I’m currently home visiting my parents, brother, and grandmother for the next six weeks, in my first visit in a year. About a year and a half ago, my parents moved back to their hometown, where they purchased and are renovating my mother’s childhood home, where my 84-year-old grandmother still lives. Amid the home improvements, they’ve been shocked to realize the amount of caretaking my grandmother is in need of, having lived out of state until now. She is mostly incontinent and seems to have a form of dementia. She gets confused easily, can’t remember how to perform simple tasks like using the microwave, and struggles with basic hygiene but refuses to let my mom help her. However, she is also often lucid and able to hold an engaging conversation. By now, though, my parents are exhausted and exasperated and respond to most things she says with cruelty and ridicule, followed by self-pity. I know that I can’t comprehend the stress they’ve been under, but I don’t think anyone deserves to be spoken to the way they speak to her. They would have put her in an assisted living facility, or hired a home aide, but don’t feel they can due to COVID, and I think they justify their cruelty with their sense of self-sacrifice. Is there anything I can do to get them to be a little more compassionate in their interactions? For all our sakes.