He Needs to Read the Book

I replied to a question on the AgingCare.com website http://www.agingcare.com as follows:

My Dad’s moving in with my wife and I soon. How do I handle this?
Asked by tgengine

It is after all my idea but I am getting nervous. He is fine health wise but not financially. He is in the area where I grew up and many family members are as well as his friends. I live 5 states away. My brother is in the same town as my dad, my sister is about the same distance as I but neither will have him come with them. My dad and I get along very well as does my wife. We have a good size house and the kids are out. My issue is he is still active in work and mobile. I don’t know how to handle the day to day issues. I work at home. I will have to move my office from my nice sunny room to the basement to give him a living area. Finance should not be too much of an issue but I feel my siblings should contribute. How do I handle that? We are planning to add on to the house but that is a huge cost I cannot bear. We lost my mom recently, she did everything for my dad, he is progressing in getting things done but once he moves in how do we all keep our personal space? My biggest fear is him falling into depression. Currently he owns his business which my brother works in. I want him to work at least 3 hours a day (be out of the house) and go to a gym or some kind of activity. He doesn’t realize how active he is where he is now but he cant stay due to financial reasons. He is very close to his family there, once he is here it will be hard to go back and forth. I don’t want my wife and I to be his social scene. How do I get him to make friends here without him thinking I am pushing him away? Too many questions, I need something I just don’t know what.

My reply:
I quit my job to be my mother-in-law’s primary caregiver when she moved into our home. Believe me, I too, got a little nervous beforehand. MIL lived with us for four years. The first two were pretty good; the last two steadily declined. After my mother-in-law passed away, I wrote a book (What to Do about Mama? by Barbara G. Matthews and Barbara Trainin Blank). It isn’t a book by “experts,” but by people in the trenches. It provides information based on caregiving experiences (35 different caregiver stories), which will assist with developing realistic goals and expectations. In other words, we wrote the book to offer you and others like you, some insights based upon our hindsight.

The “too many questions” you’ve mentioned are “in the book,” along with a gazillion you probably haven’t even thought of yet. Trust me. Keep in mind that caregiving is never easy, and that it will get more difficult over time. This is not meant to discourage you from going ahead with your plan, but to encourage you to look ahead and be prepared.

Barbara Matthews

It’s in the Book!

As I said under “Personal Caregiving Stories” above, the purpose of this blog is to discuss caregiving experiences, many of which are addressed in “What to Do about Mama?” Let me be more specific.

I am a baby boomer, not a Gen X’er, Millennial, or a “new silent.”
(I just looked that one up.) I think this means Baby Boomers prefer to communicate by talking or writing (letters or e-mail). Personally, I don’t usually text, or Facebook (although many in my generation do), or blog.

I was a caregiver for 7 years.

I wrote a book.

I didn’t write the book to make money. My objective was to offer insights to other caregivers or potential caregivers based on the hindsight of experienced caregivers. But to get the word out, people have to read the book.

So, I now Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whattodoaboutmama
and blog: http:/www.bgmatthewsblog.wordpress.com
and maintain a half-dozen other media accounts.

And so far, to be honest, I really don’t like it. I get frustrated with the technology, and discouraged when I feel my information just


But I keep on trying.

Yesterday I explored a caregiving site: http://www.agingcare.com. And once again, as I read it I thought: “It’s in the book!”

I really don’t want to rewrite my book on-line. Nor do I want to create a lot of new material–but just publicize the existing material. So, I’m going to try (once again) to reference some really good information (by the AgingCare people) to my book, “What to Do about Mama?” and hope that folks both young and old will decide they want to learn more about caregiving by reading the book so that they will be more-prepared when their time inevitably comes.

Top 3 Excuses From Siblings Who Don’t Help With Caregiving
by Carol Bradley Bursack”

1. “I don’t have time.”
• This excuse is probably the most often used reason for not helping out. The implication in this excuse is that you, the person who has taken on the role of primary caregiver, do have time.
• “What to Do about Mama?” p. 13: “You don’t understand the pressures of our jobs.”

2. “I don’t have the Money.”
• Let’s say you have a brother in a distant state who says he’d be happy to help out by paying for some respite care for you, the caregiver, but he just doesn’t have the money. Maybe he’s right. He doesn’t have the money. But there are other ways he can help, if he actually wants to.
• “What to Do about Mama?” p. 93: I believe my mother feels we were much better off financially than my stepsister and stepbrother (so less was expected from them).

3. “I Can’t Bear to See Mom/Dad Like That”
• They think you like it? Day after day you watch the decline. You help them with everything, including very intimate day-to-day functions, such as toileting. Do your siblings think this step has been easy for you?
• “What to Do about Mama?” p. 15: My mother-in-law’s decline was especially difficult for my brother-in-law; his wife made a point to express this to me very specifically. He had no confidence in his ability to be alone with her. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he saw himself as the “last bastion of propriety” in his relationship with his mother. I did understand how difficult it is to watch a loved one’s decline; his brother, after all, faced it every day. I felt, however, that was not an acceptable excuse for not assuming responsibility.

Barb Matthews