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6 thoughts on “Caring for Loved Ones: When Our Best Efforts Aren’t Enough

  1. Fascinating article, thanks for sharing the frustration that can be included in caring for a frail elderly loved one. My mother, very independent, failed fairly suddenly and accepted my sister’s and my decisions on getting more help and finally moving. My MIL insisted she could be independent and we spent time helping her with a lot of resentment that we didn’t help her the “right way.” E.g.: There was hoarding involved and we felt some things she didn’t need, had to secretly toss or give stuff away. She soldiered away in her independence with resentment even as she struggled to do what she used to do. I think the “inability to accept help or recognize the need for dependency” is the final frontier for geriatricians to solve. And I mean solve. So far, even the best in the business haven’t been able to. So how much harder is it for families without these resources? But surfacing the issue in this way is a huge step forward. I look forward to reading more.

  2. Nora – Thanks for this post! These are great questions and I hope to begin to uncover some of the answers as I begin my career! But, as you said, even the most skilled geriatricians are finding this challenging. As much as we can try and encourage someone to do something, sometimes just being there, showing your love, and supporting her decision in the best way possible, is all we can do – even if its challenging for us to bear.

  3. This is such a tricky issue. Your friend’s daughters must be beside themselves. I don’t think there really is a “solution.” The dementia would be the most troubling aspect, to me – is there enough of a mind there for your friend to use in making her decisions. But, in general, I think her free will trumps all, as tough as that is to accept or work with. It does have to be heartbreaking for family and friends, though.

  4. One of the daughters needs to have a Power of Attorney so that they are able to make the necessary decisions when their Mom’s dementia has gotten to the point that she can’t. It seems to me that someone else is seeing that she is fed, showered, her bills are paid, her doctor’s appointments are made and she gets to them. At some point the daughters are going to have to make arrangements to move her to a safer environment with or without her consent.

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  6. What a great story! It may sound like a simple thing, but the note thanking him for “treating him like a human being,” is one many of us in the world of disabilities hear quite often. It doesn’t take much effort to treat others as humans, no matter what differences any of us have – we’re all people.

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