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

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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

Longer dimensions

This is about thinking in unfamiliar and longer dimensions.

:- Doug.

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Speak from our time

We speak to our time from our time for the generations. We cannot speak for them otherwise. We must.

:- Doug.

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Watch over time

Do you watch yourself
over time

:- Doug.

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Idealistic is now

In all your accumulated experience
for you to be idealistic
the time is now

:- Doug.

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600-year short term

A 300-year future in a 600-year now gives an at-homeness in all the change swirling about. More, it instills a steadiness in the wind. It opens our eyes beyond next week and larger than our children to at least our species and culture if not life itself. It allows us to relax about some short term changes.

:- Doug.

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Bring macroscope

We have to bring out the macroscope.

:- Doug.

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Poetry is how

Poetry is how
we converse with our highest selves
our furthest ancestors and posterity

:- Doug.

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Primary collaboration

This is primarily collaboration. Together, we figure out what we need to learn. What we need to do.

:- Doug.

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Butterflies migrating

Be less analytical
see pillows and vees
butterflies migrating

:- Doug.

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Hear maker

We need both
to listen is to start
to hear is the difference maker

:- Doug.

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Generous or callous?

Ought our grandchildren be more generous or callous than we?

:- Doug.

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Intertwines history

Along with our individual efforts to improve humanity, are there collective efforts to take—institutional, governmental, municipal, societal, cultural, political, with neighbors? Each life intertwines history.

:- Doug.

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Long arc shorter

That long arc, the one that bends towards justice: do you suppose we might shorten it?

:- Doug.

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Put humor

Find and put humor into your stories.

:- Doug.

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First, self

First, open your self.

:- Doug.

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Boggle daily

Three hundred years is at once beyond imagination and within imagination. We stretch. We boggle our daily minds. We think bigger. We respond to issues and opportunities of lineage and species.

:- Doug.

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Wonderful tie

This may be a wonderful tie, but it’s not Superman’s cape.

:- Doug.

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