One of the hardest parts of any mom’s life is when their own mom starts to become frailer and less independent. It’s a huge shift in roles because you are now shifting from being the one who is cared for to being the caregiver in that relationship. It can also be completely overwhelming because not only are you planning how best to care for another human being, which is a huge task in itself, you are full of conflicting emotions about the whole thing.

What Care Is Needed?

The first thing is to try and step back and assess the situation. Think about what care is required and keep a list. You should keep adding to this list over a few weeks as you observe your mom going about her daily life so that you don’t miss anything. Be sure to include absolutely everything, as you will want to make sure that it’s all covered.

It’s also important to make a note of the time of day that this help is needed, as this will help you to ascertain how many people are needed and at what times.

Don’t Forget About Yourself!

Once you’ve worked out how much care is needed, you can start thinking about how to get it all done. Be sure to involve any willing family members, if you can spread the load over as many people as possible, it will become much less difficult to manage, and it will mean that your mom has contact with lots of different people which is great for her, too.

When you are considering how much of the caring responsibility that you can take on, remember to take your own needs into account, you may be sticking to whatever plan you draw up for many years, so you can’t have yourself working 24 hours a day! Be sure to include time with your own children, as well as time to exercise, eat and also just some time to do nothing. You don’t want to risk burning yourself out.

Explore Care Options

If it seems as though the care needed is going to be too much for you and your family to handle, then there are a lot of options out there for help and support.

  • There are assisted living communities such as who allow your parents to continue to live independently but within the safety of a community of other older people and expert carers. 
  • If your parents can continue living in their home safely, then you could consider employing in-home caregivers who will be able to be around in the home when you cannot.
  • Speak with a geriatric care manager who will be able to act as a kind of consultant on the best way to put in place a care strategy for your parents.
  • Speak with your doctor or local health center who will be able to provide advice on what resources are available to you.

Involve Your Mom in The Discussions

You must involve your mom in discussions about her care; after all, it’s her life! It’s a good idea to start having these conversations as early as possible, rather than waiting until a crisis hit. 

Some tips for how to handle these conversations are: 

  • Organize your thoughts ahead of time by writing them down; this will help you to be clear and concise. 
  • The main priorities when caring for older adults are safety, freedom, peace of mind, social connection and the ability to make choices, so be sure that you come to solutions that cover all of these points.
  • Be respectful and listen to what your mom has to say, even if it makes you question what will happen when you yourself get old. Your role in her life may have changed, but that doesn’t mean that you are now the parent or that you now know better.
  • Include anyone else in these conversations who will be participating in care.
  • Be sure to give your mom ample opportunity to speak and think quietly.
  • Practice the conversation in advance to make sure you deliver the message you mean to.
  • You don’t have to have a big in-depth conversation all at once. Try having lots of smaller, more casual conversations about aging and then built up to the larger topics.