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

Choices: privilege

Choices: Our task in life is to make choices, to choose to be, to live, to stand, to stand forth; and yet choose to do this, to act, to love. Each and all: these are the most difficult things.

And not just task: privilege.

:- Doug.

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Meet them there

People share with us their profound times: we owe it to them to meet them there. We are yet human.

:- Doug.

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Dad to be?

Who is Dad to be, now? Who this family? Is it now, or next? Or past?

:- Doug.

Posted in Alzheimer's and other dementias, Emergency/Crisis Medical, Family, Long-Term Care and nursing homes | Leave a comment

Persist to wrestle

To persist
is sometimes
to live
if only I
may wrestle

:- Doug.

Posted in Death and living while dying, Poetry | Leave a comment

A scalpel does not reach

Technical excellence is not enough. It is never enough. There is a place that excellence, our scalpel, does not reach, cannot cut. A place in each client. A place in us too. A place even our words cannot touch. A place only our humanity can bridge.

:- Doug.

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This pond of many fishes

Grateful am I for
This pond of many fishes
This stream to walk beside
and jump across
This forest so vast
in 20 years
I have not explored it all
And for the endless stream
of people to love
of things to do for one another
of ancestors to be gathered among

:- Doug.

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Mists of our characters

We cannot know what each needs to hear from our story. It becomes essential for us to seek the hues, tints, whispers, shades, tones, and mists of our characters and events. Allow our story and its hearers to take responsibility each to the other. Say less to say more for more.

:- Doug.

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Each is forgotten

One cannot name an ancestor. There is in lived reality no such thing as one ancestor. Each is forgotten, all are to hand.

:- Doug.

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Oldest story?

What’s the oldest story you remember? That’s the work of ancestors.

:- Doug.

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Works dying?

What are the works of dying?

:- Doug.

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ancestors is

ancestors is
flowing

:- Doug.

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When a story starts

A story is not written—is not told—does not happen—once for all time.

A story starts
when breath becomes air

:- Doug.

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Getting Growing Natural

Getting old
Growing sick
Natural

:- Doug.

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say, Later

We don’t say
I’m not going to die
We ever say, Later

:- Doug.

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Poets you and I

Beyond wisdom
poets—you and I—
are making meaning

:- Doug.

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Object of dying?

What’s the object of dying? The work?

:- Doug.

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Wandering our higher

Wondering
and wandering
this is our higher
as lawyers
as poets

:- Doug.

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