More and more people of my generation reach a point in their lives where they must play an active role in caring for their parents. That can mean having to provide a ride when mom or dad reach the age where they can no longer drive. It might mean becoming their power of attorney when physical or mental frailty affects the parent’s ability to make decisions. It can also mean taking care of them physically if an event leaves them unable to perform the tasks of day-to-day living.
I found myself in the latter category last year when my mother suffered a stroke. Lily was a proud and independent woman and it broke my heart when she could no longer walk. It took quite a while for Lily to accept her new physical state, but mom eventually conquered her depression. Physio also helped to a certain extent, but it was clear that mom could no longer function as she once did.
I moved her into my condo and acted as primary caregiver. This worked for a while until the stress and time demands began to take a toll. I kept my concerns to myself, but mom knew me better than that.
“I think you need some help, dear.” She was right. I investigated what was available to mom and she qualified for a daily personal support worker visit. These soon started and proved invaluable. Michelle is a lovely person who developed an instant rapport with Lily. In fact, I sometimes think mom misses her more than me. But that’s fine because Michelle’s assistance every morning allows me to start the day off without any concerns or stress and that is key to my performing on the job.
Caregivers, you are all doing a wonderful job, but none of us are invincible. Accept help when it is offered and, if there are no offers, find out what is available to you.