My 80-year-old Stay-at-Home Mom, Part I

Mom at 19

MOXIE COSMOS SAYS . . .

My artist friend Trudy is still uncertain about moving to an Assisted Living facility. Her concerns center on having space for a studio and her dog. Also, the fact that she is under 70 years old means she will be younger and abler than most of her neighbors, even though she suffers from Parkinson’s Disease.

My late mother said she absolutely would not live with strangers in “a home.” This surprised some people, since Mother always adjusted when Dad was promoted and they had to move. She charmed people wherever they had to go.

My brother and I understood her resistance to group living was that she had never been “a joiner.” During the years my parents were churchgoers, Mom attended Women’s Circle, but she never played cards or wanted to take art classes, though she was a very good watercolorist.

She also was an only child, truly gorgeous, and used to being a magnet for attention. She had two years of college, but never worked. And she was a “small town girl” who never got over an inferiority complex around sophisticates.

The other tip-off was her pride in her home. Mom and Dad changed houses at least a dozen times over 60 years, and each time she would redecorate – and she was good. Two homes were featured in local papers. She knew how to make homes comfortable and pleasing.

When Dad died, she was wearing delicately tuned hearing aids that never seemed to work. She also began neglecting her diet and eventually had to have caregivers come in (who were not entirely reliable). From 900 miles away, I found it difficult to be helpful, and my brother was at his wit’s end tending a sick wife and answering Mother’s calls for help. So after two years we moved her to our house.

In my next post I will explain some of the things we did to bring Mom to the point of contentment for her last three years of life.

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