by Joy Loverde
Avoid. Steer clear. Dodge reality. My reluctant Aunt Bernice is a master when it comes to not making a decision about moving out of her house. Part 6 of my blog, “Moving a Reluctant Parent”’ talked about how discussions between me and my aunt had come to a screeching halt. This blog is focused on letting you know that more time has gone by and nothing has changed.
It’s time for me to say or do something – or is it? If a choose to, I can say something to her like, “Gee, Aunt B, it’s been awhile since you and I packed up a few of your belongings and talked about the possibility of you selling the house and moving. You were all gung ho not too long ago. What’s up?” Or I can continue to keep my mouth shut and listen for opportunities to open up the dialogue about moving once again when the timing is right.
Timing. Do you realize the importance of timing, dear blog reader? It’s the KEY INGREDIENT to my success in this eldercare situation, and the only way I will be able to keep the lines of communication open between me and Aunt Bernice and the pending move. Do I want things to be different? Do I want to wring her neck? Am I angry and afraid that she will hurt herself? Of course. And this is her life, her choice, her journey.
In the meantime I am climbing the walls with anxiety. Physically and mentally she is on a downward spiral. She has never been more overweight and tired and depressed than right now. The stress of caring for an aging house that is in dire need of repair keeps her up night after night. And what is she doing about it? Leaving town and going on vacation or getting together with girlfriends for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as if she hasn’t a care in the world.
From my years of experience in family caregiving with aging parents and elderly loved ones, what typically happens that forces a move in housing is a health-related incident (just typing these words made my heart beat ten times faster). Let’s say Aunt B is mowing the lawn and her back goes out and she lands in the hospital emergency room, or she falls down the stairs. Sadly, these are the kinds of events that change things for the better in terms of her taking action to sell the house and move.
Knowing this eldercare scenario is where I am at right now, it’s my turn to take care of myself during this stressful time of waiting until things change. My book, The Complete Eldercare Planner has numerous family caregiver tips for these kinds of emotionally stressful eldercare times.
One of my favorite stress-reliever tips includes having someone “safe” to talk to about what’s going on. My best friend, Jill has heard it all. I can say anything to her, and get down and dirty about how I really feel. By the time I am finished talking with Jill, I have put everything back into perspective and we are usually end up laughing our heads off about the absurdity of the entire eldercare situation. To top it off, we usually end our conversations with, “I’ll never be like that.” And that statement makes us laugh even harder.