The “Unusual Personal Phenomenon”

Unusual Decisions During Uncertain Times!

Have you ever experienced an “Unusual Personal Phenomenon”? Ok, right now you may have narrowed your eyes, furrowed your brow, or scratched your head wondering what I am talking about. Now you’re thinking about which of these actions, or combination of actions, you have completed. You’re welcome.

Please allow me to elaborate. It’s very unusual in Arkansas to experience a weather trifecta – but that’s what we are experiencing now. It started last week (I Think – I’ve lost track of time!). Last week we had an ice storm that came through the area. It only rained for a couple of hours, but when it’s in the 20’s, a couple of hours of rain can lay down a substantial amount of ice.

Then two days later, we got a 6+ inch snow. (some parts of the state got up to 10″). Then one day later (now), it’s snowing again and they are calling for another 6 – 10″. I know – for those of you who live up North, you would say that this is an “average week”. But for us, it’s a big deal! Fortunately, it’s supposed to be up in the 50’s next week, so I’m greatly looking forward to that! The weather event came on the heels of a 14 day COVID quarantine, so we have been out of it for a while!

For our family at least, the past few weeks have been what we would label as a very unusual period of time. Unusual because in my 60+ years of living, I have never been through an almost 3 week quarantine (COVID + snow). Such periods of time are what I refer to as an “unusual personal phenomenon”.

Life During Unusual Times

My guess is that most of us will have some such period during our lifetime that we label “very unusual”. For sake of our discussion here, we could define this personal phenomenon as a “period of time where you are experiencing significant unusual events that have never happened before”.

You may identify the current time as a personal phenomenon because of a confluence of events (such as my COVID quarantine backed up by a multi-week weather event). The odds of these two things happening individually are high – but the odds of them happening back to back are off the charts.

We see this sometimes with health events suffered by Seniors. They may suffer a broken hip + have the flu or some type of infection – all at the same time. Either would be a tough event for a frail elder to endure. But the combination of 2 or 3 things happening concurrently can be life threatening.

Making Decisions around an Unusual Personal Phenomenon

We have also seen the same phenomenon in the lives of our clients. Maybe it was a seemingly great life event such as getting a major job promotion requiring a move to a different city. But sometimes this seemingly great life experience is coupled with something devastating, such as a major health challenge (cognitive or physical) suffered by their parent. This requires the Adult Child to decide whether they decline their once-in-a-lifetime promotion to stay with their parent OR decide to accept the promotion and then scramble to arrange necessary care and assistance for their parent.

Such decisions are never easy. And to complicate matters, there is unusually no one “right” answer. To help you though such periods, consider the following:

  1. Understand that this is one of those rare times when you are experiencing an unusual phenomenon. Yes, things are very unusual and very different. You may have not walked this path before.
  2. There may be no clear “good” answer to the problem. OR it may be choosing the least worst alternative such as the example above where you would have to choose between (a) turning down a life changing job offer in a new city; or (b) moving away from Mom and entrusting her care to outside caregivers.
  3. Making the Decision. How do you make such an impossible decision? Different people would have different methods. For me, the decision would come after a great deal of prayer and reflection. What conversations have you had with Mom in the past. What would she want you to do in a situation like this?
  4. If applicable, have a Mom Centered Family Meeting where this issue and other care issues are discussed with your family. Hopefully a great going forward plan can be crafted that is beneficial for Mom and the entire family.
  5. Make the decision, monitor the results and move on!

Let Me Know About Your Unusual Personal Experience(s)

If you have experienced anything like this, please reply to this email and briefly describe the issue then let me know how you made the decision. With your permission, I may refer to your example in a future edition, but I will withhold your name so as to protect your privacy.

We wish you the best as you work through any unusual phenomenon decisions in your personal life.

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