The following are true stories sent in by today's caregivers.
mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 2 years ago. When my
father passed away in 1999
from lung cancer, he told me on his deathbed, "something
is wrong with your mother" and was afraid to die because he was
so worried about her. I took his hand and whispered, "it's ok dad,
I will take care of mom." He died a few hours later. Of course,
I had no idea what was wrong with our mother and no idea what the cards
held for me in the future as her caregiver.
close to ten years I was my mom's primary caregiver. I was single
and lived at home with my mom and my single brother. He
paid the bills but didn't do much to help with her physical care. Not
only did she have a number of medical problems but she was also suffering
with severe depression. Living with a severely depressed person is a
Hi, my name is Brenda and I am taking care of my parents here in California. I have been here about a year now. When I first came they were having trouble making ends meet. Mom had cancer of the lung. She is 74 years old. She had surgery early in 03. The doctors say they got it all. Dad is 77 years old. They cannot be left alone, so I moved down from Portland, Oregon so they wouldn't have to go to a home. I just moved a small trailer on to their land next to theirs with an intercom in between. This seems to work out well. Please understand, my husband and I love each other very much but he is stuck up in Portland, Oregon in a job at the United States Post Office. And he is taking care of his mother who is almost 90 years old so she won't have to go to a home. There are lots of other problems, but this is just a start! Thanks for letting me ramble!
My mother is 85 years old and independent. The twist here is that she has cared for my sister, who was born with Downs Syndrome, since she was born 46 years ago. My sister was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a year and a half ago and way beyond what my mother can handle. We have been trying to get her into a nursing home with little luck. All have year-long or longer waiting lists. I'm worried that my mother will die trying to care for her much longer. My mother would like to go into assisted living but she cannot until my sister is situated. I need help. Thanks for listening to my story.
My father recently died. He was in a nursing home. I feel extremely guilty having placed him there. I take care of my mom who has Alzheimer's, and has had several mild strokes this past year. I have lived with my mom for about 6 years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's about 2 years ago. She has become incontinent and is nearly wheel-chair bound. She has to be assisted in all of her daily living areas. I have just very recently asked for help, and have hired a CNA for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-5pm. This will enable me to be able to keep my shop open.
days I am very tired physically and mentally.
I know the realities, I am not Super Woman. I just miss him so much,
and feel so
guilty that he died in a nursing home, and not
with me where I could have been with him to the very end. His roommate
had died about 2 months earlier, so he died alone in his room at
the nursing home. I had just been to see him, and had a very good
visit with him. However that does not make this PAIN in my heart
go away. I feel as if my
sole has a deep black hole residing in it. I try to keep up my spirits
my mom's sake, but I am constantly reminded of him, and I feel so
sad that I will never see him again. I am a believer, and pray daily
that I will see him again in a heavenly form.
Hello everyone. I will start by telling you how I became a caregiver. On January 27, 1997, I was at the county sheriff's home for his birthday party.
I started getting pages on my pager. I thought they were a from a friend out of the county because of the prefix and was not going to call someone long distance from someone's home. I was only at the party for about 35 to 40 minutes and left and stopped at another friend's home.
on the way home another page came in from a friend that was local and he had 911 at the end of the phone number. I called him and he told me to call the number that I had received earlier right away, that something bad had happened and it was my neighbor calling from his cell phone. So I called and got the shock of my life. My neighbor, whose name is Ed, said someone here needs to talk to you. He put on a Florida highway patrol officer. We spoke a few minutes. I have known this officer for many years he asked me if there was someone there to drive me to the hospital and I told him there was. He asked to speak to them. It was my girlfriend he spoke to. She gave me the phone back and I asked him what was going on. Then the ball was dropped. My Dad had been in a fatal accident.
So my girlfriend drove me to the hospital. We were sent to the ER where a nurse and a different FHP officer took me in this little room and I was told my Dad was in surgery. I said I was told he had passed away. The trooper there told me that they had my Dad covered up on the side of the road when the rescue got there. He had no heart rate. One of rescue workers knew him from coming to the house and that he was diabetic. He gave him a shot of glycogen and got a heart rate. My Dad's blood sugar had dropped and someone called the FHP saying a drunk was running people off the road, but before they could get to my Dad, he hit a car head on. Both cars were going about 45 miles an hour. My Dad was thrown from his truck and a truck behind him ran over him. He broke both arms, pelvis both legs and had a severe head injury. He was in surgery to put his foot back together, which as nearly cut off. He was in surgery only about 45 minutes before they had to stop and take him to ICU because his vital signs were dropping.
Dad weighed 175 at that time. They let me go see him in ICU that
night. I told the nurse that was not my Dad. He looked like he weighed
700 pounds. He was in ICU for 10 weeks, then moved to a regular room
for a week and then was taken to a rehab unit. He ended up losing
his leg where his foot was so bad. He was in rehab for 7 months.
After 6 months at home, he is doing well with a walker to get around
and we find out he has prostate cancer. He goes through treatment
and did very well. This was in 1999. In 2002, they found colon cancer.
He went through surgery for that, but did not want chemo. The cancer
was in the lymph nodes and has now spread to the liver. I take my
Dad to all doctor appointments, fix him three meals a day and snacks
in between, take blood sugars and give all meds. I buy any thing
he needs, take him out to friends and so on. At this time he is in
rehab. He just got out of the hospital. His big toe got infected
but the doctor said he was not getting good blood supply to his foot,
so the doctor took an artery from his upper leg and put it in his
lower leg. He has been in rehab for a little over a week now. I brought
him home for Christmas, just for 4 hours, though, because they are
giving him IV antibiotics.
Caregiving is not a fun thing. It is harder than most jobs people have in everyday life to see one of your loved ones go downhill is very depressing. I just think that we caregivers will be repaid in a different way down the road. I got married in 1998 to a wonderful woman that understands why I do what I do. She never got a honeymoon, but maybe one of these days. I don't leave my dad alone over 2 hours at a time do to his blood sugars, which can drop for no reason. Let's all hold are heads high! I will say a prayer For all caregivers.
In 1994, I married a wonderful man. He was estranged from his father, who left his life when my husband was only 5 years old. My husband was raised by his mother and a wonderful step-dad, and had only occasional visits and phone calls with his dad.
Fast forward to 2002. My husband called his dad on Father's Day, and they had a long conversation. (Dad had remarried a woman with four daughters, but she passed away in 1991.) The daughters were grown with familes of their own, and dad was living alone. My husband suspected dad wasn't doing so well. Being 1,300 miles away, he decided to call his step-sisters (who lived near dad) to check up on him. At Christmastime, my husband decided to fly out and visit dad. His concerns were realized. Dad was not caring for himself. He refused to allow "outsiders" in to help care for him, so my husband's step-sisters pitched in ... a little. In the meantime, my husband and I began to discuss moving (from NY to MN) to take care of him.
By June 2003, we had begun packing and preparing to give up our careers. Bad new arrived by a phone call. Dad had fallen and broken several ribs. After his hospital stay, he was transferred to a nursing home to recuperate.
On July 15th, my husband received a call from one of the step-sisters. The nursing home had exhausted dad's insurance benefits and stated, "If a family member did not come take him home within 48 hours, they would attach his assets." Despite the fact that he and I had never met, I agreed to fly out the next day. I never knew what "for better. for worse" was going to cost me.
Dad was so sick, he was only home 4 days before I put him in the hospital. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but he also has Alzheimer's, diabetes, hypertension, chonic heart failure, renal insufficiency, osteoathritis (severely limiting his mobility), glaucoma and urinary incontinence from the complications of surviving prostate cancer. To say that I did not know what I was in for is a serious understatement.
Had I not come as quickly as I did, I'm certain we'd have been coming out for a funeral within a matter of weeks. The only blessing to be found in dad's needing to go to the hospital was that his house was so dirty, I was grateful to be able to clean without having to provide care too.
Dad came home from the hospital in mid-August, and if my husband hadn't arrived (with a U-haul full of our belongings) in early September, I think I would have gone crazy.
So now, my husband has found a job while I stay home and take care of dad. Changing diapers, giving medications, cooking, cleaning, and sleeping with a monitor in case dad wakes up - that's my life now. I used to have a good job, a car and an active social life ... that's all 1,300 miles away. If not for church, the only time I'd see other people is at the grocery store.
In our favor, Dad is personable and social. His quality of life has improved 1000 percent. He and my husband are very grateful for my ability to adapt and respond to this situation, and I thank God that I was able to make such a difference in dad's life. However, I'm lonely and homesick. Twenty-four-hour supervision sometimes seems like a prison sentence. Even when my husband can take over (evenings and weekends), I feel trapped here. It's getting better, but oh, so slowly. Dad is now going to daycare 3 days a week, 7 hours a day. I'm so not used to being so broke that I've been looking for part-time work, but I haven't found anything lucrative enough to be worth the effort.
My heart goes out to my fellow caregivers. The stories given here testify that so many have it worse than I do. So many are caring for ungrateful family members, and/or having to fight with other family members over care issues. I appreciate the opportunity this site provides to commune and commiserate.