So often adult children see one parent overcaring for the other – out of love and duty and become alarmed at the cost of that kind of love. The caregiving parent resists help even from their children. But, they see that Dad is tired, falling asleep at the dinner table, not taking care of his health and actually not giving your mom the care she needs. You see mom isn’t always dressed in clean clothing and her personal grooming isn’t up to your mother’s standards.
Dad has the financial resources to hire help but tells you, “Mom doesn’t want anyone but me assisting her.” Or “I promised your mom years ago and she promised me we would take care of one another.” These are valid reasons, but the other side of the coin is Dad’s health is taking a turn for the worse or it will soon if he doesn’t have downtime, exercise, and sees his medical providers. Then what?
The “then what” is Dad has a very serious health crisis or he dies and then you have to jump in and provide all the care or place mom in an assisted living setting – that both of them didn’t want! So, the only way for Dad to ensure mom has the care she needs is if he starts now with home care that could stay in place or be increased if something should happen to him.
I encourage families to bring in the “over-caring” parent and meet with a Professional Care Manager who is also a Family Therapist to talk about short and long term planning – so together we can come up with plans that might cover everything from some wonderful daycare programming to adding a caregiver that we might call a “personal assistant” for Dad – while the caregiver is really there for the mom. The Care Manager is not the child and often the ideas are accepted more readily because they are coming from a professional.
Love is doing what is needed, not what is wanted. We all want to be independent and not need help, but with the reality of longer lives, most of us will need some supportive help. Allow yourself to have the energy and compassion to be a loving family member and bring in help way before the burn-out point or a serious illness happens.
Call our office for a free in-home assessment when care is just a “flicker” in your future. Or, better yet, make an appointment for a consultation and ask about the “Road Map” planning session. The Road Map is a three-step process and gives you the plan for now and the near future.