10 little things that mean a lot when Mom’s in a nursing home or assisted living

A Baby Boomers guide to taking care of momma

By Patti Covello Pietschmann

Mom, Tony and Patti

When my wonderful mother reached that stage when she needed to live in  a nursing home it broke my heart.  She was 3,000 miles across the country, in Pennsylvania,  so it wasn’t possible to visit her every day as I would have liked. But when I did go I learned that there were little things I could do while visiting her that meant a lot:

  1.  Something as simply as a hot wash cloth on her face, which she asked for while bedridden.
  2. Makeup. One day I sat her up and applied foundation, powder, mascara, blush. She beamed at her image in the hand mirror. Later that day a young woman came to visit her and marveled about how lovely she looked.
  3. Rubbing her head. I gave her these scalp treatments and she purred like a cat.
  4. Making her laugh. Laughter is good medicine especially for someone bedridden who was use to being active. I would try my darndest to get a smile or giggle from her.
  5. Lay down beside her. She loved me to cuddle next to her. One night she held my arm so tightly I couldn’t get up.
  6. Bring her a special treat of what she likes to eat. Mom didn’t have much of an appetite but she wolfed down a Subway meatball sandwich I brought her.
  7.  Show her photos from your phone or an album to keep her connected.
  8. Talk about the future like trips you’ll take together or upcoming events.
  9. Tell her how much you love her as often as posible.
  10. Decorate her room for every holiday. I did this for my mother-in-law who was in assisted living near us and she beamed with pride but also it helped to keep her aware of the seasons. I decorated for Easter, Halloween, Christmas etc. sometimes extending the decor to the lobby.


Mom in the nursing home looking so sad.

mom an tony

My brother Tony with our Mom.








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