It's Official....I'm a Caregiver

      As my blog subtitle indicates, I am a mother, daughter, wife and girlfriend.  Time for the daughter part.  My mom has been living independently for approximately 25-30 years.  For most of those years, she managed quite well.  That said, she does have a rather extensive medical history.  The last couple of years it has become necessary for me to check on her more and more, to do her shopping, pay her bills, drive her to doctor appointments, etc.

     Fast forward to the morning of February 26th  when I received a dreaded phone call.  My mom had been found by her neighbor at the bottom of her basement stairs.  She had fallen down the stairs and her head was bleeding.  She was rushed to the emergency room where me and my family met her.  She required five staples in her head, was badly bruised and disoriented.  Miraculously, she did not break any bones.  However, she was admitted to the hospital for six looong days of testing, evaluation and recovery.  Around day five, I was told she would need outpatient physical and occupational therapy and that she should not live alone any longer.  It was then that I made the difficult decision to bring my mom to our house -- at least for the rehabilitation process.

     For the past 4 weeks, I have been not only a daughter, but also what is known as a "caregiver".  If you asked me 2-3 years ago what a caregiver was, I would not have been able to tell you.  Luckily, the words "care" and "giver" are pretty self-explanatory....someone who "gives care", right!?  And yet, it is soooo much more.

"Caregiving is the act of providing unpaid assistance and support to family members or acquaintances who have physical, psychological, or developmental needs. Caring for others generally takes on three forms: instrumental, emotional, and informational caring. Instrumental help includes activities such as shopping for someone who is disabled or cleaning for an elderly parent. Caregiving also involves a great deal of emotional support, which may include listening, counseling, and companionship. Finally, part of caring for others may be informational in nature, such as learning how to alter the living environment of someone in the first stages of dementia.
Sociologists generally limit their discussion of caregiving to unpaid workers. Caregivers are typically family members, friends, and neighbors. Sometimes caregiving is done by those affiliated with religious institutions. While caregiving of all types is also done by paid workers such as nurses, social workers, and counselors, this is paid work, and thus is not in the same category. Caregiving rarely refers to the daily care that parents provide for their children, because this is classified as parenting; however, caring for an adult disabled daughter would be considered caregiving because it is outside of the norm of expectations for older adults."

I have also been provided a nurse, home aide, physical and occupational therapist.  All of that extra help will end this Friday. 

     The good news is that being a caregiver has forced me to spend more time at home which equals more time to start this blog.  The bad news is that I am now a caregiver to my 67 year old mother....and this is only part of the story.  I am also the daughter and caregiver of a mom who has Alzheimer's Disease.  Two or three years ago, I didn't really know what AD was.  Now I do.  It's not good.  More mom posts to come....

Mom (Dozing) at the Hospital
(Permission was NOT granted to post this picture)

Mom 4 Weeks Later!
(Permission WAS granted to post this picture)


The Pawlak Family said...

You certainly are amazing for all you do...I can't imagine. Jon's grandpa was diagnosed with AD at around 85. I actually know a lot about it and have seen it first hand for over 8 years. I have been with Jon's family through the process of moving him to different living places. One of the hardest diseases to watch a loved one go through. If you ever have any questions, I can talk to Jon's family for immediate answers. xoxoxo

Cindy said...

Thanks Pawlaks... Gosh, I didn't even know that about Jon's family!! First the author thing and now this!? Thanks for understanding...I'm actually getting some R&R soon...can't complain ;) Hugs!

Ruth said...

I am so proud of you and what you're doing for your mom. That being said please be sure to do what's right for YOU & YOUR FAMILY.

Jennifer said...

I can't imagine either! I know it must be hard work though! Enjoy your R&R!!

Cindy said...

Thanks Aunt Ruth and Jennifer! Yes, the tricky part IS keeping it right for me/us....but I did get some R&R!! xox

Donna said...

You're a good daughter!! XO

Beth said...

So sad that she was diagnosed at such a young age. God bless you as a loving, kind, wonderful caregiver and daughter. You're doin' good!