Being Caregivers to Our Aging Parents

CaregivingHi All, I can’t believe how this week just flew by.  I’ve been pretty busy preparing my house for my mom who will be staying with me for one week.  I’ve shared this in some of my comments around the blogosphere but I never wrote about it here so you probably don’t know that I am a caregiver for my mom.  She lives with one of my sisters but me and my other two sisters share the caregiver responsibilities every day.

My mom became a widow at age 29.  She had six children and I am the youngest of the six.  She never remarried.  Five years ago she was living alone in a senior citizens building when she suffered a massive heart attack.  Thankfully, one of my nieces (who was nine at the time) was visiting her when this happened and she dialed 911.

My mom miraculously survived that heart attack and none of the doctors can explain how she survived.  Only 5% of people who suffer that type of heart attack survive and she was one of the lucky ones.  My mom suffers from a few ailments, the worst one being diabetes so this made her survival chances even worse but she made it and we are grateful for that.

So after a long stay at the hospital, which included triple bypass surgery, followed by another surgery due to an infection, she was sent to a rehab center for three months and then came home to live with one of my sisters.  She hasn’t been the same since the heart attack mainly because she now suffers from short-term memory loss due to the amount of time she was out during the heart attack. But overall her health today is better than it was five years ago and her long-term memory is excellent. She recognizes all of us and remembers almost everything from her past so we are thankful for that.

Since my mom suffers from short-term memory loss she cannot remember something you told her just 5 minutes ago.  She doesn’t really have track of time so she can’t really cook for herself, remember to take her medication or remember when she last ate.  She also has very bad knees and needs a walker to walk. We are grateful that she can still walk a little bit at least, which is helpful when assisting her with daily living needs.

She never wanted to live in a home so having her live with one of us was always going to be part of the plan.  There wasn’t much of a plan beyond that so we had to get ourselves organized pretty quickly after the heart attack.  I think I’ll write more about that in a future post.

Having her stay with us is a bit of a project because we have to prepare the house to adapt to her disabilities.  But I’m happy to have her stay with me while my sister takes her vacation. As you can imagine, being a caregiver can take a toll and we all need a break every now and then.

Now that we have our home she can finally stay over comfortably.  I’m looking forward to learning some new cooking tips and just spending time together.   I’m thankful  that she’s still with us and that we’ve been able to care for her these last few years.

 Will you be responsible for providing care for your aging parents one day?  

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Being Caregivers to Our Aging Parents — 25 Comments

  1. So very glad your mom is still with you, and I think it’s awesome that you are committed to caring for her, along with your siblings. We are getting close to entering that caregiver stage, Raquel. My parents are still independent, but I’m having to help my mom and stepdad with more and more stuff each year. This year we are selling their house and they are moving to an independent living senior apartment. Thanks for a very helpful post.
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted…Saturday Morning Ramble, or The Truth About HomesteadingMy Profile

    • I think more and more people are helping their parents now that life expectancy is much higher. Senior Living Apartments are very popular and sometimes hard to get in my area but it’s so convenient when you get older to not have to worry about maintaining a home. Good Luck with the process.

  2. When it comes to my Dad, absolutely. I can’t put him in a home, he’s coming with me. I’m his only kid. My mom has 3 kids, but out of the options, I think that I’ll be the only one that’s financially fit when the time comes…I hope I’m wrong. My brother is disabled, so that’s a no go and my sister is still in school…we’ll see! Anyway, I think it will be challenging to be a caregiver to my parents, but then again, I also think it will be rewarding. We don’t see each other enough now, so that will obviously change when that time comes. It’s amazing that your mom made it through the heart attack. I could imagine how scary that must have been for all of you. Thanks for letting us in on the emotional/caring side of your life. I’ll see ya around!
    Joshua Rodriguez recently posted…Leading Market Indicators | Binary Options CornerMy Profile

    • In the beginning it was a challenge but once you get a routine going it’s not too bad. Of course we share the responsibility with among 3 sisters and a part time home health aid. If you can find some part time help at least it makes things much better.

      That was probably the scariest day of my life. The weeks that followed were as well but I’m thankful for the outcome.

  3. My mom actually just moved in with us a few weeks ago. She is a widow and recently lost her job and really can’t afford to keep paying NY rent. We are fortunate that she has no disabilities; however, it is still stressful to have a parent live with you. I say that I have two children right now, except one listens to me better than the other. Can you guess which one? It’s great, though, that you are sharing the responsibility amongst your siblings and that you all have homes to support her. It is stressful, though, so remember to make time for you and your hubby when you can.
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Lemonade Stand Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • I hear you on the part of not wanting to listen. My mom can be stubborn as well. My husband’s father also lives in NYC but he has a rent controlled apartment in SOHO so he’s ok for now. He actually loves it there but I think soon he’ll be heading back to Peru.

      Thanks for the reminder. My hubby and I plan to escape to his man cave once in a while to catch some movies or favorite shows while she takes over our living room TV. 😉

  4. Oh, I’m so glad your mom is doing well! It makes me happy to see people beat the odds like that. I would definitely be interested in hearing more about this topic and how your family handled it. My parents are still on the younger side, but I am fairly certain my mom will live with us if it ever comes down to it. I’m hoping we can find a place with a basement or separate area at that point. As much as I love my mom, being with her for an extended period of time can get a little crazy!
    E.M. recently posted…Is There Ever a Legitimate Reason to Lease a Car?My Profile

    • I’ll write a follow up post soon about the aftermath that followed. Yea, with mom it gets a little crazy as well because of her short term memory loss. It’s hard sometimes to have a long conversation with her because she doesn’t remember. So we need our breaks too.

  5. I believe my parents will have enough in retirement and other assets to afford a senior care home, but similar to your case I think ultimately my sister and I will be caregivers to them, if needed. It would be nice to be able to afford a full-time caregiver, but we will have to see where we are at financially at that time. So glad your Mom is still with you.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…4 Tips for a Successful Job InterviewMy Profile

    • We have a part time home health aide that covers the morning hours. Most of the help my mom requires is in the morning so that is very helpful. I recommend having that extra help.

  6. So glad you mum pulled through! My mum has a massive stroke a few years ago, luckily for her, she just happened to be staying with my sister who happens yo be an MD. She recovered, but has the short term memory loss as well. She remembers stuff from years ago. When l go home, for the first couple of days, she just smiles at me politely when l talk to her, then all of a sudden, she screams my name when she finally recognizes me which thrills me no end. She lives with my older brother now. I’m glad you and your sisters are able to care for her.

    • That is so funny Kemkem. I can relate to the sudden stuff like that. It happens to my mom too usually not with people but with different things.

  7. Glad your mom is doing better. I haven’t put too much thought into it but I think caring for aging parents is inevitable. I know that my parents would not want to be put in a senior citizen home, and I wouldn’t want that for them either. I know my grandmothers were adamantly against it even as their health deteriorated. It’s a tough situation…they call it the sandwich generation where you care for young kids while caring for aging parents. It’s also good to have siblings to share the responsibility!
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…How Exciting is Your City?My Profile

    • Definitely having other siblings to share the responsibility is great. It would not be as manageable if I had to do all the work alone.

    • If your parents have no major ailments then they could be good for a long time. I have to say that after 60 my mom’s diabetes really started to take a toll on her body. On the other hand my FIL has no major diseases and lives alone at 78 years old in NYC.

  8. It’s so nice of you to share this, Raquel. I love that you appreciate so much having your Mom around and being able to care for her, as difficult as it can be at times. We lost my Mum suddenly due to a heart attack. No prior serious warning of ill health. She had complained a bit of being tired but she had also been out in the woods cutting down brush that had died during an ice storm and had been at it for a few weeks so I told her to slow down. About a week after that she was gone, she had just been to our house for dinner the night before and seemed fit as a fiddle. The sudden loss was very hard to take and I’ve shed many tears and had many weak moments about that but I take comfort knowing she would have wanted it that way. She was 73. I look forward to reading your other posts on this topic.

    • Oh Debs, I’m so sorry to hear about this. It’s so shocking and heartbreaking when someone goes suddenly like that especially some one close. I know it would have been very hard for me if I had lost my mom that day 5 years ago. We were very lucky indeed to have gotten more time with my mom. Stay strong Debs and Thanks for sharing your story.

    • It is definitely part of my culture to care for our parents. I think it helps them live longer as well.

  9. We’re not at that stage yet but my wife and I have already talked about it and we would have our parents live with us if the need arises. It’s a big decision with a lot of stress so I’m glad we’ve talked about it before hand. It’s great that you and your siblings are so supportive Raquel!
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  10. Thats one of the reasons why I want financial freedom, so that I can help my parents. They are both in their 60s, my mom needs a walker as well, due to an accident. My dad is handling most of the responsibilities now. Financial freedom to spend time with kids and parent’s, while trying to build passions on the side.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted…Can People Avoid Disrespecting MoneyMy Profile

  11. Being a widow at 29 your mom must have experienced a lot of hardships… It’s wonderful that you and your sisters are still taking care of her. For me, if I have the means, I don’t mind to be a caregiver when my parents when they’re older. They’ve taken care of me when I’m younger and when the time comes I’d love to give back to them what they’ve done to me.
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