Long before you need to step in as a parent to your parent you need to be working on becoming a trust-worthy person. They are truly hard to find, not because people are evil, but because they are pre-occupied. Before the prevalence of pop psychology, the old timers referred to the rare evil-doers as “a bad seed”. They made no attempt to understand them. Today all behavior is nuanced into the many reasons why people behave as they do.
- I have a simple dichotomy of:
- people who do what they say they will do
- everyone else.
It’s that rare.
Becoming a trust-worthy person can be as simple as writing down what you told your parent you will do, marking it on a calendar, or putting it in some kind of reminder system, and letting them know if a change must be made.
It is just as important to establish trust with your siblings. When the time of crisis comes, and it will, openness and honesty will allay, hopefully, the shenanigans that family members pull as they try to protect their interests.
When a parent has dementia they can’t always be relied upon to give the true facts of a situation. They may conflate the past with the present. They may become secretive or even paranoid or they might becoming over-trusting. Family squabbles simmering beneath the surface may arise.
Begin early to learn how to communicate facts and feelings about situations from the past. It is important to understand the filters your siblings have applied to events that happened. We all do it. When siblings fail to plan, the strongest, most manipulative person will hold the reins and this can be devastating to the parent and leave a generation of siblings not speaking to each other.