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Baby Boomer Real Story Series #3 - Taking Care of Our Aging Parents

November 6th, 2010
Story #3 - Taking Care of Our Aging Parents - - - - - I’ve Been Doing This All My Life!

Baby Boomer Real Story Series
Taking Care of Our Aging Parents
By Jeannie Lange

Story #3
Taking Care of Mom – 
I’ve Been Doing This All My Life!

NEW weekly Baby Boomer Real Story Series follows the continuing
experiences of Baby Boomer Jeannie Lange taking care of her aging elderly Mom - 
   - both the serious and humorous.


As a caregiver, there are many phrases that you don’t want to hear because you know that what follows won’t be pretty. 

I learned very quickly that when Mom says,
“You don’t need to tell me what to do.  I’ve been doing this all my life”,

I need to watch closely to see if I need to provide help – wanted or not.

There are a lot of things I let pass.  If no one will be hurt including Mom then no harm, no foul.  She likes to cut tissues into squares or strips.  I think in her mind, she’s conserving them.  It means a lot of bits of paper sitting around but that’s not worth worrying about.

Then there are the things that are just a little more of an issue.  Mom has a poinsettia plant that she brought to our home when she moved in.  It is in a pot that sits in a larger plastic bowl.  Every day she waters it with two cups of water. 

We realized soon after she moved in that she doesn’t comprehend that the two inches of water that is in the outer bowl actually came from the water she poured into the pot holding the plant. 

Fortunately, we were on hand when she was pouring water happily into the pot, totally oblivious to the water running over the top of the outer bowl!  We were still in the learning phase then and what ensued was quite an uproar.  As we were rushing to clean up the mess, we tried to explain, to no avail, the connection between the water she was pouring and the water overflowing. 

Her very loud response was,
“You don’t need to tell me how to take care of this!
 
I’ve been taking care of this for years and never had a problem! 
Just leave me alone!”
 

After a few attempts at explaining the consequences of her actions at subsequent waterings, I took a different tack.  At night after she has gone to bed, I simply empty the water from the outer bowl.  When she checks her plant in the morning, she can water it as usual with no messy results.

Finally, there are those things that like it or not, have to be handled directly.  They involve safety or sanitary issues.  Steps and reasonable cleanliness are the two biggest issues for us. 

Most days Mom knows that she cannot go down the steps by herself because we don’t want her to fall.  She also knows that once a week I will wash her hair and supervise her bath. 

Occasionally her need for independence jumps out in those situations and I hear “I’ve been doing this all my life!” 

I’m sure Mom didn’t realize all those years ago that she was preparing me to take care of her now. 

She gave me the tools I need to deal with these times: . . .
Patience, understanding and most of all, the ability to stand my ground with love.

 Jeannie Lange, born in southwestern Ohio, has made her home in Kentucky with her husband, Steve. Their four grown children and their families live nearby. She retired from the insurance industry at the age of 55 to take care of her 94 year old mother 24x7.

JUST FOR BABY BOOMERS: Share your experiences, remembrances and opinions about "A Baby Boomer Real Story Series about Caring for our Aging Elderly Parents" with other Baby Boomers on our "Baby Boomer Forum" 


 

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