Managing Mom's Decline - Christmas in February

Did you get an unexpected Christmas Present this year???

It may seem a bit strange to read the word “Christmas” in a blog post several weeks after we have taken down the tree and stashed away all the Christmas decorations for another year. Yet even though Christmas 2022 is in the history books, many families are still working through many of the unexpected “discoveries” that they made during their Christmas visit to Momma’s house. Life is far from normal when you are managing Mom’s decline!

Our new book is aimed at addressing the basics of this phenomenon. In too many homes it was the same result – people were shocked by their Loved Ones’ cognitive and/or physical state. If that was you, or you just want to be prepared if it happens to you, check out our new book:
Navigating Mom’s Christmas Shocker!


Shocked and Horrified

Many of the adult kids who came in for a visit were shocked to see and hear things that they didn’t expect at all.  

  • Rather than experience visions of sugarplums dancing through Mom’s living room – they encountered a Mom who was a dim vision of her previous self.  She was disheveled, unorganized and a little bit confused.  Her physical and cognitive health was obviously not what it had been during the last visit. 
  • Rather than walking into a home decked out with Christmas decorations, they walked into a bleak existence. 
  • Rather than seeing a ready to eat Christmas dinner on the dining room table, such as had greeted them in years past – they were greeted by an empty table and empty fridge.

Even though they just spoke with Mom 2 days ago – she forgot they were coming!

It’s not like they didn’t keep in touch.  Mom’s 3  adult kids all live flying distance from Mom, so they only get to visit in person once or twice a year, but Christmas is the one time that the whole family gets together at Mom’s house.  All of the kids have weekly phone conversations with Mom and always ask whether everything is OK.  They sincerely want to help and all have volunteered many times to help with anything they can do from a distance.

Mom usually says that she is fine, and appreciates the offer of help but knows her kids are busy.  She is proud of their achievements in life and doesn’t want to impose.  This year the kids hoped everything was fine but knew deep down that this probably wasn’t true.

Managing Mom's Decline - Physical Decline

When they actually arrived at Mom’s house, their deepest fears suddenly became a reality. They kids immediately knew that things had changed forever. There was a new reality for their relationship with Mom and it starts right now.

The Severely Modified Christmas Visit

Since the kids came with their families, they got busy and made the best of it.  They all chipped in and prepared a version of Christmas dinner.  They put up some hastily created Christmas decorations and bought the last spindly tree available from a local supermarket.

After the Christmas dishes were washed, dried and put away, Mom took a nap and the kids seized this opportunity to have a conversation on the back porch.  What was going on?  What can we do to help Mom?  What does she want and will she even agree to accept help?  Does she have money to pay for needed help?  Does she have any legal documents in place?  What does her doctor say? Has she even been to a doctor this year?

So many questions and so little time.  The kids have to button up and fly back home to their families, their jobs and their lives in just a couple more days. What do they do?

They didn’t want to leave Mom there but:

  • She didn’t want to go home with any of them
  • She didn’t want outside caregivers coming into her house.
  • She sure didn’t want to go to an Assisted Living Facility!
  • And the kids all had to go back home!
  • Now it’s February and they are still trying to figure out managing Mom’s decline!

What can we do to help Mom AND help us to know we did the right thing?

We See It Every Year!

Cindy & I see several versions of the above story every year.  The adult kids come home for a visit expecting one thing – and they experience something entirely different. Regardless of the scenario specifics, the task of managing Mom’s decline stays the same.

What was your visit to Momma’s house this last holiday season like?  It may have been much better than the bleak experience depicted above – or it may have even been worse than this.

If you experienced a version of the above story, our new book entitled Navigating Mom’s Christmas Shocker may be just what you need to get things headed in the right direction.  

Even though we are well past Christmas, many of you are still trying to figure out a plan to deal with the issues you encountered during your Christmas visit to Momma’ house.  If this is you, click the link below to download your version of Navigating Mom’s Christmas Shocker today.

And we wish you the best with your post Christmas planning process as you attempt to craft a better future for Mom and for your family.

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

Shocked During the Holidays?

Were you shocked over the Holidays when you visited your parent and realized things are worse than you thought? You have your own life, work and responsibilities. What will you do?

We’ve been there & we understand.

That’s why we wrote a book to help you make the best decisions for your parent as quickly as possible.

We want to be friends!

Ok. That might come off a little fast, but you can trust us. We want to help! We fully understand the stress and turmoil that you are facing as Family Caregiver – including personal experiences with burnout.

In our time as caregivers, we have amassed a wealth of knowledge that we desire to pass on. We understand the emotions involved while making necessary decisions. Likewise, we have met many professional caregivers, as well as other family members who were thrust as Family Caregiver. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community! There is nothing more cleansing for our situation than knowing that we are not alone!

We have since created Caregiver Connection. Caregiver Connection is a newsletter that we write personally and send to fellow Caregivers. It is full of tips, tricks, direction and even professional advice. If you would like to sign up, click the button below.

Please Invite Someone to Our Newsletter

Being an Adult Kid who is helping mom as she is declining can be a scary, frustrating and lonely place lacking stability. You feel like you are solely responsible for solving Mom’s problems while managing yours. Some occasional input and a community you can trust would help, especially when facing burnout! This is a way that all of us can be working together as caregivers!

Many others that you may personally know are having to figure it all out by themselves. Most of them have no community. Please take a minute and do them a favor. Copy this link ~> <~ and send it to them in an email or private message. They can click on it and subscribe to our newsletter for free.

Then they can enjoy weekly tips and encouragement. They no longer have to feel so alone in their family caregiver journey. They will appreciate the favor! Thank you for thinking of them!

About the Author

Doug & his wife Cindy have not only helped hundreds of families with their estate planning and elder law needs over the years, but have personal experience as caregivers and advocates for their Loved Ones as well.

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