What I’ve Learned as My Aging Parents’ Caregiver: A Deeply Personal Story
In this post: If you’ve found yourself in reversed roles with your aging parents, you may benefit from what I’ve learned as my parents’ caregiver.⇒
I know my audience.
If you’re 30, you probably haven’t gotten past the title. If you’re 40, you’re too busy to do more than scroll through the photos. But if you’re in your 50’s and 60’s, you already know there’s something in this post that will be very familiar, that may perhaps touch your heart. And if you’re over 70 or 80, you’re bookmarking the post to send to your kids.
This past year has been one of the most difficult of my life. Yet in some ways, it was among the most special.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. I know from the comments and emails I receive that many of you are in the same position as me, at the same or similar stage in life. But given the public nature of blogging, I couldn’t do it until now.
You see, last week, my dad passed away.
I’ve spent the past year and a half as his primary caregiver, a role I enjoyed, learned from, was exhausted by and will always cherish. Today I want to share my story with you, particularly what I learned to make this stage of life easier. At the bottom are my tips for those who are caregivers, along with some hints for those who need caring for themselves.
But before I get to the practical pointers, let me piece together the puzzle of emotions that has been the recent past. I promise to keep the medical details to a minimum, because that’s not what this post is about.
(This post was originally written a few years ago, but the tips are still relevant, so I update it every so often to share with new readers. My mom passed the following year, so the are once again joined together.)
Up until a year ago, my dad had been living with well-controlled cancer for 5 or 6 years. He had various treatments that he had tolerated well. Every time one regimen stopped working, his doctors presented other options. Life went on pretty close to normal and his disease was barely an inconvenience. He and my mom continued to dance, a hobby that had become their lifelong passion. In fact, throughout this period, my dad had only one concern, a concern that would ultimately overpower their dancing career.
My mom began to forget the dance steps. Then she had trouble finding her things. And soon it became clear that she had all the classic signs of dementia. This, unlike his own illness, became dad’s source of stress. I had always been close to my dad, but now we began talking or texting daily. As mom became increasingly disoriented, she also became highly agitated, even sometimes violent.
The situation progressed for several years until finally, about a year and a half ago, we knew it was time to force a change. My parents were living about an hour away in another state. Mom refused to move (even when she was well) and also refused to allow help in the house.
That year, when my parents came to visit to celebrate Father’s Day, dad and I had lined up several appointments to look at local apartments. Mom came along but reacted explosively to the idea. Two days later, dad called to tell me he wanted to proceed with one of the apartments. Given her reaction, I was both surprised and impressed, but I quickly got on board and became his advocate and accomplice. The rest of that summer he and I schemed and planned, through the purchase, minor renovations and decorating the place. I wrote about it in these three posts: The Plan, The Living Room, The Bedroom.
It was a joy to work on that apartment with my dad. We texted floor plans, furniture ideas and various details back and forth, all meant to honor my mom’s style and taste. But that summer also brought with it a medical challenge for my dad. His disease was progressing and after many years of avoiding it, he now needed to start chemo. I’ll never forget the lunch we had after that doctor’s appointment. We sat at an outdoor cafe on a Manhattan street and he was as cheerful and hopeful as usual. Then he gave me that big warm smile and said, “I’m not owed anything. I’ve had a good life.”
A few weeks later we moved them into the new apartment. We knew it would be easiest if we left their furniture in their old house and simply took as many personal items as we could fit into the cars. By now, mom was so disoriented that she hardly recognized her own home and we feared the disruption would make matters worse. But the situation had become untenable and was a danger to their lives. Dad’s first chemo had made him terribly ill. Mom was incapable of taking care of him but still refused to have help in the house. It had gotten so bad that when we picked them up to move, we drove him straight to the emergency room near our home.
I’ve always felt this was divine intervention. He was simply dehydrated, as he was not being cared for, and he stayed only a few days and was fine to go home. Mom stayed at our house while dad was in the hospital and this interim experience appeared to change everything. She rose to the occasion when he was released, worried about his health and willingly went to the new apartment.
I honestly have no idea how we would have gotten her there had he not needed to go to the ER.
Immediately, we got them round-the-clock care, but mom’s condition eventually deteriorated, and she wound up admitted to a memory care facility. I’m happy to say that she’s thriving there and dad had lots of opportunities to visit her, too. With mom appropriately cared for, they shared many lovely moments and their relationship returned to the beautiful romance it had always been.
The past year has been all about my dad and I cherish the time we’ve had together. We had time to say everything that needed or wanted to be said. We celebrated occasions and enjoyed the small moments, as well. Throughout his ordeal, his only concern was how my mom was doing.
And it turns out, he was right. He had a good life. He was loved by many and spread cheer and optimism everywhere he went. He and my mom shared a lifetime of love, the truest of sweethearts. To him, family was everything and he made sure we all knew that. I am the person I am today because of my dad, and I am surer about that after the past year, than ever before. I will miss him more than words can express, but as much as it hurts, I wouldn’t give up this time with him for anything.
Tips for Caregivers of Aging Parents
1. Divide and conquer. – If you have siblings, do your best to share the work, even if the tasks are not evenly split. Some help is better than no help. If siblings are not an option, accept help from friends. Even your kids can help ease the strain.
2. Talk to the appropriate experts. – Lawyer. Accountant. Elder care counselors. These professionals can offer immeasurable help and you will need them again at various stages. Establish a relationship as soon as possible.
3. Have the difficult conversations early in the game. – I cannot stress enough how important it is to know what your loved ones’ wishes are. Ask the hard questions. All of them. It’s a lot easier to have the conversation when the end is theoretical than when it’s imminent.
4. Say everything that needs to be or wants to be said. – Make sure you tell them that the remaining spouse will be taken care of. Try to find out anything else they might be worried about. Ask questions about their past. Not the obvious ones that were answered long ago, but the little known facts that were nearly forgotten.
5. Find out where everything is. – This goes without saying, but no matter how organized they think their affairs are, there are likely to be things that no one knows where they are.
6. Learn about Palliative Care. – This was a lifesaver for us. Long before you get to Hospice, Palliative Care can make everyone’s life more pleasant. It eased the transitions every step of the way.
7. Be sure to enjoy the person’s company. – Don’t forget this is the same person you always loved. Maintain their dignity by enjoying who they are.
8. Be kind to yourself. – I had a hard time with this one. Make the nail appointment. Get your hair done. Sleep late from time to time. You’ll need the strength this recharging can give you.
Tips for Those Needing Care
1. Don’t resist help. – Your family wants to help you. Let them. Accept the help of professional caregivers, too. If you’re open to it, you’re more likely to find people you connect well with.
2. Get your papers in order. – It amazes me how many people of advanced age do not have the appropriate papers filed. If you want control of your affairs, make these decisions as soon as you can. A will, a health care proxy and assign power of attorney. Don’t wait until it’s urgent. Do it while it’s still an eventuality.
3. Make your wishes known. – Your living will should be as specific as possible. Make sure your loved ones are clear about your wishes, which means talking about more than just a DNR. Talk about it clearly and thoroughly. Then it doesn’t need to be dwelled upon.
4. Share some stories you’ve never shared. – With the paperwork out of the way, you should enjoy your loved ones. Share the stories that got lost in the hustle and bustle of busy lives. Even better, write a “book” of stories. Some day your family will really appreciate it.
5. Gift your family with your interest in their lives. – It’s easy to get preoccupied with the details of aging. Maintaining an interest in your family will keep their visits pleasant and frequent. This is particularly important with grandchildren and younger family members. Now is the time to enjoy each other.
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Oh Lory – I’m so sorry to hear this news, but so glad you had those lovely times with your dad. Thank you so much for sharing this – your advice is really useful. There are many of us who are in the same position, and it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone. The world will never be exactly the same, but those wonderful memories will help. Take care – you’ll be in my thoughts.
Thank you, Barbara! I’m finding after a few weeks that my dad absolutely feels like he’s still with me.
Lory, so sorry for your loss and you know I’ve been dealing with my aging mom all year. You have shared great advice and tips. It is so very hard and exhausting and yes, you have to make time for yourself to recharge. I’m so glad I have the support of my husband and my brother and his wife. My sister in law has been more help than she will ever know.
Thank you Kim, and I wish your family the best too. I, too, had a lot of family support and I find we’re even closer having been through this experience.
I am so very sorry for the loss of your beloved Dad. May he rest in peace.
This blog must have been very difficult to write. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for your kind words, Eve.
I’m so proud of you Lory….that you were able to pen this and put it out there, were such a loving caregiver and have been able to hold it together all the while. Having been caregivers over here for 3 years, I know how difficult this can be. Hugs friend!
Thank you Janet, for your sweet words and all of your support! I’m finally getting around to responding to the comments and I know you completely understand what our experience was like.
Lory, I am so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful man your father was. His legacy will most definitely live on. Even through this post. It has touched me more than I can say. I’m nearing this point with my own parents. I plan to forward this to several people I love who are in the throes of this time w their own parents.
May God bless you with His comfort and peace.
So happy that your mom is now nearby and thriving in her environment.
Thank you Carol, and I hope the post will be helpful to others, as well.
I am so sorry Lory. I understand your loss as my dad passed away a number of years ago. My mother went first. Thank you for sharing all your sound advice as it makes me think I should be doing some of these things myself so my daughter will not have to worry about it. Once again thank you so much for sharing your insights.
Thank you, Candice! I know many have had similar experiences. I also completely share the feeling of wanting to make things easier on our kids. My next post should be about cleaning out my parents’ house… and how every time I come home from there, I want to organize everything in my own home! 😉
I am very sorry for your loss.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Lori.
You have written a beautiful caring memorial about your father. My heart goes out to you as I know the caregiving was difficult. My mother died with breast cancer many years ago. This brought back memories. Lori, take care of yourself as you go through the different stages of grieving. Remember all the wonderful times with your Dad. Many hugs to you! ❤❤
Thank you so much, Jeanie. I guess this was part of my grieving process. It has been so comforting to hear everyone’s feedback and kind words.
Thank you for sharing. After losing both of my parents within 7 months of each other I know how hard it is to be both caregiver and a shoulder to cry on. My husband and I have now come to the realization that we need to move closer to his parents even though it means disrupting a life we have created for ourselves in another part of the country. We both want to enjoy the time we have left with them and are fortunate enough to be able to take our careers with us to another state.
Condolences and may your heart find peace….
Thank you and best of luck to you, too. Sometimes we have to put our own lives on hold, even for a short time, to honor our parents’ needs. I would imagine people in various situations need to do some version of this. Difficult yes, but ultimately very worthwhile.
I am so sorry for your loss. I am so thankful that you shared your story, as we all will have to face this with parent(s) or ourselves and spouses.
I really appreciate the reminder to enjoy the persons company – it can be lost in all of the other emotions that you are dealing with.
Thank you again for sharing such a personal story and know that your readers support you
Thank you so much, Donna! I did so enjoy my dad’s company this past year and when I think back, so many new memories were created even during this time… 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this very personal story. Both of my parents are gone now but this would have been so helpful years ago when I was helping to care for them and older sister. I’m sure it was both difficult and cathartic to write this. It definitely has some great information for the caregiver and the one who will be the care receiver.
Thanks, Vicki, and I’m sorry your parents are gone too. And yes, writing it was all those things… 🙂
This is a wonderful share, Lory. These are issues we all eventually need to deal with. Your list is spot on! The exact info that gets lost in the shuffle of caregiving and dancing as fast as you can. Do you mind if I print it and give to families going through this? You’re a wonderful daughter and I know so well the mixed jumble of emotions you’ll be experiencing. One will be relief. Don’t guilt yourself with that one. Love you, Lory.
Thank you Ginger, and of course please go ahead and share! Yes, there is relief that there’s no more suffering. I express it as feeling lighter.
I’m so sorry for your loss, Lory. I agree with your tips. My husband was diagnosed with dementia almost 6 years ago. He is very happy living in a care facility. He feels like he has control when he’s in his one-bedroom apartment which helps stabilize his mental state. I know he’s getting 3 meals a day and is protected by locked doors etc. His illness has meant many changes for me, including having to take change our trust. I found seeing a counselor very helpful especially her constant urging of self-care. Early on, my life centered completely around my husband and his care. Over the years I’ve learned I can’t care for him if I don’t care for me.
So very true, Nancy, and I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. The dementia side of things could have been a whole additional post. Sending prayers your way.
I’m so sorry for your loss of your dad. Your words were very beautiful and such a tribute to your parents. We do not even know how much strength we have until it’s needed. Great advice for all and much appreciated.
Thank you Regina, and you’re quite right about finding strength we didn’t know we had.
Lory, beautifully written and I have tucked it away to share, God Blessed you with great compassion, and Insight, Sandy in Vancouver, BC
Thanks for your sweet words, Sandy!
Such a loving tribute to your dad. I followed along as you prepared the apartment for your mom and dad but had no idea he wasn’t well. Moving them closer gave you the time to enjoy your dad’s company and at the same time, look after his health. You’ve been the best of daughters and know your dad cherished every moment he had with you. God bless!
Thank you, Joanna! Yes, my dad was very tech savvy and read my blog from time to time, so I had to respect his privacy while he was alive. He did make it clear that he cherished our time together as much as I did… 🙂
Dear Lory, I am sorry for your loss. I hope your mother understands what has happened.
You mentioned dividing the responsibilities among siblings. In our family, one was caregiver, another had power of attorney and all that entailed, another was just great at staying in touch with the remaining parent every day, etc. The responsibilities may not have been equal, but they were all important.
One other suggestion is about burial benefits for someone who served in the military and his or her spouse. Even if the non-service spouse passes first, he or she may be entitled to be buried in a National Cemetery. Both spouses will eventually be buried in the same plot, or ashes interred. To prepare for this possibility, locate the document showing the Honorable Discharge, and talk to the cemetery about the details. When my mother’s headstone was carved, it showed she was the wife of— and listed his rank incorrectly. Dad had the chance to authenticate his rank, so that when he passed, the stone was carved correctly. We have been very pleased with the National Cemetery, and there was no charge for the plot, headstone or service at the cemetery. I think a headstone may be provided at no charge if a service member is buried at a non-National Cemetery. It is something to consider.
Thank you for sharing this story and also for helping others.
Thank you for you kind words, and also for sharing those words of advice. My dad actually worked for the government at the Navy Yard, designing ships, so he was technically not in the service. But the info does apply to many, (including my mother-in-law).
My condolences on your sad loss.
Cath from Australia.
Thank you, Cath!
Dear Lory, My deepest, heartfelt sorrow for your great loss. Your post is invaluable help even for those of us who have been through similar circumstances but face still others. I am so glad that you had the special times with your father and were able to just love him and receive his love in return. I will keep you and your family and your mother in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. May God richly bless you.
Thank you Mary Lou for your very kind words! It’s true that once you experience this kind of loss, it helps guide your actions in handling others in the future.
Can appreciate that he believed *family is everything*. It is the same thing my husband instills in our children even though they are all older.
As I was never a caregiver, but have heard from others, this is article is a labor of love you are kindly sharing with us and I can better understand if this comes to my remaining parent and shall keep marked.
Thank you, Lory for penning this article during this difficult time and may God bless and solace you my friend.
Thank you so very much for your sweet thoughts!
Thank you for sharing your heartfelt emotions. I welded-up reading your words. My near future will soon be faced with losing my darling husband to a dreaded incurable disease. Reading, I felt the endearing love for your Dad and deep compassion for your Mom. A journey filled with Blessings of Memories. My Deepest Condolences…
Thank you so much for your kind condolences. I’m so very sorry for what you’re going through with your beloved husband, as well.
Lory, my heartfelt sympathy goes out to you in the loss of your dear and precious Dad. Somehow a Dad and a Daughter share such a special bond. You will have so many precious memories. Hold on to these! They just become more precious as the days go by. How wonderful that you were there for your precious parents.
I nursed my Mom for over 10 years. Her heart was just worn out. Then, 5 months after we lost my dear Mom, my Dad had a massive heart attack. I always said that he just died of a broken heart because Mom and Dad were so very close to one another. I have never regretted this time spent with my precious Mom and Dad. It was wonderful to be able to be there for them.
Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, Lory. May you feel God’s arms of comfort around you.
Thanks, too, for those wonderful words of wisdom which will be so helpful to all those going through some difficult times.
Thank you, Mary-Ann for your heartfelt wishes! Yep, I was always daddy’s girl and always will be. I’m glad you had the chance to be there for your parents, as well.
Your parents raised a wonderful daughter, and you have honored both of them.
Thank you, Jeanne, for your very kind words!
First, I am so sorry for your loss. Clearly you and your father had a special relationship and it will, in its own way, continue. Second, thank you for writing a difficult post. I have been in your shoes, and they are tough and often lonely to walk in. I can think of nothing more to add, You have done a beautiful job.
Thank you so much, Janet! And yes, it will continue, in its own way. I can see that already… 🙂
I am so very sorry to read about your father’s passing. It is so difficult to lose a loved one. The book I am reading now talks about “sorrowful gifts.” In and through sorrow we are given the “gift” of memories of that loved one. It is a gift to have these treasured memories to share, to visit over and over, and to think upon. I like that idea of a gift of our memories, that we are given through our sorrow. May you continue to have those treasured memories of your beloved father.
Best to you, Nancee
I love that concept, Nancee, of the gift of memories. Thank you for your sweet wishes!
I am so sorry for your loss, but I’m glad for the time you got to spend together. I am a part-time caregiver for my mom right now, and it’s so special. We do have a caregiver who I couldn’t do it without. It’s so neat to be able to take care of my mom and spend more time with her, but I also wouldn’t be able to do it full-time. Like you said, it’s important to take care of yourself too. That goes for during grief too. Take care of yourself and treasure those precious memories!
Thank you for your kind words, Emma! I wish you strength and peace in your time with your mom, too. I absolutely believe that getting help is essential, if it’s at all possible. We had a wonderful team of people helping with my dad, and one still visits with my mom, too.
OH, Lory! What a journey you have been on. But how blessed you are to have such a special time with your Father. I really admire you so much for your loving care of your parents. What an example to all of us!
And thank you for a wonderful, touching (I had a few tears) and informative post. I’m sure it will be my time someday!
Thank you so much, Yvonne, for your lovely words and wishes!
Your story was beautifully written….and beautifully lived. I am so very sorry for the loss of your dad but know he is very proud of how well you told his story and yours. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey and know the tips will aid my daughters and my family in the future.
Thank you so much for such a sweet comment!!
What a heartfelt and bittersweet story you have shared! Both my parents had Alzheimer’s (pretty much at the same time) and I believe I followed all of your tips for caregivers. The only one that didn’t work out was help from family . I have one sibling (older sister) who did not do one thing to help me, or help them. But, in the end, she was right there with her hand out for her inheritance. Sad, right? However, I have absolutely no regrets about anything that I did for my parents. I have a nursing background, so I guess it was somewhat easier for me in some ways for personal care. (Although, personal care isn’t something a daughter should have to do for her father), however my mind was able to separate him from dad to patient and it worked out ok. I left my fulltime job as a nurse to take care of them in their home for a year, before I knew it was time for them to go to a nursing home . Hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life! I was heartbroken. However, for their safety, it had to be done. They are both gone now (mom 11 years, dad 8). Time does heal the pain, and I could never wish them back in the condition they were in. I have LOTS of very good memories. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thank you, Colleen! There were many times along the way I thought a nursing background would have been helpful, as I wondered how anyone could be good at dealing with this. I agree that you have to do what you think is right and be able to live with it comfortably. Perhaps your sister felt she wasn’t as equipped as you to handle it, but I also believe it’s likely easier for you to be at peace with your actions in retrospect. Having regrets is never a good thing.
Thank you, too.
My condolences to you Lori. I was in my early to mid-twenties when I cared for my mother. She was not able to see me married or even meet my husband and of course she never got to cuddle her grandchildren. 52 years later I still miss her. My Dad died in hospital some eight years later so from my mid-thirties I was an orphan with no siblings. However I am ever so grateful for having the experience of caring for my mother. It was a precious time.
Thank you for your kind condolences, Nancy. I’m sorry you lost your parents so young, but I’m glad you had that precious time with your mom.
Walking the road of Dementia now and for the last 7 years. My dad passed away 7 years ago. My mom was already showing signs of Dementia. But with frequent visits by me and eventually a part time care giver she was able to stay in her home. So now I visit her in Assisted Living and wonder what each visit will bring. Some days I’m her ” dad” and some days I’m ” Lorraine” I’m trying to hang in there so your post was like finding gold today. Thank you for your words.
Ah, Lorraine, as I mentioned to someone else upthread, the dementia aspect could have been an entirely separate post. I feel for you! I found the best advice we were given with that (besides getting her on the appropriate meds) was to stop trying to be rational with someone who isn’t capable of understanding rational. Once I calmed down and stopped trying to argue or explain, things became much more smooth.
I am so sad for you and the loss of your Dad, Lory.
I’m 63 years old and proud of being a “Daddy’s Girl”. He’s 88 and my Mom just turned 84. They still live in their townhouse condo, an hour away, rarely asking my brother or us for help of any sort. My Mom likes to complain about him and I have had to tell her to stop, that she’s talking about my Dad. He is the most patient man I’ve ever known; thankfully he taught that virtue to my husband! I’m beyond blessed ~
I cannot imagine my life without my Dad. He (and our oldest son) “get me” like no one else does, not even my husband. Dad’s squeezy hugs always contain the words “I love you so much”. I have often said that I want to go before he does… However, at his age, such an event would devastate him and I can’t do that to my Dad.
Someone here said something about the bond between a Dad and his daughter ~ in my case there is nothing sweeter… Unconditional love, feelings of being safe and cherished — him taking you dress shopping for that first school dance… Yep ~ that was My Dad! The dance at our wedding reception to “Daddy’s Little Girl” was monumental — we both cried. Which is what I’m doing now…
This is likely too long to be posted ~ I’m sorry and somewhat embarrassed. Sometimes emotions take a while to be conveyed and I am guilty of “over-wording” the important things…
Lory, I really appreciate what you wrote ~ your words spoke to my heart. Hold your memories close, stay well and know you are thought of with love and concern.
What a beautiful comment. Thank you for your kind words and I sure do know what you mean. Suffice it to say, “Daddy’s Little Girl” has always turned me into a complete puddle. Now, more than ever.
Lory, thank you so much for sharing such a personal journey. I envy the time you got to spend with your dad…due to crazy family circumstances, I did not get to experience that type of situation and I feel the pain of that every single day. My sincerest condolences on the loss of your dad….I hope your mom is doing ok. ?
Thank you so very much, Susan. I’m sorry you are left with pain in your circumstance. There are many things out of our control.
My story, though different, had many of the same elements. I lost my Dad 10 years ago, and my Mom just this past year. Things went along very well with my Mom until unforeseen medical issues turned her from an extremely independent woman into a wheel chair bound individual who needed assistance for everything. Needless to say her last 3 years were difficult at best.
Though I miss them both tremendously, I do hope your very intimate time spent with your Dad allows you the deep feeling of peace that I found after my Mom’s death. God does indeed work in amazing ways.
Peace to you,
Thank you kindly, Patti, and yes, God does work in mysterious ways indeed. I’m glad you were left with a peaceful feeling, too.
This is the most touching account of being a caregiver. Your advice is excellent. May peace surround you during this time and your sweet memories bring great comfort.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth! I do feel peace and comfort.
This was a well written post. Having seen my parents be the primary care givers to my grandmother who passed Dec. 2017, I must say I learned a lot and this post aligns perfectly with what I learned. Mom and Dad are barely hitting 60, but we’ve begun our discussions now so we can limit surprises later.
My deepest condolences on your loss.
Thank you! And I’m glad to see the post resonated even with someone much younger… 🙂
ThanK. YoU. ThaNk. YoU. Lory… —being of the just 70 Vintage I so appreciate the info. NOW to share it with the Mr. and family. God Bless. ?linda of no.cal.
Thank you, Linda! I think I’ll share with my kids too… 😉
Hi Lory, I miss my Dad’s big hugs. I miss being able to talk with him when Mom would say something that upset me. Now I am the caregiver of my Mom. I look up to the heavens and ask Dad for advice. We now have a new relationship from a distance and he is part of my soul. Getting to this new relationship has made all the difference in being able to move forward. That was three years ago. Lory, thank you for sharing. God bless you.
Ah, Lynette, that too is a whole other post! 😉 My mom and I have always had… let’s call it a complicated relationship. I love the notion of a relationship from a distance, because I’ve also often wanted dad’s advice regarding mom. Wishing you the best.
Lory, The end of life days are really so very unique and special between those who love one another.
I am of a different vintage (nearing age 80) but have been privileged to care for my own grandmother, aunt, in-laws, and also the love of my life, husband. This past summer I stayed with my lifetime friend who was like a brother for over 70 years during his end of life from leukemia. He wanted to be at home and I was present for his distraught wife as well. As a retired R.N. my nursing education and skills have helped me, but most of all it is a loving heart and serving others thing. Our heavenly father provides us with His love channeled through us in such difficult times. May God bless you and enjoy all of those close memories with your aged parents.
Thank you, Marie, for your special perspective. I think nurses are quite exceptional and so much better at handling these things than the rest of us. But you’re also right that a loving heart sends you in the right direction… 🙂
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story- it’s full of great practical advice. My Mom and Dad are struggling but safe in a facility, and will celebrate their 66th wedding anniversary in a few days. Mom has dementia, and Dad has more physical limitations but still manages to lovingly care for her. He told me this morning that “Mom looks prettier every day”. How sweet!
May your memories comfort you and know that you’ve honored your parents well!
Thank you for your kind wishes, Jeanne! How very sweet that you dad said that about your mom. That’s wonderful!!
Lory…thank you for sharing your amazing journey. I just lost my 97 year old mother….the last seven years have been a struggle, but we were so fortunate to have loving caregivers to assist with her daily needs.
Pre-planning is so important. Ask questions and get things in order while you’re still thinking clearly so you can spend your days with your loved one without worrying about loose ends. Having end of life issues finalized before you become incapacitated is the greatest gift we can give our loved ones.
May your heart be filled with peace and God keep you safely in his arms.
Thank you for your kind words, Kathy! I’m sorry for your loss, too. I so agree with your advice about pre-planning.
Lory, I am so sorry about your father passing. I remember when you moved them into the apartment. Loved the photo you posted of them dancing. I am sure your father appreciated every moment you spent together. My mother had dementia for years and I was a long distance caregiver. Today, I am the aging mother and it’s complicated. Dementia patients remember certain things like the candy I put in every package. She never forgot me, but the years were fuzzy on her grandchildren. If something “big” happened, she lost more years. The best of luck with your mother. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us.
Thank you, Myrna, for your kind words! And for reminding me of that picture of them dancing… 🙂
My condolences on the loss of your precious father. I’ve been in your shoes the last few years. I lost both parents in less than 2 years. Mother had Dementia, we were able to take care of her in their home. She became ill and passed away within a week. Daddy didn’t do very well without her, sick constantly. We had moved him to the VA, and a bit more than a month in, he became sick, and passed within a week, also. It was so hard, but I wouldn’t trade the experience of taking care of those who cared so lovingly for me, for anything. Blessings to you,
Thank you, Pamela! I’m glad you were able to be there for your parents, too… 🙂
So sorry to hear about your loss. We are dealing with some of these same issues with my in-laws. I understand the fine line you have had to walk while dealing with these issues. I’m glad you were able to have such positive times with your dad. I wish you strength and sweet memories over the coming holidays.
Hi Lory, so sorry for your loss. Your story is so deeply personal, we appreciate you sharing it. I am dealing with a difficult situation too, both my parents are in a memory care facility. I haven’t been able to separate them, I think they keep each other strong. Keeping them together isn’t necessarily the best decision for one of them medically…I just haven’t been able to do it. Thanks for sharing, maybe one day I will write about this as well.
Thank you, Denise! And I think your decision to keep them together is probably the right one when it comes down to it… 🙂 Best of luck to you!
I have been a care giver and I am now 74. Not knowing what the future holds I am keeping legal aspects up to date and am going to start eliminating so much household stuff. I am helping to settle one of my sister’s estate and it makes me so aware of the need to cut back. One of my great aunts told me “plan for old age”. My family and my cat and my gardening helps to keep me busy. God Bless you and your family.
Such wise observations, Frances! Wishing you all the best!!
Thank you for sharing during this most vulnerable time I, and so many of my friends, are facing this time as well. My mom moved in with us 4 years ago and, although it is not always easy, I am able to call it a privilege. It is obvious how precious your parents are and were and that there influence shaped who you are. What a blessing!
Thank you for your sweet comment, Angela! Wishing you peace, as well!! It sure is a privilege indeed… 🙂
Lory, This was a very sweet post. My parents will be 89 and 85 in August, but unlike your dad, they don’t want to relinquish any control to my sister and I. My mother is losing her eyesight, but continues to drive. She also has Rheumatoid Arthritis, yet doesn’t take her medication as prescribed. My dad is an insulin-dependent diabetic but still eats too many carbs and sweets, which is causing his kidneys to fail. My sister and I become so frustrated because we live 4 and 6 hours away. We are truly the “sandwich generation.”
Rhonda, I truly understand. It’s so hard for them to admit that things have changed for them. I did find that while they were initially resistant to help, when we forced the issue, they fell right into it gratefully. The most important thing is to get Power of Attorney. Explain to them that if they don’t give you that (and a health care proxy), then you can’t advocate for them and make sure that their wishes are served. Tell them you want to know what their wishes are, so they understand you’re more focused on that, then on taking control. Let them know you’re their partners. Good luck!
I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s passing, I’m going through something similar with my mom. She has just entered into Hospice but not cooperating with anything or anyone. After reading your post I am now convinced that she is also battling some dementia. I will now at least ask the nurses about it.
I found that when you think of your loved ones whom have passed and become sad if you try very hard to think of a good time you shared or a special memory it makes the sadness go away and instead replaces the ache in your heart with something a bit lighter and it makes it easier at times. I hope that last bit makes some sense. My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Thank you so very much for sharing this – I’m hoping it will help my family as well.
Thank you for your kind words, Vicki! I do have a very warm feeling when I think of my dad and the time we spent together in the last year and a half. I wish the same peaceful feeling for you and your family. I hope my experience does offer you some help in dealing with this complex stage.
Hugs to you dear lady as you grieve your father’s passing and deal with your mother’s issues
Thx for this helpful information
Thank you, Gail!
It seems that just when we get things in a good place in our lives the one spoiler is the loss of our parents. Your parents raised you well and you are and have been such a good daughter. As the first winner of your giveaways I feel immense pleasure and privileged to have something that belonged to them. Your post is informative and will help those that need guidance. I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to know you through this blog. Have a great Saturday, Lory.
What a sweet comment! Thank you so much, Margo!
Good Morning Lori,
You have done a great service to many, THANK YOU!!
My husband is 81 and I’m soon to be 77, although both of us are very healthy we know that should the Lord give us many more years the time will come when we are “your parents”. This post will be so helpful for us and especially for our beloved daughter. Just yesterday we heard of a dear friend who lived a noble Christian life was found dead on the floor of his garage of an apparent heart attack……what a way to go!…….leaving this world so quickly and although difficult for his beloved wife and children (he was only in his mid 60s) there wasn’t the long difficult road you’ve had to travel with your parents. Unfortunately we do not get to choose the way the Lord will take us home………therefore our appreciation to you for your wise counsel.
Hugs to you dear girl, and God’s blessings on you as you continue to aid in the care of your mother,
Thank you so much for your kind words, Carolyn!
Lory, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for the post. My inlaws are both 91 and not in the best of health and still in their home. My mother-in-law is the primary caregiver for my father-in-law who has had a stroke. She is in the hospital this weekend, so my husband is taking care of his father. We have learned many of those things in the past few years, and they have been such a help. I hope the post helps others in the same situation.
Wishing the best to you and yours, Mary!
I’m so sorry for your loss Lory.
God truly is there for us when we need Him. I’m so glad you had this special time with your dad.
When my dad was so sick, I took 2 weeks to help my mom find a nursing home for him.
Those 2 weeks were so special to me, as I spent every day with him.
I know how you feel.
Your dad looked like he was filled with life, so special.
You will remain in my daily prayers
God bless you & your family especially at this time.
Lory, I know the pain when a parent die,s having lost my dad some 4 years ago. Thank you for finding the strength to share with your readers what your journey has been and what you’ve learned through it. This post is a gift to all of us.
I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Lory, I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad that you had the opportunity to spend some quality time with your Dad. I am also glad that you moved your Mom to a memory care facility while your Dad was living. My Mom should have been moved to a memory care facility while my Dad was living, but my Dad didn’t want to “lose” her. As a result, she wasn’t getting the care she needed. We moved Mom to a memory care facility after my Dad’s passing. I thought she was strong and would survive a long time. Without my Dad, and with the major lifestyle change, she passed seven weeks after my Dad. Hopefully your Mom will have better success because she has already adjusted to her new home.
Lory, the words and great advice will speak to all of us at sometime in our lives. I lost my Dad at a young age and the unexpected suddenness of it seemed so cruel and painful. Yet now many years later after being widowed for nearly 30 years my Mom has dementia and is in an assisted living facility and watching the mind go is equally difficult and painful to live through. I am fortunate to have siblings to share the experience with and the three of us have a schedule so one of us is with her everyday. The hardest lesson we have had to learn is to get over our frustration of wanting her to be who she used to be. Many times she doesn’t remember our visits and will tell me upon my visit that she hasn’t seen anyone for days. While I know this to be untrue in the beginning I found myself arguing with her and getting frustrated, further upsetting her. Time has taught us all that if someone says that can’t remember, they can’t remember. It sounds so simple but amazing how many times you have to learn that lesson before it sinks in, not only about our visits but about everything. 🙁 So blessings to you and thanks for the timely topic allowing many of us to share our journey.
Bless you and thank you. This comes at an important time for me.
What a sweet post! I’m so sorry. I’ve been there, but I was caregiver in my 30s. Mom’s cancer came on quick and she passed 6 weeks from diagnosis. Dad’s cancer was controlled for 5 years, and he passed 6 years from his diagnosis. I cherish the time I had with both. Sending hugs.
Lory so sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing your story, you have been so blessed to have such a close relationship with your parents. The list of information will be very helpful for many including myself. May the Lord comfort you through this difficult time.
Absolutely excellent advice. I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. It is a hard time. Thank you for writing this post.
Lory,so very sorry about the loss of your dad,my heart goes out to you my love..
with the help of my husband we are caregivers for my soon to be 96 year old mother she has dementia to, very disoriented, the hallucinations are really bad at times..we have had many sleepless nights..we never know when we go to bed or when she wakes up in the morning what to expect…
Thank God she’s herself at times it may not last long but I get my mom back for a little while…
We do have home care, six hours a week that helps..she’s on a list for home but that could take years..
We put everyday in God’s hands and do our best for mom while we can…that’s all we can do is our best..
You gave a lot of good info, thank you
I am so sorry for your loss, I understand because I just lost my father this past December and then my mother-in-law 3 months later. My husband and I were very involved in their care and I can relate to everything you wrote in this post. It is such valuable advice to everyone (and there are many) who are trying to navigate this stage in their lives. I hope everyday brings you healing and peace, I’m sure your Dad is smiling upon you as you continue to care for your mother.
So very sorry Lory. Blessings to you Always. xo
Such a timely post as I’m 51 years old and just now starting to deal with life changing roles with my aging parents. Makes me so sad but yet grateful to be there for them. I live 3 hours away but go home every chance I can to help them. I have to come up with a plan to get closer to them as I see their health declining and needing more help. Thank you for sharing your experience. It was comforting and helpful. I’m sorry for your loss. Your parents seemed like they had a beautiful life together with many beautiful offsprings ?
Thank you for your kind words! I wish you the best with your parents, as well… 🙂
My heart goes out to you. I have been through this. Your advice is spot on. Your dad’s smile tells the story of who he was – a warm and loving person.
Aww thanks so much, Lori!
Oh my goodness…I know your story and have also lived something very similar. May God give you peace and comfort as you go forth now with your memories of your dad and knowing you did the right thing even though at times it was the hard thing! ((Hugs))
Thank you so much for your sweet words!
I am so sorry for your loss. It is evident that your care deeply for your parents. You are a shining example of what a good daughter does for her parents. I, too, have been involved with the care of my parents. As a caregiver in my mid 70’s, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage my mother’s care ( my sett dad passed 5 years ago). I encourage others to take advantage of all the services available to help care for a parent. Thank you for sharing your journey.
Thank you Sherie and I wish you the best, too!
So sorry for your loss. I am in the same boat, caring for my father at age 92. I am 70! My dad and I have become much closer since my mom died 7 years ago. We share so many daily thoughts and feelings. He has macular degeneration, and hearing loss, a double whammy, but sharp as a tack mentally. Still lives alone ane takes no meds! But the responsibility of constantly being there for him is hard. He lives 20 miles away, one way, so spending two days a week with him limits my husband and I from traveling much, or vacationing very far from home. At this time in our life, we would like to do more and travel, but can’t go very far or for very long. But it is what it is.
It’s so true. It’s like a phase of life and it’s one you just have to accept and even cherish as you’re going through it. How lucky it is to have a 92 year old dad!
I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you, especially since you had such a wonderful relationship with your Dad.
My husband and I have been in caregiver mode since 2005, taking care of both my parents. My Dad passed in 2006 from cancer and my Mom has unbelievably survived four different cancers and is now in a memory care unit. She turns 99 years old this year. She is amazing! I have two sisters, who live far away, so everything has been left up to us. It is okay, because it has made us both much stronger! I am so blessed that my husband has been there every step of the way.
I will pray for you and your Mom…God Bless you both as you go through this journey.
Thank you so much for your very sweet words! I wish you the best as you care for your mom too!!
Your story sounds very similar to what I went through with my Dad for almost 2 years, I don’t think anyone that has not been through it can understand, you just don’t know what you don’t know. My father passed in July ending his pain. My prayers and sympathies to you, I know how hard but how precious this time has been.
Right back to you, my friend. ?
Thank you for this, I really appreciate it. I am in my early 40’s, but am the anticipated caregiver for my aunt (no children), my parents (my only sibling lives on the other side of the country), and my in-laws (my husband is an only child). All are relatively healthy now, but all are in their 70’s, and statistics would indicate that things will change for at least one in the next few years. As my own children are still in elementary, I start to get overwhelmed with the thought of what all of this could entail. 2019 was the year of me pushing some uncomfortable discussions, just to get a handle on where they are in their planning, and ensuring the financial end of things can be covered as much as possible. Maybe they will each live to 100 with no health issues and die peacefully in their sleep–but I would never shirk the duty if all 5 of them became my responsibility at once. My goal is to find joy in the very difficult process, and this is encouragement on how to do just that. Thank you again.
Thanks for your kind words and I wish you the best! I’m sure your relatives think they have plenty of time, as they are relatively young, but maybe if you explain that you’d like to have things organized LONG before necessary so that they have complete control, that could help… 🙂
So sorry for your loss. I am so glad that you had a dad that you loved so deeply and that loved you. My mom had dementia and lived alone 2 1/2 hours away. Fortunately, God had a better choice than a nearby dementia unit; she stroked out,lingered till we had all gathered before she passed.
You made so many good points in this post; my SO and I have wills, DPOA, etc. in place (we’re 68). Now for the downsizing to start….
I’m glad the post resonated for you, Kathy. I’m sorry about your mom too!
Thank you for sharing your story. Prayers to you and your family for your loss. It is lovely to hear you speak of the times spent with your father prior to his passing. Hugs to you and your family. Jean
Your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes Lory. Thank you and God Bless you for sharing your experience and
my deepest sympathy on the loss of your sweet Dad and what your Sweet Mom has been going thru. Thank goodness for the beautiful memories you shared of them. Prayers for continued strength as you care for your Mom. We have been experiencing similar situations with our parents ( as many others are) and have trusted God to guide us thru it give us strength. One day at a time?
Thank you so much for your very kind words… ❤️
Lory, there are no words to heal your pain right now, but will help you reach a new place that only you and your Dad can share. You’ve been a wonderful daughter to a truly wonderful Dad and no one can ever take that away. He’s at peace now knowing your Mum is safe. I say this as someone who has been in your position, time doesn’t heal but it’s let you be at peace with your loss.
Thank you so much for such a sweet and kind comment… ?
I am so sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it was to lose a loved one. Especially our Dads. What a beautifully written article.
God works in mysterious ways. It is wonderful that you had the means, the resources and the patience to handle not one parent but both.
You’re loving and caring for them will give others the courage, the understanding and the knowledge if and when the time comes.
You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you so very much for your very kind words and prayers!
Your story is so similar to my story. We had the unfortunate situation of a broken family of adults once got along well on the surface until my older sister did the unthinkable and went behind our backs to get “control” over our mother. Mom died knowing her beautiful family of five was broken and all attempts to work it out were met with more hostility. Fast forward to Covid-19 reality, my mother-in-law is now living with us, she just turned 92! What a blessing and a joy to have her here. God’s hand is truly on her life, as it was with my mom. God blesses obedience and His commandment says to honor your father and mother. I miss my mom every day, it will be 3 years on Jan 9 that we lost her, the sweetest mom ever!
I’m sorry for your loss and family troubles. But you’re lucky to have had a wonderful mother and to be blessed to help your mother-in-law now. Wishing you the best!
Please accept my condolences, Lory. You have really had your challenges. You have provided some very good advice in this post. My mother lived to be 100 and the last three or four years were spent in a nursing home. I am 76, single with no children. Based on my mother’s good planning…she had paid in advance for her funeral…I have paid for my cremation and just recently, as I’ve been journaling daily through the pandemic, have thought I should start writing down some of the family stories that I probably am the only one who remembers. I’m so glad you were able to have some wonderful final days with your father and that your mother is in a good facility. Stay strong.
Thank you Teddee for your very kind words! What a wonderful idea to start writing down family stories (and how lucky your are to have longevity in the family… ;-)).
I am so truly sorry. We are never ready to give up our parents. I want you to know that your article will help many families I know. I work in a long term care facility and i will share your words of wisdom with many.
Thank you, Christy and that’s comforting to hear… 🙂
Lori, first and foremost I am so sorry for your loss. You father sounds like a truly wonderful man and how great that you had such a wonderful father in your life. Thank you so much for sharing all that you have learned as I’m sure this will help me down the road with my own parents. I understand it couldn’t have been easy for you to write this post and for that I am truly appreciative, thank you.
Thank you so much for your very kind words!
Oh Lory, my sweet friend, I have never read such a sweet and heartfelt message. I also read every comment and they are a tribute to you (you are loved by your followers) and I hope you have found comfort in these. As a new 70 year old, I found your suggestions to be practical and necessary; thank you for giving them to us. Your parents look like a fun and loving pair who has a lovely daughter. My prayers for you and your family.
Thank yyou so much my sweet friend!!
I am so very sorry for you loss of your Dad. Thank you for sharing your deeply personal story. It’s timely as my Mom is going into hospice for a rare and aggressive cancer. We have only had a few weeks to digest this information. I am deeply grateful you have shared your path and what you learned along the way. It truly has helped navigate the most difficult & sad time of saying goodbye to a loved one.
With Deepest Sympathy,
Thank you for your kind words and I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I wish you peace and the best possible outcome.
Much of what I could say have already been said. Know that in our deepest sorrow, that’s when we come in communion with our inner strength. Your dad will always be there with you through the memories you have shared over a lifetime. I agree with you that it was a privilege to have been able to assist and care for for him. I lost my mother when I was 17 and my father when I was 28 years old. The toughest part was when my paternal grandmother who raised my siblings and I passed away 19 days after the death of her beloved son, my father. My youngest brother was 4 years old when our mother died. This is not about me and I am going to stop there. Needless to say that it was a though one for me. I simply wanted to share that love and faith will keep you strong. Please accept my deepest condolences and may God continue to shine His light on you.
Thank you for your lovely post.
From 3000 miles away I was unable to be of much use to my parents; first my Mom was in a wheelchair and for 12 years Dad looked after her at home with some outside help.
I visited as often as I could, which was once a year, But I was able to call and chat with them daily. Mom was able to get out for seniors activities, which allowed Dad the time to meet friends for coffee.
They kept up with their friends, and Dad became quite the cook so that he could have people come for dinner. Fortunately my sister lived only an hour away, so she was able to provide some support.
Mom and I had had our difficulties in the past, but we became closer through our phone calls.
After Mom died, Dad was able to come to visit us. By then I was no longer working and the sole support of 4 children, so I was also able to visit him. My new husband was a big part of helping us have time together; As you have said that time together was so precious.
It was also so precious to my children, who had see so little of their Grandparents.
When we weren’t together I kept up the nightly phone calls, and that also made such a difference to both of us.
So that is what I would like to share – I have been so blessed to have been born in a time when a phone call is so easy to make. And that makes a profound difference to our distanced lives, when nothing can be done to change that. Call your friends and loved ones as often as you can, especially if you are unable to be with them.
Bless you, and thank you for sharing your story. And blessings also as you care for your Mom.
Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your story! It truly is a difficult time but one that is so meaningful… 🙂
I’m so sorry for your loss. What a blessing to have such incredible memories of working together with your father this last year. Those will sustain you as you walk through the process of grief, which really never ends. It just changes over time. Having lost my father at 67 in 1987, we missed out on so many of those precious moments, but I was so glad I got to say everything to him I ever wanted to say. It was just not long enough and neither of our children ever got to know him since our oldest was not even 2.
However, my mom lived to 95 and passed away in 2017. We all shared care and split up the responsibilities over time with each of us using our talents in ways to serve her best. Because of the relatively quick way we had lost our father, we cherished her even more and made many intentional and precious memories for us and our children with her. She was a true family matriarch who has left behind a legacy of love and living out a family first attitude.
Losing a parent is so difficult and life-changing. Life looks totally different without a parent in the world who still loves you unconditionally.
I will be praying for you as you walk this journey. Always go back to those sweet, sweet memories. I know mine sustain me still.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you, Lory;
May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May the Lord lift up His countenance unto you
and bring you peace.”
Thank you so much, Teresa, for you very kind words and wishes.
So sorry for your loss, Lory
I am taking care of both my 89 year old parents. Which I feel is a blessing and an honor. Just recently they accepted part time help in the house so I can visit with them instead of doing chores. Must treasure every moment
Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. I’m glad you appreciate the blessing of your parents, too. I’m also glad you got them some help so you can enjoy each other more… 🙂
Lory, I’m so sorry for the loss of your dad. I too,
lost my dad Dec. 21st. Service was on the 23rd. First time in 45 years I haven’t put up a Christmas tree. It’s hard, and everything you said is so true.
You gave some great advice. Thank goodness we used Hospice an we took turns staying, and we had our alone time.
Blessings to you in the days ahead.
If we live we will see those older leave us, and it’s sad.
Thanks for having the courage to write this.♥️
Thanks for your kind words and I’m sorry for your loss, as well. Sending hugs!!
So sorry for your loss…My mother lived with us for the last 10 years of her life and I was her primary caregiver all those years…I have a sister and brother who were angry she came to live with me and they made the decision to not help me and rarely visited except during the holidays…we all live with in a 30 minute drive of each other…Unfortunately because of their decision I got angry, with them, myself and even my mom….My mom had Parkinson’s disease the last year of her she was unable to talk or eat food not pureed then the last 6 months she was unable to stand or walk…I was lifting her from her wheelchair to her bed, her chair and the toilet…It was very difficult for many reasons..one being I’m only 4’11” and my mom was 5’1″ but dead weight…I did get caregivers the last 5 months so I could keep her in my home…We were not able to have those final talks but she did try to write to me…My one regret is I was so angry with my family not helping and caring I wasn’t the best for my mom I feel…I loved her to death and miss her so much…she passed Sept.24,2019…I’m so grateful she was here with us for so many years ..take care
Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry you had such a hard time with your mom, but even though you feel your anger affected your time with her, you were there for her and that’s what counts the most. ❤️ No one is perfect. I hope you have repaired your relationship with your remaining family. It’s never too late. ?
thank you for the kind words…No we have not got back together it’s been a lifetime of me against them…but that’s ok…I just want people caring for their parents enjoy their time with them while they can…thank you
I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’ve been where you are and I understand. Thank you for sharing these tips. All of them are important.
Thank you for the kind words!
So sorry for your loss. May your father rest in God’s eternal peace.
Thank you, Lina.
What a refreshingly honest and beautiful post about your family! Your Dad and Mom were adorable (thank you for sharing photos, this was very personal) and the love they had for each other and you shines through your post. May you be confident that our merciful Savior was waiting to hug your Dad when he arrived home. Know that you are in many people’s prayers. Bless you for helping your parents…may this kindness and love return to you!
Thank you for your beautiful comment! It warmed my heart… 🙂
Lory, tonight was the first time I came across your tips for caring for elderly or sick parents, it reminded me of the five years I spent looking after my Granny. I felt privileged to return the care she gave to me when I was growing up. My father died during a visit to the dentist when I was 6 years old, unfortunately my mum struggled to cope with the loss. I and my brothers were lucky as my granny and my aunts made sure we were well looked after. My mother died from cancer when I was 15, and again Granny and my aunt stepped in to look after me. My aunt sadly died when I turned 21, this floored my gran, she lost two daughters, this was my chance to look after her and my disabled aunt, I spent hours talking to my gran hearing all about her life. She sadly passed away at the age of 92. To me it was never a chore but an honour. I’ve shared my story with my children and am fortunate that we’re all very close. They know what my wishes are if I need care or die. It wasn’t a gloomy conversation, but I’m glad they know all they need to deal when the time comes.
What a heartwarming and beautiful relationship you had with your gran. A privilege indeed. So sorry she lost 2 daughters. No one should ever have to go through that, and yet she’s lucky to have had you… 🙂
Sounds like you tried to do all of the right things. I was also in a similar situation. A tip I would add is to secure Long Term Care insurance as early in your life as you can while you are still healthy. My Mom did that upon our suggestion since I was an only child and had no siblings to help with her care. I suggested it to her early in her late 50s and she was able to get it. It took the financial worry out of “what if she needed care and I could not provide it.” After seeing the importance of LTCare my husband and I also invested in Long Term Care. Luckily we purchased it while we were still healthy and qualified to purchase it and the cost was less bc we did so. We pay it every year and it is not cheap but I have peace of mind that we will be properly cared for without putting a burden on our children. It is very important to purchase Long Term Care from a very reliable source. Get all the details and tell your kids about it. We felt it was because we love our children that we purchased LTC. We all hope we never have to use it but it is an insurance policy that gives us peace of mind. I hope you find this helpful.
Thanks, Clare! This is something hubby and I argue about all the time. He’s done quite a bit of research on the topic and feels it no longer covers what it used to and it’s better to put the money aside on our own. I’m not so sure.
To say I am sorry for your loss seems trite and inadequate however I am sorry. When we are young we never foresee the heartache to come. I am the carer for my husband who has advanced dementia. It struck early after years of mental illness due to a stroke. It has been tough and it still is tough. My health has taken a battering and as the dementia struck so early I am still trying to have a career working from home. I said goodbye to him the man he was a long time ago. He is to enter a care home just after Christmas. I was hoping for earlier but places are hard to come by.
Thanks for your kind words and I’m so sorry for what you are going through. In these times, we just have to do our best. But do be sure to take care of yourself, too. Wishing you the best!
I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s never easy losing someone you love. It’s even harder when you have a special relationship with them and you become their caregiver as well. Your relationship with your father was very special, cherish those memories forever and may God Bless you and your family.
Thank you for your very sweet words!
I really needed this today. Thank you for sharing your experience. My hubby left our home on July 16th, 2022 for a 5 day visit with my sister who was having some surgery. We got a call from my husband’s parents who lived 4 hours away so we left for their place. Long story short, Dad endured an agonizing ordeal with pneumonia, emergency hernia surgery, kidney failure, and forgetfulness. He came home in mid-November. We have been staying in their home for 4 months caring for Mom and visiting Dad until a few days ago. Helping them has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but there is no doubt, God wanted us here at this time and the fun times are making wonderful memories for when they are no longer with us. Your tips are so helpful and perfectly timed!. We are just entering the point where caregivers will be visiting the house multiple times per week although I know it needs to be every day. It’s a battle to get the parents to be open to every day care. Please pray for wisdom and patience for us during this transition. God bless your parents and you for the love and help you provided to them both!
First, I thank you for your very kind words and I’m so sorry for the difficult time you are going through. In these times, it’s amazing what we can do and how we rise to the occasion without thinking about it. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it’s good to know that we are capable of being there for those we love. You will find that the addition of caregivers will help you all so much and you may be surprised to see how fast Mom and Dad get used to accepting the help. It’s that first step that’s the hardest. It also makes it easier for you to be there as emotional support and companionship, when the day to day things are taken care of.
I’m so grateful that you shared your story. I thought twice about sharing my post again, as some readers have now seen it a few times. But there’s always someone else who could use the tips and I’m glad you got something from it. Wishing you and your family the very best… 🙂
I kept saving your special blog post until I could sit and read it without being too emotional. Putting this together sure had to be a bit difficult for you but thanks for all the information. So glad you got to have those warm moments to chat and talk before your dad passed. My dad passed at a young age of 63 of pancreatic cancer which took him within the year he was diagnosed. Mom is barely still here at 81 with COPD and still smokes 4 packs a day (yep!)…so I won’t visit her and she nor any of my other family will visit me due to the fact I won’t allow them to smoke in my home, been 25 years now. I do her grocery order online and talk every couple of weeks. That is all I’m allowed. So, I wish mom would even allow me to care for her. You were blessed to have such sweet parents! Oh how I would have loved that my parents would have stayed together and we had such a special bond as you did. You were a wonderful caregiver for them. Wonderful memories! I turn 58 on Thanksgiving this year and I miss my dad as I’m sure you do..and your mom…maybe make something special for dinner in their memory? So glad you shared this today. Warm virtual hugs!