“I can’t keep up. I just can’t do it all by myself!”
With tears streaming down her cheeks, I reached across the table and grabbed my mother by the hand, looked her straight in the eyes and said, “Guess what… you don’t have to! I’m glad you said something.” That’s when I started searching for elder care service providers to help out and decided to call CaringGivers.
When people ask me, How did you know your father needed help? or When did the family decide he needed more support? I look back and remember my mother’s face that morning over coffee: How tired she looked. How frustrated. How ashamed she was to ask for help. She loved my father, her husband of 57 years, who was becoming a greater challenge with each passing week. Dementia, Parkinson’s and chronic heart failure had taken his strength and clarity. Although she labored endlessly to make him comfortable, she began neglecting her own health issues that she rarely talked about. How did I know my father needed help? The signals came from my mother, his primary care giver, and not my father. That’s how I knew he needed help.
It was the everyday tasks and chores that became an issue for mom. Arthritis in her hands made even the most mundane tasks harder to handle. Cooking a simple meal for the two of them took time. Leaving dad alone while she went for groceries. Loading up the car. Unloading it when she got home. Preparing a meal. Cooking. Helping him to the table. Watching him as he ate. The clean up. Everyday, three times a day. Laundry piled up. The house had to be cleaned. She kept her suffering a secret because she didn’t want to burden the family.
Medical appointments posed another set of issues. They were difficult to schedule. The different specialists and his primary care physician appointments were tough to get to. Getting dad in the car with his walker was awkward and difficult. Transporting him to the doctor’s office was unnerving. And then there was the waiting, waiting, waiting. Repeat the process to get him home and you can imagine how exhausted mom was at the end of the day. Totally and completely.
If you or someone you love is the primary caregiver of a loved one, watch them. Talk to them and look for signs of fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Ask how you can help. Finding a quality elder care service like CaringGivers can be the best way to help your family cope with all the daily responsibilities that are often neglected. The friendly, attentive and intuitive staff at CaringGivers brought relief to my mother’s situation and afforded her the freedom to take care of herself so she could take care of dad.