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My friend is living with her parents. Her mom has what I would consider advanced dementia, needing help with personal care, with all that that means. The dad suffered an injury a few years back and can't help with her care. I know this is hard, frustrating and lonely for my friend and it has seriously impacted her life. Like most of you, this is not what she planned to be doing with her life. I want to be supportive and encouraging to her, but I don't know how. I cannot physically assist with her mom's care and I don't know how else to help.


In another thread there was much discussion about how a person not in this position can't possibly understand or care, and I feel like that outsider here. Please help me to help my friend. Tell me how you would like to be understood or cared for.

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Update: I took my friend out to an early dinner this afternoon and we both had a great time! Just the two of us, and we sat and visited a couple of hours (don't worry, the restaurant was not busy, but after a bit I alerted the waiter and we ordered coffee and dessert so we weren't tying up a table for nothing!).

You guys are awesome, thank you SO MUCH for your suggestions, we will definitely do this again, and I will try to be more sensitive to her needs.

Now if I may offer a suggestion back at you, with the understanding that it may or may not apply? Don't assume that your friends, church family, or whomever, don't care. Maybe they really just don't know. They don't know what you're going through; they don't know what it's like; and unless you tell them, they don't know what you need! There is only one way they can know, short of going through it themselves, and that is for you to let them know. People don't read minds.

Do you need someone to come sit with Mom for an hour while she naps so you can get out of the house for a bit? That's probably doable, but the idea of having to change her Depends while you're gone for several hours is just too daunting.

Do you need a sympathetic shoulder to cry on after putting Dad to bed? That's doable, too. Call your friend and tell them you just need to talk. How about a prayer partner, someone you can text in a crisis when you're losing your cool that you know will drop everything and just lift you up in prayer right at that moment?

Do you, like my friend, just need to know somebody cares? Don't wait to be asked; if you know you are going to have some free time, reach out and do the inviting yourself! Ask a friend out to lunch or for coffee and a donut or whatever. You get the idea. Be proactive. Assume your friend is a dummy like me, lol - wanting to help but not knowing how! 😉

Y'all have given me some great ideas. I'm going to make a pot of soup for them so she won't have to cook this weekend.

Blessings!
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Reply to DesertGrl53
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If I might say, I think the best thing a friend could do for me, would be to visit with my Mom for a couple of hours. Where I would know she is having a good time and safe, and I could do anything I wanted even if it was just take a nap, or go for a drive alone, or just sit and be still, enjoying solitude, just allowing me time to refresh.
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Reply to smeshque
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Oh, I don't invite, no doubt that's the problem! It doesn't occur to me because of.... well, inertia, I guess. My idea of a good time is to curl up beside the fireplace with a good book, or to work on a crochet or sewing project while watching tv. I don't *need* to get out of the house ... so it doesn't occur to me to call her and invite her out because she does! But now you guys have definitely shown me how I can be a much better friend to her! Thank you! 💖💖💖
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Reply to DesertGrl53
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Friend group texts bring a smile whenever you can read it. I know some people don’t like texting but between friends just short hellos or jokes or questions are easier to deal with when the caregiver has time. Phone calls come at busy times or I have to suddenly terminate because mom comes up. Wine & food at mom’s sounds wounderful but my mom would want to be included & with modifications(alcohol free wine & low sugar) she can be but that’s not really friend time. I’d also say just keep inviting & don’t be upset that she declined multiple times, it’s not you it’s her new life. Let her know you get that.
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Reply to Momshelp
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I agree with cwillie...my friends did similar things. They would bring lunch by. Or we would text make and forth in the evening after mom went to bed... Nice to be back included. You are a great friend, just continue to show you care.
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Reply to Grammyteacher
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DesertGrl53 Feb 17, 2019
We do text late evenings after she puts Mom to bed when we can, but I'm not sure what I can say that's really helpful. I guess sometimes I just need to be a better listener.
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Does your friend have any help? Like an aide. If not suggest she check with Office of Aging to see if they have aides available. Medicaid has homecare if Mom qualifies.

If she can get away for a couple of hours, take her to lunch, to a movie. Or for a picnic in the park.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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DesertGrl53 Feb 17, 2019
No, she has no help and her Mom doesn't qualify. I think she's in the "donut hole." Lunch might work, thanks! She may be able to get away for a couple of hours on occasion, that's a great suggestion!
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First and primarily, you are such a GOOD friend. Most or many have abandoned us as this takes over our world. On behalf of so many here, thank you. So very much, thank you.
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Reply to Segoline
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DesertGrl53 Feb 17, 2019
Thanks, Segoline. My friend is very dear to me and I want her to know I'm here for her!
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My GF's knew it was hard for me to get out so they would come to me with wine and food in hand, it was great to be able to laugh and gossip and think about something besides caregiving. I had one friend who was a very good listener that I could dump all my troubles on (before I found this wonderful community). Even though my mom has passed away my SIL still asks me if she can pick anything up from the store or make something for me and she lives an hour away, she's just that kind of person : )
Oh, and point your friend to this website, for me it has been a life saver.
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DesertGrl53 Feb 17, 2019
Thanks, cwillie, I have shared the link to this site with her, I hope she finds her way here soon!
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