The question before us was "Are we caring with compassion or control?" I was sitting in a session at a recent geriatric conference in the north east. The speaker threw out this question... and I must admit, in all my years of being involved with, concerned about and responsible for providing care to someone "chronologically superior" (Yep, another new term since "old, aging, senior, and elderly" are the latest terms to become politically incorrect.) I had never thought of it in quite that way.
Sometimes I think when we exchange those little glances and giggles about our dear old loved ones -- even when they show us glimpses of brilliance -- the joke is really on us. Maybe when we reach the age of "old," in between the crazy babbling and the far-off stares, we know exactly what we're doing, and what we're teaching.
Holiday visits allow you to see the new paint color your mom chose for the guest bedroom or test out the rocking chair your dad built in his wood shop. These visits can also shed some light on mom and dad's quality of life in their current living situation, which may prompt additional conversations.
My father's story will sound familiar to many people. Naturally should he be an obvious risk to other drivers -- and to himself -- removing his license would be essential. But this is not the case. As with many older people in the early stages of chronic illnesses, like dementia, the disease progress slowly destroys skills and abilities.