Today’s Featured Comment
Our parents’ generation is proud, and self-reliant. They never want to be dependent on others for help, even if it is willingly offered. They hate the thought of being a “burden.”
It was a fight to get my in-laws to let us do anything – though in our case, they did live closer. Still, we had to do it in incremental steps, usually, and it had to be on their terms, which truly could be burdensome!
Here are a few things that we were able to do:
1. The Alzheimer’s association was very helpful with information, resources available, and just plain moral support. They can help both you, and also your Mom. A book they gave her really opened her eyes to what she would be dealing with.
2. Small steps, like arranging for meals, or help with housework, they finally reluctantly accepted, and ended up loving. Even after my Dad died, and my Mom moved to another town, the first thing she did was line up some help with housekeeping (and she fought it tooth and nail at first).
3. Some trained assistants to come in and help, with whatever – and this may change as he progresses. Even a few hours a week can make a huge difference – and could enable them to stay in their home longer.
4. Do look into Alzheimer’s facilities. When Mom finally admitted she could no longer handle it all, we had a plan to propose. At this point, it came down to some tough love.
5. Accept that that they will deal with this at a different pace than you, and in a possibly different way. Just be there, whether it’s on the phone, sending cards, etc. Caregiving can be very isolating, for your Mom.
6. Make sure she keeps up on her medical care. My MIL neglected herself, and we finally had to make her see a geriatric specialist, and he had a bunch of issues he needed to treat by then! She must take care of herself, to take care of him.
7. Do they have a social network – a close-knit church, close neighbors, trusted friends to lean on at times? You might try to get to know some of them, trade contact information, and stay in touch with them, as well as your parents. Your parents might not need to know you are checking up on them, or how often. It can help to have an objective set of eyes on the situation.
8. There are a lot of us dealing with this, or who have dealt with it. Find good help and advice wherever you can. And accept that it will take time, and you will have to adapt as the situation changes (sometimes slowly, sometimes very quickly).
[This comment was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]