I still feel a pain in my gut when I look back on the early days of my journey as a caregiver. It was incredibly difficult because I knew something was wrong and my parents were insistent that they were AOK.
The initial change and recognition is proving to be the most difficult phase for many families. As a daily money manager, I see the things that happened to my family repeat themselves with my clients. I see the concern, understand the frustration, and also recognize the need to maintain independence and freedom for the parent.
My dad was getting lost driving to my house, even through he had driven over nearly 2,000 times before over the previous decade. He was so sad at having to tell me he got lost. Not only was my very punctual dad late, he was also a master navigator.
When I was visiting with my mom a few days later she asks me about a great Aunt whose Christmas card was returned. This Aunt had died a few years prior and was just another blaring warning that my mom’s memory fading. My kids were now used to being asked over and over about their ages, and my husband and I just responded to whichever name they came up for us when they visited.
My mom does start to complain that her “brain is bad today.” However, she really didn’t want to know more about it or change anything about her life because she felt that she was doing just fine.
Sadly, we had to wait until there was a critical event to ever really help them.
The challenges change, but I still found this the most difficult time because it was clear that my parents needed help, and there was nothing at all I could but be ready should they ever ask for it. Reflected.