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Honored Contributor
Posts: 25,484
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

I’ve been spending a lot of time w/ my almost 90 yr. old mother, especially the last 5 yrs. since Dad died. She’s never accepted that, stayed to herself and relies on me, my grown son & granddaughters for human contact. 

 

After a fall (no physical injuries), she’s gotten more difficult to help. We had hired 24 hr. aides to help her out (she uses a walker & no longer drives), but after a few months, she has let them all go and is down to one aide only 3 hours in the morning. 

 

Advised by her docs to watch her diet (diabetes & taking meds), her cabinets are stocked w/ cookies & candies and not much else. She’s been eating this way for awhile and has suffered health issues, but still not enough to make her see the light.

 

After she fell 6 months ago, the doctor recommended physical therapy to strengthen her legs so can use the walker more easily. Of course, she canceled all appts. after 2 sessions saying it made it sore. 

 

She no longer “travels” (has a driver) the hour and half to visit me or my son w/ GD, but complains of loneliness which is putting each of us on the road to visit her several time a week. 

 

I attended her last physical and the doc gave her the usual “warnings” about eating healthy, not sitting all day in front of the TV, but w/ the walker doing some walking on the premises, inside her bldg. if hot, but it fell on deaf ears. 

 

She’s been  incontinent (?) for many years and personal hygiene is very poor leading to UTIs and many bouts of MRSA which has kept us from visiting. Still nothing brings change.

 

I spoke to my son last nite (we were all together there for July 4th) & we just have no more answers, but I’ve learned what NOT to do as I age. 

 

Isolation, no exercise, poor diet for so many years has taken a toll on her and made it difficult for us to help her. She has a sister who’s 18 months older. She’s taken care of herself, stayed thin and listened to her docs. Walks in the mall every day w/ her daughter, eats a balanced diet and is going w/ her family for a short beach trip...enjoying her grandchildren & great-grandchildren to the fullest in the time she has left.

 

I’m taking my cues from my aunt, not my mother.

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,375
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

I am sorry for you, I am struggling with pretty much the same thing with my mother. In fact, she fell Saturday AM and fractured her L4 vertebrae. She had a Kyphoplasty done and today is supposed to be discharged from the hospital to rehab. In about an hour I am touring a local assisted living facility. My mother is non compliant, even last night wanting to go home, trying to get out of bed on her own, but unable. She is angry now that her physical function has declined. My mother is 92 and she was always within the proper weight for her height, she ate little, did not eat butter and all of the things that we "are not supposed to eat". She was never a sweet eater. However she is old and being old is 1 of the biggest risk factors, as is diabetes, smoking, and obesity. My mom is old and diabetic. 

Her sister, who is 19 months younger and also took very good care of herself, maintained the proper weight, no smoking, no drinking and no diabetes has severe dementia and is worse off than my mom. She went into the hospice program yesterday. Things are so sad for our entire family right now. 

I think, yes try and stay within a reasonable weight, exercise, do not smoke, do not drink in excess. Try and keep the mind sharp will help but time marches on and being quite elderly really takes its toll. 

Valued Contributor
Posts: 610
Registered: ‎05-20-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

So sorry to hear about what you and your family are facing.  My mom passed the beginning of March.  She was 89, one month from 90.  She was always active, still driving and socially active, but her body was failing her.  After all, she had 90 years of wear and tear.  Some of the things you are dealing with I saw also, the inability to keep clean and keep up with everyday things.  I think it’s a combination of factors, depression, pain and lack of energy at that age.  Don’t be too hard on her.  I know it’s difficult.  We do the best we can.  I agree with learning by watching though.  Although my mom was active, I noticed her becoming a bit petty and a little nasty toward certain people.  I told myself I would learn from that how to age gracefully.  I just hope when I get there, God willing, I can remember what not to do.  Good luck to you and your family.  Remember it doesn’t last long.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 25,484
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE


@conlt wrote:

I am sorry for you, I am struggling with pretty much the same thing with my mother. In fact, she fell Saturday AM and fractured her L4 vertebrae. She had a Kyphoplasty done and today is supposed to be discharged from the hospital to rehab. In about an hour I am touring a local assisted living facility. My mother is non compliant, even last night wanting to go home, trying to get out of bed on her own, but unable. She is angry now that her physical function has declined. My mother is 92 and she was always within the proper weight for her height, she ate little, did not eat butter and all of the things that we "are not supposed to eat". She was never a sweet eater. However she is old and being old is 1 of the biggest risk factors, as is diabetes, smoking, and obesity. My mom is old and diabetic. 

Her sister, who is 19 months younger and also took very good care of herself, maintained the proper weight, no smoking, no drinking and no diabetes has severe dementia and is worse off than my mom. She went into the hospice program yesterday. Things are so sad for our entire family right now. 

I think, yes try and stay within a reasonable weight, exercise, do not smoke, do not drink in excess. Try and keep the mind sharp will help but time marches on and being quite elderly really takes its toll. 


@conlt  It’s sad watching them go downhill when a lot could be easier if they would co-operate. Wishing you luck w/ your Mom and aunt.

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,180
Registered: ‎07-12-2012

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

 

As much as I can, I understand what you are going through.  My mom passed on 2-years ago.  She lived to the age of 99, and had a very similar mindset as your mom does.  As you are now doing, I also learned from my mom "how not to age."  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 25,484
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE


@alliswell wrote:

 

As much as I can, I understand what you are going through.  My mom passed on 2-years ago.  She lived to the age of 99, and had a very similar mindset as your mom does.  As you are now doing, I also learned from my mom "how not to age."  


 

 

@alliswell  Very difficult to helplessly watch the decline, right?

 

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,103
Registered: ‎06-16-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

 I can relate as well. My mother is 89  and the same things you describe is her.  Sometimes it is environment that plays  a role and other times it's Mother Nature having her way. Even though she and  your aunt are from the same blood,  bodies are different and the end game is different for each of us no matter what we do. I too thought my Mom could do better for herself.. move more, eat healthy, not be so isolated... etc. but at my last visit ( I live far away) I think I am ok with they way things are going for her.  I was going to swoop in and try and change things, but after a week with her, I decided to let things stay as they are..  Might be too late anyway. 

 That being said, yes, I have learned  some value lessons seeing her decline.  For me, my mantras are: keep moving, eat whole foods, and socialize as much as I feel like.  

 

Thanks for sharing your story.. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,819
Registered: ‎06-08-2016

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

I've done all the right things but I have so many diagnoses, it just doesn't seem to matter, why bother?   I'm going to die eventually and it's not going to be pretty.

 

However when I think back over my life, I know that I probably extended my life long enough to see my kids grow up, grandkids and maybe some day, great grand kids.   

 

The elderly are very prone to clinical depression.    Our brains age at the same pace as all our other parts and we never know exactly how that aging is manifested.  

 

If your mom has chosen this life for herself. it's not right for her to make you be her only human contact.   It's also a promise I've made to myself.    If I'm every lonely or feeling isolated, I swear I am not going to make my kids or grandkids my only human relationship.    In my opinion, it's not normal behavior for a parent and it's sure not fair to the kids.   

 

If your aunt is relatively healthy, no diabetes or other serious diagnosis, it's not fair to compare.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 25,484
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE


@Violet Blue wrote:

 I can relate as well. My mother is 89  and the same things you describe is her.  Sometimes it is environment that plays  a role and other times it's Mother Nature having her way. Even though she and  your aunt are from the same blood,  bodies are different and the end game is different for each of us no matter what we do. I too thought my Mom could do better for herself.. move more, eat healthy, not be so isolated... etc. but at my last visit ( I live far away) I think I am ok with they way things are going for her.  I was going to swoop in and try and change things, but after a week with her, I decided to let things stay as they are..  Might be too late anyway. 

 That being said, yes, I have learned  some value lessons seeing her decline.  For me, my mantras are: keep moving, eat whole foods, and socialize as much as I feel like.  

 

Thanks for sharing your story.. 


@Violet Blue  Not sure we’ve “met”, but thanks for sharing your story, too.

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 12,821
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: LEARNING FROM MOM HOW NOT TO AGE

@ShanusWhat you and the rest of your family are doing is both heart breaking and heart warming. 

 

As I move along to old age (some would say I'm already there), I also try to take my cues from my elders whose lives still look good to me, but I also recognize there are some things that happen to us no matter what choices we make.  These may be emotional \or physical  or mental changes, and no amount of family intervention or assistance makes the difference we'd like to see.

 

I speak from long personal experience as I see my fourth family member sink into memory loss, and over the 40+ years since the first, we've seen very little in the way of advances in this area even as lots of medical advances extend our life spans. 

 

Yes, the process can be frustrating and even scary, but the struggle is worthwhile.  I've taken that cue from my mother, who, when my father died young, I still can hear saying an hour after we got the news "We will survive."  We did -  we survived and thrived. 

 

So, Shanus, push on.  You and mom are both doing the best you can even on the days you want to scream.