• Jennifer McLeod

Is it time for Mom to move in?

Updated: May 13

Mom's needs are changing and you need a plan.

It's difficult for adult children to adjust when the role of “who’s caring for whom” is reversed. First we might start noticing changes in memory or energy and the next thing we know, our senior parents need help with everyday living. Awareness is key to understanding this new phase and making a plan that will enable independence, and ideally aging in place, for as long as possible.

Simply ACCEPTING this huge shift in dynamics is the first step to figuring out what’s next. It feels better to simply brush off the small changes we start to notice. When your Mom asks you the same question twice in a short time span, your denial speaks up quickly and says, “oh, she’s just a little extra tired today.” And maybe that is the case for this particular moment… and maybe it’s not.

Adult children need to pay attention to subtle shifts in behaviour and lifestyle because the earlier we can detect a change of needs, the easier we can make changes to help compensate. You'll need a plan that’s thoughtful, caring, and effective for both your senior family and for you.

It’s very important to consider BOTH sides of this relationship as you move forward; certainly trading your own independence in exchange for prolonging your Mother’s is not the answer. Remember that you are only helpful to someone else if you yourself are happy, healthy, and balanced.

Three tips to get you started with helping your aging parent:

There are MANY ways to achieve a new lifestyle that works for everyone but here are three things to consider if you need a little help thinking in the right direction.

1. Freezer meals for the WIN! – If you live near your aging parent, this is a tip that can be pretty easily managed without much extra prep. When preparing your meals, make a little extra and freeze in single portion containers. If you are consistent in this practice and stay ahead of the game, by the end of one week you will have collected a meal for each day of the following week that you can deliver in one visit.

2. Consolidate your shopping trips! – Before going shopping, take stock of not only what your family needs, but what your Mother might need as well. Just managing one household requires enough running around and coordination so going shopping ONCE for both homes is your most efficient use of time. Think ahead to holidays and birthdays and keep a little stock pile of greeting cards to eliminate last minute shopping needs.

3. Build your care circle! - We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” when it comes to parenting. The same idea applies to caring for senior family. Getting others on board is going to help prevent stress caused by the extra responsibility suddenly placed on you.

Break up the week, if possible, by scheduling check ins by different people on different days so it’s not all on one person to manage. Non-Intrusive home monitoring systems like HomeEXCEPT are ideal in these situations because they allow multiple users to receive alerts that may indicate that a check-in is necessary.

Using HomeEXCEPT takes a LOT of pressure off the caregiver – you’re no longer wondering and worrying about whether your Mother is sleeping soundly because you trust that if her behaviour strays outside of what’s normal for her, you’ll be notified. And with this particular monitoring system, none of these insights come at the expense of privacy – there are no cameras and no listening devices – and that’s HUGE in terms of respecting the dignity your Mom has earned. In a case where you don’t have extra help from a broader circle, this technology becomes invaluable by allowing you to keep your ageing parent safe while still maintaining your own personal freedom.

Small changes can have a big impact.

Care plans for your aging family obviously require a LOT more than these simple starting points but we all need to begin somewhere. The earlier we consider what sorts of organizing and technology will be helpful, the more manageable it will feel when the time comes to start making changes. Making small adjustments over time is a LOT easier for everyone to accept rather than being faced with having to make a big shift, like suddenly moving into assisted living or moving in with you.

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