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We are caring for our 94 year old mother and were unprepared for the additional effort on our part to keep her spirits up and avoid stressful situations that seem to agitate her. We would hope that we are setting a good example of loving care, but feel that if we had a discussion with mom in advance of her aging health needs we would have had a better understanding of what she would want before we are faced with making decisions for her.

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A discussion with adult children is always a good idea before things get out of hand and the time to have that discussion has passed. I used to try to get my mom to talk about it and she didn't want to discuss it. I tried to joke with her and say, for example, "Mom, if you're sick and your mind is gone can I please have this ficus tree?" Nothing would enable her to discuss the future despite my trying.

Years later when it was just me and my dad he assured me that when the time came I would have everything I needed. I know he believed this, he didn't purposely deceive me, but when the time came he was woefully unprepared which made life very, very difficult for us. Plus, I was angry at myself for not asking him to go through everything with me but since he said he had it covered I didn't give it a second thought.

Now I tell my friends who have aging parents to get proof of their arrangements, desires, and wishes. Sit down with their parent(s) and have this unpleasant talk because I don't want them to go through what we went through during an already stressful time. Not when things can be discussed and ironed out before hand.

You'll get through it. I discovered if I didn't know the answer to something I could always find someone who did. Do the best you can for your mom, think about what she might have wanted, pass along your experience to others. And make sure that you sit down with your kids and tell them what your wishes are. It's never too early. Every time something crosses my mind I make sure to tell my daughter and I'm only 45. And I'm getting ready to begin writing things down for her for when the time comes. I don't want her going through what I went through with my mom and dad.
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You sit down with the head nurse at her Assisted Living home and try to sort it out. She may be crabby with you but getting along fine with other residents. (like our mom). You DON'T visit every day, just once a week to encourage her to socialize and bond with her contemporaries and the staff. Hopefully you have a health care proxy. Hopefully the ALF has a form for yes/no DNR and Advanced Directives such as: yes or no for a feeding tube or respirator. Hopefully you have pre-arranged a funeral, written an Obituary and have a picture of her to go with it. Get these things done ahead of time, because if you wait until the last minute, it is very distracting and mistakes are made.
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If you can take mom outside, do this, take her for icecream, a stroll in park. I just tried a wheelchair for mom. I hope I can find her newone, as she never used a wheelchair and doesn't understand to lift her legs....Pulling her backwards is awkward. I want to take mom to fountains, they are big and pretty and they dane with the music every 10 or 15 minutes....It's more for me anyway, not her....hope she gets something out of it, she liked it before....
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Nobody can actually prepare for this. Situations change. My dad died of cancer. Mom has ALZ, and she cannot talk much. She wants to go home. Her wishes are to stay at home - impossible. She is getting weaker and weaker. Sleeps most of the time, Have her in board and care and visit a few times a week. She is catholic so I need to start preparing for some catholic service of some sort. Not sure what. It's just me and my oldest brother. He will come down when he wants, my middle brother has a brain disease- early ALZ? not sure. He won't understand. Kind of thinking I will probably have a double funeral. I won't tell oldest brother about mom's death. Plan to have her cremated anyway. I ask him to come down. Sent cash to him for plane ticket. He doesn't have time, so what do I do now? I'll wait when he comes. If mom is alive that will be great, if not, we will have a small service when he is here. If noone can see mom while she is alive, why would they want to see her when she is gone? KEEP MOM HAPPY, FAVORITE FOODS, TREATS, FLOWERS, WHAT DOES SHE LIKE? That is all that matters now. HAPPY HAPPY, it's hard. I try to dance with mom. music, songs.....
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