Sunday, July 13, 2008

Taking Care of an Elderly Parent 24/7

Not a good idea, especially if you want to maintain your sanity. Don't get me wrong, I love my mom tons, but this has been draining. Being able to write about it, is therapeutic. As an educator, I always look at things and ask myself, what have I learned? So here are some of the things that come to mind.

You need a boatload of patience, especially if you are caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Patient, are they named patient because they need to be or are they misnamed? I think the nurses or caretakers should be named patient, because they need to have it. Thank God I deal with students daily, and with the way kids are now a days, it seems I have a little bit of it, but it seems I need more.

Next you need to take a nap when you can. Especially here in the tropics. Naps refreshen you.

You need to have outside help during the week and I do for four hours daily. If you are doing this alone, you need more help.

You need to set some boundaries and try to keep them. My mistake is not having someone give me a break on Sundays. I wanted to go to church today, and wasn't able to make it happen. Thank God for worship online, but there is nothing like actually being there, really. Since I don't live here, full time, it's been a month of caring and I am worn out, mostly emotionally. That is why I am painting, and writing so much. A little later I plan to read. So take time for yourself regardless.

You have to be flexible... even about reality. Elderly people have feelings yet they make mistakes or have accidents and they do not want to lose their dignity. They sometimes don't want to admit the truth of what is happening to them or about an accident they had because they are losing control. Remember they have feelings. Today, I had to work through something incredibly difficult, which I thought when it happened, "this is minor", and then my mom made a mountain out of a mole hill. Oh my God. She was actually having a meltdown. I can't go into details, but it was one of the most trying moments yet. So yeah, be flexible.

Integrate fun into your schedule, including games, crossword and jigsaw puzzles, newspapers, riddles, songs, music, etc. It will make time go faster and it will be fun, and release stress, too.

Ask them about things in the past you might be interested in. Remember they will not be around forever.

So that is what I have learned so far and I am sure there is more to learn. I need to take a nap, so see ya.

4 comments:

Lilli Ann said...

I can understand a lot of what you are saying... we've been through some of this also, and now somewhat even with my older brother. It's hard-- they need help, and that means loss of independance. It is frustrating to all involved sometimes! But it is a season and we TRY :) to take one day at a time! Will you be in PR for the rest of the summer? / Lil

Elba said...

Hola, Lil, you know there is always a struggle in sacrifice. Actually I have it pretty easy. Mom is adjusting to being with me and the routine of being at my apartment more and more each day. Knowing that I will we leaving next Thursday, I am sending her to her house with her caretaker during the day to ease her back into her regular routine at her house. I think the heat has been the harder part not really Mom. After I wrote my blog I read a short story on a cystic fibrosis man/artist from Ireland, named Christy Brown. Though he proved to be a talented artist, the real hero was his mother and family,whose love and belief in him kept him out of being isolated in an institution. The story is inspirational. Makes my experience look like a piece of cake which it is.

Anonymous said...

My mother had a second stroke recently in NJ. I'm considering bringing her to FL to live. Are there any agencies I can contact for information on home care, what will be covered by medicaid/medicare?

Anonymous said...

My dad has moved in with us and life has become such a grind for my husband and I. We work from home, but with my dad here it's hard to keep the business going. My husband and I are suffering financially and trying to feed three people every day is really a strain. We also have no privacy. My dad wants to spend very evening with us and my husband is becoming resentful. I too feel such a loss when it comes to my relationship with my husband. I think about him living in my house for the next ten years or more and I wonder how we will survive emotionally.