Richard Swerdlow’s mother is elderly and when he can he tries to make sure all her practical needs are taken care of. But that, he learns, is not what she really needs.
My mother is 88, and lives in an assisted living facility. They take good care of her, but I help when I have time.
It's a couple hours drive, and since I can only get there once a month or so, there's a long to-do list. No time to waste. Each visit, I strategically plan maximum use of minimum time. With military precision, I swing into action. Mom needs to get hair cut, nails done. There's the heart doctor, eye doctor, dentist. Maybe buying new stockings, if she feels up to it, which she seldom does anymore.
Back in her room, I rapidly organize, go through mail, sort bills, make sure medications are correct, prioritize requirements. Does she need shoes? Is that sweater looking too ragged to wear?
With that long drive home weighing on my mind, I'm pressed for time. I power through the day, double-checking I've efficiently handled everything. Mom is so old, confused and slow these days, and I'm in a hurry. Last visit, after I went through my mental checklist, I spoke in a bossy voice. "Looks like everything's done, so I'll be leaving. Anything else you need?"