Caregiving Spectrum | Mattie’s Story: Miles Matter

When the Miles Matter

In a couple of our recent blog posts, we looked at two very different responses to declining parents. Both of the scenarios we discussed were extremes. In one case ‘Adam’ did nothing, ignoring the need. On the opposite end of the spectrum, ‘Beth’ overwhelmed herself by doing it ALL. Now we consider when Miles Matter because of distance.

This is the third of three scenarios of how Family Caregivers respond to the needs of their declining parent. Today’s blog will feature Mattie’s Story, which we borrowed from our upcoming Mom Centered Family Meeting Book (coming soon…)

Mattie is a very engaged Remote Caregiver, who is doing everything possible from a distance for her Mom.  If you are an Adult Child who is doing your best to provide the best care possible for your declining parent, I hope you will draw some inspiration and a few tips from Mattie’s Story

We always love receiving your input and suggestions on future stories and ways caregivers are helping their declining parents. Please don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below.

When Miles Matter

Mattie was confused!  For the third time this week, Momma had told Mattie the same story when they had their call.  At first, Mattie just chalked it up to Mom’s busy lifestyle. After all, Mary (Mattie’s Mom) had been the busiest Senior that Mattie had ever met. Mary was involved in several church and civic activities and was always reaching out to help others.

However, during the last few weeks, Mary seemed to have withdrawn into a shell.  She missed several civic meetings in a row and seemed a “little off” during the Mattie/Mary three-times-per-week phone call.

These differences bothered Mattie greatly so she contacted her childhood friend Martha and asked her to stop by and check on her Mom.  Martha confirmed Mattie’s worst fear with a video phone call. Mary’s house was a wreck and some of the food in her refrigerator was spoiled.  There were stacks of unpaid bills, along with piles of unopened junk mail.

Mattie knew that she had to spring into action quickly. She knew her Mom well and knew that everything that she saw on the Martha-orchestrated video chat was just opposite the way that her Mom typically took care of things.  

Mattie was worried that this appeared to be worse than she suspected.  She noticed that Mom was not quite herself when they spoke to each other on the phone, but she didn’t know that it was this bad.  Mattie was kicking herself for not noticing! How could she have missed all of these clues? Mattie booked the next flight home to investigate. 

Making a Determination from a Distance

If you live a hundreds of miles from Mom and only see her in person a couple of times per year, it’s hard to know whether she is declining or not. Sometimes, it’s obvious. If your Mom has a stroke, a heart attack, a fall, or some major health event, you may know instantly. Sometimes the change is gradual. It’s more of a feeling that you get when you talk to Mom that leaves you wondering, “Is she really declining? Does she need my help or is she OK? Should I go out there and check on her?”  

If you are in Mattie’s shoes and are trying to make a determination from afar, there are a few things to focus on to help give you a little clarity. In our next blog, we will discuss the steps that Mattie took to provide some help for her Mom and some peace of mind for herself.

We’ll See You Then.

Next Step

If you were in Mattie’s shoes, what would you do?  Please leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!

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