The Intervention – A True Story
The last straw was when the kids found out mom was not taking her drugs. At least not on a daily basis. Being baby boomers, they knew what had to be done. An intervention was necessary to make sure mom stayed on her heart and blood pressure drugs.
Being a typical American family, three of the four kids lived in Connecticut, not too far from mom, and one lived in Alabama. Sally lived the closest and visited the most, so she was the one who saw the prescriptions still in the daily dispensing box. She had seen other signs of mom’s declining ability to take care of her daily needs, such as uneaten food in the refrigerator, and from time to time, soiled clothes. John lived farther away, so his visits were less frequent, but that allowed him to notice the change in mental acuity more easily, because the change he noticed was more pronounced due to the length of time between visits. So when Sally gave a very concerned call to her sister, Peggy Sue, in Farmville, Alabama. Peggy Sue flew up to Connecticut. Peggy Sue took one look at the condition of mom’s house, the bank statements in disarray, credit cards with suspicious charges, and mom’s denial of poor hygiene and she and Sally called all her siblings to discuss what could be done. They agreed mom had to be approached with a united front, because she would deny anything was wrong. They decided that the best way to do it would be a meeting with mom and all kids present, except the one who was overseas. They somewhat humorously called it “The Intervention”, but that is precisely what it was.
At the meeting, each of them took turns explaining what they saw as severe deficiencies in mom’s daily care needs. It was done firmly, but with the compassion and love of a united family. Mom was faced with all her children telling her she had to have help with medications, meals, bathing, dressing, housekeeping, and bill paying. Each of them said they would be responsible for supervising or giving a certain aspect of her care. One took finances, one the house, one the meds, and one the personal care. Since outside help was necessary, they had called an elder law attorney to see if any Connecticut programs could help, and were pleased to learn that not only was there a Connecticut program for in home care, but because their deceased dad had been a WWII Veteran, mom could also get up to $1,056 a month from the VA to pay for care.
In the course of the intervention, some facts came out that gave them some laughs. One was that mom had been buying the wrong size briefs, so that she either could not pull them on, or they were so loose as to be useless. The best laugh they had was when discussing a prepaid funeral contract so that mom’s assets would be reduced to the level to qualify for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. Mom was insistent that her casket have a particular color lining so that it would not clash with the dress she wanted to be buried in. Mom was not going to compromise on that.
The kids had feared the intervention might antagonize mom, but the result was just the opposite. Mom thanked them all for their love and concern and admitted that she had been embarrassed and afraid to tell them that she needed help.
She had not wanted to burden them. She is now getting the help she needs to stay at home, the place where she raised her family and the place she wants to be. Sometimes it takes an intervention.