Phone a Friend

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What do you expect from your friends, when you are caring for a loved one?

What do you expect from their friends?

It’s hard to explain, to people who know Your Elder, that he is not the person they used to know.  They keep offering to do things, like play tennis, or Scrabble, that he just can’t do anymore.  And they seem frustrated that he isn’t responding to their very nice offers of Company and Friendship.

And when he doesn’t make sense on the phone, they call you.

“But we’ve invited him out to play Scrabble, and he doesn’t even want to do that!”  They have to understand, he’s not the person they knew.  He’s operating with new limitations.  He can’t play word games anymore.  He doesn’t even want to read books.  It embarrasses him, so he just declines.

And you feel frustrated and kind of ticked off, that they don’t offer to do things he can do … because they aren’t things anyone does.  Like sit around the popcorn machine at the Assisted Living residence and just wait for a cocktail or a snack.  Or watch the Girl Scouts do a sing-a-long.  Or the kids who do Irish step-dancing on St. Patrick’s Day.  No, it’s not what any of us really wants to do, but it’s what’s on offer at the Assisted Living place.  And it’s not perfect but all he has energy for.  Or attention.

How do you handle Your Elder’s friends, when Your Elder isn’t the friend they knew?  How do you not get frustrated and resentful when they aren’t offering more help?  When it’s not really their job, but you think, it must be someone’s job, to stay friends, to recognize and accept decline.  How do you do all this, alone?

Your thoughts, welcome here.



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