When you manage a home care company, you come across or are provided with approximately 11,457 articles per day on senior care, aging in place, dementia and 973 other topics related to your mission.
At Support For Home, we take that mission very seriously, so we try to make it through as many of those information sources as possible. This morning, there are already two that definitely deserve wide readership:
The first is published in the AARP Bulletin, titled “I Love You, Mom. But You’re Driving Me Crazy“. There are many points that family caregivers will recognize in this well-written article. One thing, unfortunately, that some will not recognize or understand is the trouble caused by their (the caregivers’) own expectations and assumptions, driven by realities of the past.
For example, this passage:
Case in point: Ann Allnutt gave her 85-year-old mother a basket for her mail. Read your mail, she said, and when you’re done, put it in the basket where I can easily check it.
“I find everything in that basket but the mail,” Allnutt, 68, says. “So, because of that, we missed paying insurance premiums, or we missed something that we need to take care of. I have changed the addresses on bank statements and she’ll call and change them back.”
Then there are the doctors’ appointments her mother reschedules without telling her. Allnutt knows the dementia is likely to blame, but there’s a part of her that thinks there might be more to it — that her mother is being difficult in order to hold on to her independence.
The family caregiver needs to eliminate that temptation to add the “but …” Dementia is at work. We have to deal with it. Adding or assuming other motivations just makes it that much more difficult to manage the real problem – dementia.
The second article is from what we feel is the best blog on aging, “The New Old Age,” with today’s edition, “When the Family Needs an Umpire“. A critical point from this article is,
It is no surprise to caregivers that as parents age, long-standing tensions can erupt into family discord. A 2001 study published in Conflict Resolution Quarterly found that close to 40 percent of adult children caring for a parent described “serious conflict” with a sibling, frequently the result of one sibling shouldering the bulk of caregiving responsibility.
The two issues are related, as you can see. Both stories make it all the more clear that, no matter how caring the family caregiver is, there are going to be serious bumps.
Those bumps point to the need for professional support. Maybe that is respite care, maybe care services management, maybe “just” an umpire’s role. Getting that support early is important.
Best wishes, Bert