According to a May 2014 online survey by A Place for Mom, Inc. (APFM), the nation’s largest senior living referral service, 28 percent of adults do not feel they know, or knew, their mother as well as they would like.
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U.S. adults were asked which of the following topics they are/were interested in knowing about their moms:
- Family history (e.g., genealogy, origins of the family)
- Personal history (e.g., childhood memories, dating history)
- Medical history (e.g. health issues common with family members, life-threatening disease diagnosis)
- Life advice (e.g., view on aging, words of wisdom to share with children and grandchildren)
- Career highlights (e.g., significant work achievements, favorite job).
The survey, which polled 2,058 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, was commissioned by APFM to explore the relationship between adult children and their mothers and to emphasize the importance of learning more about a parent’s history.
Survey highlights include:
- The top three things U.S. adults wanted to learn were family history (64 percent), personal history (59 percent) and medical history (45 percent);
- 42 percent of U.S. adults were interested in hearing more life advice from their mothers, such as views on aging and words of wisdom to share with children and grandchildren;
- Out of the five topics presented, career highlights ranked the lowest at 23 percent;
- Men and women were both equally interested in knowing more about their mothers with 79 percent of males and 82 percent of females indicating they are interested in learning more about their mothers
“For Mother’s Day, we are encouraging adult children to learn more about their family history, beginning with their mothers,” said Sean Kell, CEO of A Place for Mom. “Making the effort to explore your ancestry can bring family members closer together, provide important health information and help facilitate discussions about how parents envision spending the rest of their lives. This conversation can help families bridge the discussion to the more complex topic of senior care.”
To honor mom, APFM encourages families to take the time to learn about their personal, medical and family history. Not only does this shed light on important pieces of information, it can also serve as a way to start the difficult conversation about senior care.
APFM recommends the following five questions to help start or continue the conversation:
- What have you enjoyed the most about your life? Ask mom questions about her childhood, her college years or when she met her spouse. Find out what she enjoyed the most during these different stages of her life. Her responses could provide some insights into what she values the most and can pave the way for a discussion on how she would like to live the next stage of her life.
- What would you like to do or accomplish in the next five years? Whether it’s travelling, spending more time with family or learning new skills, this question can help mothers feel as though their opinion is valued. Furthermore, it can help adult children figure out what type of senior care or living arrangements they should consider in the future. There are many different types of niche communities available today that cater to different interests.
- What financial and legal documents should I know about? Knowing where and how to access important financial and legal documents can help the process of planning for senior care easier. Furthermore, information such as whether mom was previously married to a war veteran, or if she signed up for long-term care insurance, can help figure out budget parameters for senior care.
- Does our family have a history of illnesses? Being familiar with your family’s health history is important in anticipating potential health issues – for yourself and your aging parents.
- How can I help you continue to maintain the best quality of life? Starting the conversation about senior care is usually not easy. But reminding your parents that you are there to provide support and to help ensure a good quality of life during their senior years can help them feel in control.
As part of their mission to encourage families to research their family history, A Place for Mom is offering the chance to win a one-year membership to Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family genealogy resource. More information can be found on the A Place for Mom Senior Living Blog.