See the Cargiving.Com article “The Decisions Caregivers Face During COVID-19” in which Denise reiterates a number of the points I have been making in in the past few weeks, as well as in an old posts from 2014. https://www.caregiving.com/2020/04/the-decisions-caregivers-face-during-covid-19/
Because of the Coronavirus, Denise had a discussion with her parents in March to assess their wishes for treatment. They decided that being cared for at home was the safest course of action. However, in April, Dad vacillated and said, “I don’t want to be put on a ventilator.” Denise had not considered that Dad, who always wanted to stay at home with Mom and not go to the hospital, would feel differently about Coronavirus because of the contagion factor and his concern about giving it to Mom. Denise concluded that it’s best to talk and to be prepared. Nothing is certain, except that things will change. Care plans will need to be tweaked and altered, but that’s okay. What is not okay is the paralysis of indecision and procrastination.
- Caregiving contingencies
- Thoughts about Denial
- The “We don’t need it yet” phenomenon
- The Conversation Project
Have those difficult discussions. Do it now.
For me, writing a book is an all-consuming process. After What to Do about Mama? was published in November 2013, I tended to refer to “my book” a lot in family conversations. My three adult children, who I encouraged to read the book, tended to tire of the topic. As my oldest daughter explained, “We don’t need it yet.”
There are four sets of grandparents in our family group. But, by the end of 2018, two of my “counterpart” grandmas had passed away. Life comes at you fast. Suddenly the kids realized they did indeed need the book. But at that point, as is typical in these situations, who had the time?
An article on caring.com, “Starting-the-conversation” discusses how to broach difficult subjects with aging parents. https://www.caring.com/caregivers/starting-the-conversation/
But how do you broach difficult subjects with your children, or maybe more
specifically, your children-in-law? My son-in-law’s (SIL) parents were both diagnosed with cancer in the span of a year. Seeing a need, and knowing that I had some useful information, I simply offered SIL a printout of The Conversation Project: https://www.theconversationproject.org/
Glancing at it, but not actually reading it, he noted language that brought
to mind difficult topics he did not want to acknowledge. In his denial, he charged me with being “insensitive” and he did not consider using the resource.
Clearly, my approach did not work well; unfortunately, it caused a shift in
our relationship; and sadly, within his family, some important information was not shared.
It is my impression that when it comes to caregiving, people often fall into
one of three categories:
- Pre-caregiving—“We don’t need it yet.”
- Current caregiving—“Who has the time?”
- Post-caregiving—“I just want to put it all behind me.”
The result? The cycle of “caregiving-in-crisis” continues.
Check out one of my previous posts on this topic: https://bgmatthewsblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/the-conversation-project/