09/01/19 Filed in: Aging Parents
Most never give it a thought until the later years on “who” might take care of them. This decision, most of the time, is made after an emergency such as a stroke or heart attack. In the hospital you have to make this decision in a matter of a few hours or days. In my situation, my mother woke up one morning and yelled she couldn’t get out of bed, on that day my life changed forever.
When this occurs you have very little time for discussion and you have to make the decision quick. Some want to become caregivers of their parents, some due to cultural reasons become caregivers and others have no choice and have to take care of their elderly parents. Also some parents do not want to go into assisted living and want to stay in their own home or with family.
I had no experience in being a caregiver. My father had a lung disease and when the disease turned into cancer it took it’s toll quickly. I started by lifting him out of bed and helping him around the house. This was basic care but as time went on it became more detailed such as washing, shaving and more. His disease advanced and caused him to be in and out of the hospital. I basically learned how to care for him while doing it.
A few years after my father passed away, my mom woke up one morning and said she could not stand. I became her caregiver and once again learned as we went along because this is a situation where everyone is different and what you learn about one might not work with another. What worked for my dad didn’t always work for my mom. Just as before it was a constant learning experience and it continued until my mom passed away.
The hardest part for me was that it never stopped. I was on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If I wanted to take a break I would have to have someone stay with my mom. I would have to hire a caregiver to sit with her while I was gone. For me that was not an option because we did not have the money to hire someone to stay with her. Another problem was my mom did not like to have strangers in the house. It was a continuous job.
Being a caregiver also caused financial hardship. I had refinanced our home to cover expenses and also used credit cards. In fact I am still paying off the debt that I incurred while I was taking care of my mom even after I sold our house. I was lucky I was able to sell assets to cover some of the debt. Today a lot of people have no equity in their home, have no credit available or have no assets to sell.
Those of us in our 50’s and 60’s should use these examples to think about our future care.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Author-“You Got To Do What You Got To Do”
www.takingcareofaparent.comJames Colozzo is not a medical expert or professional and has no formal training or education on this subject. He is an average person that was given a challenge and had to deal with the situation. His experience comes from the over 20 years that he actually did all the work to care for his elderly parents and their medical conditions. Since every person, condition and situation is different, what Mr. Colozzo did to care for his parents might not be suitable for others. You need to partner with your physician to find what type of care is best for your situation.
Copyright © 2019 James Colozzo
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