Living with You Mom

“She is in serious trouble, and her son is right behind her.” — Spoken with authority and a lack of compassion, this “casual” remark by a coworker never left my mind for the rest of the day.

For years, research and the creative media have looked at older couples who live together in the same nursing home. Anecdotally, I have seen siblings and cousins who lived at the same facility. As we continue to live longer, perhaps we’d also be seeing parent and child entering the same nursing home?

How would it look like administratively, socially, and psychologically?

How would you feel about moving into the same nursing home your mother told you not to put her into 15 years ago, now that you also have trouble caring for yourself?

Imagine you’re in your 60’s, barely mobile physically, plagued by health problems and depression, while your 90-year-old mother, though suffering from severe COPD and mild cognitive impairment, is the life of the party at the facility…

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About C

If you consider volunteering at a luncheon for older adults as my first exposure to the field, I have been in geropsychology for at least twenty years. As family, friend, volunteer, trainee, and professional, I have found myself in adult day care centers, senior centers, senior living facilities, nursing homes, medical and psychiatric wards, hospice, and personal homes of older adults. Wherever I go, be it an orphanage, a museum, a prison, an airport, or a random corner in the neighborhood, issues related to aging and mental health often come to mind. I used to think that I could make a difference only if I became a top-notch researcher, educator, or clinician. As I continue to follow this meandering path, it dawns on me that as a nobody in the field, I can still add my light to the sum of light by sharing what I know. Over the years, I have "converted" a few very dedicated individuals to focus on aging-related work within their respective disciplines and encouraged a handful more to stay in this field despite its winding course. I believe by bringing aging and mental health issues to the foreground, we will amass a stronger force to promote advocacy, research, and quality care.
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