“Getting old is not for wimps” – that’s what my father has been saying for as long as I can remember. And when he and my mother were celebrating their 49th wedding anniversary, he said it again.
For all newcomers, my mother was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s a few years ago. Due to our family history, dementia is not unexpected. Parkinson’s was quite a shock. And we now see both in full effect.
My father was my mother’s most important and only carer all along. I am the oldest of 5 siblings; They help as best they can and give my father relief when he has to do something, it really is up to him. And I don’t think either of us really knew what that meant … until my mom came to stay with me for two weeks.
The caretaker challenge
I have tried to explain to my children that it is not always about the physical needs that are important, but also about the mental wear and tear. Worry any moment that she will be out of sight if she fell out of bed, fell in the bathroom, or just stumbled somewhere. And my dad can’t straighten her if she falls, so he had to start calling the fire department. I didn’t know the fire department offered this service, but my twins, both volunteer firefighters in our hometown, say so and encourage my father to use it instead of harming himself.
I digress …
What help can we offer
We know there will come a time when my mother will need more help than can be provided at home. But we’re not there yet. It is time to help my father, we don’t want his caring duties to harm his health.
I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know what resources are available. But this week in Texas, my goal is to get answers to those two questions. I would love the BAD community’s experience here.
My thoughts are that my mom needs some activities that require physical exertion. And my father needs regular hours in which he can take a physical and mental break while he knows that my mother is safely cared for. Please send me suggestions, experiences and, as always, prayers so that we can find something that will satisfy both my mother’s care and my father’s relief.
The post “Getting old is not for wimps” first appeared on Blogging Away Debt.