Getting Involved

In a recent column you listed several resources for activities for aging parents.  I didn’t realize so much was available for seniors.   Now, my question is, how do I get my mother involved?  She lives alone, does not drive and depends on me for most of her social interactions.

Mike, Chico

Dear Mike, 

I have this question asked of me so often.  As you know, “you can lead a horse to water, but can’t make him drink”.  So, you need to gently ask your mother for the reasons why she may be resistant to taking part in the activities.  In my experience I have found at least four reasons why our aging parents are reluctant to venture forth.  The first may be a medical reason.  Can she ambulate safely; can she see, can she hear, does she have a problem with incontinence.  If there are no medical reasons, is she lacking in confidence.  It’s hard to go places alone for the first time.  Remember when you were the new kid at school or the new hire at a job.  I would suggest going with her a few times until she feels comfortable and makes a friend.  (3)  She may think that everyone else is “old” and she does not see herself that way.  At 85, my father did not want to mingle with “those old people”.  We all see ourselves as 10-15 years younger than we are.  By visiting a variety of activities, she will  see that there is a large range in the ages of seniors.  Lastly, transportation...it is best if you can take her, but if you can’t or can’t hire a driver, the Butte County Transit has services available for seniors—1-877-232-7433.  I hope your Mom will discover a whole new world awaiting her! 

Sincerely, Lyn