Care giving will cost you. Time, money and plans for your life will never be the same. Not only is it shocking to suddenly find yourself caring for an aging parent, but it’s extremely difficult to wrap your head and life around your new duties. Love is expensive.
This week has been a milestone in my family. My father is now in a wheelchair almost full time. If you haven’t been through this, you don’t realize the strategic planning that goes into having a wheelchair in the house. First, you need a wheelchair that fits. The one my brother and sister-in law bought is almost too wide to go through doors.
We need to move furniture so he won’t be blocked. I’m currently having a discussion with my Mom to remove a pie safe in the kitchen. I’ve never really liked the thing anyway, but she loves it. It will be a big sacrifice for her. However, the pie safe is in the way, and he can’t maneuver around it.
I don’t think many of us have been prepared for care giving. I know when I was in high school at David Lipscomb we had an excellent health class that covered first aid in detail. We learned how to handle just about any emergency that could happen with children. What we weren’t taught was how to handle many emergencies with the elderly.
Back in the 70’s many people did not live to their mid-eighties or beyond. So elder care was not included in the curriculum.
Now, I think it should be added. Not only for high school health classes but also for churches.
There is a very good article by Michelle Singletary for the Washington Post entitled The Growing Burden on Caregivers.
She discusses such issues as the difficulty of handling all the medications your parents may need. She also talks about what often happens after the hospital discharge when you suddenly find yourself on your own without doctors and nurses who can answer all your questions. It can be a very scary time. I’ve also been there.
Not to mention the fact you’re trying to hold down a job or run a business while all the new care giving is going on. Taking care of customers, clients or tenants is hard under the best of circumstances but when you’re trying to balance it all with elder care, it can be a heart attack waiting to happen. That’s a giant subject in and of itself.
Here’s more information.