In the natural order of things, a parent cares for children when they can’t yet care for themselves.
Feeds and dresses them. Teaches them to read and reason. Serves as taxi driver, short order cook, housekeeping staff, entertainment committee, and kisser of boo-boos.
But what happens when the roles are reversed and the ‘child’ must care for the parent?
Men and women in my generation are fast learning that sometimes, all Hell breaks loose.
Children, after all, don’t especially mind having parents to lean on. But aging parents can become cranky when they suddenly find themselves dependent on others and wracked with pain.
When they become frail of body, unsteady of motion, and forgetful. When their car keys (and independence) are stripped away. When end-of-life questions are brought up by well-meaning loved ones.
And the ‘kids’ — generally sandwiched between caring for the elders, tending their own home and family, and working full time — become cranky, too. Stretched taut, fretful, mentally and physically exhausted, worried over making time for Mom and Dad and their needs.
Doctor appointments. Trips to the pharmacy. Grocery shopping.
Plant watering. Snow removal.
My mom still lives in the house we kids grew up in. It has three flights of stairs and frankly, is far too large for her.
She won’t consider moving, whether to a smaller apartment or assisted living.
Mom doesn’t drive. And since Dad has passed and my only sibling lives 750 miles away, Mom’s care falls on my shoulders.
Recently, Mom had some medical issues and was hospitalized for a few days.
She came home weaker than before.
And on a plethora of medications, all of which carry the possibility of side effects.
Like dizziness, fatigue, stomach upsets, constipation, heartburn….
Just what an older person needs, huh?
It goes without saying that I’m not medically trained. Nor am I a home health care aide, or whatever those folks are called who help the elderly.
Mom doesn’t want a “stranger” in the house taking over her cooking, bathing, housekeeping, or dressing, but she’s agreed to hire someone if she can find the right person.
I’ve gleaned some insights through this situation. Come back next time and see if you agree. Oh, and if you’ve been there, done that, I welcome your advice!