We all have our little quirks — our likes and dislikes. When you’re a caregiver, knowing those little things about your elder can bring them a lot of comfort and joy.
Momma will only drink coffee from a percolator. Daddy likes a backscratcher right close to his chair. They’re no different from most of us. We all have things that have to be “just so” or it just drives us crazy! So do we let these little things our parents like drive us up the wall?
While working in a memory care unit at a local assisted living community, I got a lot of lessons about seniors in a very short time. I was the activity person but helped out with meal time and other small jobs. I noticed during the meals the full-time caregivers knew their residents very well. One would not eat carrots. One had to have coffee with his meal. Another liked to sit by the window while a group of friends were unmanageable unless they were seated all together. Making the residents happy was a big part of all our jobs. When the resident is happy, things go a lot smoother.
It’s the same when we care for our parents. When I do dishes at Momma’s, I’m careful not to use the dishwasher. Daddy won’t wear socks to bed. Momma wouldn’t sleep without them. Daddy keeps his TV room at about 90 degrees and the TV blares because he won’t get a hearing aid. Okay, some things are harder to take than others.
Consider the Battle — Is It Really Worth It?
My Momma always told me to choose my battles wisely when it came to my kids. It’s the same with our aging parents. If whatever they want is doable and safe — just let them do it. We all have to remember that little saying — don’t sweat the small stuff — and by the way, all of its small stuff.
Take the Good With the Not-so Good
It takes me no time at all to think about all the good things my parents do. Yes, Momma is a penny-pincher. You don’t know how many conversations we’ve had about the electric bill going up or the phone bill. She also happens to be very generous with all the family. I’ve have learned to count my blessings and both my parents are the biggest blessings I’ve ever had. I just have to think a moment what it will be like when they’re no longer here. No more, “Angel, I love you,” from my daddy. No more hugs as I come into the door of Momma’s kitchen. These little things are priceless as the commercial says.
So I’ll just let it all roll. Let them to the griping.
It’s funny because both my parents sometimes have a tiny gripe fest about the other. “You know your momma,” Daddy will start. “Do you know what your daddy did?” is Momma’s opener. Like the other day when she opened the door to Daddy’s TV room. He’s been recovering from a fall and stays most of the time in his recliner. It was 90 plus degrees she said and her dog Parker was in the room.
“I thought he killed my dog,” said Momma. “He was panting and was sitting in the closet. But he was okay once I let him out. I guess I should have been more worried about your daddy!”
We both laughed.