Thursday, 1 May 2008

My mother's therapist

On the surface my mother comes across as an easy-going elderly woman who just wants to do all she can to please everyone, but underneath this she is a very determined and stubborn woman. I was discussing this with Ian tonight and he laughed and said 'just like her daughters'. I was having a conversation with her about her bed. She told me that her mattress wasn't comfortable and she wanted a new one; I tried to persuade her to have one of the electric beds that would help her sit up, but she had talked to a few other people that had them and decided she didn't want one as they took up too much room. 'Fine', I said. 'We'll just get you a nice new mattress that is more comfortable' (Ian later said 'is this the horrible old bed that we tried to persuade her to throw away when she moved but she insisted she bring because she really liked it!). She wanted me to bring a measure with me and when I asked why she said so that I could measure the height of her bed and see how much higher her new matress would be as then she could get up easier. Now, my whole professional life has been spent helping people to find ways to get out of bed so had she told me in the first place that she was having difficulties getting out of bed then I might have been able to come up with a number of solutions! However, I realised a while ago that I cannot be my mother's therapist! I took this opportunity to try to persuade her to see an occupational therapist (not me) privately and explained how it was very difficult for me to approach her and work with her in the way I would work with clients but what I could do was find her a good therapist. She would probably have to pay for it but then she has some money and it would be a good investment. 'But what could this person do for me that you can't?' she said. I explained again about how difficult it was for me to act as her therapist and she seemed to understand. 'But how do I know that this person will be able to help me?' she said. I said. ' Well, perhaps you can let me be the judge of that in this case.. it is what I have been doing for 35 years'! She laughed and I said I would talk to her about it next week! I don't think I have much chance of getting her to agree to a referral! My brother tried to arrange a doctors appointment for her but she refused, saying that she would do it herself! My sister-in-law wants her to have acupuncture but she has even less chance of persuading her to pay for someone to stick needles into her than I do of getting her to see a private therapist.

I think that when I am her age I will probably be exactly the same as her so I guess we must just learn to allow her to make her own decisions at this stage in her life, and accept them, even if they are not the ones that we want her to make.

(Funny, until I started writing this entry I could not see it so clearly)

1 comment:

Michael House said...

My parents took very little notice of my suggestons when they were getting elderly, and just carried on in their eccentric ways. Occasionally, they would take something I had suggested as absolute gospel, such as relaxation tapes when my Dad was anxious, and he used it all the time.