I read an article in the New York Times some time ago which left quite an impression. It concerned adult children that have finally had it after years of painful relationships with their parents and just give up or decide to exploit parents in order to get even with a perceived mistreatment.
Throughout the early years of my Geriatric Care Management practice I was challenged specifically by a long distance family member with this precise history with a parent. This adult family member became obsessed to the extent of compulsively controlling every breathing, waking moment associated with his father's care, relationships, outings, expenditures. The parent in question had no dementia diagnosis, yet the family member went to an MD appointment, handing a note with the word "dementia" in quotes to the cardiologist. When visiting from out of town he was critical of everything the parent did loudly, ultimately leaving after a bitter disagreement.
It left me sad and I wished it had been different because in my experience I have learned that an aging person in their 80's is not who they were in their 50's and chances are that those old family issues aren't even an issue anymore from the parent's perspective. Although this family member's behavior was old news to me and I realize that not everyone is meant to be a caregiver, I came pretty close to offering mediation, counseling, or both as it was taking hours of e-mails back and forth late into the night and early mornings of every day and my blackberry fingers were suffering from burnout. (that should describe how long ago it was).
If you'd like to read the New Old Age article here's a link below: http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/they-cant-go-home-again/
The article recommends 2 books which I think should be read if you are going through this with a parent: "They're Your Parents Too." by Francine Russo, and "When the Time Comes: Families With Aging Parents Share their Struggles and Solutions." by Paula Span, author of the New York Times blog described above.
As usual, I welcome your comments below.
Posted 6th of February, 2016 by Olga Brunner
Labels: Difficult children caring for Difficult Elder Parents
I Have worn many hats in my day: Nursing Home Assistant Admin and Activities Director, Assisted Living Admin, Case Management for the State-wide Medicaid Program, and Trainer for Dept of Elder Affairs.