Mother-Daughter Relationships

See the July 20, 2020 Easy Living article 10 Conversation Starters to Help Strengthen Your Mother-Daughter Relationship When Mom’s Older

OK.  Here’s the thing.  As with most caregiving articles, the writer approaches the topic from the perspective of the caregiver.  But has anyone ever considered that the difficulty, or conflict, might not originate with the aging parent? 

Yes, I agree.  Mother-daughter relationships can be

  • very close, with daily talking
  • good, but with less daily interaction
  • strained

I also agree that the dynamics of a relationship can change, and that caregiving can certainly create a strain.  However, strain can also develop before an aging parent has caregiving needs. Changes in the parent-child roles are a significant factor.  

I can attest to the fact that losing the positive sides of the mother-daughter relationship can be everything from disappointing to painful.  But I disagree that when a relationship falters, it is all because of the aging parent. 

The article points out that having a good conversation can relieve tension. It goes on to list ten conversation starting suggestions.   But it is not the questions themselves that really matter—it is the premises they are based upon that count.  The questions:

  • seek out wisdom from her experiences
  • are a reminder to both mother and daughter about what Mom has to offer
  • show respect for Mom as a person with valuable contributions 

My message:
  • Mothers:  It is important for your daughters to run their own lives.
  • Daughters:  there’s no need to feel threatened by every remark your mother makes.
 My experience:
  • It is no fun to feel marginal and irrelevant.
  • We would all like to be respected and valued.

Compensation for Caregiving

See the source image

See the Caregiver Space article “Can I get paid to be a family caregiver?” by Cori Carl: for helpful and comprehensive information about options for paying caregivers.  Programs vary state to state and are, in general a work in progress.  That is not to say you shouldn’t bother—it is worth you effort to explore what is available—and a good starting point is your Area Agency on Aging. 

The following excerpts are included in the chapter titled “Finances”  in What to Do about Mama?

One means of accomplishing “Aging in Place” is through a Personal Service Agreement, or Caregiving Contract. The agreement provides family members with compensation for quitting a job to take on the responsibility of caregiving. It recognizes the sacrifice of family members who give up income and acknowledges the astronomical costs of assisted-living facilities or hiring in-home help. Because the contract is a legal document, it is advisable to hire a lawyer to draft it or advise you about the contents.

Therefore, the disadvantages are:
• Legal expenditures
• The time entailed for detailed recordkeeping

The advantages are:
• Financial compensation
• A legitimate way to spend down assets
• Transparency for all family members
• The senior citizen maintains a sense of control over his or her life
• A lessening of the senior’s feeling of being a “burden” to the caregiver

Families can, of course, agree upon other reimbursement options—as long as they recognize that the sharing of expenses with the care receiver and/or other family members:
• Is “insurance” to cover the increasing level of care needs (by avoiding more expensive options: home-health care, assisted living, and nursing homes)
• Minimizes the stress on the caregiver’s personal finances It is advisable, however, to secure some type of legal agreement to avoid future problems. Remember, too, that if you have financial control, keeping your family informed decreases their tendencies toward doubt and second-guessing.

What to Do about Mama? p. 209

Some caregivers choose to quit an existing job to provide care. That option may be more feasible if a Personal Service Agreement or Caregiver Contract is established.

The contract should address:
1. Tasks—personal services, personal health services, driving, household services
2. Work schedule and hours
3. Wages and how to be paid (rates comparable to those of home-health companies)
4. Care receiver Social Security payments and caregiver reporting
5. Reimbursement of caregiver expenses and car maintenance.

What to Do about Mama? p. 214

Don’t forget–research and explore your options.

Podcast: The Caregivers Corner

Click above to listen to Episode 30 of the Caregivers Corner: What to do About Mama?” Expectations & Realities of Caregiving. I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Matt Gallardo, Senior Director of Community Engagement at Messiah Lifeways.

The Caregivers Corner

(Formerly knows as The Coach’s Corner)

Matt Gallardo: “In Episode 30 we talk about the book “What to do About Mama?” Expectations & Realities of Caregiving with co-author Barb Matthews. She along with Barbara Trainin Blank open their hearts and bear their souls to share their challenging, heart wrenching, and insightful journeys as caregivers. Their personal stories, along with a host of other caregiving contributors, give detailed perspective on this physical, mental, and emotional roller coaster that caregiving entails.”   To purchase a copy:

Thanks Matt! I enjoyed our conversation and hope your listener’s will too.