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Understanding the Aging Woman

Aging should be met with better understanding, believes Dr. Joseph Russell, retired professor of gerontology at Ohio State University and a consultant on care for the aged. "Don't hold it against Mom. She is making the best adjustment she can out of the circumstances," Russell said.

Therefore, it is important to pinpoint prevalent changes that take place among the aging population. The following list of characteristics isn't unique or peculiar to your mom. These characteristics are part of the aging process, Russell notes. Nonetheless, further reading will prove that mother-daughter relationships can flourish during this time period, and that many, many moms maintain respect, compassion, and appreciation for their children's assistance.

  1. Older folks complain about their health in order to obtain love and attention.
  2. Older people become more self-absorbed as their world shrinks.
  3. Mothers lose appreciation for the tasks children perform and become more demanding.
  4. Those affected by the normal aging process become less sensitive to others, regress, and lose interest in the world around them.
  5. Cognitive skills become impaired and attention span is limited during the aging process.
  6. Expectations and demands continue to build as all of these other changes take place.

Mom's Personal Frustrations

Mom's newfound limits and lessening of capacity can be profoundly frustrating to her. They alter the way in which she reacts with others, put personal constrains on her, and change her role in the family.

Building Blocks

A reverse mortgage is a home equity loan that converts equity in a home for cash and is paid in allotments by the lender. The loan is due upon sale of the home, death, or total payout of loaned monies. Upon death, either heirs or one's estate must pay off the loan, normally by sale of the house. In essence, a reverse loan allows you to live in your home and use the equity as readily available cash.

Daughters Reactions and Concerns

Daughters, too, get frustrated and angry with the changes that take place in Mom and about factors that affect their own lives. Russell mentions several to be aware of:

  1. The cost of care for the elderly is expensive. Children may become angry and resentful when they see their inheritance being spent and reverse mortgages being put on the family home.
  2. One daughter most often becomes the primary caretaker of Mom. When there are other siblings, both brothers and sisters, anger and frustration from the overburdening of responsibility may be directed at them.
  3. Chances are that a daughter who takes responsibility for a mother's care may suffer a serious time-crunch when faced with raising children, working, spousal needs, and personal desires.

More on: Aging Parents

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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