Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reading Between the Lines

Spent a little time with my mother in law this past week.  Not as much as I would have liked, but the weather report was scary, and we left early (and, a good thing too.) after a brief visit.

To recap, my mother in law is recovering from a fall.  She lives with her 50 plus year old son, who has autism.  She had refused to have him leave for a supported living situation several years ago, wanting him to be with her.  I think having him in the same house gave her, a widow in her 80's, a sense of security.  But that has proved to be somewhat of a myth. 

The feedback I heard from family after her latest fall seemed to indicate that Bil was helping her out, at least when asked.  The visit before this one, we went grocery shopping for her.  Bil came along, and without asking, helped to unload the car.  But I still had my doubts.

I was cleaning up the breakfast table, and loading the dishwasher, when I asked her "Is Bil helping you load and unload the dishwasher?" 

This morning, perhaps she was feeling a bit tired.  "No, not really" she said.  And then the confession that followed really surprised me.  "I have to stand over him to get him to do anything" she said.  "And today, I just don't have the energy to do that."

That's what I had suspected.  It must drain her to have to keep asking over and over,probably for him to do even the simplest of things.

So, what do I do with that knowledge?

I remember, a couple of years ago, my brother in law creating a binder with instructions for Bil to do various household tasks. My mother in law thanked him, and then did nothing with it.  Did she realize it would take a great deal of work to train him, patiently, step by step?  I can't blame her for not feeling up to the task.  And we live 3 hours away, which makes consistency in working with Bil impossible.

We tried to get something called "reshab" from his Medicaid Service Coordinator but the local ARC (which does his service coordination) never was able to find a reshab provider that would work with Bil.  Possibly it was because he was already in his 50's.  Children with autism are more easy to work with, I suppose.

So, is there any hope in getting Bil to truly help his mother out?  I sincerely doubt it, and I think she knew it too, but only now is admitting it.

So where do we go from here?

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