The Beginner’s Guide To Taking Care Of Your Aging Stage Mom
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to [Blank], our recurring series in which our experts provide everything you need to know about a multitude of endeavors. This week’s writer, Carolyn Burke, will be taking you through: The Beginner’s Guide To Taking Care Of Your Aging Stage Mom
I’ve never been particularly close with Mother. To be honest, before her health started to take a turn for the worse, we hadn’t even Facetimed in months. I was bitter about that time she refused to buy my way into the Miss Pickaplace finals because she was too busy sleeping off a Jager/Vicodin hangover. She was resentful that I had stolen her youth and couldn’t walk a straight line in a swimsuit and heels. But she’s all I have left in this world. And, quite frankly, the opportunity to rule over her life the way she once ruled over mine felt too good to pass up.
Here’s what I learned while caring for my aging stage mom. Hopefully, my journey will help others in a similar situation.
Home Care Versus Nursing Home Living
Honestly, this one wasn’t an issue. At all. Like I’m going to banish Mother to some dorm room with flannel curtains and linoleum floors where they don’t even serve brunch or pass out trophies for cutest dimples? She may be a bitch, but she’s not an animal. Home care was the only option here. Of course, nursing homes do have their benefits. But stage mothers need people who are willing to lavish them with compliments and photo-ops, not reminders to take their heart pills.
Physical And Mental Health Are Key
Old people are notoriously bad at most things. You’ll need to overhaul basically everything in the house to make sure it’s properly safeguarded. Guardrails on the bed, non-slip floors, water temperature regulators. Also, and this is key: Be sure to remove all mirrors from the premises. Your aging stage mom likely finds it difficult to come to terms with her waning youth and beauty (that’s why she hates looking at you and her grandchildren so much). If your mother can’t stand blank walls—and she’s so extra, you know she can’t—replace the mirrors with photos from that time she was on American Bandstand.
Bunny Ears Exclusive Tip: Removing mirrors will do nothing to alleviate Mother’s overall jealousy and judgmental nature. Be sure to always be on fleek, but not so on fleek that she begins to feel inferior.
Recreate Her Glory Days
She’s old, not dead. Make sure you mother has plenty of hobbies to fill her final days by recreating her favorite pastimes from youth. Allow her to scold you and insist you practice your recital for six hours a day as you cry and tell her you don’t want to do this anymore. Let her teach you to smile and curtsey on cue (again).
The memory exercises are personally my favorite part of caring for Mother. We turn her brain-boosting activities into a fun game. We’ll hold little Q&A segments and I’ll quiz her on how to navigate foreign policy with poise. She struggles with the answers more than she used to, but I don’t go easy on the scorecards. Earning it builds character.