Denial it not a River in Egypt.

Denial is counterproductiveDenial is a normal defense mechanism. However, it is a brittle one because it will crumble at some point when reality bites hard enough or medical and practical facts can no longer be ignored. Denial that an elder family loved one, your aging mother or father is ill or impaired, (physically, cognitively or both) cause real danger, which can be avoided or at least minimized.

Falls and accidents can more easily occur because no action is being taken to prevent or lessen the chance of their occurring. This also means car accidents. Visually, hearing or motor impaired folks shouldn’t be driving, cognitively, thinking impaired folks should not be driving.

Don’t regret not reacting sooner to make the situation safer.

Postponing needed help – professional and practical. If you are denying the condition exists, you are not mobilizing a care team and putting together a care plan. This loses valuable time for the person affected and the primary caregiver – usually the other parent or a sibling.  Treatments, therapies, in- home assistance, Day Care and so forth are all delayed at the detriment to the person with a progressive, degenerative disease.

Don’t risk feeling regret of not getting help and support sooner.

3. Medication errors – not taking or double dosing. Mismanagement or non-compliance of prescribed medications is a big problem for someone who has problems with their memory and ability to reason or think things through.  There are ways to improve Medication Management.

Don’t risk feeling regret about a serious medication error could have been avoided.

4.  Family falling outs and conflict. While you are denying the seriousness of the medical condition and degree of impairment, your siblings and caregiver parent are likely dealing more directly with the fall out of the disease, becoming exhausted or overwhelmed. Speak to the doctors, get their report and spend 3 days with your diagnosed parent and caretaker parent. See for yourself what is needed and what has changed.

Don’t risk family estrangement and resentments while your siblings and well parent are dealing with the situation.

Danger and risk of exploitation, especially financial – Cognitive impairment and loss of judgment leaves your older loved one very vulnerable to others who are looking to scam a senior. Speak to a Geriatric Care Manager about ways to protect their assets, checking account and credit cards.

Don’t risk loss of financial assets….and maybe an inheritance.

6. Missing out on opportunities to spend quality time with your ill parent and denying them the time with you, your denial of their health condition and future decline is unfair to you both. It also adds to the stress, anxiety and frustration to your parents and other family members.

Don’t risk regretting time and opportunities lost – you don’t get them back.

Illness, decline, impairment, are hard to witness. Avoiding, denying or pretending, just makes things worse. Get help – go to a therapist, a support group, call a help line. All of the disease groups have Foundations or Organizations – connect with them at the very least, speak to your elder parent’s doctor and ask questions.

You are needed — all hands on deck, this is a family situation.