Thursday, May 08, 2008

Honoring Mom Mother’s Day and Every Day

Common images of Mother’s Day include family treating mom to a special lunch, or showering her with greeting cards and flowers. “Instead of Mother’s Day being a one day celebration, we encourage people to make it an every day celebration,” said Beth Dow, president of Home Helpers of Georgia and Alabama. To help baby boomers and other adults honor mom on Mother’s Day and every day, Home Helpers has teamed with aging expert Charles Puchta to offer the following five tips:

HONOR ALWAYS. Know that honor is always positive and privileged. Just as mom is the center of attention and noticeably appreciated on Mother’s Day, there are simple ways to honor mom every day. For example, be involved in her life, involve her in your life, and seek her input and advice on major life decisions.

MAKE IT REAL. Think about how aging or a life-changing illness might affect day-to-day life. If your mom has a medical condition, consider ways to recognize limitations that may challenge her. For example, if she is hard of hearing, put cotton in your ears to get an idea of what it might be like. If she has had a stroke, try not using your right arm and leg for a few hours to experience life from her perspective.

DON’T OVERLOOK THE OBVIOUS. Family often takes routine activities for granted as though they will just happen. For example, managing finances, preparing meals, running errands, doing household chores, attending religious services, and enjoying friends. As your mom ages or faces any health-related challenges, keep in mind that she may have needs that she is unable to manage on her own.

SPEAK MOM’S LANGUAGE. In his best-selling book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman shares ways people respond to demonstrations of love. For example, certain people thrive on complements such as “your pie is simply the best,” while others find satisfaction and place great importance on physical touch. Some people thrive on spending quality time together, others appreciate a helping hand, and certain people find that gifts are a tangible symbol of love. Speak the language that best demonstrates to mom how much you care.

ENJOY RELATIONSHIP. Often we need to slow down and take time to consider facets of life we overlook and that matter most. The concept of honor encompasses time and tasks. Time is the relational aspect where we keep in touch and share life. Tasks are things we do like providing a meal, or helping with errands. Whether a hand to hold, a heart to understand, or a kind gesture to enjoy, there are many ways to honor mom.

It seems that adult children tend to look at all they do while mom may focus on those things we are not doing. These tips hopefully share some helpful ideas of how to focus attention in a meaningful way. Take time to talk and share wishes, expectations and preferences.

As a result of obligations, many baby boomers are not able to provide the level of care and support mom needs and deserves. “We have many clients that, due to their adult children’s obligations and responsibilities, depend on us to supplement the care family is able to provide,” said Dow. She added, “While it may not be realistic or possible to address everything, do what you can. West Georgia and East Alabama is fortunate to have wonderful people, agencies and organizations that are ready, willing and able to lend a helping hand.”

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