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A Son’s Devotion: Caring For My Elderly Parents

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
09/14/16  1:54 PM PST
elderly parents

Special thanks to Wayne L. for sharing this personal story about caring for his elderly parents…

They are many challenges that come with caregiving, as we all know. Both of my elderly parents are in their 80’s, dad being 84 and mom being 81. Their cognitive abilities have drastically declined over the years.  For instance, at times they do not recognize what time of day it is and their memories are not as good as they once were. We have gone through a lot over the past 16 years, such as hip and knee replacement surgeries, cataract surgeries, hand surgeries, basal cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer to name a few. They both have limited mobility and don’t get around as much as they used to. They both need help with their day to day needs such as bathing and help going to the bathroom. Mom has been bedridden for quite a while now, while dad can still get around somewhat.

With all these challenges that I face as their primary caregiver, the rewards come from knowing that I am there for them. Whatever problems might arise, I know in my heart, that I am doing the best possible job of caregiving that I can for them. It’s quite rewarding for me when I see that they have both made it through another day with my help. To receive praise for my efforts and to see them show the same degree of affection for each other that they had when they got married 60 years ago brings joy to my heart. I often wonder what they would do without me.

Incontinence is another issue that seniors face and I am faced with having to do diaper changes at least two times a day. Then there’s the issue of them falling and unable to get up without my help.  They are both quite prone to accidents and I have had to clean up blood and “dirt” on numerous occasions. I help them pay their bills, take them to doctor appointments, run errands for them, shop, cook, clean and whatever needs to be done on that particular day.

Another reward of caregiving is that, as a result of your efforts, you are able to treasure the time that you have with them. What’s here today might be gone tomorrow.  It’s good to know that you still have them around to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries with. Giving unconditional care, despite all the obstacles that are thrown your way, makes it a truly rewarding experience. I am glad that I am still able to communicate with both of them, and that they haven’t suffered anything as serious as a stroke. Although their cognitive abilities are waning, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia have not been a part of their lives.  Oh sure, we’ve all felt like throwing in the towel at one point or another, but to persevere despite overwhelming odds, makes caring for them seem worth it.

It takes a special person to be a caregiver, one who is selfless, and who puts the needs of others ahead of their own. I often think what life would be without them.  I don’t think I would know what to do with myself.  I’ve been at it for so long that I have forgotten what life was like prior to me becoming their primary caregiver. Fortunately for me, as of now, it hasn’t come to that and for that I am truly blessed.

Would you like to read more family caregiver stories?

Visit the Shield HealthCare Caregivers Community.

 

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