Avoiding Conflict with Aging Parents
By CarePatrol of Chicagoland North
One night I received a call from a daughter that was struggling to find care for her parents. She had been doing an excellent job scheduling their doctor appointments, managing their medications, shopping for groceries, preparing weekly meals, washing laundry, and maintaining their home. Now, she was burnt out.
Being her parents caregiver had resulted in increased stress, anxiety and sleepless nights. It had taken a toll on her own health. She gained weight, her blood pressure was up, and she developed insomnia. Her relationship with her husband was strained. Her kids now relied on neighbors to keep them busy during the summer. She had a wonderful relationship with her parents growing up, but being a daughter was now burdensome. Jessica had caregiver burnout.
I met with Jessica’s parents and her siblings to evaluate their care needs, and observe the family dynamic over coffee and snacks. I started with some basic questions about what they liked to do as a family. The talk turned into reminiscing about memories and milestones that were important to them. It was immediately obvious that the family needed some coaching on how to deal with mom and dad’s cognitive decline. As we sat around the table, the kids were constantly telling their parents that they were wrong about something. Voices were raised over who attended what wedding. Topics were brought up that upset dad, such as why he did not like one of the spouses. Mom was criticized for forgetting how to use something or forgetting to make a phone call. The son had no problem arguing with dad over things he couldn’t remember.
After an hour and a half, I asked the kids to leave. It was time for me to see how mom and dad acted when they were alone and the kids were not triggering them. I settled on the couch with them and watched as dad tried to program the new smart TV the kids got him. The stress level decreased, and it turned out that they were a lovely couple. They both were aware of their cognitive decline. They knew they needed help, but were struggling with leaving their home. They asked very good questions about life in an assisted living or memory care community. They also asked why their kids seemed so angry at them.
By the end of our conversation, we had a plan in place to present to the kids. We were going to look at three assisted living, memory care communities, and start the process of selling their home, downsizing their belongings, and setting them up for success to age in place at a community. They would no longer have to stress over the home or struggle with daily activities.
When I was walking out the door, Phil surprised me. He told me that he had a difficult time trusting people, and he asked if I knew I was being tested. I wasn’t sure where this was going. He told me that he could trust anyone that would sit with him for 2 hours as he tried to enter his email into a TV. He gave me a big hug and thanked me for being patient.
At CarePatrol, we help seniors find the best assisted living, memory care and in-home care options. We conduct a Care Discovery to determine care needs, review finances, and schedule family meetings to get everyone on the same page.
If you need help finding care for a senior, contact Eric Klein, CSA, CPRS at CarePatrol via (847) 653-1213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.