My mother-in-law, Mary Conzelman Klostermeier was diagnosed with Corticobasal Degeneration, a parkinsonian related syndrome.
Mary’s need for help was gradual. As her family, we were in denial about the severity of her situation and didn’t want to make her do anything she didn’t want to do. There was so much we didn’t know or understand about care options. Mary moved to independent, assisted, and then skilled nursing care. I now know there were many things we could have done to make those moves easier. More importantly, I now know she could have stayed in her home longer with appropriate assistance.
After I earned the MS in Gerontology, my own mother experienced a sudden illness and I unexpectedly became a 12 hour/day caregiver. It didn’t take long for me to experience caregiver stress. I felt: sad about my mother’s illness, helpless because we didn’t have a diagnosis, hopeless because I couldn’t change my mother’s situation, and guilty because there were other things I wanted and needed to do with my time.
I knew my mother needed professional in home care but the decision to hire a home care company was not easy. My parents didn’t want their children to be caregivers but they were nervous about having someone in their home. I made the decision to call a home care company and set up a home care visit. The visit went well and my parents agreed to try it. The first caregiver was not a good fit. The second caregiver was excellent and became a trusted and caring aid for my mother.
Eventually we obtained a correct diagnosis, my mother was treated, and she recovered. It is the rare older adult who will say, "You know, I do need someone in my home to help me." Instead of asking my parents if I could make the appointment, I gently told them when the appointment was. Thankfully, it worked out beautifully, better than they imagined it could.