parents

So I’m watching a younger friend in what from my vantage point looks like a life and death struggle of values and wills about how to deal with his failing parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

His father’s now 89; his mother’s 86, and they’re both on the steep and slippery slide toward needing major attention and care. His father is clearly suffering from some form of dementia, seemingly deteriorating by the day. His slip of a mother is frail and just a week ago broke her elbow in a fall and tests show osteoporosis is going to be a major health issue.

My friend is very focused on his career and social status. He really does have what’s often called a ‘trophy wife’. And two still young kids who are keeners and work hard at school and all the other activities they’re pressed to take.

The more evident his parents’ ills, the more he dives into his work and presses ‘the wife’ into service—to deal with his parents, support them, take them where they have to be taken, and even cook for them.

I know for a fact that he really loves his parents, and feels his achievements are due to their full court press on focusing his life, education, and career. Yet right now, he’s avoiding them and working harder than ever.

I have no idea what’s happening in his head at the moment. I only see conflict: the deeply rooted love vs. the distance he’s keeping.

Something’s out of whack. I think his drive for career success is a bit of a refuge because maybe he doesn’t know how express his affections and caring for his parents.

Do you take a regular reality check of where you stand in your support of aging parents?

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Bart Mindszenthy APR, FCPRS, LM

In writing the original edition of Parenting Your Parents in 2002 and the subsequent revised second edition in 2005 and US edition in 2006, Bart Mindszenthy, APR, FCPRS, LM drew upon personal experience with his elderly father and mother, listening to hundreds of people deep into eldercare, plus his professional expertise in managing crises. Boomers can best help themselves and their parents by planning, understanding the challenges and being prepared, he says.

The new, North American edition, Parenting Your Parents: Straight Talk about Aging in the Family is his ninth book.

“Everyone who has aging parents should consider what issues and challenges lay ahead,” says Bart. “Waiting until something happens isn’t fair to anyone in the family. But the trouble is, in most families aging parents are in denial and their boomer kids are in avoidance,” he says.

Since the publication of Parenting Your Parents, Bart has addressed hundreds of groups and has appeared on dozens of radio and television interview and talk shows and national television specials. He is also a regular contributing writer to Hospital News (http://www.hospitalnews.com/columns/caregiver/).

Bart also authored two books about family elder caregiving on his own in 2011: The Family Eldercare Workbook & Planner, a comprehensive self-directed complete guide to capture needed information and develop strategies for likely issues and difficult situations, and Aging Parents: 200+ Practical Support Tips from My Care Journey, a compilation of 40 columns that appeared in SOLUTIONS magazine tracking a range of specific caregiving issues and challenges with tips and tactics on how to deal with them; see www.famlyeldercareworkbook.com

Bart holds a Bachelor of Philosophy degree with a concurrent major in journalism from Wayne State Univesity.

He is Partner in The Mindszenthy & Roberts Corp., a Toronto-based firm with a subsidiary based in Michigan that since 1990 has specialized in issues and crisis communications management and strategic communications planning. Bart has received numerous awards for his work and is principle author of No Surprises: The Crisis Communications Management System (Bedford Press, 1988), which is considered a seminal work on the subject. He is also co-author of [email protected]: Be a Better Team Leader Anytime, Anywhere, with Anyone, originally published in 2001and which was the fifth best selling business book of the year in Canada. Since, it’s been totally re-written, re-deisgned and re-issued in 2011. It’s now also available as an iPad, iPhone and iPod app. For more, see www.leadershipatworkbook.com.

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