I know how difficult it is to balance life while caregiving. My sister N and I were caregivers to my mom until she passed away last March at the age of 91. Up until the end of her life, we agonized over multiple decisions we had to make regarding her caregiving.
I made a commitment. I told my husband I was going to make my parents a top priority in my life. He agreed. On my mom's 80th birthday in 1999, we physically moved my parents to a new home less than a mile from our house.
It's no surprise that most older adults, when given the choice, say they would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. But what if those older adults develop physical and cognitive challenges? Who helps them fulfill their preference to age in place?
A voice in the center of my being told me that I belonged, not in Montana, but with my parents. What voice was this I heard? For me, it was God who directed me to accompany my father and mother in their decline.
As a society, we are now confronted with complex end-of-life challenges. Personal financial concerns, soaring medical costs, extension and quality of life issues, loss of independence and over-medicating, to name a few.
Baby Doll, as I call her, has reinforced something I already knew but had never put into words. The instinct to show affection is strong. We humans need love and kindness and we need to give it in return.
Dad turned 85 last March. I'd been trying to get back to Colorado to see him, but I didn't make the time until summer, after his heart had landed him briefly in the hospital. He'd gotten out okay, but my sister said he was 15 pounds underweight; she was worried about him.
Working on a book about aging has meant figuring out how to make this subject appealing... or at least not dismayingly off-putting. I mean, who wants to learn about tub transfer benches? Who cares about tile slip resistance? Did I really have to choose such an un-sexy topic for my first book?
Imagine a GPS that guides you easily along a road for hundreds of miles, then suddenly the voice command blurts out, 'Turn left...No turn right! Make a U-turn. Stop! Go!' You'd feel pretty frazzled, right? Well, that's what caregiving is often like.
The Obama administration has declared that November is National Family Caregivers Month. The proclamation declares that family member, friends and neighbors dedicate countless hours providing care to their relatives and loved ones.
Helping your folks downsize and move as they get on in years can be a daunting task. The emotions of leaving a place that has been home for many years -- along with that elephant in the room, aging -- are heavy burdens.
It's the third time in an hour that my mom has called and now we're in the middle of dinner, so I tell the kids that I'll call her back, but I really don't want to. My mother has been in an assisted living community for a year and her Alzheimer's-induced dementia has steadily spirited her away.