Aging Changes Everything


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A recent article claims that caring for aging loved ones is the “new normal.” It chronicled the journey of former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden and her mother, and the challenges of caring from afar for a loved one with early-onset dementia.

Here is a striking piece from the article :

Lunden flew from New York to Sacramento and drove around in search of a new home for her mom. She settled on an apartment in one of the fanciest senior communities in town, where her mother, Gladyce, would have the option of entertaining guests in her home or meeting other residents in a ballroom-style dining space.

It didn’t take long for Lunden to realize that she’d chosen a place for the mother she knew 15 years ago, not the one who had been depending on her brother for the last decade.

Lunden’s mother used to enjoy socializing with friends and entertaining them in style. However, aging changes everything, and the onset of dementia had changed the mother she used to know, as well as her tastes and preferences.

It isn’t unusual for me to see family caregivers make decisions for their aging loved ones based on who those loved ones used to be – not who they are now. Your mother may have loved to live by the water 20 years ago, but that could very well be a safety concern now because she tends to wander. Or maybe your father used to love having morning coffee with friends but now prefers to be alone. If that’s the case, accept it and accommodate his current and future needs with your caregiving choices.

Pay attention to the cues your senior loved one is giving you, and respond in a way that meets who they are now.

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