It’s so easy to get frustrated and angry when we’re the one that everyone counts on. Pair that up with a negative senior who is struggling with memory loss and you have a recipe for disaster. So do you need a time out? Chances are your older loved one does too. We can find at least a little time to get some perspective but it’s much harder for our older loved one to escape to calmer waters.
It seems these days that the whole world is angry. Sometimes that negativity and anger seeps into our lives, into our homes, into our relationships. Stress and lack of rest can make it harder to be the peacemaker especially when the one we’re caring for is in turmoil.
I see it in my mother. She’s taking care of daddy who’s been struggling with his health. She tries to do it all. That’s the trouble. No one can do it all for very long until things start to fall apart. I go over often, sometimes with some of the grandkids or food so she won’t have to cook. I take daddy to most of his appointments. It’s hard for my momma to get out when she’s worn out already.
I can get in my truck and go home. Momma doesn’t have an escape. Add to the list that she’s spoiled my daddy rotten all his life and of course, she’s not going to let anyone else help take care of him. That’s her job.
She’s forgetting a lot. It’s not just because she’s 82 years old. It’s the stress and worry and lack of sleep. She tells me the same things over and over again. That’s okay. I can listen if she needs to talk. Sometimes she’s upbeat. “Your daddy’s pretty good today.” Other times it’s a whole different story where she goes over all the things that are wrong with him and she doesn’t think he’ll live much longer. This part is hard for me to take. I’m a daddy’s girl from the get-go. But I just listen and try to be optimistic.
Anyone who’s dealing with an elder who is having trouble with their memory will tell you — it doesn’t do any, any, any good to keep correcting them. But if you can redirect them, talk about something pleasant or a fond memory or even the weather, it can get them off the negative track. Make sure they are eating as well as possible. Make sure they are getting some rest. Encourage them to get out in the sunshine each day. Take them a special treat or get out the photo albums and take a walk down memory lane. Not only will it take them to a better place but it will also help you.
I don’t know how long I’ll have either of my parents with me. The stress momma is under can take a huge toll. What I do know is that I appreciate them more now than ever. It’s important to me, and to them that I tell them how much they mean to me, what they’ve done for me and how much I love them.
Short Visits With Short People
Taking my grandkids over for a visit always lifts my parents up. I took over two of the sweet kiddos this week and we only stayed a while but it was long enough to put big smiles on both my parents. Children are healing. Children are generally upbeat. Children make older people happy. Share the ones in your life with your older loved ones and they’ll be forever grateful.
Keep Your Own Troubles to Yourself — If at All Possible
When you older loved one is going through a stressful time they don’t need to hear about all our woes. We can share that with someone else. We can put on our big people pants and tough it out for a while. Perhaps they’ll be a better time to share the negative but not when our loved ones are going through hard times and especially if you have a worrier for a parent.
All We Can Do
We can only do our best to help when we can. We can make sure and let other family members and friends know of our loved ones’ needs. The more people who are there who care the better our loved ones’ lives will be. Everybody needs to know they matter.