Monday, April 30, 2018

Decision Fatigue: Do you suffer from it?

I first heard the term "Decision Fatigue," in church last Sunday.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that pretty much all of us who work with seniors, or are seniors, have it to some extent.

We tire when we make too many decisions.  On average, we make 35,000 decisions a day.  Big ones, little ones,  What to wear?  What to eat?  What to buy?  And the list goes on. 

No wonder at the end of the day, we're fatigued.  When we make too many decisions over a day's time, we are more apt to go for a candy bar, or make a bigger decision that's not in our best interest or in the interests of others.

So what's the cure?

In general:  Stop being the decider of everything.When you can, delegate tasks or stop doing them. according to "The Cure for Decision Fatigue , from Jim Sollice in The Wall Street Journal.  The Internet can be a real energy drainer.  When you click on the Internet during work time, you're allowing fatigue to set in.

For adult children:  Use mornings to schedule a talk with the administrator about your parent's care.  Certainly don't opt for the end of the day when you are both tired. Late morning is often the best time to discuss important topics with your aging parent.  You haven't made too many decisions; you are relatively fresh and can give the conversation your best.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Everyone Needs More than One Mother--Why and How?

"Everyone needs more than one mother.  I borrowed that phrase years ago, and it's proven true.  

Many of us lose our mothers well before they die if  mental illness, dementia or other diseases take away much of who they are. 

"She's just not the same," many adult children say about the "new mother" who often seems like a different person from her former self.  Her new behaviors--saying things that don't make sense, forgetting, fibbing, being overly defiant or overly needy--seem confusing.  Once in awhile, the mother her children remember from before her illness shows up and children may be pleasantly surprised.  I've heard: "She recognized me.  We had a short conversation and she actually made sense!"

Confusing?  You bet.  My mother was chronically mentally ill and passed in 2004.  Toward the end of her life dementia also set in.  When I grappled with her behavior and with my response, professionals would say things like,  "Embrace the person your mother is now.  And embrace the other mother, the one you remember."

I tried.  I didn't totally succeed, but I gave it my best shot.  And I also grieved the mother I'd lost years before.  Now that I'm working with adult children who are making important, difficult decisions for their aging parent,  I'm convinced that the grieving and acceptance go hand in hand.,

But my premise:  "Everyone needs more than one mother," still seems true.  Many of us don't have the "model mother" even in childhood.  I know my children didn't. But God often puts others into our lives who can make up the difference in filling that maternal role.  In my case I had substitute mothers throughout my life including my youth group leader who taught me how to back pack, an elderly, wise woman who cheered me on as I began to write professionally, and a good friend who kept me afloat during my kids' teenage years

Like many of you, I've ended up in the mothering role as well.  These days I fill those shoes as I help adult children find placement for their aging parents.  It's a difficult role, and it's my pleasure to help. A long time ago, in college sociology class, our working group named leaders.  My classmates named me the emotional leader.  Kind of like a mom.

Happy Mothering!
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