Sophie brushed a loose bit of hair aside, as she called upstairs, “Max, do you have your dorm supply list?” Max reluctantly came downstairs with a pleading look on his face, “Do we have to do this today? Josh and the guys are getting together for our last night together at the pool!”
Sophie exhaled slowly. “Max, we have to do this sooner, rather than later, or the stores will run out and we will be left scrambling. I know you don’t like shopping, but don’t you want a say in what your dorm room looks like?” “Yeah, Mom” Max smirked, “you probably will buy me a My Little Pony comforter.” They both laughed, as they got in the car and drove to Bed, Bath and Beyond to join the others preparing for college dorm life.
Getting ready for life changes like college means more than putting away the swim suits and beach towels. It means preparation for new freedoms, new responsibilities, and…well…new everything. As exciting as it is, it can also be overwhelming as both parents, and children prepare for a new stage of life.
Later that night, as Sophie re-read the Preparing for College brochure, she reminisced about their visit home this summer. Her mom, Anne, was so excited for their visit, and stocked the fridge with all of Max’s guilty pleasures. They went to the lake, and enjoyed mother/daughter morning walks in the pine scented trails behind her childhood home. She remembered her mother commenting on how good she felt, and how blessed she was to still be able to hike the mountains at her age.
“Remember Betty?” Anne asked. “She fell last month while hiking this same trail. Joe and Emma aren’t so sure she can live on her own anymore and are looking at nursing homes.” Her emphasis on the term nursing home dripped with disdain. “I hate to think of Betty not living next door to me, and it scares me even more to think that she, or I would have to go to a place like that!”
“Mom, I am so sorry about Betty, but maybe this is an opportunity for us to research what choices are available before something like that happens to you! I hear there are all kinds of options now, and they’re not all that bad! Maybe if we spend a little time researching, we can also help Betty and her family make the best decision for her as well. Perhaps, with some extra help at home she can come back to the neighborhood, but we’ll never know until we do some digging!”
“That’s a grand idea, Soph! When did you get to be so wise?”
“Well mom,” smiled Sophie, as she nudged her mom, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
We don’t always get the option to prepare for the future. Life isn’t always as clear cut as Max’s entry into University: preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school is a fairly predictable journey in their neighborhood. But preparing to age, and preparing to care for our parents often comes unexpectedly leaving us scrambling for options that are available, but not always our first choice. Proverbs 9 echoes Sophie’s wise admonishment of Max, and encouragement of Anne:
“Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread
her table…Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the
way of understanding.” (Pr 9-1-2, 6)
During their stay at the lake, Sophie did some Internet sleuthing to find solutions her mother might find appealing. There was a new Assisted Living facility being built near their home. “Hey Mom” Sophie called, “What about this place?”
“Why I could never leave this neighborhood, all my friends live here, and church is right down the street! By the way…have you seen the price tag on that place?” Sophie shook her head. “Well, Mom…doesn’t cost anything to check it out. But, if you want to stay near the lake, what about having a caregiver come in to check in from time to time?”
“Well, I’m not ready for that either, but that appeals to me more.”
“Let me look around a bit, and see if I can find a company we can call when the time is right.”
“And make sure you call Betty’s family and tell them too!” Anne said.
Preparing to Care
Not only did Sophie look at options for her Mom, she looked up ideas to help her care for her mom at this new stage of life. Just as colleges send out, Preparing for Dorm Life booklets, AARP has published a wonderful resource, Prepare to Care. If you would like a copy, contact us through our website:
Whether you are preparing for college, preparing for Senior living options, or preparing for both at the same time (Bless you!) please know that AKOTA is happy to share the wisdom of our 25 years caring for Seniors in their homes. We look forward to talking to you sooner….before you need us later.