As with most families, the primary caregiver is likely to be the spouse, daughter or son. One of our newer clients is 103 years old and is down here for the winter with his daughter. Other adult children also come and go giving some respite time.
This daughter, J. happens to be a wonderful writer. She added me to her email list about her musings about her dad, L. and has given permission to share it with all of you other Caregiver daughters.
As a Geriatric Care Manager who has worked with countless families, being the Caregiver Daughter means you know first hand what it means to care for an aging father – like no one else can. The managing, coordinating, waiting, being availble, remembering, hands on care with the man who raised you into the world…..
When things settle down into a routine, I will figure out when I can take time for me.
I always have my writing and emails from friends who love me. I tend to be dedicated and responsible to my tasks and “Daddy Duties.” He does come first. Its the one thing my sisters are worried about with me is burning out. I did that when my Mom was dying. We worked together and we had a strained relationship. It got pretty crazy then. I have more internal resources now.
I will miss birding with my friends and going to the beach with the “circle,” I must say. But I can’t ask some aide to be here at o dark thirty so I can be gone all day or hang with Dad while I bask in the sun and yak. I know what I have to do as J’s daughter. It will be worth the sacrifice.
There is always vodka and chocolate!! I know I am not alone…. if only in spirit. I have been eating a lot lately and not all of it good foods. Stress is like that.
Okay. Gotta grab the last load of laundry, take a shower and fall into bed.
Glad all was done properly. Paper work is not my strong suit! I’m better, much better, with a microphone standing in front of a jazz combo!
By the way, we really like P, the aide. My Dad likes her and so do my sister, L. and me. She maybe a perfect choice for us. Her Brother recently passed and we understand that kind of loss. Our beloved Brother, D, was killed in a car accident 15 years ago.
I really liked M, a nurse, who saw Dad today. I hope we can keep him, so to speak. The physical therapy scheduler finally called me and we set up an appointment for next Thursday.
All these people coming and going are a bit confusing for Dad. Me, too, but this is the way things are. Times like these are stressful in the first place.
Sincerely and good Holiday to you, J.
Everyone who has met Dad has been amazed and impressed by L. If only by his longevity. Those of you that have met him know this to be true. He is amazing and impressive. We are still getting things in place to care for him but we have been lucky to now have one caring aide, P. She has shown herself to be a good fit. She knows her stuff about care taking and is teaching me. I will do as she says. It is clear to me that she cares.
Dad has had a couple of good days in a row. For all the indignities thrown at him the past week, his hospital stay, all the poking and prodding and questions, meeting so many new people, he remains good natured and hopeful. He loves life. Its who is is. Who he always has been. He has so much inner dignity that it would take a lot more than this to ruffle him. His self composure is still so evident and I am humbled by him.
As I gently helped him to bed this evening, taking out his hearing aids, removing his glasses, and guiding him to his room, I couldn’t have been filled with more love for him. He thanks me every day for my efforts and is grateful. It is me who is grateful for all he did for me, showed me through his living and all his sacrifice. I feel blessed beyond telling. E, W. and I have indeed been well Fathered. It is one of the reasons we are such an extraordinary Family. XO,
As I have been helping Dad with the most basic of things, in and out of bed, dressing, teeth brushing and shaving, I am moved by these tender moments of taking care of him. He was brushing up and shaving this morning, I remembered a moment from childhood where he scared the hell out of W. when he walked into her room with a face full of shaving cream. I remember his sorrow for having scared her and how he comforted her. I am thinking its a reserve ratio, how he cared for me when I was a baby. I have this brown birth mark on one of my cheeks… and I don’t mean my face…. that he always tried to scrub off! The dynamic is quite different now but its the reverse ratio situation now. I never raised a child, being the single child-free daughter, but I imagine that this is very similar. The tenderness of caring for someone who is vulnerable can be a lonely and forlorn experience on one hand and deeply rewarding on the other.
I am not unaware of the pain he might be feeling. Dad, rightfully so, is a very proud man and this place where he is right now must be a wound to his ego and soul. Yet he remains, on the whole, good natured and accepting.
There have been moments of darkness for me and then in the next moment, there is clarity and beauty. It is a storm I must weather and I will be richer for it.
Meanwhile the Universe is giving me distractions and pissing me off. I am in the on-going refrigerator battles. The old one broke down on Christmas Eve night and I wasn’t able to get one a new until Wednesday, delivered Thursday. The salesman pushed it through for me. Now the new one doesn’t work and I am getting a new-new one on Wednesday. I had to get coolers and ice everyday to keep the food I had from spoiling and distribute all the frozen foods to my condo buds for safe keeping. It was a small ordeal dealing with multiple phone calls to BrandsMart, repair people and Frigidaire. We were promised a transport wheel chair and it still has to appear, so I am chasing. There are prescriptions to fill, doctors to call and arrangements to make for the visiting nurse and physical therapist. Plus the lights here are flickering. I have an electrician coming also on Wednesday.
Thankfully, my sister, E. returns on Wednesday to help with everything and give me a small break. I would like to get out birding for a little bit with P. and attend a 50th anniversary dinner for beloved Beach Bums, R. and N.
It has been hard for me to remember and believe that the Universe has my back. It has been my mantra lately.
So, I greet the New Year neck deep in care taking and feelings. I usually send a New Year’s message with a picture of me in a bathing suit on the beach. Perhaps another year then. I hope that all of you are well and happy. Happy New Year. May you all find the love and care taking you need. Hug and kiss all the ones you love because life is short, even if one is almost 104! XOXO,
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