Accepting Caregiving Help From My Kids
My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. When you say your I do's, you can't imagine what your life will be like so far down the road as you weave your lives together.
There are many milestones you hope to achieve: kids, jobs, homes, empty nest, retirement, vacations. What we didn't anticipate was my mom moving in with us - my husband reminds me that wasn't on the list.
First a caregiver
My mom moved in with us just over 10 years ago after dad passed. She and dad were living in rural Mississippi. Doctors were few and far between. Same with grocery stores. I worried about her taking care of herself. She took care of my dad for so long, but who would take care of her?
Caregivers can let their own health and wellbeing slide, and she had some doctor and hair appointments to catch up on! All are down the street here instead of in the next county.
Now a recipient of our care
Mom was super helpful being with us initially. She cooked some meals and watched out for the kids. It gave us some peace of mind when we were out. We could go on trips together and date nights. Now our kids are grown, and they look out for grandma - all of our roles have reversed.
Mom is the recipient of our care rather than the caregiver.
Our son is still at home and our daughter lives about an hour away. But, the more ground mom loses to Alzheimer's disease, the more I feel guilty putting more of that responsibility on my kids. I'm afraid to be gone very long. I phrase it that way because it is about my feelings.
Letting my kids help
I think my son and daughter can handle it. My daughter recently got a dog, and she has to pick up its number 1, 2, and 3s! I feel like it is the gross stuff that is the most challenging. My kids aren't kids anymore, and if they says they're up to it... Then I really should let them.
Those last words are hard.
Sweating all of the "what-if's"
My mom has slowly dropped her modesty and her guard with me. I follow her into the bathroom and check if she needs a new pull up. I talk her through the whole bathroom situation from start to finish. Can I let go and let someone else do this?
My kids want to do for me the way I want to do for my mama. It means so very much to me. My husband and I wonder if our vacation days are behind us, at least for now.
Should we take mom with us? Can we leave her home with our kids and hope for the best? I feel like a new parent all over again, nervous to leave the baby with the sitter. What if there is a diaper blow out? What if she doesn't listen to anyone but me? I have come home, and she didn't want to get dressed in the clothes my husband or son laid out for her. There are worse things - I enjoy a pajama day every now and then.
Accepting help from my kids
How do you handle all the "what if's"? Is there a plan? And how do I handle my emotions? My kids have told us to take advantage of them while they are here and available. It's hard to let go.
That's the first thing on the vacation planning and packing list: letting go of expectations and letting others pick up the mantle of caregiver. It may not be perfect, but it will be good! Vacations are and should be still possible. We need it now more than ever.
Which, if any, of the following most often trigger agitation in your loved one living with Alzheimer's disease?