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I recently read Alex Witchel's, Who's In Charge Now? I am glad for her insights which eventually all of us have to accept that we can do little while our parents are able to look after their essential needs and health care choices. The continuum from diagnoses of a serious illness to utter frailty is not linear or predictable. More importantly we forget that as adult children we too need care when we discover that our mother or father is loosing independence.
l lost my mother to a very aggressive cancer in 2004. My father took upon himself to look after her and did accept visiting professionals as she digressed. I did not agree that he should take on such a burden while quality hospice care was available. He didn't think this through and many hurtful episodes occurred while Mom got worse. More recently Dad found himself unable to climb the stairs to his room and called 911. It turned out that he had ignored going to the cardiologist and needed triple by-pass and ventral surgery.
In post recovery Dad has made it clear that he wishes to make his own choices as to rehabilitation and domestic needs. He has rebuffed sensible choices that my brother and I have suggested and procrastinated on re-thinking how his life will proceed at 79. And oh yes, the CAR is still a huge issue. In a recent phone call with my brother we have agreed that until he hits another wall there is little we can do to be part of his health care choices, and not to pressure him. Bottom line is until a frail parent is deemed mentally incompetent there is nothing one can do. Kindness will come but there is so much to sort out.
Emotionally, I cannot accept this state and have discovered that the support I need will have to come from a counselor. Coincidentally, in the space of two weeks other co-workers have shared similar concerns and found they had hit walls with their elder parents. Many people do not know what health care proxy, DNR's, Power of Attorney are or how to take a leave of absence from work to sort out their parents medical emergencies. Kindness has to extend to ourselves as we face the anxieties and helplessness when we see our parents failing.