman you are today.
My recent visit home to see Mom reminded me that she loves me. She wants the best for me. She doesn’t need me to explain to her how the documents I drafted for her will protect her in one thousand different ways. She wants to know how her grandchildren are doing. And she still wants to look out for me. When she learned that I have been canning food, she immediately led me to the cellar where she showed me rows of Quart Mason Jars – and asked me if I could use them. She wanted to help me. . .
Caregivers – don’t be so zealous to help your mother that you forget to allow her to continue to be your caregiver, your mom, too.