And I know you’re living in this space right now with your mom. But the distance is there because they’re not able to with you. And now, she no longer has that interest or that connection or that ability to say - you know, she wants to but, you know, she’ll forget within the next two minutes. And you titled it “My Mom is Killing Me.”Lisa: I did. And we’ll post that at the addresses you just gave, John. You see, we’ve assumed that as the cognitive abilities diminish, so the emotional diminish. The emotional part of the brain is still alive and they can feel both negative feelings, negative emotions and they can feel positive emotions. And I’ve found that in different circumstances, different situations, they work. Even at 53, that breaks my heart, Gary, for somebody going through that at such a young age, really. John: And we’re here to help your family in any way we can.
And so, I had long wanted to bring mom into my home and care for her. I said, I can tell you all about where they work and I can’t remember their name. That’s when you know you need to go and be diagnosed and find out what’s going on because something’s going on here. Or someone that I saw on TV, they came to see me yesterday. And then sometimes there’s paranoid delusions where they feel like, somebody’s stealing my money. At this juncture, they’re really totally dependent on someone to take care of everything.
(Part 1 of 2) Teaser:1st Woman: Early on, I used to argue with Dan. I would encourage you to get a copy of the CD or the download or the smartphone app - whatever it takes - and point friends to it as well. If it’s not directly impacting you, you can help a friend in this way. He’s been here at the Focus studios many times and he’s an author, pastor, counselor, radio host. Jim: Yeah, and we’re going to - we’ll talk about the stages in a little while. (Laughter) I mean, that does - but people do worry about that. Jim: In describing the stages, and sorry to interrupt this, but when should a person say, maybe I do have an issue? For example, they can’t cook, they can’t go out and buy the food. Jim: Yeah, reasonably easy tasks, but a series of tasks where they can’t link them together. So, you know, those kind of things are in the middle stage. Lisa Anderson is Focus on the Family's Director of Young Adults, and the manager of Boundless, Focus' ministry for helping 20- and 30-somethings grow up, own their faith, date with purpose and prepare for marriage and family.
She can’t afford long-term care, didn’t have insurance, along those lines. Jim: Let me ask you this - that’s very vulnerable of you, in terms of your motivation.(LAUGHTER)Jim: I mean, it’s, like, a hero thing. Jim: You wanted to be - you said that - you wanted to be a hero. Lisa: I think, genuinely, I knew that I wanted to care for mom. I knew I wanted her to finish well in this season of life. It’s going to happen, typically, unless the Lord intervenes in some miraculous way. Was that consistent with your experience thus far and where is your mom at in that process? And it started with word-finding problems and then moved to - really, the big thing for me was I was out visiting, she was doing her pills for the week - putting them in the little boxes.
So, I think that was all genuine and very, you know, motivation was good there. Kind of glamorized it, as to what it would be like? Gary: Yeah, and it’s not uncommon that family members will have different opinions about what should be done. In our book, we simply talk about three basic stages - the early stage, the middle stage and the latter stage.
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And when I would reach over and just hug them, they would just melt. And so as time goes on, of course, the primary love language is not the primary love language necessarily.
We were talking about foster care, and how that is a killing of yourself. And when I walked by, they would reach their hand out and say, ooh, ooh, ooh. And, of course, in the book we use that Hebrew word Hassid, which is what Lisa was talking about - is that unconditional commitment to the person. But we do - “The 5 Love Languages” gives you five ways to reach in and touch that person. So now they’re connected as they enter the journey.
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(Laughter) I just thought I was going to like, start this awesome...
And she’ll say, oh, yeah, my shoulder is really bad (laughing) and immediately is turned around, back to her... The caregiver’s often the spouse or an adult child. You can find resources and help if this is your battle or if you have a friend or family member who is struggling through these issues. Jim: Lisa, in fact, you wrote a blog, which I read a couple of days ago, which was really moving. You know, it does sound very close to a parenting situation where you have to bite your tongue, you have to kind of be the adult in the room and you - it’s so normal for us to get frustrated, both as a parent and then as a child of an elderly parent, who’s going through this, that those emotions rise up. How can they reorient themselves around a different attitude? You’ve asked me 20 times already - they feel the hurt and the pain and the rejection. But I found that, where she is right now, I try all the love languages on her. And I have to turn around and say, “Mom, I am so sorry. I pepper all of our interactions with whatever I can, knowing that something’s going to stick. And so there’s a lot of - it’s - again, it’s repentance every day. Or, if I can be bold enough, with Christ’s love toward that elderly person or that person with dementia. And if you’re in that spot, get a hold of us and we will provide this resource for you.
But I work full time and I’m single, so I didn’t think that would be possible. And I quickly discovered that having not had conversations around this topic at all prior to mom needing the care, we weren’t on the same page at all. Middle stage can last anywhere from two to 10 years. Language difficulties - get to where they can’t remember words and can’t put words together. I remember when I was visiting my mom and she said - I was getting ready to give her some money - and she said, somebody’s stealing my money. Jim: Yeah, and that - again, if you’re aware of those symptoms, we’re encouraging to pursue a physician and to talk with your physician about those things.