Years before my siblings noticed the changes in my parents, I knew something was wrong with my mom. She seemed more argumentative and unreasonable about things that didn’t used to bother her. My husband noticed too. I inserted myself into several annual visits with the doctors, but all concerns my mom poo-pooed. We were noticing my mom was repeating conversations, past memories were altered, and that she had a growing concern about my dad’s memory. While Dad was willing to try memory testing, my mom wasn’t.
Then all of us started to notice that our Dad who was quite joker, was less talkative. The home was a little messier, and they were socializing less. I felt like I was in a constant dance that never progressed in any positive direction, nor that I could impact.
Over the next year, my siblings and I tried two different interventions. Our parents were not interested in our concerns. They could never remember any of the times they got lost driving, the dual contracts signed for the same home repairs, and they dismissed our concerns.
We moved into what I still believe is the worst part of the caregiving journey. My parent’s didn’t recognize how poorly they were doing and we were really concerned for their safety as well as the safety of others. We had to wait for a critical incident to happen.
Waiting for something bad to happen before action was taken wasn’t typical of my parents. They were planners, and had planned well. But the cognitive decline both of my parent’s were experiencing meant they were unable to comprehend what was happening, and even the united efforts of me and my siblings didn’t sway my parent’s beliefs.
Eventually, dad broke his hip and my mom needed my help. She didn’t know how to get to the hospital and had no idea how to really transition dad from the hospital back home. Thankfully, she welcomed my help and I was able to get dad into the rehab wing of their continuing care retirement community.
Things returned to the prior state of disarray once dad had his strength back and began to drive. We waited for the next event. Thankfully, the next issue involved a doctor who submitted the papers to have my parent’s licenses’ revoked. It became a problem when they tore up the letters and refused to turn in their licenses. They continued to drive after their licenses were suspended which caused our next major crisis.
The reality is that there is no easy road. You do what you can. Thankfully, I started this blog so it’s easy for me to look back on the three years that were very difficult. We finally got to a point when my parents welcomed my help, but the road was very steep.Reflected.
TWO RESOURCES TO HELP CAREGIVERS
- This site will allow you to find the local support groups in your area.
- For a free guide filled with practical advice for caregivers, visit www.memorybanc.com/caretools