Helping from a Distance!
Ellie was confused! For the third time this week, Momma had told her the same story when they had their call. At first, Ellie just chalked it up to Mom’s busy lifestyle. After all, Bonnie (Ellie’s Mom) had been the busiest Senior that Ellie had ever met. Bonnie was involved in several church and civic activities and was always reaching out to help others. Much to her surprise, Ellie was about to encounter a Smoking Gun.
However, during the last few weeks, Bonnie seemed to have withdrawn into a shell. She missed several civic meetings in a row and seemed a “little off” during the Ellie/Bonnie three-times-per-week phone call.
These differences bothered Ellie greatly, so she contacted her childhood friend Jenn and asked her to stop by and check on her Mom. Jenn confirmed Ellie’s worst fear with a video call. Bonnie’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.
Ellie had to spring into action. She knew her Mom and everything that she saw on the Jenn-orchestrated video chat was just opposite the way that her Mom typically took care of things.
Ellie was worried. Things appeared to be worse than she had suspected. She didn’t know that her mother had gotten that bad. Ellie became overcome with shame and guilt for not noticing sooner! How could she have missed all of these clues? Ellie booked the next flight home to investigate.
What was Ellie’s “Smoking Gun”?
Something must have happened to raise the issue to this level of awareness. For Ellie, the issue suddenly became real when Jenn did a video call from inside Bonnie’s house. That call convinced Ellie that Bonnie needed some help and needed it now!
It may not have happened yet for you, but you may have had the same experience as Ellie – if so, what was the “smoking gun” that convinced you that your Mom needed help?
The situation may have occurred slowly, over a period of time as your Mom began needing more help. Conversely, the realization may have occurred to you suddenly, as it did for Ellie. My “realization” that Mom needed help happened suddenly, right after she had her stroke. I knew immediately that she needed additional assistance now and would need round the clock medical care for the remainder of her life.
This “realization” will be different for every family. The key is to pay close attention to the changes in your Mom’s behavior and take action when you notice that she is struggling in some specific area.
What’s Your Smoking Gun?
You just read about Ellie’s “smoking gun”. What’s yours’? If your parent is declining and you are helping from a distance, what are some specific clues that lead to the conclusion that Mom needs help in certain specific areas? Maybe she doesn’t need help with everything – but she needs help with this specific thing.
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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. Our own experiences have given us great wisdom and insight that has translated into many a caregiver solution! Our personal experiences have fueled our message about the necessity of planning.
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 likewise thrust as Family Caregivers. All caregivers have shared the same advice – Join a community!
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Thank You for being a Caregiver for Your Loved One – you are making a huge difference in their life!