Expert Advice

FEELING GUILTY

I feel guilty about not visiting my mother more often but I have 3 kids and a job. She lives 2 hours away, so it’s a full day’s excursion to get there and back. I’ve arranged home care, grocery delivery and a neighbour to check on her. I also call twice a day. However, I’m really starting to feel like an awful daughter, especially with COVID-19 and her loneliness.

Chin up… you seem to be doing the best you can. Guilt is often felt by caregivers who feel they should be doing more. But, regardless of how many times you visit, there will always be a difference between what you are truly able to do and what you wish you could do. Work to accept the fact that it’s not realistic for you to do everything and, as you’re already doing, keep making arrangements to ensure her quality of life and safety. That will help reduce those feelings of guilt and give you a sense of accomplishment.

KEEPING MOM

Mom is pretending that nothing is wrong but we see and hear evidence to the contrary. Should my sister and I talk to her about it?

Don’t jump to conclusions or say things that you will regret later. Expect your mom to be defensive at first but let her know that you’re asking for the future so you know what she wants. Talking and planning together is the best way if it’s possible.

BROTHER CONFLICT

My brothers and I do not agree on when and how to close down our dad’s affairs and he hasn’t passed yet. What is normal?

Try to enjoy the time with your father rather than squabbling amongst yourselves. However, on a practical note, if you have questions about wills or other legal matters, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer for advice. Wise advice: gather as many of your dad’s personal documents as possible (birth certificate, marriage or divorce certificate, social insurance number, insurance policies, property deeds, tax files, etc.) and of course, powers of attorney and his will. These are difficult times and often bring out the worst in families. You can count on an external advisor being able to give you unbiased guidance.

EAGER TO HELP

My aunt is coming to live with me. She is forgetful and a little frail but seems to be hell-bent on helping out around the house. What should I expect?

Guide her toward simple tasks or adapt activities to make them easier. For example, if cooking a meal has too many steps, ask her to help with prep or set the table.

 

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