Life is always changing and while it has been a recurring theme since their children pushed them into no longer living alone in Kingston, this “who’s the boss” issue has simmered in both my father-in-law and my mother-in-law, with many different permutations. First it was their “failure” in the psychiatric assessment, something she accepted but he bitterly rejected accusing the psychiatrist of being out to get him. Although now he finally accepts that his cognitive capabilities are in decline, and thus is passing more and more over to Jane and I to take care of, still when something upsets them they revert to thinking that they are in charge.
So with my wife and I planning their care, while we are away on a Mediterranean cruise with Claire, we were set to visit Retirement homes in Kingston. Their original wish was to spend a week in Kingston and a week in Cobourg so that they could first see their friends and then their son and his family. Once we found out how these places calculated their charges (minimum charge of a month’s fees), we opted for Kingston since they have a lot of friends there and Cobourg would not be far enough away to impede visits. They got upset because they had visited other folks in these residences only a few years ago and preferred to stay with family.
Then Claire mentioned the Waterside in Carleton Place, the first place they moved to when they had to leave their home in Kingston. What a great suggestion, because not only were the rates much more reasonable but my mother-in-law would be able to continue to have the same schedule of her ladies in waiting visiting with her at the Waterside. Meanwhile they had realized that Cobourg was a no go but when they heard about the Waterside they insisted they preferred to just stay home and have someone come to live with them, essentially replacing us but keeping the PSW schedule going. A nice idea but much riskier than being in a full-scale independent living facility with additional nursing services if necessary. And so we ease them along to the inevitable good solution, even if it’s not what they thought they preferred.
The icing on the cake of this story is that in the last two weeks they each have told a PSW to go home for the day saying they didn’t need her services. He had a emotional reaction to her trying to take over with HRH (a misunderstanding) and she was tired and just wanted to cuddle with hehusband and didn’t realize that that would mean no bath, no-one to give him a break, no-one to make sure she consumed her smoothie, etc., and why all of that was important anyhow.
So I’m now in that delicate transitional space of having to support PSWs in figuring out how to each individually become effective as care providers to my in-laws, ensuring they get the care they need, even when they have other ideas… which given the degree of cognitive impairment is becoming more and more interesting all the time!
God bless us all! 😊
Originally written June 24, 2018