May 9, 2016 by Renata J. Maslowski
Around the United States, over 85 million women celebrated Mother’s Day and their children spent over $20 billion on cards, flowers and gifts. We love our mothers and whenever possible, try to spend time as well as money on them. It is often at holidays, when we spend extended amounts of time with our family that we observe that our parents are affected by the aging process. We may end up driving home and wondering “Is Mom REALLY Okay?”
The effects of aging can be a subtle process. Often older parents will not tell you that they are concerned about their health and abilities to care for themselves. It’s important to stay vigilant about changes in a senior parent’s health, behavior and moods. There are certain common signs that warrant discussion and even a visit with a doctor. Changes in the ability to perform daily activities, such as grooming, cooking and house keeping, may be a sign that there is an underlying medical concern.
If your parent has experience the death of a spouse or other close family members, the result may be isolation and depression. The death of spouse, even after a prolonged illness, can take a toll on the physical and emotional health of an aging parent. Research also shows that placement of an aging spouse in a nursing home can trigger feeling of isolation and worry, depending the prior level of dependence the spouse had prior to entering the community setting. Because of the effects of grieving, it is important for other family members to encourage the independent parent to find supportive programs, such as GriefShare. For parents who are separated due to one spouse moving to an Assisted Living or nursing center, plan frequent visits with the community-based spouse to reduce separation anxiety for both of them.
If it is clear that your mother or father needs help to stay independent, start your research of senior living options as early as possible. At Ingleside Homes, we encourage families to tour with their elderly relatives, or if that is not possible, to tour the community first and share the information with parents.
The process can be overwhelming because there are several options that can be customized to the needs of the senior (see figure above). Asking questions during the tour or after reviewing the materials can help ease a transition. The staff members of a community often have information about local resources that can be helpful to address the concerns of aging parents with regard to finding government agencies, social activities, healthcare access, transportation and even moving support.
If this Mother’s Day celebration sparked a cause for concern about an aging mother:
Senior living communities have customized options to suit many situations. Finding the right one for your mother is one excellent way to answer the question “Is Mom REALLY Okay?” with a resounding, “she is NOW!”