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Are We Destined to Repeat Our Parents' Lives (Or Deaths)?

April 10, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 87

The story of Adrienne and Charles D. Snelling is a wake-up call for us all. This couple was found dead in their home on March 29, 2012. Charles was a loving caretaker for his wife who had Alzheimer's. She sent her children letters a few years ago sharing, "All of our lives, Dad and I have talked over our end of life beliefs. We are both in agreement that neither one of us wants to live after all reasonable hope for a good life is over.... We have had such a great life together and with all of you." Family members said he "could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further." So after Charles Snelling ended his wife's life, he took his own.

As I am dealing with my parents in varying stages of short-term memory loss and dementia, I am challenged with what I need to do to ensure I have a plan and it gets executed. For more than 20 years, after taking care of one grandmother with dementia, then another, my mother repeatedly told me, "Don't worry, we are prepared so that you won't have to worry about us." But how do you prepare? The memory loss and dementia crept up on my parents over the last ten years. Today, neither of my parents are really aware of their issues, and if you could get them to understand, they won't remember. Yet, they still are trying to maintain their independence and are slow to accept assistance.

My parents believed being in a retirement community meant they would never be a burden to their children. The fact that they won't move into it full-time has created many issues but that care will still never replace having a loved one watch out and ensure you are leading the life you want. For me, helping my parents is not a burden; it would be an honor to return to them the wonderful life they gave to me and my siblings. The hard part has been the transition to help them and keep others safe.

I have resolved that I will manage this differently. Three things I'm doing to help ensure I do not repeat their pattern:

1) Complete my health care directives and share them with my family.

2) Talk through my wishes with my husband, kids and siblings.

3) Write letters and record video to remind my future self of my wishes that my husband and children can share with me. I'm determined to make sure there is a better option for me, my husband and my family if we are faced with similar circumstances.

What are you going to do differently?

In the midst of assisting her two parents with short term memory loss and dementia, the tools and resources Kay Bransford used turned out to be products her colleagues and friends wanted to use for their parents. In 2011, Kay founded MemoryBanc which collects and preserves individual memories and personal wishes. To learn more about MemoryBanc visit,

Source: EzineArticles
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Article Tags:

Elder Care






End Of Life


Parents Lives


Charles Snelling


Memory Loss

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