Ups and downs of caregiving....Can you do it? Yes you can.

Started by

I truly believe caring for a loved one is a gift, not everyone can do it. But, for those of us that had to suddenly take on the responsibility, we find ourselves in a new role and often times juggling a job, family, and all the ups and downs that goes right along with it.

I have to constantly remind myself of the following; if my mom can take care of seven kids by herself, then why can't the remaining six take care of one. It boggles my mom how some will step up to the plate and others will fear it will take away from the enjoyment of life.

I can't for the life of me figure out why it is so difficult for some members of the family to give back to the one that God placed on this earth to help rear them; not only that, most grandparent's are rearing their grandchildren and some members find it "upsetting" if you even mention the word "care". What has this world come to when we stop caring for our senior citizens (parents and grandparents).

When my mom was told by one sibling, "I have to live my own life", and left my mom alone without adequate heating and did not give any thought to what food was left in the cupboards, it put my mom in a state of depression. She still dawns on it right today and often cries about it.

I worked part-time and on my days off, I visited my mom three sometimes four days a week to make sure she had heat and food. I thank God for giving me strength to look after her - even before she requested me to be her caregiver.

I am not above anything or anyone and I treat each day as if it were my last; meaning, I enjoy everyday (good or bad). Not only that, I always remind myself that someone, somewhere has it a lot worse...and I thank God I am here on this earth to help take care of my mom. I was not fortunate enough to know my day...he died when I was very young. My mom was both my dad and mom.

She was married twice...my other siblings have a living, breathing dad....I don't. At times I feel bitter about not having a dad in my life, but I have my Heavenly Father Who has always been there for me and still is.....He will neither leave me nor forsake me....I truly believe that with all my heart.

So yes, our parents may give us a hard time, but just remember the hard times we gave them while we were growing up. Were we obedient? Did we always do what they requested? Did we honor our parents when we were young? Were we mouthy and rebellious? Were your parents patient with you and loved you regardless of your faults?

I know it's a hassle sometimes and you feel as if you can't make it another day. Just remember....they stuck it out with us, now it's our turn to stick it out with them.

Love, Live, and Leave the rest to God....(cast your cares).

17 Comments

im not a religious person but my mom has been gone a year tomorrow , and the satisfaction of having cared for her her last few years is helping me to move forward and rebuild my life . im tossing around the question right now of when does caregiving begin . occasional help , lending an ear , emotional support , home maintenance , dropping in , hospitalizations , hands on help , care . i grows on you slowly but you lose yourself with each step . it ends up at a bedside administering end of life meds . youve turned into nearly a professional caregiver , your patient dies , who are you now ? this change not so subtle ..
but i agree with you mimi , its an honor to be entrusted with someones life ..
I was honored to take care of my Mother. Honestly, don't know if I could have done it for 5+ year.
... "What has this world come to when we stop caring for our senior citizens (parents and grandparents)."

I could do with a few less sweeping generalizations myself. We have more people caring for parents and grandparents today than ever in the history of our nation. Most of the people on this site are personally caring for a loved one or looking for the best solution for their loved one when they cannot personally do the active caregiving.

Also, please realize that many parents were NOT patient and did not show love.

That your mother was nurturing and that you now have the honor of caring for her, celebrate. Just don't judge others whose situation you know nothing about, please.
But one has to remember when we were kids growing up, our parents were usually in their 20's and 30's.... they weren't in their 50's, 60's and 70's.... huge different when one is a senior citizen trying to care for a senior citizen.
I agree with both sides, so no argument here -- talk about wishy washy. There is a huge difference in the care, though. Mothers may have cared for us when we were young, but few had to care for their own parents for so long. Mothers now still care for the children and also care for the parents. Often it does fall on one child, as were your case, Mimi. It is far from a trivial thing.

A common story heard on the site is the one of a single mother with children who has (or needs) a full-time job and is trying to care for parents. To me this person is stretched to the max. I think of how wonderful it would be if we could all live in a community together, where some could work and others could do the care. Help with parents cost more than many can afford. Wouldn't it be cool if we little folks could pool our human resource pool and come up with our own solutions? The only problem would be trying to get our parents out of their comfort zones.

Pardon me -- I really got off the subject. Anyway... it would be great if all families were like the Waltons. Unfortunately, it isn't the case most of the time, so we just do the best we can. I know we will be glad we were there.
I just re-read what I wrote and realized it made poor sense. What I meant that yes, our mothers took care of us. But we also take care of children like they did, plus have a job AND take care of parents. Talk about stretched.
MimiJ319, I see that your mother has arthritis. So does mine. The mobility issues and pain management can be quite a challenge. My mother also has dementia. Have you ever spent even one week with someone you love dearly who is no longer the person you knew?

It is not really fair, you know, to judge everything from the perspective of your particular situation.

Even the parents who were patient and loving never had to deal with losing us bit by bit, memory by memory. They could expect our behavior to get better, not worse (in the long run) and the active effort required of them got less as we aged. They guided us and looked forward to our growth and improvement. That is not remotely what caring for a loved one with dementia (or most chronic or terminal conditions) is like.

I think you meant this post to be encouraging to those of us who are caring for our parents. Thank you for that. But the judgmental tone spoils it for me.
I agree with Jeanne but would add that it's an individual's right to choose. Some people can't do it and they should be respected for choosing alternate options that provide the best care possible.
I am thankful to be able to care for my Mama, and I am thankful she has overcome a LOT to remain here with me, that being said.....I was a good child, I was the obedient one, the one who never got into trouble, I was always there for my parents and was always helping at home. I had dreams and plans and when I went away to college, it felt like my life had finally begun..THEN, my Daddy's health began to deteriorate right as I graduated at age 21. I immediately began living out of a suitcase and spending most of my weekends driving back and forth to help my parents...even before I probably should have...because I felt that was what I ought to do....And so it continued but I always just kept going and believing that one day I would still have my own life...Well, that never materialized...After a long and difficult struggle, I lost my Daddy 18 years ago....but still I thought, I had time to begin my life...By then I was 37...not a spring chicken maybe, but still young enough...but then my Mama's health began to decline and even though she lived alone, I was constantly worried about her and so while all my friends were out and about doing things that most folks in their 30's do, I was running the highway living out of my suitcase, rarely ever having a weekend to myself or getting to make plans of my own...And so it continued and then BOOM....Mama fell down her stairs and that was when my old life ended...whatever that life was...and this one began...I love Mama...I am trying hard, but it is not lost on me that I never got to have what she had...the family of my own, the children...and to be honest, I never felt like I had much of a choice as I always felt like I had to do it all because my only sibling had ZERO responsibility (in his head) towards any of it...So now my chance at having children of my own is over...I would just as soon be brushing my teeth of even thinking of having a relationship with a man..who has time for that anyway...and who the heck would want me the way I look these days...My parents both had full, rich lives...and they were good parents...but in some ways I still feel like my wings got clipped a long time ago and I was never supposed to fly away...and yet...true enough that it was my choice to leave my job and my own home and my own life and move back home to care for Mama...I was raised to feel that was what children are supposed to do...but I am wondering why is it usually that only one sibling feels that way.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support