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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / An Exquisite Motherís Day Gift /  Editorial List  

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Gary Barg

An Exquisite Motherís Day Gift

I recently spoke with my friend Harry about his 90-year-old mother, who lives two counties away. He described her as a fiercely independent woman who lived alone and was still driving. But recently, she had become noticeably frail and was not allowing anyone into her home. On her recent Easter visit to his home, Harry noticed she hadn't changed or showered during the entire three-day stay. This was in distinct contrast to the fastidiously clean woman he had known his entire life. Harry told me he was worried about bringing the issue up with her because she might stop talking with him, as she had with Harry's brother after he had repeatedly attempted to communicate these same concerns.

I told Harry that it seemed he had few choices. First, he should ask his mom to meet with a geriatric care manager for an evaluation because that could improve her quality of life. Second, Harry should raise his concerns with her doctor. Most important of all, he needed to make sure that his mom knew that any concern Harry raised was not an attempt to take away her independence. To the contrary, it was to try and partner with her to do everything they could together to ensure her independence and safety. If every conversation he had with his mom was about how she needed to stop driving and stop living alone, he could never gain her trust and see what is really going on in her life.

I think many times when we are concerned about our loved one's safety, they already know the issues, but are afraid that the only solution their kids will come up with is nursing home care. I know that discussing these issues directly and openly is not always possible to do and the frustration can be quite intense. I also know for sure that if your loved oneís immediate safety is not in jeopardy, it is always better to try and partner with your parent than to parent your parent.

Now, that would be an even better Mother's Day gift than a dozen roses.


Gary Barg

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