How to Care for Your Parent Without Being Overbearing
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My Mom was 29 years old when she had me, and only 45 years old when I made her a grandma. Though things started off rocky in my teen years, we've always taken care of each other. When we moved to Arizona four years ago, I knew it was only a matter of time before we got her to move here, too. Mom moved to Arizona 2 years ago, and amazingly enough she got to rent the house next door to the one we were renting! Then we bought a house, and she bought a house a few blocks away. I am so thankful to have her nearby, not just so the girls have a grandma they can see every day but so I can keep an eye on her and be here if she needs me.
She's in her 60s so she's not old or ancient by any means, but she's AARP age. ;) She's still got a lot of life left in her, thank goodness. Mom and I enjoy hanging out together. I take her to lunch, and we play BUNCO with friends. I prefer hanging out with other people her age rather than mine anyway, so it works out well. I have a bunch of old ladies to take care of and I love it.
Because Mom is older, but not OLD, I have to care for her in a way that doesn't seem like I'm trying to, you know? We do the whole mother daughter bonding thing but I always keep an extra eye on her. I visit her as often as I can, and check her house out to make sure she's taking care of it (and herself).
Tips for caring without “hovering”:
1. Check in via phone or FaceTime if you aren't able to check in in-person at least twice a week. I call my Mom daily but I know some people get busy and don't keep up with phone calls. If you can't check in, see if a neighbor (or another family member) can.
2. Ask if they need anything. I know this seems obvious but sometimes parents won't ask us when they do need something. I call my Mom when I'm at the store just to see if she needs anything. This is the perfect opportunity for her to say “yes” without feeling like she is inconveniencing me.
3. Do it anyway. Sometimes parents won't say “yes” when they should. I still get her things I know she needs, even if she doesn't ask. Drop something off on their doorstep, or sneak it inside the garage, or drop it by because you were “in the neighborhood”.
She's constantly forgetting and misplacing things, so I made her a little “emergency kit” bag. It's got mascara (because she says you “can't see her eyes”), tweezers (chin hair, anyone? She's gonna kill me for typing that!), an American Flag themed fidget cube (she's the most fidgety person I know), and Poise liners (because hello, 2 kids + bladder).
Today, we went to lunch together. Then, we went to pick up some more Poise pads using the Caregiver Program at Sam's Club. I love this program because it offers discreet shipping, because who – other than my Mom – dances through the store with a box of Poise?
Sam's Club offers free shipping on select items from select locations, or you can shop online and choose “Club Pick-up”. It's easy to reorder by choosing the “Easy Reorder” option and selecting from a list of past in-club and online purchases.
With the Scan & Go app, you can pay faster, get access to great deals, and beat checkout lines. Simply scan each item's barcode in the store with the item scanner, pay directly in the app, show your e-receipt, and you're on your way!
Saving time and money are both at the top of my “to do” list as a caregiver. Whether I'm caring for my kids, my wife, or my Mom, it's important to keep both of those things in mind!