Changing The Guard: Caretaking Your Parents

Honoring Dad’s Birthday on January 27, 2011

Dad would have been 94 today.  But as much as he loved life to the end, he wouldn’t have minded not being here.  He was missing Mom and getting more frail.

However, I miss him.  I have to be honest, I don’t miss being tied to the house and worrying about him.  But I do miss him.  The nearly five years I spent caring for him and the 5 years I spent helping him care for Mom are something I will never regret.  I was hard, it was expensive, but I got that time with Dad and I have no regrets.

I started this blog because I needed a community during the last year of Dad’s life.  I could have used one from the beginning.  It was so overwhelming.  It crept up on all of us slowly, but the day Dad was so ill and Mom couldn’t be left alone and I realized that I was in it alone, it felt like a tsunami overtook my life.  It got better I learned how to manage.  I learned to enjoy some things,

I have had a year to rest, to reassess my life and where I want it to go.  I know that one thing that will be important to me is to help others who are entering that phase or are in the middle of it or nearly the end is knowledge and support.

I am a baby boomer who spent the last 30 years as a psychotherapist working with people from the womb to the grave.  I know family dynamics and systems.  I have worked with them professionally and personally.  Its time that I start giving back and helping people who are experiencing what I did and more.

I am reopening this blog, with a pledge to write at least weekly, and to open up a mentoring program for people who need personal help along the way.  As I progress there will also be a community forum and a resource center.  But I am starting slowly.  The first issues will be concrete ideas about how you can get your situation organized so that you can care for your parents and still find time to enjoy them and your life.

Its an adventure, one of the hardest you will ever make, but it will be worth it.

Dad and His Friend Rose in His Last Months

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January 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some Cheer

102 YEAR OLD BIKER CHICK

A year or so ago, sitting in the Newark airport I saw a sign about Nola Ochs, a 95 year old woman who had just earned her college degree.  Well, I had to do a lens about her, the link is above, and also found more wonderful really old people who were still doing amazing things.  There was a 109 year old blogger!  100 year old who were sky diving (no thank you).

And I just found this picture with an article about a 102 year old Harley ‘biker chick’.

Ya, Dad isn’t going to make this list, and maybe not your parent.  But we can do it!  (Note to do the Pilattes machine again tomorrow!)

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Blessings, Heroines and Inspirations, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

What to Do?

Rose came over tonight for a second visit this week.  She took Dad out to get groceries and presumably dinner.  They got back awfully early, without dinner.  When I asked Rose she commented, “He fell but he doesn’t want you to know.”  Why on earth not, I feel so bad.

Rose said that he thinks ‘we’ don’t want him going out.  That wasn’t me, it was the doctor.  When he comes in, I drop hints all over the place that I really like to see him go out.  Go out more….

Its so sad that he thinks I want to keep him in.  What would you do?  How would you get the message across.

August 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

25 Item To-Do List EVERYONE Should Be Doing

I found this while Stumbling.  Great list!

25 Item To-Do List EVERYONE Should Be Doing

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August 12, 2009 Posted by | Take Care of Yourself, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Every One Needs a Rose

I knew Rose from several different places in Raleigh.  She kept popping up.  I guess we were meant to be together.  She has some amazing talents, one of which is working with human energy.  She was taking a course in health issues and I volunteered Dad as a guinea pig.  He was skeptical, but liked Rose. One day he came in and showed me how much higher he could lift his foot.

But the real thing happening was that they started to talk and talk and talk.  Rose and Dad truly love each other.  She says that if she were 30 years older he might get her to switch from being a Lesbian!  The fact that she is makes it easier for him to have this friendship/romance.  He is able to have the good stuff, the love, the flirting ,without any worry that he was stepping out on Mom.

Rose comes once a week, on Wednesday at least.  Its date night and they usually go out, unless Rose works late or Dad doesn’t feel good.  They go out for beers, they get pedicures together.  Rose talks about her problems with her love life and Dad counsels and gives advice.  He used to think that homosexuality was bad, but know he is an expert.  Don’t tell me you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

Everyone should have a Rose.  Heck, I wish I had one.

Fritz Arrowsmith and Rose

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bed Is Gone, Dad 1 Health Establishment 0

Well, Dad didn’t ask for the bed, it just arrived, but I wasn’t going to get into it.

He wasn’t comfortable.  I actually thought that sleeping on his back with his knees raised would help his back.  But Dad is a side sleeper.  It comes, I guess from all those years spooning with Mom.

Anyway, I taught him how to lay there, but when he woke up in the night to go to the bathroom, he coudn’t manuver the bed to flat so he could get out.

I didn’t have a problem with the bed, but I am especially proud that he handled it himself.  He also canceled the chair, but may go check one out that is closer.

I thought the bed could have done him some good, but I didn’t like the idea of it in the house.  AND I am very proud that he took charge and handled it himself.  The brat in me kind of likes thumming at the nurse, although she is really good and cares about him.  I am feeling vindicated that I do know him better than she does.

July 17, 2009 Posted by | Needed Services, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

When Dad Gets Depressed

Dad was really depressed yesterday.  One of the things that helps me get through this is that Dad seems to want to be alive and there are things that he looks forward to, from his date nights with Rose, to ‘I hope I live long enough to see if this Obama stuff works’, even though he doesn’t think it will.

But when he is so depressed it makes it harder to hold on.

He had had a bad night, not much sleep.  That his meds are making a lot of drool is embarrassing to him, and I have to admit, unpleasant for me.  His new assistant  thinks its the meds.  I have no doubt about it.

“I am going to tell the nurse that I am going off all my meds, except for 3, the heart, blood pressure and ..”  I don’t remember what else.But he didn’t say it with strength, but anger and depression.

I am actually with him on this.  I am suspicious of too many meds.  The doc says he must have each and every one.  In which case Dad is saying, ‘I won’t live this way’.  I am not going to fight him on it.  I am staying out of it. Its his choice.

He was better by evening.  Queen had given him one of the baths that he loves so.  Rose came over and talked about her problems with her girlfriend.  Dad loves to help her with he love life.

But, damn its hard when Dad is depressed.  Its harder to keep my spirits up and that scares me.

June 30, 2009 Posted by | Joys and Frustrations, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment