She’s not heavy, she’s my mother: How do I deal with the stress of Mom’s or Dad’s increasing needs?

Copyright © 2011, Douglas D. Germann, Sr., Professional Corporation.
574/291-0022, fax 574/291-0024, PO Box 2796, South Bend, IN 46680-2796

No one of us has all the answers to this quandary. Life is lived in conversation, is given breath when we impart the best parts of ourselves to one another. On this page we can provide a collecting place for our collective wisdom, fears, joys, and workarounds. Please respond and share with us what works for you.

Here are some ideas that others have shared with me (I will add to these as time goes on, so check the list for new items):

  • “The people here cannot have a bad week. They are some of the few people on earth who truly live in the now.” This is what the administrator of a nursing home devoted to Alzheimer’s people told me a few weeks ago.

The job, he told me, was to meet them where they were and not try to correct them nor bring them “truth.” Rather, we need to live, for the time we are with Dad. in his truth. Remember, Dad’s brain has physically shrunk. He does not remember that Mom died, and he is physically unable to remember what you told him a minute ago.

So when you re-mind him that Mom died 5 years ago, you put him through his grief again.

Better to be kind, to be loving, than to try to bring him to your truth.

  • “My Mom has all the same emotions and the same intensity of emotions as any of us; she just has them faster and shorter. I have learned to cry and laugh with her. Five minutes later it is all forgotten.” A friend from northern California shared this with me.

“Mom told me the other day ‘Know what I miss about being in this nursing home? I cannot snuggle with my honey.’”

  • What if we worked out with a friend to visit each other’s Moms in the nursing home? We did not know them before and do not have the desire to restore them to who they once were: we can meet them as they are today.

This might also help with the issue of distance—we can know that a caring someone is companioning Mom.

  • In conferences, people tell me there are compensations for those hours and months they spent with Dad. Enjoy who they are this moment. Get to know them–now–for the first time.
  • A friend took her Mother on a trip to Mom’s hometown–here’s where our home stood–there’s where Jimmy took me to the prom–here’s where my parents are buried. It was Mom’s idea, after the daughter suggested a trip to anywhere Mom wanted to go.
  • Your own journaling. Think journaling will take too much time or you were never one for that? Could you make lists of things Mom or Dad love, things they did, questions to ask? Could you write a letter (or an email) to Mom or Dad? Check out The New Diary, by Tristine Rainer.

:- Doug

Posted in Caring, Long-Term Care and nursing homes | Leave a comment

What is the most loving way to practice Elder Caring Law?

What do you think is the most loving way to practice Elder Caring Law?

What can we do to be open, imaginative, caring, poetic, whole-making and loving for your family? Please submit your responses and comments below.

Thanks!

:- Doug.

Posted in Caring, Healing and Wholeness | 1 Comment

Rise to expectations

People rise to expectations
Prime among them you

:- Doug.

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Something poetic

I need to be working
in something poetic

:- Doug.

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For people who don’t

Roads are for people who don’t
want to be where they are
There goes another dissatisfied customer

:- Doug.

Posted in Poetry | Leave a comment

If you can enter

If you can enter
the mystery of the poem
you share its strength

:- Doug.

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Flowing words

Is a poem flowing words
or flowing images?
Must or flow among?

:- Doug.

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Maker of persons

This is the time to do the work I really want to do. I am no longer afraid I will become stale, for I will have folks with whom to converse—I will find them. I am maker of persons, maker of us.

:- Doug.

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My exploration

Poetry is my exploration

:- Doug.

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Wisened?

It’s a choice as you age
are you wisened
or only wizened?

:- Doug.

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(yes I challenge you)

Life gets happier
Life becomes integral
—as you examine yours—
(yes I challenge you)
Of what’s your integrality
consist? Of what’s your
happiness?

:- Doug.

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Delicious ongoingness

Poems have no goal
nor end and only a
delicious ongoingness

:- Doug.

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Record happinesses

Record happinesses, too.

:- Doug.

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Inside your next poem

Inside your next poem
may be
inside the mystery

:- Doug.

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Choose your story

Maybe by the end of the course you’ll choose what story to write.

To write is to explore
A course is life
Maybe is all there is

:- Doug.

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Teaching my life

What I’m teaching is my life
What you’re learning is story writing
Perhaps

:- Doug.

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Softly–hardly

Aren’t we the pair?
I talk softly
You hear hardly

:- Doug.

Posted in Aging, Caring, Conversation, Eldering, Poetry, Professional Caregivers | Leave a comment

Bright line of old people poetry

I was going to tell you about the 17 or so poems I wrote in response to an event to figure out what happened, to ask myself what I could have done differently, to ask myself why this was so disturbing to me, to ask myself why this event had me over so many weeks so engaged. But I won’t do that. The end of it was that I discovered something I could have done.

But that’s the point: reflection is the province of age, and the bright light of old people poetry. It is hard work, and a most rewarding thing to do, now.

:- Doug.

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Sanding imperfections

I like my writing today. It still has edges needing trimming, sanding, finish sanding, yet it feels of me.

Then again, maybe the edges belong, like the intentional imperfections in a Japanese painting.

:- Doug.

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