Many of us have been daughters and sons, but we are not experienced in helping our parents in big decisions concerning their well being as they age. I thought I was prepared to help Mom and Dad. We had the discussions of their will, power of attorney, and living will. However, to all of our surprise there were unexpected circumstances that have come up.
My father, who had always been the man in charge, developed seizures. He started doing strange things when he was having them. I found out that this had been going on for quite a while. I live quite a distance from them and did not see the signs as they were gradually progressing. For Mom they were so gradual that she didn't catch on until things were pretty far along.
I called one day to check on them but could not get through. The phone was busy. After checking with the phone company , I Google Earth their street and got the address of their neighbor. I telephoned them and they let my Mom know the phone was off the hook. When I called her, she said Dad would get on the phone and order all kinds of things from the TV. This was not at all my Dad. He used a credit card only for renting a car, nothing else. Mom starting telling me that Dad was sneaky. I found out that this meant that he would seem okay, such as normal conversation and activities and then he would talk about something she didn't have any idea what he meant or do crazy things like putting shaving cream on the walls, pulling the towel bar off the wall and much more. He was still driving. One day I got a call from Mom. She said," here, talk to your Dad." He was rambling on about a project. I listened carefully but it did not seem familiar. I kept calm and he calmed down. Mom takes the phone back and tells me he has been doing that kind of thing for a long time.
You can imagine how I felt. Why hadn't she talked about it? Had they been to a doctor to find out what was going on? What could I do to assist them?
This threw me into helping them make good decisions. They were not used to needing help. He objected and said she could let me take over her affairs but not his. That made it harder because as we got him to the doctor, he didn't see the need to sign the papers so I could find out what was going on with him. It took a lot of patience, time, frustration and educating myself. I would like to help others from our experiences and the things we have learned.
I hope what I have discovered will be of assistance.