Still Got Your Head Stuck In The Sand When It Comes To Senior Care?
Have you been avoiding the nagging thought of what will happen when your mom or dad can no longer care for themselves? This is a question plaguing more than 45 million of us this year, according to AARP in an article from November 2012.
As more people live into their nineties, most of us will face caregiving responsibilities, or need caregiving ourselves. This can include meal preparation for older or impaired adult relatives or friends. Maybe you are the thoughtful neighbor taking lasagna to the woman who lives alone at the end of your block. Do you know how she is eating the rest of the week? Maybe you are the friend who takes her to the grocery store once a week because she can no longer drive. Do you know how she is preparing meals?
Maybe you are the adult child who lives nearby, popping in twice a week. When you leave, do you know if she has a tendency to nap while the kettle has been left abandoned on the stove to melt all over the burners again? Who will be taking care of your elderly mom or dad? Sadly, this is not a job for the faint of heart. Or the neighbors. Or even the best friends.
There is a lot that goes on behind closed doors that neighbors and well-meaning friends cannot see. Most adult children cannot even recognize when their parent’s needs require a different kind of care. We are so accustomed to our parents fixing everything for us there is a sense of denial taking over. We don’t want to “see” the condition that our parent is living in if the cats they love so dearly have become more than they can manage, as evidenced by the little piles of defecation hidden in corners of the living room. If we become aware, then we need to be part of a solution, and this is scary because our lives are about to change dramatically.
These nine realities come from my new Memoir, 9 Realities of Caring For An Elderly Parent: A Love Story Of A Different Kind, released August 2013 and taken from my personal experience in caring for my mother during the last five years of her life. They are the bits of advice no one prepared me for in this undertaking that I learned the hard way. I share them here with you in a funny and compassionate account of what you can expect from your daunting role if you are the adult child coming home to care for your elderly parent until the very end.
Blog question: What was your first clue your mom or dad needed care?