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Caring for Your Parents

Chapter 1: Joyce, Bernie and Mac [7:22]

"Now you take care of them."

The show opens. Meet Bert and Mac McCardle, with daughter Joyce. They’ve been self-sufficient – up to now.

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Transcript  

Chapter 1: Joyce, Bert & Mac  "Now you take care of them."

PRISCILLA:  

Mother, if she ever wished anything, she wished she'd been a dancer. 

PHYSICAL THERAPIST:  

Go ahead, keep going. You are doing fine. 

NARRATOR:  

THEY CARED FOR US...NOW IT'S OUR TURN TO CARE FOR THEM... 

JOYCE:  

They're from a generation that wanted to be able to take care of themselves, but not be a burden on their children. Now they have to learn that they have to rely back on us and not to be afraid to ask.  

NARRATOR:  

TONIGHT, FIVE FAMILIES CONFRONT THE REALITY OF CARING FOR THEIR PARENTS.... 

LORRAINE:  

Look how far you've come. 

RICARDO:  

My mother did a lot for me. Basically who I am today, is because of my mother. 

NARRATOR:  

...THE GRIPPING STORY OF RENEWAL AND REWARD... 

THELMA:  

I think it's kept our family very much together. She's a big part of this family. 

NARRATOR:  

STORIES ABOUT GIVING AND RECEIVING IN CARING FOR YOUR PARENTS... 

THE PLACE IS PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND... 

FIVE VERY DIFFERENT FAMILIES ARE GRAPPLING WITH THE FACT THAT THEIR ELDERLY PARENTS DESPERATELY NEED THEM.  

THESE REAL STORIES...IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER...WILL HAPPEN TO EACH OF US. 

SIXTY TWO YEARS AGO ALBERTA...EVERYONE CALLS HER "BERT"... AND "MAC" MCARDLE GOT MARRIED... 

MAC WAS A SALESMAN...BERT WAS A SECRETARY.  TOGETHER THEY RAISED FOUR LITTLE DAUGHTERS...

NOW, IN THEIR 80S, MAC AND BERT FACE THE CHALLENGES OF GETTING OLD...AND RELYING ON THEIR CHILDREN FOR HELP. 

THEIR DAUGHTER JOYCE IS THE PRIMARY CARE GIVER... 

They're from a generation that wanted to be able to take care of themselves and not be a burden on their children. Now they have to learn that they have to rely back on us, and not to be afraid to ask. 

ALBERTA:  

Do you have your milk yet? 

MAC:  

I have it yes. 

NARRATOR:  

BERT AND MAC ARE DETERMINED TO STAY IN THEIR HOME...AS LONG AS POSSIBLE... 

PAT:  

Very soon they're not going to be able to stay in this house. 

ALBERTA:  

Are you all set for coffee? 

MR. MCCARDLE:

Might as well put a head on it. 

PAT:  

And we've decided that if they're safe and they can continue to manage to get upstairs to the bathroom and get their meals, that we're going to let them go as long as can because this is keeping both of them centered. 

JOYCE:  

My mother is recovering from being in renal failure. And she's also had breast cancer.  

ALBERTA:  

No?  Yes?

JOYCE:  

She's very fragile... 

ALBERTA:  

Do you want to do anything special? 

JOYCE:

My dad, on the other hand, has recently been actually diagnosed with dementia. 

ALBERTA:  

Want to go to the market with me?  Want to go to the market?  I know, alright you don't want to go. Alright. (Laughs) I got the message.

JOYCE:  

That's my big concern. If something happens to mom, we've really got a big job taking care of dad. 

DR. MICHAE FINE:

Hi guys.  Any changes with your memory?

MAC:  

(shakes head, "no") 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

How about mood? 

MAC:  

What? 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

How about mood?  Your mood okay?

JOYCE:  

Your mood?  Are you grumpy lately?

MAC:  

Oh, I gets upset once in a while. 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

So do I.  

Mr. McArdle is pretty vigorous but his thinking is not as clear as it was. His memory isn't so good, he sometimes gets angry when there are things he doesn't understand. 

Now since we met, or right about the time we met last time you had stopped driving.  Has that been hard?

MAC:  

Well I haven't got my license renewed, that's why. 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

Right. That was a smart choice, you doing okay with that? 

MAC:

Your choice? 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

Excuse me? 

MAC:  

Your choice I wasn't...  

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

Well it was, I think, our choice together understanding that there were probably risks around getting lost so it was probably smarter not to renew the license. 

MAC:  

Well I'm set now, I want to get it renewed. 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

Yeah, I think that would not be a really smart thing to do. 

MAC:  

Based upon what? 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

Well, based on problems with memory, I mean, problems with memory have happened and they're there and they're not the end of the world, but, you know, that might make driving and particularly, you know, sort of finding your way home a little more difficult. If my memory is right you had some trouble with that early so it's probably better to take a step back and not do that again. 

MAC:  

Not drive anymore? 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:  

Not drive anymore. 

MAC:  

Do you know what that means for an individual?  

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

It means the loss of a lot of freedom and integrity and that's what's hard. 

MAC:  

I don't want to be dependent on people to do something for me... 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

I know. 

MAC:

...while I'm physically able to do it. 

DR. MICHAEL FINE:

I know but I think what we're trying to say is you are probably not as physically able as it feels like sometimes. 

JOYCE:

He's been the person sort of in charge of the family, and taking care of all his girls all his  life. And now for him to accept the kind of help he has to, and his dependence upon us is--  I think it's a challenge for him.

And that's the hardest thing to be facing when people that you looked up to and took care of you and were your role models in life. And now you have to take care of them and to look at their diminished skills, it's really hard sometimes. It's very, very, very hard.