As parents age concerns about heavy-duty caregiving are common. The NY Times published a powerful piece in early March. Elizabeth’s experience as told to NY Times science/geriatrics-writer/columnist, Paula Span will resonate with many caregivers, Alzheimer’s caregivers or not.
Living with the parents I’m losing to Alzheimer’s:
One night recently my dad was so confused, up so many times, and I was exhausted and full of frustration and anger and overwhelming grief. I just went in there and cried in his arms, begging him, “Please, go back to sleep.” He didn’t understand, but he was holding me and crying, too, and saying, “I’m so sorry. I’ll do better. I’ll do better.”
I don’t know how to describe that feeling, where you just don’t feel like you can go on anymore. And I know I have a lot of things on my side relative to other people in this situation. A supportive husband. Paid help.
We just got a grant from the organization Hilarity for Charity. They gave us 25 hours of care a week for a year. We also have a caregiver from one of the state programs. So now we have help Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings.
But most of the caregivers …..
There was a point in May of 2013 — we’d been here two and a half years — when we had plans to move my parents into a facility. We were going to do a respite stay, and if they fit in, if it went well, we’d sell the house.
We did everything we could — we brought couches and furniture from their bedroom — to make the place feel homelike. But it wasn’t home. For my dad, it lasted three days. He started having panic attacks, to the point where he was throwing up.
He was still with it enough to call us. I remember getting a message from him, weeping. “It’s Daddy. Please, me and Mom want to come home.”
Everybody, including his doctor, said, “You have to leave him, you have to let him adjust.” I couldn’t do it. I would never judge the people who do, but I couldn’t.
Click title link above to read complete piece.
We try to help parents age well. We give our all. As Grandma said many years ago, “Angels can do no more.”
(I don’t want this to be too long so follow-up will be Tuesday–Caregiving: Ever feel you want to scream)
Related: Aging Parents, Grandparents and Loved Ones: Can Family Members do it All?
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities and respected professionals–to help parents age well.