WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 83 of 223

And when the children themselves clash, matters become even muddier. "It's fraught with everyone's history, what they feel about the parent, what they feel about each other," says Ruth Beckerman-Rodau, chief executive officer of Springwell. "There are families that never speak to each other again because of disagreements about how to care for Mom." Springwell is a Waltham-based nonprofit that serves seniors in Wellesley, Weston, and other western suburbs. It offers free consultations, as well as case management and caregiver support services, to anyone regardless of income; it also offers many subsidized programs. Beckerman-Rodau's fundamental advice: "Listen to your parents. Don't assume you know what's best for them." The fact is, you have no choice. "People have the right to self-determination," says Metchik. "I believe that if mom and dad are of sound mind, they have the right to make what you may feel are very bad choices." But how do you define sound mind – without resorting to emotionally and financially drain- ing court action? Metchik offers this simple rule of thumb: If Mom misplaces her keys, that is forgetfulness; if she doesn't know what the keys are for, that suggests dementia. When Aging Comes Between Parent and Child 82 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 5 P H O T O S B Y M E D I A B A K E R Y Signs that mom and dad need help It's only natural to put on blinders when it comes to your aging parents. An overall rule is to look for changes in behavior: If the house has always been a mess and still is, for exam- ple, you shouldn't necessarily be concerned. Use all your senses: smell, sight, touch, sound, and taste. If your main contact is by phone, ask potentially revealing questions. One caution: Be subtle; no one wants to feel like she's under surveillance. That said, be alert to: n Dust accumulating on tables and shelves that used to be immaculate. n Piles of unopened bills and other mail. n Stains on clothing, particularly if your parents had previously been fastidious. n Expired food in the fridge; the absence of staples and other items that suggest your parents aren't eating as well as they used to. n Unpleasant odors that suggest possible hygiene or incontinence issues. n Pets that appear scraggly, poorly fed, and under exercised. n Expired drugs and disorder in medicine cabinets. n Significant changes in the condition of the lawn and garden. n Evasive responses to questions about friends and relatives, about keeping medical and cosmetic appointments. n A pronounced increase in the repetition of questions and stories. n Faltering driving skills, such as meandering over lines, neglect of signs and lights, slow braking response, and confusion in once familiar neighborhoods.

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