5 Success Tips In Caring For Difficult Parents

Dr Mikol Davis & Carolyn RosenblattFirst, we do have to put ourselves first sometimes.  What’s best for us, best for our own families and our own peace of mind must be a serious consideration.  Sacrificing our sanity for the sake of caregiving is not the best choice. Delegate and find others to help if having too much of the caregiver burden is getting you down.

Second, know our own limitations.  Caring for aging parents can become very time-consuming and emotionally wrenching as we watch our loved ones decline in health.  Trying to bravely go it alone, taking in an ailing parent, or assuming other large, long term chores is not for everyone.  It’s okay to say “no”.  Every adult child is not the same and many are simply unable to do a good job of being a primary caregiver.  Admitting this to ourselves is both healthy and necessary.

Third, forget trying for praise, appreciation or recognition of a caregiving job well done when our parent has dementia.  Our parent’s brain is not functioning normally with dementia.  The cognitive impairment may mean that he or she is unable to appreciate your efforts.  It may mean behavior changes, such as suspicion, accusations and nasty outbursts in your aging parent when that sort of thing didn’t happen before.  Do a good job for your own sake and because it’s right, not because you have to have your parent’s approval.

Fourth, we need to love ourselves for trying.  Our efforts may not always succeed. We may feel doubt about what we’re doing. We may feel guilty that we get mad at an aging parent who is so difficult.  But we keep trying to make life manageable, keep up their quality of life the best we can and go at it with sincere hearts.  We need to tell ourselves that we are brave and valued for forging on in the face of difficulty.  We need to appreciate our own efforts.

Fifth, we need to take breaks.  We get so lost in caregiving, directing others, managing our own jobs, families and problems, we forget how much time we’re putting in. We forget to stop.  This is really important!  To nurture our own bodies and soothe our own spirits is the very thing that gives us the strength to carry on and keep it up.

So, my friends, be very good to yourselves.  Love your own heartfelt work of helping aging parents, especially the most difficult ones.  It takes a strong will to put up with the resistance difficult parents put up.

Mikol and I are with you. We have difficult people in our lives, too.  My Mom was mentally ill and the challenge to my strength and patience was there for years on end.

We are on this journey together.  We can help each other along.

If your aging parent is driving you nuts, let us know about it,  We do like to address your questions.

Until next time,
All the best,

Carolyn Rosenblatt, RN, Attorney and Dr. Mikol Davis

Housing And Support Services

Part I – So Many Choices – An Overview 10:01podcast
Where is “home”? Perhaps the most important aspect of our life. But as we age, our housing requirements start to change. When we talk about housing, where our parent lives, uppermost in consideration is the need to maximize their independence. The good news is that there is a wide range of housing options between complete independent living at one end of the spectrum and a skilled nursing home at the other. What would you want for yourself? Obviously living at home is the number one choice. This program, and the other podcasts in this series, will help you focus your thinking so that the complexity of where your parent lives begins to make sense.

 

 

podcastPart II – Living Independently at Home 5:16
Living independently at home is the preferred choice for seniors and if you’re an adult child it should be your first choice as well. But how can you prolong the time that your parent can live at home, alone? The trick is to bring in support services. Services that can be done by you and other family members and services done by others –paid or volunteer. Sometimes just a few little things can be done to keep an elder viably independent at home. Listen to this program to get a good understanding of how to keep mom or dad at home.

 

 

podcastPart III – Assisted Living 10:16
When the time comes that a parent can no longer live independently at home is no longer viable for health or safety reasons, an assisted living facility is a great alternative. Assisted living options are for active elders who need some daily or occasional help with the activities of daily living. It’s a social community not a nursing home. This program will clarify what an assisted living community is and is not, how to choose one, how parents can thrive in a good assisted living community, and what you can expect from moving a parent from the old home/house to the new environment.

When Crisis Strikes

There’s nothing quite like a parent’s crisis to help you focus on what needs to be done. But it’s also true that your parent’s crisis can quickly become your crisis if you let it. This program will help you understand the dynamics involved in a crisis, how to quickly get organized to manage the crisis and how to use the crisis as a starting point to effective long term caring.

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Getting Organized Part 1 (When Its Time to Help)

Part I – When it’s time to help a parent – How you know and how to get started 7:52
When is it appropriate to intervene to help a parent? When do you, for example, say no more driving? How do you know its time to step-up and become your parents’ caregiver? This program will help you focus on what your parent’s situation is, where to get help and information about their true status. It’s a
complicated subject but this program can help!

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Getting Organized Part 2 (Developing an Extended Care Plan)

Part II – Developing an Extended Care Plan 3:53
Managing long-term caring for a parent requires having a good plan. An extended care plan deals with a parent’s total life – medical and health needs, financial status and prospects, community and support services, housing, needs for daily help. Lots of questions to ask and subjects to think about.

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Getting Organized Part 3 (Care Coordination – Making the Pieces Fit)

Part III – Care Coordination – Making the Pieces Fit 6:28
How can you coordinate all the pieces that go into caregiving your parent? How can you effectively work with your family? A look at the range of support needs that you and your parent will need while you are providing care. Where to go for help and how to make the process effective and on track. This
program will help you understand the pieces of the caregiving puzzle, how to make them work, and how to monitor the changing and ongoing needs associated with caring for an elder.

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Distance Caregiving Part 1 (Long Distance Caregiving – You Can Do It!)

Distance Caregiving Part I – Long Distance Caregiving – You Can Do It! 9:33

Many of us live hundreds or thousands of miles away from our aging parents. The distance makes caregiving more complex and difficult but it can be managed effectively. This program, and the others in this series, focus on how you can provide loving and solid care even when the miles between you are
great. Topics include moving to be with your parent, moving your parent to be closer to you, what’s the right thing to do? This is an important series for both parent and adult children.

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Distance Caregiving Part 2 (Long Distance Caregiving – Building A Support Network)

Part II – Long Distance Caregiving – Building A Support Network 4:49
How do you create a support network in your parent’s home community? A support network extends your capabilities to help your parents. This program will give you several great ideas to building a network and how to manage it.

 

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Distance Caregiving Part 3 (Long Distance Caregiving – Rural Caregiving)

Part III – Long Distance Caregiving – Rural caregiving 3:40
What do you do when your parent lives in a rural area? Rural living may be wonderful but when you need caregiving services for a parent you have new challenges. This podcast discusses how to provide help for your parents directly or to help you monitor their situation to keep you informed. A must listen
for those who have parents living at a distance in a rural setting.

 

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Distance Caregiving Part 4 (Long Distance Caregiving – Knowing When To Go)

Part IV – Long Distance Caregiving – Knowing when to go 2:51
Sometimes you just have to go visit your parent to see for yourself what is happening with them? But how do you know if you MUST travel? If you decide you do need to go, how can you be the most productive during your visit. Important things to consider before you get on a plane for that trip to see Mom or Dad.

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Family Dynamics Part 1 & 2

Part I – Middle of the Night 6:42
Why does it always seem to happen in the middle of the night? So many of us get that call telling us that a parent has suddenly been taken to the hospital and guess what – your life is about to get a lot more complicated. The good news is that you can prepare in advance for such an emergency. This
program focuses on what you can do, today, to make the plans that will be put in place when your parent has a medical emergency. This is useful information that you can use to begin planning for a more certain future.

Part II – Talking with Your Parents 13:48
No one wants to think about getting old or the responsibility of caring for an aging parent. That’s why so many of us stay in denial and try not to think about it. We also know that staying in denial can create enormous problems for your parent, you, and your own family. So we have to suck it up and be grownups. This program will give you practical ideas and direction to help you effectively talk with your parents and your siblings to develop a plan to help care for a parent. Don’t put it off, start talking today about what plans your parents have made for their later years and how you as their caring child can
help. Good information here for both adult child and aging parents – share it with those who eventually will be called on for help and long-term caring.

 

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Legal Issues: Protecting Your Wishes and Assets Part 1 (The Living Will)

Part I – The Living Will – Advance Directives for Health Care 8:50
You have a stroke or an accident and are suddenly unable to communicate to the medical team what treatments you want or don’t want. Who makes the decisions? You do, if you had written down your desires before you became incapacitated or incompetent. It can happen to any of us at any time which
is why it is so important to make out your “Living Will” or Advance Directives for Health Care (the name of this document varies from state to state) in place. This program covers all the basics about this document from what it is, why it’s so important, and how to decide to whom you should give decisionmaking power on your behalf. It even tells you where you can get the forms for free. This is critical information that will make your choices for medical care clear and firm in the event that you are not able to answer questions from the medical team who is treating you.

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Legal Issues: Protecting Your Wishes and Assets Part 2 (Power of Attorney)

Legal Part II – Power of Attorney 7:11
There are times in life when you or your parent is not able to make certain legal or financial decisions. When those times come, having a trusted family member or friend be able to make decisions, carry out financial transactions or other non-medical choices means givng them your “power of attorney” (POA), the legal tool that authorizes them to act on your behalf. There are many types of POAs but all of them have the same underlying structure. That is that you need to decide who you can trust to make decisions for you and be certain that the person you choose is aware of the trust, responsibility, and
legal power that you are giving them. This program is a great start to understanding the complexities of a power of attorney including the important issue of how to choose the right person who you want to act on your behalf when you are unable to do so for yourself.

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Business Side of Care Giving Part 1 (Understanding Your Parents Finances)

Part I – Understanding Your Parents Finances 9:55

We don’t really want to think about it but eventually we are faced with the reality of paying for our parents long term care, and our own as well. This program deals with strategies that are critical to surviving long-term care. It also deals with the consequence of denying the inevitable and how to start focusing on getting prepared. Topics covered include talking with your parents about their finances, insurance and long-term care planning; what things you as the caregiver need to know, and what steps you can and should do for yourself to get started on plans for your own later years.

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Business Side of Care Giving Part 2 (Understanding Insurance Policies)

Part II – Understanding Insurance Policies (4:03)
Insurance is a major part of the business side of caregiving. This program discusses the changing insurance needs of our parents and how to evaluate what they have and what they need today.

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Business Side of Care Giving Part 3 (Long Term Care Insurance)

Part III – Long Term Care Insurance (15:40)
Paying for long term care is one of the scariest and most important subjects when it comes to planning for our later years. This program gets into the details about long-term care insurance (LTC). Who needs it? How to buy it. How to choose a company that you can count on. For many older people, it may be too late to buy coverage so this program might be even more important for mid-lifers and pre-retirees. Understanding the ins and outs of LTC is critical to protecting your family’s assets.

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Medical and Health Part 1 (Understanding and Navigating the Health Care System)

Part I – Understanding and navigating the healthcare system 6:44
For many of us, the first time we are aware that our lives are about to change is when we hear that our parent has been admitted to a hospital. Planning in advance of a medical crisis is obviously advantageous. This podcast discusses some of the legal documents you and your parent should have
in place as well as what you need to be able to communicate to your parent’s support network. Listen to the program to get an understanding about how to speak to medical professionals about what is really going on with your parent.

Click on the triangle or the podcast icon below the bar to listen!

 

Medical and Health Part 2 (Mental and Physical Wellness)

Medical and Health Part II – Mental and physical wellness – seeing the big picture 9:58
What is the most important component of positive aging? Is it physical, mental, or something else? This program discusses ways to look at the whole person and what constitutes good health. There’s a lot more than just medical conditions that make for healthy aging. Listen to the things that you need to insist on for your parents, and you, that will help you see the full scope of your parents (or your own) health.

Click the triangle or the podcast icon below the bar to listen!

Housing and Support Services Part 1 (So Many Choices – An Overview)

Where is “home”? Perhaps the most important aspect of our life. But as we age, our housing requirements start to change. When we talk about housing, where our parent lives, uppermost in consideration is the need to maximize their independence. The good news is that there is a wide range of housing options between complete independent living at one end of the spectrum and a skilled nursing home at the other. What would you want for yourself? Obviously living at home is the number one choice. This program, and the other podcasts in this series, will help you focus your thinking so that the complexity of where your parent lives begins to make sense.

Click the triangle or the podcast icon below the bar to listen!

podcast

Housing and Support Services Part 2 (Living Independently At Home)

Living independently at home is the preferred choice for seniors and if you’re an adult child it should be your first choice as well. But how can you prolong the time that your parent can live at home, alone? The trick is to bring in support services. Services that can be done by you and other family members and services done by others –paid or volunteer. Sometimes just a few little things can be done to keep an elder viably independent at home. Listen to this program to get a good understanding of how to keep mom or dad at home.

Click the triangle or the podcast icon below the bar to listen!

podcast

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  • 5 Success Tips In Caring For Difficult Parents April 22, 2014
    First, we do have to put ourselves first sometimes.  What’s best for us, best for our own families and our own peace of mind must be a serious consideration.  Sacrificing our sanity for the sake of caregiving is not the…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
  • Housing And Support Services April 20, 2014
    Part I – So Many Choices – An Overview 10:01 Where is “home”? Perhaps the most important aspect of our life. But as we age, our housing requirements start to change. When we talk about housing, where our parent lives,…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
  • When Crisis Strikes April 20, 2014
    There’s nothing quite like a parent’s crisis to help you focus on what needs to be done. But it’s also true that your parent’s crisis can quickly become your crisis if you let it. This program will help you understand…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
  • Getting Organized Part 1 (When Its Time to Help) April 20, 2014
    Part I – When it’s time to help a parent – How you know and how to get started 7:52 When is it appropriate to intervene to help a parent? When do you, for example, say no more driving? How…Read more ›
    Mikol Davis
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