Happy? Mothers’ Day

Is it time to REALLY check in with your mother?

Are we guilty of being hypocritcal?

We have just celebrated Mother’s Day, and I am sure most of us sent our mother a card if we are fortunate enough to still have them in our lives, and may be some of us received a card – even if it was, as in my case, a notelet scribbled in haste after realising that the local shop had no cards left on the day itself! But how many of us really checked in with our mothers?

Normally life is SO exhaustingly busy, rushing around everywhere and squeezing in all the tasks we need to complete – work, raising children, keeping house – and all that this entails. But this year, perhaps we are less busy? Less stressed? It occurred to me that those of us who are both mothers and daughters might sometimes be a little hypocritical. That we expect our own children to lavish us with gifts and wait on us on this particular day of the year, but how many of us give the attention to our own mothers that we expect to be given? Guilty as charged.

Technology is a polarising force in society

We busy career women have a lot on our plates, and I will freely admit that when my mother-in-law complains – oh, you are always rushing around, we never have time to properly talk – I am irritated. But this is the equivalent of your child telling you to come have a game of Cluedo or a kick around with a ball. It is their cry for help. I imagine that it is pretty scary being in your 70s, 80s or even 90s at the current time. Technology has been a polarising force in our society. I feel that there is an experience, knowledge, and courage gap between those that can use Google and those that cannot. I make no assumption that no one over 70 is technologically savvy, but I would imagine that there is a higher percentage of people in this age group, that are not, compared with younger age groups.

So, how is our use of technology linked with wellbeing? It is surely about connection, first and foremost, because if you can use Zoom, whist you still cannot have the human touch, you do not ever have to be alone. If you can chat with friends and like-minded people over the various social media platforms you can feel a real sense of belonging with your tribe. Through connection with others we can check in with ourselves and each other on a daily basis. We exchange information and gain knowledge, our brains are sponges and it seems that there is no question, predicament or scenario that cannot be googled.

Mothers in later life need to "get their house in order"

It may be that the older off-grid generation are somewhat left behind, particularly during these Covid times. That the traditional ways of accessing information is not there for them – the libraries, the coffee mornings with friends, the church meetings, the bridge club or the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.  It is at these forums that they will chat about all sorts of things, they will put their minds at ease, they will get referrals to professionals that can help them.

Mothers in later in life should have their “house in order”. Whilst the will might be written, don’t forget that it needs to be regularly reviewed. Keeping up to date with your estate planning is a vital tool in bringing a sense of wellbeing, a sense of “I am ready for whatever life throws at me”. If you take away the worry of the “what if” scenarios and have a plan in place the peace of mind this will bring to your mother will be immense.

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It's time for the difficult conversations

Lasting Power of Attorney documents will provide the answer to the question of “what if I lose mental capacity”, a will, the most important of all estate planning documents, will answer the question of “what happens to my estate when I die” and “how will my loved ones be looked after”. If there are concerns about needing care in the future, this is also a difficult but extremely useful conversation to have. You should be discussing what your parents’ preferences are, and a meeting with a financial planner would greatly assist in ensuring you are able to fund any long-term care in the most efficient way.

No one should be fearful of the future

I make no apologies, if this sounds like a sales pitch for estate and financial planners, though I prefer to think that I am in the business of enhancing wellbeing. No one should be fearful of the future, and that is why we all need a plan. So, pick up the phone and have a proper chat with your mother, and listen to what she is saying and to what she is not saying, because it is likely she has some concerns about her future, which need addressing. A little more certainty in this very uncertain world can truly help with happiness.

"Keeping up to date with your estate planning is a vital tool in bringing a sense of wellbeing, a sense of “I am ready for whatever life throws at me”.

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