Archive for the ‘Difficult Topics’ Category

#36 Family Caregiving – Stressful and Satisfying

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

When it comes to planning, my parents have always been ahead of the game. They moved into a condo before my brother and I thought they needed to and now are talking about moving into an assisted living facility. At 87 and 88 they are slowing down. Mom still cooks most of their meals and dad drives around the town they live in so they can pick up small amounts of groceries and go to medical appointments.

Lately mom has had some health problems that her family doctor is trying to figure out and dad’s shingles still bother him. Is it time for a change? Who knows. I have looked into having a home care aide come in once a week for about 4 – 6 hours and see if that is enough. We will meet next week and put that in place.

The assisted daily living facilities seem to be small and I think it would be a difficult adjustment for my parents to live in it. Also when my mom cracked her pelvis they had meals on wheels and they didn’t enjoy the meals so I can’t see they would adjust to three meals a day in an assisted daily living facility.  The place they live in offers meals and they go down for dinner twice a week and that seems to be enough.

So far mom and dad make their own decisions and my brother and I support them. Hopefully a home care aide once a week will allow them to be in their own home and still feel safe and happy…..I’m not alone in this care giving role. Almost all of our friends are making this caregiving  journey too. What I hope is that I’m filing away what I’m learning so as we age, we have a plan in place so our kids don’t have to make difficult decisions some of our friends have had to make.

Even when your parents try to be positive, keep their sense of humour and not put too much pressure on their kids, it is still a stressful time. I think mainly I feel so sad that my parents are fading and wish I could magically fix it. I know it is a journey and I’m lucky to be part of it. Many people my age don’t have loving parents.


I Got It! #9 Words to Say and Do When Someone Is Terminially Ill

Monday, June 21st, 2010

I have often wondered why some friends simply disappear when someone close becomes terminally ill or dies. Most will tell you later they didn’t know what to say, so they did nothing. Or it made them so upset they didn’t want to upset you more.

I know when people are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, later they have enormous guilt. First of all  death is part of the life journey and you are going to have to face it over and over, the longer you live. To hide from it, only makes you feel worse and your friend feels abandoned.

There are two excellent books, written by Canadian authors to help you.  Final Journeys by Maggie Callanon, a hospice nurse, gives help for the person dying as well as caregivers, family and friends.  The other book is called Final Gifts and is by Maggie Callanon and Patricia Kelley.

Both books are filled with practical advice that will help you whether you have just learned someone is going to die or you are still experiencing grief because someone has already left you. The information is not sugar-coated, it is real and written in a caring, compassionate way.

You might think such books will make you feel worse if you are just going through or been through a death. I certainly did not find this to be true. Instead I felt comforted, some questions I had were answered and I felt better equipped to handle my emotions as well as those around me.

If you feel like you need or will need some support in your communication when you learn someone is terminally ill or has passed away, these two books will help you. Both books tell true stories and are packed with tips on what to do and say so you never again will abandon a friend in need.

I highly recommend both books.