The day came when my siblings and I felt we had to take our parents' care into our own hands. It is a difficult realization. Our parents who took care of us now needed to be taken care of by strangers.
My father had dementia and was mobile. My mother was suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the disease was taking its toll on her mobility. She was completely in denial that she was seriously ill. Her health was declining. She was oozing through her skin and had to wear special wraps. My brother and I met with my mother and told her that she needed help. She of course thought it was her duty to take care of my father alone. Finally she agreed to hire a caregiver.
Do you know how hard it is to find a caregiver for a dementia patient? Do you hire someone from a service or do you hire an individual? It was fortunate that we found someone who agreed to help my mother give care to my father and who my mother liked.
In the beginning, the caregiver was a great help to my mother in tending to my father's physical exercise and hygiene. She also cleaned the house. It was hard for my mother to accept that someone was in her house taking care of these things. After all, it was her job to do these things. However, my mother became very ill. Soon, the caregiver started caring for my mother as well. I would talk to my mother everyday and ask "is the itching better" She would always respond, "I'll be fine." Then, she would proceed to tell me about my father's health problems.
Eventually, one caregiver was not enough to take care both of them 24 hours/day/seven days a week. Again, we were fortunate that our caregiver knew of other caregivers who we could hire. They were loving, caring ladies who adored my parents.
What to look for in hiring a caregiver:
Observe how they interact with your parent.
Ask them to keep a log of behaviors, medicine and eating habits; if they refuse you know not to hire them.
Ask them to give experiences in caring for patients; give examples of how they handled difficult behavior and/or how they handled dementia patients.
Hiring caregivers can be a tricky situation. They have to be adaptable to the patient's needs and demonstrate empathy, yet they have to be firm in caring for them.
Annette Gonzalez is a lifelong Floridian and was raised in West Tampa, a Latin neighborhood in Tampa. As a child, she was nurtured in this cultural environment and it influenced her desire to be a writer, speaker and storyteller.
Her closely knit Spanish family caused her to attend a local college, The University of South Florida where she graduated in 1970 with a B.A. degree in sociology. Soon after graduation she married Terry DeLisle and they had two sons, Jared and Jacques.
Annette's professional background includes positions as a social worker, real estate salesperson, business owner, PBS education director, president of a chamber of commerce and director of business development at an educational association.
In February 2006, when Annette's struggled with coping with the loss of her mother, she needed to fill the emptiness in her heart and began documenting her feelings. Five months later, her father passed away. This is when she began to write and speak about her parents' deaths. What resulted was that Annette provided others who had lost their parents comfort and direction through her writing and speeches.
Annette believes that we need to treasure our parents while they are alive and honor them when they have passed.
Reference: Visit Annette's blog, www.marinasabundance.blogspot.com - in memory of her mother, Marina Gonzalez. She encourages those who have lost their mothers or whose mothers are in ill health to post comments. Annette will be speaking on how to make time for yourself while overseeing the care of your parents at the Time for Me Retreat.
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