It’s been some time since I wrote a post that dealt with being a caregiver and helping an aging relative or parent. Though my mother has died and the focus of my life altered, I still read about caregiving and I often advise my friends who are now where I used to be. My desire to help, to make a stressful and yet it’s-part-of-life experience easier to navigate is strong. I want people to use me as a sounding board for questions about the entire process: how to take the car keys away, how to protect monetary resources by taking over the checkbook, how to recognize the signs and symptoms of dementia, how to talk to someone with dementia, drugs that can often help dementia patients, the difference between palliative care and hospice care—and much more.
I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I know the entire learning process is ongoing. So when I’m helping a friend and we’re talking about what happens when your parent breaks a hip or the ins and outs of senior housing or just basic things like how to stay healthy when the person you are caring for is in a health crisis—I can advise them to access the AARP Caregiving Resource Center.
The site is jam-packed with well-written articles that offer advice on a wide variety of topics like these:
There is even a Community page where you can find support and help for individual problems and questions. It’s a place where other caregivers share, get and give advice.
Even before the caregiving journey began for my brothers and me, my mother gave us an amazing gift. While still healthy and before she needed to enter a senior facility—she purchased a Long Term Care policy. That economic benefit was an enormous help as her care needs increased.
I have a Long Term Care policy—the importance of purchasing such a policy was one of the things I learned from being a caregiver. It’s very important to plan for the time when you will be the receiver of help and not the giver. Think about your own financial situation and check out this link from AARP, which discusses the process.
My mother was a giver who dedicated her life to caring for and loving her family. But one day we exchanged places and I was called upon to do the caring. It was sometimes a daunting task, as I lived five hours away from her. Debbie became me—a caregiver who lovingly provided hands-on care. She gave me peace of mind and we stayed on the same page through emails and phone calls. But in the end, the major decision-making fell to my brothers and me. We did everything we could to keep Mom comfortable and then to let her die in peace when she knew it was her time. May blessings always shower my dear mother and all the women and men who daily provide care. Every caregiver is on a continuum—learning something new every day. Every caregiver needs love and help from another family member or a friend. It’s a circle–and we all must join.
I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.
Watch a video of singer Amy Grant providing tips for caregiving here.
Thanks to Google Images