When Carol and Theresa's mom was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's and their dad's vision started failing, the news was met with some denial -- and their parents' groaning aversion to leaving their home of over forty years. The sisters, one of whom is my mother-in-law, came to realize that they are now parenting their own parents. In coming to terms with this they also realized that they each need support too. The result is an inspiring and positive arrangement. They've become "co-caregivers."
It is deeply hurtful to even remotely consider that someone from your most trusted group of allies could be intending to take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable, but avoiding this issue only leaves you more vulnerable. Your best line of defence is to increase your awareness on some of the more typical financial threats.
My 13-year-old son Jacob, who has a rare neurodegenerative disorder, was discharged last summer with 24-hour nursing care in our Toronto home. But aside from the fact that nurses can cancel at a moment's notice -- leaving parents like me to pull all-nighters so my son doesn't choke to death -- we're facing alarming incompetence when they do show up.
I hug an acquaintance, start catching up and then I start coughing. I take a sip of my wine but the mucus in my throat seems to get thicker. Cough. Cough. Wheeze. Cough. Some people are looking at me. Oh, how embarrassing. Deciding to catch my breath privately, I leave and head down the hall looking for a ladies' room while digging for my asthma puffer. Hmm, there's a distinct wheeze. It's OK. One good inhalation of this puffer is all I ever need. Uh oh. There's a problem. I can't inhale now.
The day has come, mom needs some assistance in order to stay in the comfort of her home. What do you do? Although many take on the responsibility of caring for aging loved ones, this simply isn't an option for everyone. With your own family, career, and financial responsibilities, it may not be practical.
As an overweight kid who discovered the transformational power of fitness as a teenager, training to improve my fitness and my physique has always been a huge motivator. For many years it was why I trained. But it was not until my father became ill that I truly realized the insurmountable power of fitness.
But from the moment my mother and grandmother shared with me my grandfather's diagnosis, everything changed. Though my role as national director of sales and marketing memory care for one of the country's largest providers of assisted living was still the same, my motivation was completely different.
Driving is an activity of daily living (ADL) just like getting washed, dressed or cooking. It is an activity that we learn to do once the skills needed to drive have matured. In order to drive safely, we rely on the fine-tuned integration of the necessary physical, visual, cognitive-perceptual, and behavioural skills.
Alzheimer's caregivers are amazingly successful at juggling all of the things necessary to meet the needs of their loved one, but each day they're simultaneously learning how to juggle the many emotions they experience. Anger, guilt, fear and frustration are just a few of the complex emotional balls they are trying so hard to keep in the air.
It is not always easy to recognize elder abuse, particularly if you are the victim. Yet elder abuse is, unfortunately, prevalent in our society. The good news is that there is increased awareness with respect to the existence of elder abuse and its many forms, and numerous resources available to help.
As we became a young adult, our relationship to our parents became different. We still turned to our parents, but more for guidance and support. Never did we imagine or expect that one day we would be the parent to our parent. When did it happen? When was the shift? Now we are the ones in the "worry seat."