One of the hardest things about dealing with a parent who has Alzheimer’s is there’s never a clear-cut answer on what to do next. Even if you know “what” to do, knowing “when” to do it is just as baffling. As a caregiver, you’re constantly dealing with “on one hand” and “then, on the other hand.”
Do you need to take away the car keys? Well, on one hand…
Do you need to take over the finances? Well, on one hand…
Do you need to increase her meds? Her level of care? Well, on one hand…
Because you’re never sure, you’re always running these questions around in your brain trying to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Caring for your patient is hard, but one of the things that makes it so hard is you’re never sure you’re doing the right thing. If you could be sure—100% sure—you wouldn’t mind doing the hard things.
It’s just that you’re never sure.
As I have thought about this, here’s where I’ve landed. Perhaps it will be helpful to you.
When I was little, I trusted Mom to do what was best for me. Nothing was ever said, and we never really talked about it. I just knew that my mom was doing her best to do what was right and good for me.
I didn’t ask that she be perfect. I didn’t demand she do everything the way I would have done it. I just wanted her, to the best of her ability, to do what was best for me.
Now, my mother is old. My mother is sick. She can’t make the decisions she used to make. She can’t do the things she used to do. Although we’ve never talked about it, she, like me a long time ago, is simply trusting I’ll do the right thing.
She didn’t do everything perfectly. She didn’t even do everything right, but I turned out OK.
I’m not going to do everything perfectly. I’m not going to do everything right, but to the best of my ability, given the information I have, I’m going to do what’s best for her. She’s trusting me just like her I trusted her.
I think she’ll be alright with that.
I will be too.