“They didn’t put pillows on the list, so I didn’t bring any,” said my mom when she arrived at her new apartment in the assisted living complex.  I had reminded her before leaving her condo for her new home that she should take everything on the ‘to bring’ list, but I didn’t know they would forget some of the essentials.

It appears to be true that as your parents get older the roles start to reverse.  Suddenly I feel like I am a mom to my mom.   I’m so excited for my mom’s new adventure in assisted living.  It’s as though I have another teenage daughter who is going off to college.

caregiving, life after 50, boomer women, over 50, AARP, National Caregiving Month

It came time for my mom to enter assisted living. My sister N and I made a tough decision.

“Do you know that my roommate is older than me?” said my mom who will turn 90 this year.

“Really,” I replied, “how old is she?”

“She is 94,” said my mom.

I wanted to tell my mom about a recent OpEd piece I read in the New York Times, but I held back.  It was titled “Real Life Among the Old Old.” According to the author Susan Jacoby, three years ago there was a panel at the World Science Festival that said “90 is the new 50.”  If this is true, then my mom’s roommate is only 54 and my mom is only 49.

If this is true, what is my real age?  Let’s see, I am supposed to be turning 53 this week, as it is my birthday.  Will I be closer to 55 or am I aging backwards too?  I did also read somewhere that 50 is the new 30, so perhaps I am really turning 33. Maybe that is why I feel like a mom to my mom. Maybe I secretly yearn to nurture a child again.

“How was your day?” I asked my mom on the phone this evening.

“I got my nails done this morning and tonight after dinner I went to play trivial pursuit,” said my mom.  “Tomorrow I am getting my hair cut and colored at the beauty parlor.”

I am so happy my mom is enjoying her new home.  I am also pleased that she is making new friends and getting more exercise.

So, dear mom, I am going to tell you the same thing I said to my daughter A and to my son D when I sent them off to college a few years ago.  Listen closely, because you need to hear this.

“Enjoy everything that your new home has to offer.  Take advantage of all the activities, learn from the people you will meet, and live life to the fullest.  Your parents (alias daughters J and N) are spending a lot of money on this experience, so make the most of it. P.S. – We’ll see you soon. Until then, be good. Love and kisses.”