Up Front Discussions Make a Difference!
Something happens to Momma and we react immediately! We are confused but feel called into action so we just start running. We don’t know where, but it’s an emergency, so we start running with no direction. If we stop to ask for directions, the person may ask which way we are going, to which we respond like Alice did to the Cheshire Cat.
When Alice (in wonderland) asked the Cheshire Cat which road to take, the cat asked “Where do you want to go?” Alice answered “I don’t know”, to which the Cat said “Then it really doesn’t matter does it.”― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
When something bad happens in our family, we often don’t know which way to go, what to do or even who to ask. We just know that we’ve got to do something and do it fast.
Starting Without a Direction
When called into action, we may feel that we’ve got to start immediately and so we often start without a plan. If the bad thing has happened suddenly, we may be running on adrenaline so we just move!
That happened to me. My Mom suffered an unexpected stroke after a heart valve replacement surgery. I moved quickly to get her to the hospital then did a lot of “hurried waiting”. Not knowing what to do, what to ask or even who to ask, I did a lot of standing there with adrenaline flowing through my body, which was a very uncomfortable feeling. I was only focused on the present moment. I had no direction and was unable to focus on what’s next.
We knew that stroke or even death was a “remote” possibility, but didn’t think to have the “what if” discussion with Mom. In retrospect, having that discussion would have helped Mom and would have helped me.
Up Front Discussions
In the Mom Centered Family Meeting process, we start with the necessary phase of gathering all facts before having the Mom Centered Family Meeting. It’s often counterproductive to meet until you know a few basic things such as finances, legal document availability and family availability.
However at the very beginning of the process, we suggest having a “preferences” discussion with Mom. In this discussion, we talk about what Mom would want in the unlikely event that her health declined even more than originally expected. We discuss things such as:
- What type of care she would want
- Where she would want to be
- Who she would want to provide that care
- How that care would be financed
- And When major changes (such as facility care) would be required.
It’s great to have similar discussions with your siblings to determine how they view the situation. It’s likely that they may have noticed things that you missed. Working together to choose a direction before the bad thing happens AND before the potential bad emotions happen often allows the family to achieve much better results down the road.
These are often not easy discussions to have – but it’s much easier to have them (1) while your parent still has the cognitive ability to have the discussion and (2) before something bad happens.
We wish you the best as you have these discussions with your Mom and your family. Doing this can help get you started down the right planning path.
We want to be friends!
Ok. That might come off a little fast, considering we barely know each other. However, 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. 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 to plug into 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 – help.mom/cc – 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!
Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!