Nurses are strange creatures, we truly are. We have been taught to start assessing situations from the moment we meet you or your loved one. That being said, one of the hardest things we deal with is when it comes to our own aging mothers.
Our mothers are the one's that usually take care of us, so when we are forced to take over that role and take care for her instead, it can be a difficult decision. How in the world are we supposed to tell our mother what to do? She is the rock of the family in most situations and she’s the BOSS! When do we know it’s time to start monitoring her situation a little closer? Usually, with our mothers, we won’t start seeing things until she can’t control her situation anymore. That can be anything from getting an emergency button, because she fell for the third time this week, to that abnormal lab work that she got back and only told “Aunt Annie” about because, “I don’t want to worry the kids.” We will see signs that she needs some extra help in the small things, such as her increasing forgetfulness or missing medication doses. These small things can eventually lead to the decision of if she needs to be placed in a long-term care facility.
Communication is one of the key factors here. There are a multitude of things to consider when trying to make the decision of stepping in on caring for your mother. To start the conversation with her, we could simply ask her how she has been feeling lately, or any concerns she might be having about her health. Many things can affect our thinking and reasoning as we age. For example, a urinary tract infection can alter everything from logical thinking to mood and an abnormal sodium level can also affect logical thinking, as well as her energy level. Simple dehydration can also alter mental and physical well-being within your mother.
This is where the nursing and Care Management part comes in. Care Managers are trained to look for red flags, and aid in the next steps needed to make sure our mothers remain safe and healthy. In my experience, our moms like to think they will be independent forever; sometimes their mind is able to, but their bodies are not. From a nurse's mind, we can see things she is not saying and we will be there to help her when she is not able to help herself anymore.
Happy Mother's Day, to all of the wonderful mothers in this world!
Written by: Care Manager - Melissa Kauffman, RN CCM
If you are unable to be with or near your aging mother, or do not feel comfortable having these conversations with her, CAB's Care Managers are here to help. Call 865-444-6787 more more info.