by francy Dickinson
Dear Francy; My mother has lived with us since my father died two years ago, lately all I hear from her is how old she feels. How can I help her see her beauty through the wrinkles?
I don’t know why people think that getting older means you stop being who you have always been. You are just older, that’s all. But then you talk to people and they will tell you (even in their late fifties) that they are getting old.
My mother was in her late nineties when she said; “francy, some times I walk past a mirror and I catch my reflection and I wonder who that old woman is? Then I remember, its me!” Seeing yourself in a mirror is never fun when you age, but keeping up with beauty routines, exercise and fun activities make it easier to keep your self image high.
When I married my husband, almost 30 years ago, I asked him to please use a simple moisturizer each day. At the time he was OK with the idea, but did not want to share it with anyone that he was putting on “Oil of Olay” every morning after his shave. You should see him now, he is in his 70’s and looks like he is in his early 60’s. I am so proud of him. When he is around other friends his age, they all ask him what his secret is and always laughs and says…a younger wife!
Moisturizer is a must, even if someone is around the house and make sure it has the “SPF” in the moisturizer. You can even use the glow moisterizers to give an older face a little color. Clean skin + moisturizer + lip stick = FEELING GOOD.
My mother watched all of her friends age and pass away before her. She took note of lots of things that they did to rush their own passing. One of the things she would talk about is that the minute they let their hair go all grey they would age in their personality. She saw it over and over again. That does not mean she thought harsh black, brown or red hair was the answer to youth. But some sort of light coloring of the hair would give their skin and their personality a boost. Mother kept color on her hair until her passing at 100 years.
Nails, I did mother’s nails a week before she passed. They were so pretty while she laid in bed and felt so horrid. Her family members would come to visit the little lady and see her unwell, but those lovely nails flashing on the bed clothes. Some times, you have to endulge yourself in little ways to get big rewards. If a monthly visit to the nail shop to have a mani and pedi done gives a person a smile and a feeling that they are still involved in the world…then tell her to “go girl” enjoy!
If someone has always loved clothes make sure their bed wear is fun and colorful. Just because you are stuck in a smaller world at home or in a care center, no one has to stop being the fun young girl inside. I had my mother change every morning into a daily house coat that was pretty and she even wore a necklace down the front. It made her feel dressed, even though it was designed for comfort and ease if she needed help. She would dress when we went out to doctor’s appointments. My motto is no pajama bottoms when you go to Walmart…dress, even if it is a simple outfit and easy shoes, it is dressing and making the person feel good.
Something new; I made sure that my family knew when my mother needed a lift. I would tell my niece that grandma was in need of a new pair of slippers, I would tell my nephew that she needed a petite size 10, house coat, that had a front zipper, in a pastel color. I let them know what she needed and made it easy for them to buy it. They would visit and she would get a little gift and both of them felt good about it. When people say, ” If you need anything let me know”. That means that you have to let them know.
Places to go, if your mom is inside and always by your side…time to find a senior group close by and introduce her to other seniors. Losing a spouse is very hard to go through and many times it takes strangers to bring out the words that she needs to say. She would not want to hurt you by talking about your Dad and his passing, but another older gal at a card table or exercise class would understand.
Funny how old means different things to us all. Maybe old means no one has told your mother how much they love her and how cute she looks, like your Dad used to do on a daily basis. You might try to make sure you joke with her about how smart, cute and sweet she is as often as you can so she can get that loving input that small talk can give all of us.
Thank you for caring so much about your mom. I started this process of working with those that give care to seniors because I felt so alone when I was doing it for my own mother. I hope I can be here for you with other questions and please go and visit my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.com. Blessings, francy