My mom (72) currently lives independently with her husband (78). Her husband was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia several years ago, and it is progressing. Both are retired and mom is his primary caregiver.
Husband’s children are concerned about their father and are pushing for him to move to assisted living. My mom does not want to do this.
When I ask my mom if they have thought about what they would like to do in the future, she says things like “we’ll just play it by ear.” I think she is downplaying it and hiding the fact that it is overwhelming. We went through a stretch of about nine months where my mom had a string of her own medical issues (broken ankle that required two surgeries, kidney infection, gallbladder removal). My brothers and I were able to step in and handle a lot of things over that period, but care for her husband was the biggest challenge.
He cannot be left alone for extended periods, and I believe he is declining. He has an appointment with a neurologist to do another extended evaluation next week, so I am hopeful we will get some advice. Also hopeful that with a doctor’s evaluation he will be able to qualify for assistance benefits from Medicare and the VA that I have been told he does not yet qualify for,
I am concerned that my mom is not thinking about plans for their future due to overwhelm and a desire to retain her own independence. I understand both of those things, but I am very worried that something will happen and we (the kids) will be left guessing at what they want. We experienced a fair amount of this during my mom’s recent hospitalizations. For example, we knew that she likely would need to spend some time in rehab recovering from a procedure. My brother and I asked her to look at the list of approved centers and let us know what she prefers. Her response was “oh you guys can just figure that out.”
She also is quite private with financial information (again—guarding independence, I totally get that). I have suggested that she and her husband talk to their financial planner about the current situation and have them present some options for the future based on their situation.
I am having a hard time knowing how to support her since she is still capable of making decisions. I can only imagine how she is feeling watching her husband slowly fade, and feeling the weight of making these decisions largely without him. I also understand the concern his children have.
Still, they are married. It is their life, I feel weirdly responsible for fixing the situation even though I know it is not my place (working on this—it’s my issue!). How can I get her to understand the importance of planning for their own future and not just thinking “oh the kids will figure it out for us”?