How do we care for our aging parents and our other elderly relatives?
I’ve always viewed belonging to a very close-knit extended family a good thing. I still do. But, we’re getting to that time where some very difficult decisions have to be taken and it’s stressful as hell.
For my parents, I’ve been extremely lucky. My mom, bless her, is an ever practical and mostly organized person. She has taken steps to ensure that she and my dad are properly provided for and most of her papers—financial details, etc.—are in order in case anything happens. And as much as we all hate to think about such things, it’s unavoidable. I’m grateful that she has taken a bulk of the potential problems and smoothed them out. She did so to spare her us any additional pain or worry. Admittedly, her plans involve a lot of trust in her children, but she knows us well and I think that she and my dad are going to be okay on that front.
Coming from a close extended family as I’ve mentioned earlier, there is another elderly member of the family we take care of and worry about. We’ve always operated on an “ask no questions” system, especially when it comes to financial matters. Their money is none of our business. We’re here for love, support, and backup.
I suppose it’s also meant to reflect our respect for them that we stand by their decisions even when we disagree or feel that things aren’t quite alright. But what is one supposed to do when you feel that your elderly person isn’t up to the task of taking care of his business anymore? It might sound harsh, but it’s the truth of our situation. Our elderly relative has been for some time, not quite all there anymore and we’re afraid that in not so few situations, he’s being taken advantage of. When does following our non-meddling, no questions stance become neglect? That refusing to get involved in what could be deemed important and sensitive aspects of his life on the grounds of respect, be actually not taking care of him.
By getting involved and taking action, I don’t stand to gain anything and neither do the rest of our family, except perhaps some stress, and the danger of being misunderstood and alienating the elderly relative in question. In the end, what I hope it leads to is some peace of mind.
I’ve made a decision for myself, I will try to do something. If the rest of the family falls in, great; if not, that’s okay too. Having said that, I have no idea how and where to begin.
By the way, I read some helpful stuff here.