Caregivers

If your parents live long enough, chances are the parent-child relationship will be reversed at some point along the way, putting you in the position of taking care of one of your parents as they once did for you. Some people look at this as a great imposition and seek to avoid taking on such a role, but I relish it.

Here’s a photo taken on my mother’s 98th birthday:

image

I’ve mentioned my mother from time to time, and many of you already know she’s 98 years old and incapable of living on her own. She lived an independent life into her early nineties, but, although her financial resources allow her to avoid needing my sister and me to help with that, she has gradually devolved from total independence to a state of total dependence in which she needs someone to bathe and dress her, feed her, and transfer her from her bed to the recliner where she spends much of the day.

Since my sister lives some 1800 miles away, she gets here for a week or so every few months, but taking care of Mother’s financial affairs, arranging for her care, making medical decisions for her and so forth are left up to me, and I don’t mind a bit. I couldn’t possibly repay all she did in birthing and raising me, much less all the support she has always given me in my adult life, so I just look upon the present situation as an opportunity for me to do something for her.

As much as I love her, however, I’m not the person to bathe and feed her and do all the other little things she needs done daily. I wouldn’t be very good at it, and it would be a major imposition on my wife for me to try. Enter the professional caregiver.

Somewhere around age 90, Mother began to need help keeping her pills straight and doing her laundry. At that time, she lived in an independent living center, but they had a care-giving service available which we could hire to do these things. After a few years of this, it became necessary to move her from independent living into an assisted living facility.

For the first several years of assisted living, she could still bathe, dress, and feed herself, and use a walker to get around, but she did rely on caregivers for help with a lot of things, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry and such. Nowadays, she is completely dependent upon caregivers for everything except breathing.

It amazes me that there are so many people who are willing to do everything from feeding to changing dirty diapers on people like mother in return for paychecks comparable to working at McDonald’s. What’s even more amazing, is the cheerfulness of these ladies. Well, there are a few male caregivers, but in my experience, almost all are female.

The people who provide care for Mother just exude love. They hug her and smile while doing all sorts of things for her. At her first assisted living home, there were a few whose attitudes weren’t always flawless, but they were very few, and in the home where she currently lives, I haven’t found one person whose attitude is less than completely loving.

My hat is off to each and every one of these people who perform such vital services and do it so cheerfully and lovingly. I don’t think I could do the jobs they do, but I’m certainly thankful that they can and do.

What experiences have you had in dealing with the care of a parent or grandparent?

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We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

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For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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23 Responses to Caregivers

  1. Susie sent me and I’m so glad. What a wonderful story. My mother just turned 88 and I cherish every moment.

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  2. Pamela says:

    I juggled caring for a Mom with Alzheimers & a Dad in a wheelchair for over 6 years , helping care for them in their home . Taking them to medical appointments, cooking , cleaning , shopping , paying bills etc . My sister finally retired and started helping me , then one other sister helped out when she could . It was not easy but we had told my parents we didn’t want them to have to go into a nursing home. We cared for my Mom until she passed away & despite many medical problems my Dad is still with us . This took a toll on myself heathwise & i had to step back , my doctor simply told me i had entirely too much on me trying to care for my parents & take care of my own home and family . Bless all of you who choose to become caregivers , it isn’t always easy but it isn’t always so bad either . I am comforted to know i did the best i could & cared for my Mom & Dad , making their lives better for it .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Austin says:

    I popped over from Susie’s party. Nice post. 🙂

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  4. susielindau says:

    What a beautiful lady!
    It’s a calling when people choose to become caregivers. Nothing about it can be easy. They are saints!
    Thanks for stopping by the party! Click on a few links and tell them, “Susie sent me,” and they should click back here!

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  5. barbtaub says:

    Both of my parents passed away in the last year. The final years of their lives, they were able to remain in their home entirely thanks to the efforts of a small group of ladies. One in particular, Maria, is now a member of our family. We had both her wedding and her baby shower; and she came every day during my mother’s final illness—despite being pregnant and unable to work—and her presence was important to both of my parents. Clearly, she wasn’t in it for the money. But whatever lucky chance it was that brought Maria’s joy, love, and generosity into my parents’ lives, I give thanks for all the time. She was right there with the rest of us during what I call the most difficult thing I wouldn’t have missed for the world. God bless you and all that you’re doing for your mother, and bless those wonderful caretakers too.

    I hope you can take a little break over at Susie’s party. I think it’s really starting to rock.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dmswriter says:

    I never expected to be doing this, but I recently became a caregiver to a 93-year-old neighbor. I’m so fortunate – she’s cheerful, intelligent, and always thanks me for coming. It’s given me a new perspective on aging, boundaries, and the gift I have of being able to live on my own terms and move around under my own strength.

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  7. Jane Merrick says:

    I loved what you had to say! Jane

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  8. amazibg how some of the hardest and valuable jobs are ones we don’t even realize we might need. Thank you for sharing, David

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  9. I’m fortunate in that my mom and step-dad are still pretty young. I did, however, have a family friend who was a caregiver for a woman with alzheimers. Her kindness and patience and love were what made that job fulfilling for her. Unfortunately, she died way too young when it was discovered that she had an inoperable brain tumor and died of cancer in her 50’s. I’m still close to her children.

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    • Treasure every opportunity you have to spend time with your parents. And ask a lot of questions about your family and record the answers. We have no one left to ask about those things, since my mother is the only one left of her generation and she remembers nothing.

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  10. Barb Estinson says:

    I agree completely with you and Sharon both, David. Your love for Mom shows in all the things you do for her. I too find the caregivers an amazing blessing for her and for us too. It is wonderful for me that I am always warmly welcomed when I visit her, and that all you and Sharon do for me makes my visits possible. Thank you both. Love you.

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    • I’m afraid this post minimizes your part in all this, Barb, but I assure you that your visits are very important to Mother and to Sharon and me. Your loving support helps a bunch with all this.

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  11. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I never had to care for my parents since they both died relatively young and were active until they passed away. I do agree that almost all your mother’s caregivers have been exceptionally caring and capable, And you have been a wonderfully caring and devoted son, truly one of your mother’s greatest blessings.

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      • David Conner says:

        David,
        I have known you for lots of years. Our time together every week has given me a special insight into your life that most people are not aware. I say this for you and most of all for those who haven’t had such pleasure. You, my friend, are a rarity among the very best life has to offer in loving sons doing as the bible says, “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.” NASB I have been with you as you have gone by to see her and to see how she is doing. David, you are a very best example of a man who gives honor not only to his mother but also to Our Lord who is greatly glorified by what you are doing, selflessly and lovingly, for your beautiful and loving mother. Thank you much for such a beautiful and living example of Christ’s heart…………David C.

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