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

I twist my ear

Grandchild, what might I hear of you, how might I twist my ear to you?

:- Doug.

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Know not yourself

Be not yourself
Know not yourself
These get in the way

:- Doug.

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Less we know

The less we know of ourselves the more we live.

:- Doug.

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hairless exposed

Perhaps, just perhaps
as we age
abilities leave us
people leave us
some of us could uncover
the meat of us
perhaps, just perhaps
our purpose is to
unlearn
to become hairless
exposed animals
we are at base
perhaps, just perhaps

:- Doug.

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Every day in every

Every day in every way I am conversing with grandchildren.

:- Doug.

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When I melt

When I melt into air. . . .

:- Doug.

Posted in Aging, Alzheimer's and other dementias, Death and living while dying, Eldering, Family, Healing and Wholeness | Leave a comment

Learn by reflection

We learn by reflection; also in conversation, when everyone walks out with something no one carried in.

:- Doug.

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What I have is nothing

What I have to teach you
is nothing compared to
what you have to give the world
—and I have seen your gift is important
—and worthy

:- Doug.

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First meeting greater value

First meeting is of greater value than the work to make it so.

:- Doug.

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Great value

Our great value
is to help us
imagine a way

:- Doug.

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Today I swallowed my imagination

Today I swallowed my imagination
Took two capsules with a swig of water
I flew I dove I swam and went to places
You have never gone and never will
Small I crawled inside a chrysalis
Came out a butterfly upon a breeze
And large set multitudes to march and sing

:- Doug.

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Tool to investigate

Imagination
Is a tool to
Investigate

:- Doug.

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currents of heat and cold

Storyteller seek
your responsibility
to count life’s
moving shadows
currents of heat and cold

:- Doug.

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The cool beyond light

Dive beneath surfaces
fly above
to the cool beyond light

:- Doug.

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Why tell your story?

Why tell your story, if it is not out beyond life and death?

:- Doug.

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Resist and you cannot get

We are leaning things about ourselves and what life presents to us. There is some part of us which does not want to grow. When you resist you cannot get to the other side. How was I to know I would like gardening or beer or spinach?

:- Doug.

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Reason, kindly

Use reason, kindly.

:- Doug.

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