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Re: Caring for ill parent while coping with well parent
Posted by: Chapster Posted on: 2003/9/28 1:47
Dear Tonkyii:

Thanks for your question. I'm sorry that you have not gotten a response prior to now. I'm saddened that none of our other visitors have offered any suggestions . I've been under the weather the past couple of days and Barb has been my Guardian Angel. I will probably come back and edit this in a couple of days since I am fairly drugged at the moment and am not sure I'll make any sense.

As to what you have written, you have no reason to feel guilty. Your plate is full and will be full, especially with your husband's prospective surgery. The undercurrent of your message indicates that you feel that the situation as it now stands cannot go on and will only get worse in the days ahead. You fear confronting your mother (rightfully so). But, it seems to me that the situation is demanding more of you and your brothers than you can deliver (if I am understanding you correctly). The best way to do this is usually via a family meeting where you and your brothers present a united front to her. It should be emphasized to her that 1) You cannot keep up the current arrangement, 2) That she will have choices when changes are made (which sitter, companions she likes best, chores she wants to do versus having the sitter do), 3) That while you are open to negotiating exactly how a sitter's involvement may look (hours per day, week, which days, etc.), the involvement of a sitter is not negotiable.

Additionally, how certain are you that your mom does not have dementia? Changes are much more frightening when dementia is involved. Moreover, folks who have dementia may become aggressive much more easily.

What seems abundantly clear is that you are working under enormous stressors that will adversely affect your ability to care for both of your parents in the days ahead unless you are able to reduce those stressors to a more manageable level. You need to take care of yourself and your husband, otherwise the care you do give to your parents will be diluted with greater frustration (at not being able to do all that is asked of you), anger, exhaustion, and lack of personal joy when you are with your parents.

Your mom will likely not understand, and quite possibly will not be really capable of understanding. For her, the status quo probably seems just fine. If you wait for her to understand, valuable time may be lost before she has to adapt because of demands due to your husband's recovery. Also, this may be a good time (if it has not been addressed before) to discuss financial and legal issues. Given what you will be facing in the days ahead, I would encourage you to confer with your brothers, and make sure you all are reading off the same page.

Just a few thoughts. I could be completely off base...It is one thing to say this stuff. It's another thing entirely to have to go through it. I fear that this answer is not sympathetic enough with what you are going through. I cannot imagine keeping up with all the obligations you do each day.

Barb will likely throw in her two cents which will give you a lot more options... I sincerely hope this helps, and if it sounds brusque or unsympathetic, I hope you will chaulk it up to not feeling well. In any case, Tonkyii, our prayers are with you as you seek wisdom... Please keep us posted!