By Elizabeth SheanMom has always been a natural worrywart. She doesn’t call it “worrying,” though; she says she “thinks about things” a lot. I suppose that’s an accurate characterization of the situation. Mom has an amazing aptitude for being able to see the larger scheme of everything, and she invests a lot of mental energy into trying to wrangle all those puzzle pieces into a recognizable picture.
This particular skill of hers presents an interesting challenge for me, as her caregiver, though. Do I give her plenty of advance notice regarding changes that will affect her, or do I present these things on relatively short notice? Giving her a lot of notice provides her with a lot of time to ruminate on all the potential pitfalls and negatives of the situation. But springing things on her with short notice causes her a lot of stress because she can’t get everything worked out in her mind before the changes occur.When I made my decision to
relocate back to Albuquerque after Lee died, I decided to present the situation to Mom well in advance because it’s such a monumental event. Naturally I wanted her to “ease in” to the reality of moving, living in a new house, re-integrating into the Albuquerque community and so on. During those early days, Mom would frequently ask if she should be doing something “now” to prepare for the move: “Should I be packing up my clothes now?” “Do I need to donate all my books now?”In response, I would always say, “Oh, no, Mom. We’ll be moving eventually, but not right now.”Well, yesterday “eventually” became “right now.”I had thought it would take weeks to sell my house in Houston, but it only took nine days. Yesterday evening I sat at my real estate agent’s desk and signed the purchase offer I received earlier in the day.Suddenly our whole world has changed. With the stroke of a pen, what seemed so far off last October has become reality.Now Mom is worrying—sorry, “thinking”—about all of the details involved with the move. How will she get from Point A to Point B? Will she have to fly alone? How many clothes does she need to pack? Who will take charge of her medications during the transition?No longer can I defer answering these questions. These things won’t be happening “eventually.” They’re happening “right now.”I feel extremely fortunate to have a great support system to help me wrangle all these details that are so important to Mom. Her Home Instead Senior Care® CAREGiver℠, Anita, will help Mom choose which clothes to take with her on the plane and which ones to box up. Anita also will help with the actual boxing up, which is wonderful of her. Most importantly, Anita will act as a neutral sounding board for Mom to express her anxieties. Anita always provides a compassionate ear and plenty of hugs, which are priceless gifts.I’m also relying on my sister, who is going to handle the logistics of flying with Mom to Albuquerque and staying with her in a hotel while I drive myself, my dog Mitzi and a few necessary belongings with me to our new/old hometown.It’s an exciting time, though also stressful. I’m so grateful to the many people in my support network who will help see Mom and I through this “now” so we can get settled again...eventually.
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