Hey there Careblazer. Welcome back. Today I want to talk about a struggle that many of you tell me about. It’s about the struggle and guilt you have when you make decisions for your loved one that they don’t agree with.
If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here.
It’s the struggle between what you think is best for your loved one and what your loved one wants.
Let’s say your loved one wants to drive a car and you are trying to stop them from driving because they are no longer safe.
Maybe your loved one wants to continue to do the finances on their own, but you need to step in because he’s making too many mistakes, giving money away, being a victim of scams and so on.
Maybe your loved one wants to eat nothing but cookies and coke during the day and you are having to step in to make sure they get more nutritious foods.
There are no shortage of examples of decisions you are making for your loved one that your loved one does not agree with, they may hate your decisions, they may argue with your decisions.
This usually leads to questions to me like what do I do when they don’t agree. I want to do XXX, but they want me to do YYY.
Let me just say that one of the hardest parts of being a Careblazer is that sometimes the most difficult decision is also the best decision.
You’re in a tough spot. You would not be in this situation if your LO was able to do everything on their own. You are in this situation because your loved one needs help. Without your help, it’s likely that your loved one’s health and safety would be in serious danger.
That being said, your loved one may not always understand the risks of consequences of what they want. They may not believe they need help. This makes it even more difficult for you who is giving the help and having to set up some restrictions and limitations to make sure they stay safe.
If your goal is to make decisions that your loved one will always agree with and always be happy with, you are in for a rough ride. It’s just not possible in most situations.
Let me give you an example that most people can relate to.
I want you to think about raising a kid. And I’m using the kid example because most people can relate to it and it offers a way to make my point. By using this example, please know I am not saying your loved one is a kid or to treat them like a kid. If you’ve been following me for a while then you know that’s definitely not my intention.
But for example sake, let’s say you are raising a kid. That kid is going to want to do all kinds of things that you are not going to agree with. Things you will stop your kid from doing or not allow your kid to do. If your 5 year old wants to stay up on a school night and drink coke and eat Cheetos all night, you are probably going to intervene and not allow that. If your 14 year old wanted to take the family care for a spin on a busy downtown street, you’re probably not going to allow it. If your 13 year old wanted to leave the house in the middle of the night for a walk, you’re probably going to try to stop him. And you would do all these things to protect your child and know that it was the right thing. It might be difficult to stop your child from these things. Your child may argue with you, disagree with you, tell you they hate you out of anger, and even though it will be difficult, deep inside you know you did the right thing.
You did the right thing out of love, because you care for their safety and given their limited life experience and not yet fully developed brain, you sometimes have to step in to help even though they don’t see it or understand it as you do.
It’s not that different with your loved one with dementia. The challenge is that they are not a kid, they are grown adult. An adult who has been able to function and live independently all their life. In many cases, maybe even raised you. So the fact that the tables have turned, it feels very awkward and uncomfortable. But you’ve got to realize that the brain is dying a slow death. Your loved one is sometimes not able to make decisions that are safe or healthy. That’s what makes you the caregiver.
I think were a lot of you struggle is being confident in knowing that you are doing the right thing.
I think that there are very few parents who would feel guilty and question themselves if their 5 year old wanted to use the stove and knives in the kitchen without supervision. NO matter how much that 5 year old yelled, screamed, and said mean things, the parent would just know that hey- this isn’t even an option and know that they are making that decision because they love and care for that 5 year old. They are not going to beat themselves up and think they are a bad parent because they didn’t let the 5 year old run around the kitchen with sharp knives and a hot stove. That seems silly.
But that is exactly what many of you are doing when it comes to your loved one. I think because they are an adult and it’s hard to sometimes remember that the brain is no longer a healthy brain of an adult. The person needs help and sometimes that help comes from you in ways they don’t understand.
Have confidence in yourself. Trust yourself. And make sure you are reaching out to others who can offer support and be a sounding board for you. If you aren’t already a part of the FB Careblazer community, you can connect with some pretty amazing Careblazers in there for some extra support and help.
You are not alone Careblazer. I’m so sorry you are in this situation, but I’m happy that our paths have crossed. I’ll be back next week with another video. If you want to connect with other Carebalzer in between now and then, be sure to hop on over to the Careblazer Community on FB.