Ensuring mom gets the care she needs to age well

Samantha Shields, a resident of St. Paul and employee at Regions Hospital, is the daughter of a Minnesota senior.

Samantha began the aging journey with her mom five years ago when her mom was diagnosed with dementia.

Navigating the care system can be challenging at times, says Samantha, but it’s rewarding to know her mom is safe and receiving the care and services she needs to age well. “When you’re low income, you’re very limited and you have to spend days on the phone,” says Samantha. “Now, she’s five minutes away from me.”

From left to right, Samantha’s mother and Samantha.

The most rewarding part of being her mother’s caregiver is improving her mother’s cognitive and overall health. “My mother was on 12 medications at one point and now she’s down to two,” says Samantha. “She’s more cognitive and her whole attitude is better off medications.”

Taking time for herself was difficult at first, but Samantha understands the importance of self-care. “I’m trying to make more time for myself. I do every other weekend now,” says Samantha. “I enjoy going to the Como Zoo, and I’m also writing a book for caregivers.”

Samantha believes senior care should matter to all Minnesotans, and it’s our responsibility to truly listen to the needs of loved ones. “Listen to whoever you’re taking care of and don’t assume that you know what’s best for them,” says Samantha. “They took care of us. Now it’s our turn.”

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Samantha. Your voice is vital as we advocate for awareness and address the needs that accompany the reality of a rapidly aging society.

Are you walking through the aging journey with a loved one? Would you consider sharing your own story? Answer five questions here for a chance to be featured on the Face Aging MN blog: https://goo.gl/DS5F67.

One thought on “Ensuring mom gets the care she needs to age well

  1. The “New Age” has arrived in Minnesota as Face Aging county maps clearly show. The “over 65” is growing in virtually all of the counties.
    This is truly a New Age, the group of us between 65 and 95 or so. When Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, with a retirement age of 65, that was also the same age as the life expectancy of Americans. Now there is a New Age of a whole generation or more past 65.
    Complicating–reinforcing–the emergence of the New Age is the addition of an entire generation of Baby Boomers; those folks born after the ending of WW II. The so-called, “Pig in a Python”. Remember, during the Great Depression, the U.S. and European countries were predicted to end population growth. The ending of the War changed all that.
    Face Aging Mn is calling upon all of us to rise to the challenge of this New Age. To dig in and help solve the emerging problems associated with it. Remember, as we do, this new age is new time–a whole generation–for most of us. We will want to make the most of it!
    Brian C. Aldrich
    Emeritus Professor of Sociology
    Winona State University

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