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

Baking bread together

If we are prevented by space-time from breaking bread together, perhaps we can busy ourselves baking bread together—and sneak a bite off the loaf.

:- Doug.

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First offering to strangers

Hospitality is the first offering to every stranger. What can that mean for us here and now?

:- Doug.

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Mutual clearness committee

One thing we can do with “our” grandchild is to convene a mutual clearness committee, after the manner of Friends.

:- Doug.

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So GGC matter

How to live our lives so our great grandchildren matter.

:- Doug.

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How ought they live?

Great grandchildren. How ought they live? How ought we help?

:- Doug.

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Generational potluck

What can be the generational equivalent to potluck suppers?

:- Doug.

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About them or us?

Is this a course about them or about us?

:- Doug.

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Trade letters

Write a letter to someone in the 11th generation. Now trade letters with another and read it as if you were the one receiving it. Talk it out together.

:- Doug.

Posted in Conversation, Eldering | Leave a comment

choose based on imagination

One of the most important things we can give a young person is the skill to choose based upon imagination, curiosity, and any other lasting pull. The skill to distinguish a love for tanks or politics of the moment from what can take more than a lifetime to fulfill.

:- Doug.

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How to murder grandchildren

How to murder grandchildren. (By putting them into the category of “People who mean nothing to me.”)

:- Doug.

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How you use curiosity

Your great grandchildren make it possible for you to be alive. You are rooted in these. For where and who you issue from is less important than where you’re headed, what kind of curiosity you have, and how you use it.

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Where do you want them to want to go?

Who are your spiritual ancestors? In what did they excel? Travel, poetry, romantic love, ecstasy, exploring? Who then will be your spiritual great grandchildren? Where do you want them to want to go, those who are your next?

:- Doug.

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Curious?

Curious?

:- Doug.

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Ingenious theirs

What’s your ingenious way to engage your grandchildren in thinking of theirs?

:- Doug.

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Poems of conversation

These are my
poems of conversation

Posted in Conversation, Poetry | Leave a comment

How free reflectively?

Just how free are we and have we been? Just how free? have you acted in your life? Just how reflectively? Just how much do you hear? Converse? We have a fear of conversing, meeting, acting on our freedom.

:- Doug.

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Actually practice freedom?

If you have not done all you could have with your life, just how free are you? So what progress can we expect of our grandchildren, even to the 11th generation, if we don’t open up humanity’s imagination in some way to actually practice our freedom?

:- Doug.

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