You know that things aren’t what they used to be when you go home to visit your parents but there is nothing specific, nothing that you can quite put your finger on…..Mom says everything is OK and they seem to be doing alright…
But you notice…..Dad looks a little more disheveled, there is a dent in the back bumper of their car that hasn’t been mentioned, Mom looks like she is losing weight and one of them keeps ‘misplacing’ things. Comments are made that don’t quite make sense. Dad is falling a lot. Mom leaves the stove on and the pot burns.
It’s easier to believe that things are as they always were. Mom and Dad really don’t want to be a burden. You’re busy with work, and maybe still raising your children, so you don’t really have time to deal with another set of issues. Not to mention that you have no clue of what to do or where you might begin. Maintaining the status quo is the path of least resistance.
Though ‘letting things go’ may be easier, there often comes a time when our parent’s need us to step in and help them. Even when they say they don’t need help, we must begin to express concern and support. This begins the shift to parenting your parent. Remembering that there is always a fine line we walk in allowing Mom and Dad their right to make their own decisions, sometimes intervention is needed.
At times the needs focus on the failing parent and other times they focus on the caregiver/spouse. It is important to recognize that both of your parents may need attention. Caregiver fatigue can be every bit as problematic as dealing with the issues of a parent whose health is failing. Helping to protect the caregiver can play a major role in sustaining a current living situation.
Where do I go? Who can help me? You need to start the conversations; start asking questions and start seeking assistance. The journey is often a difficult one; a journey of uncertainty and anxiety. But, with the right assistance, the relationship with your parent’s will be rich with communication and fill you with satisfaction knowing that you have been able to give back to the ones who have given you so much in life.
On the journey with you…….Kathy