The Fearless Caregiver
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Gary Barg - Editor-in-Chief, Today's Caregiver Magazine

The Coffee Conflicts

I just got off the phone with my friend Gloria, who lives in South America. She was updating me on her family situation. Her grandfather, who was a leading politician in his country and a man of great presence and strength, had passed away two years ago. His last years left him in a weakened state, living with end stage Alzheimer’s disease and a host of other health issues, not the least of which was double amputation. He passed at the age of 92, having lived at least 85 strong, vigorous and healthy years.

After his passing, Gloria’s mother Rosa moved in with Gloria’s 95-year-old grandmother in the family home. Thus starts our story. Thankfully, Gloria’s grandmother is fit, mentally alert and healthy. She even drives to town once a week for her provisions. After Rosa moved in, with all good intensions of helping her mother, she inadvertently started to upset the balance of her mother’s carefully cultivated life—advising her mother that she should start refraining from her beloved coffee because it wasn’t so good for her health and taking over the shopping routine by stocking the house with healthier food choices than those her mother makes on her trips to the market. Consequently, instead of helping, Rosa’s efforts led to fights between the two women and their relationship began to seriously deteriorate. Gloria stepped in trying to negotiate a middle ground in the “Food Wars.”  Since her grandmother, thankfully, needed no physical support, Gloria convinced her mom to move back to her own home less than a mile away and hired a housekeeper to help her grandmother around the house. Peace was restored in the family and Rosa was able to once again have the friendly relationship with her own mother that they enjoyed before their experiment in living together. 

While understanding that every caregiving situation is different, this story reminds me that whenever possible, the best long-term care is “transparent.”  The person being cared for still feels in control, but is firmly protected within a safety net created by loving family members and friends. Of course, the most efficient safety net is designed to be flexible, taking into consideration any changes in the mental and physical health of the loved one held within.

 

 
  Long Term Care Channel
 

Gary Barg
Editor-in-Chief
Today's Caregiver magazine
gary@caregiver.com
Wednesday December 1,  2010
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