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A Daughter’s Journey Becoming Her Mom’s Primary Caregiver

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
04/25/12  8:03 AM PST

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest

My name is Jeanne. I am 52 years young and have just discovered the beauty of life. My story begins with a wonderful mother, who raised all nine children by herself. My mother worked hard and did everything she could to put food on the table and she tried her hardest to raise us the best of her ability. My mom is the rock in our lives. No matter what the situation has been, she has given her all to us and for as long as I can remember, she was strong and very independent. In September of 2003, she fell ill and learned she was battling Leukemia, as well as Type 2 Diabetes. We all knew that Leukemia is known to quickly shorten the life span of its patients, so a few of my siblings decided to pitch in and make the sacrifice to share in the caretaking of our mother.

With hectic work schedules and unforseen occurrences, the shared responsibilities of helping our mother just simply didn’t work. Nor was it a quality service we were providing for her since we all had demanding jobs, children and grandchildren. So my mother’s care was not the primary focus for any of us. With that being said, I knew something had to change. I knew she needed better care and I knew she deserved better and needed someone to be there 100% in body, mind and soul.  So, I made the decision to move into my mother’s house and become her primary caregiver.

Making the decision to not only reside with my mother, but care for all her needs full-time has really given me the opportunity to be part of and understand her medical treatment plans, communicate effectively with her team of doctors and see how we can work together to make her life more comfortable. It has been a rewarding year for me. I treat her like a queen. I not only make sure that all of her medical needs are met, but I spoil her because she deserves it. I try to keep in mind that she needs association and stimulation, as well as assistance in the things she used to love to do. So on the days we don’t have appointments to go to, she has friends come and visit. I make sure to cook meals and provide a comfortable atmosphere for everyone at the house. We eat all of our meals together. I assist her with all of her activities of daily life, which include bathing, household chores, running errands, taking her to medical appointments and accompanying her to religious services. She is finally secure and happy knowing that she comes first and there is someone with her at all times. She no longer has to feel empty, alone and scared as she battles these incurable diseases.

I also have had the privilege for the last year to be there for her and repay her for all she has done for me and my siblings. The smallest things I can do for her bring a lot of joy to my heart and there is no better way to repay the woman who brought me into this world by making sure she is taken care of. She puts all of her faith in God and has taught me not to take things for granted, to love one another and be thankful for all you have. So even though I am physically caring for her needs, she is caring for my needs as well, and teaching me how to be a better person.

Sadly we all know one day she will be gone, but she will never be forgotten. I will always remember everything she has gone through and how she loved us from the bottom of her heart. Taking care of her has taught me patience, how to give and has given both of us the ability to have a better quality of life as we endure this journey together. And nothing I’ve ever experienced in life could be more rewarding than this.

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