I have now moved from being a companion for my 83 year old mother to a caregiver as her memory and dementia worsens for the last three years. At times, we can still have serious conversations about her worries and her losses of recall. I want to discuss with her and have her reiterate to me her wishes for long term care. What are some gentle questions I can probe of her?
I have told my own daughter, I want to have her establish a stepping away point ahead of time for caring for me, if my future repeats like my mother. I tell myself that when she becomes incontinent or begins to have safety issues living in my home or her home, beyond my abilities to care for her, I will need to get help. Right now, I just sadly deal with her worsening ability to engage in anything productive, her moodiness, her restlessness and long hours of wakeful nights, appetite and eating and of course repetitious conversations. I am a widow and other sib are all about 600 miles away in different states. Mom is in good health otherwise - still cares for cat and dog which are happily fed often. Loves to be outside and has always been an introvert. Others are questioning this path I choose as it is a sacrifice for my own married daughter to be so far away for long period of time. I tell her, I do not feel like my life is "on hold", I am doing what is kind and necessary, I love and enjoy her company. My brother has power of attorney, but I help mom keep up with mail and bills. Maybe she is now beyond asking any questions. She just seems to want to talk about the important things right now -- as she scrambles to hang onto her life-long sense of responsibility. She has a little resources for assisted care, but family argues about the need for this and what it would do to her if it was forced on her. This is so sad... but not having a plan may be worse.