Anyone who has dealt with caregiving, whether a professional, as with Sue Collins, RN, co-author of the award-winning book, OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing, $16) or a non-professional, has most likely experienced some kind of disagreement about the best way to go about it. Siblings, who nearly always also carry around a collection of well-worn emotional baggage, are particularly vulnerable to (and adept at) disagreements over caring for an aging parent, for example. Finances often play a part as do the imagined wishes of the parent (which is why it is so important to get the paperwork in order while everyone is still firing on all cylinders), and finally, who’s in charge. Add the stress of the holidays and you have a recipe for a family brawl.
Caregivers.com has some suggestions:
For an accessible, common-sense solutions to these kinds of caregiving challenges wrapped up in a convenient form that you can gift to recalcitrant siblings, get the book: OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters. amazon.com
When my father, who had a brain tumor and who was fiercely independent, slowly grew to be unreliable in the handling of his bills, etc., I worried about trying to strong-arm him into letting go of their management. A friend said to me, in a reference to the biblical ‘Honor the father and thy mother,’ etc.: “You ARE honoring him by taking care of things, even if he doesn’t understand that at this point. It helped a lot. And, he allowed me to do that after a little negotiation, which relieved us both.
For the adult children of a parent with Alzheimer’s who needs in-home care, there are tricks to it. Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Caregiver magazine, offers a great example of how to help a loved one who has been highly functioning but who now needs help, accept that help. How you characterize it matters!
I’ve never been a believer in thinking up New Year’s resolutions because for one thing, they’re usually the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish or delete all year long, and stressing over it during the last few days of every year, when life is stressful enough, just seems counterproductive to me. Having said that, some of my friends make them, and find the annual deadline helpful. Some even achieve them! Today’s Caregiver Magazine (who gave us an award for our book — thanks thanks!) has the same kind of suggestions that we, and virtually every other person who has done/seen or been recruited into caregiving subscribes to. If you’re a January 1-resolution-person, AND are a caregiver (though many of them work just as well for those who are simply trying to improve our own lives and live the best way we can day by day), they’re spot-on.
A new study has found that teenagers want — and do better with — their parents just being around. Not necessarily always interacting with them, but just being there and available.’Potted Plant Parents’. I’ve posted this NY Times link because I think it’s true in all kinds of ways — being present with other human beings is really what we need. We don’t necessarily need advice, conversation, non-stop guidance. Our being there is you making a statement that you are available. And care. That’s quiet love.