When kids become more independent, moms and dads are needed less and less. When I would call my mom with a problem, at the end of the conversation she would say, “I’m so happy you called me, it makes me feel so good to help.”
Those times of mom helping daughter became less as she grew older. She seemed to need more help herself. At first it was just a little. That time grew, in what felt like, lightning speed. Our roles eventually switched with me taking charge and getting involved in her daily living challenges.
Then reality hit! Mom was 80, but in my mind she was still 60. Denial hits so many of us. How can there be a 20-year difference between my mind and reality? Has this happened to you? There are many daughters and sons in some sort of denial of their parents’ age and health. It is a very normal thing to happen because it’s so difficult to see our parents getting older.
Personally, I became quite skilled at speaking with healthcare professionals, finding resources, looking for the right community and knowing what questions to ask. The ‘doing mode’ became so natural I didn’t notice what was missing.
It was important to find a good place and location for mom to live, to find the right people to care for her and keep her safe. I made sure her friends and relatives knew where she had moved. I dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s, yet still, something was missing? Feeling Needed! Some of us forget that part of life because we are so busy doing. I forgot.
I decided to instill this message into working with older generations and their families. I started working at a senior living facility, which I quickly learned was not a facility at all. It was a senior living ‘community’ where laughter, love, care and friendship were a part of each day.
What an honor and blessing it is to work with a team of people where one of our many common goals is to help your mom and dad live the life that most inspires them and where they continue to ‘Feel Needed’. Now, when talking with adult children about the concerns of their parents I make sure to also inquire, “Do your parents still feel needed? Will you ask them?”
Beth Woodward, Director of Marketing
Augustana Regent at Burnsville