One of the biggest challenges I've been facing over the past several months -- and to a lesser extent the past year, year and a half -- is Elderly Parent's declining cognitive state. EP doesn't admit that she's lost any cognitive function, however, so she's not yet receiving any medical treatment or evaluation for Alzheimer's. She had a fall and some other health issues this spring and I got her set up with an elder care organization, so she has an assistant visiting her each day and driving her on errands, etc. My hope is that the more she gets used to having the caregivers around, the less likely she is to want to try driving herself, etc. (we've had that discussion but no definitive outcome yet). But as her physical injury heals, she's becoming somewhat resistant to having the caregivers come so frequently.

What has really helped is that she had one caregiver in particular who she really liked -- they developed a very friendly relationship that meant EP didn't mind so much having her around. I found out this week that this caregiver has given her notice to the agency. Apparently she's going to tell EP tomorrow. Which means I can expect a rageful phone call in the evening.

One of the most stressful aspects of this whole situation is that I have to be in regular contact with EP. Regular as in phone calls every 1 or 2 days, visits every couple of months (she lives 800 miles away). EP was never an easy person to deal with, and her mental decline exacerbates her bitterness, self-centeredness, and insecurity. And on days when I'm not actually having to talk to her, I'm frequently having to deal with her (financial, legal, medical) affairs in one way or another.

Like this evening. I'd spent the day mostly on household projects, and was looking forward to sitting on the couch and reading blogs etc. But there was an email from the caregiver agency. And although it was nothing particularly distressing, it's really hard for me to keep up sufficient boundaries between all the EP stuff and the rest of my life -- to keep the thoughts of an EP task I'm dreading tomorrow, and her phone call I'm dreading, out of my mind as I plan what I want to work on and focus on tomorrow. Containment and detachment are what I'm working on. Back to the yoga mat.