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Caregiver Blog: Issue 1

What do you do when you see your parents changing right in front of your eyes? How do you help when your beloved mother and father say, “We are fine. We don’t need any help.”

Do you believe them or do you take matters into your own hands? Admittedly, I am not the type to live and let live. Probably a trait acquired from my mother. No matter, I feel so helpless which is frustrating. Please realize my parents are the poster children for stubbornness. They are the most loving and kind people on the planet, but stubborn. Robert & Ruby Whitmore. 88 and 85, respectively.

When I think of my parents, I think of my father as the protector. Big and sturdy. My mother as the dainty caregiver. Always dolled up although she’s always been a housewife.

It’s hard to see them now. Aged. Fragile. Their mortality plausible. My father, still a handsome man, uses a walker and relies on my mother for most things. In a different way now though. My mother has always been the caretaker. Cooking, cleaning and fetching things for my father but I guess now the difference is that he can’t do a lot of things. Mom is still prim and proper but her memory is beginning to fail her. She’d never admit this, but we’ve all noticed.

Perfect example, for the Memorial Day holiday, we had a family gathering at my home. Everyone came. My daughter, Angel, and her fiancé. Both of my siblings and their families. It was great. But my parents, who refused to be picked up, had driven themselves from Sun City to my home in Chandler. Now granted, my mother has perfect vision and does all the driving now since dad has mobility impairments, but it still worries me. So anyway, mom and dad show up almost an hour late. We were able to pull out of my father that mom had gotten lost. She denied it, of course, insisting that she had simply made a wrong turn. Either way, I’ve lived in my home for almost 25 years. Mom has been here countless times. This was a wakeup call to all of us that we need to tune in a little more to what’s going on with Mom and Dad. Just a week ago I dropped off a few groceries and noticed that mom was keeping a lot of expired food. My sister, Kitty, is in denial and my brother, Ben, is just too busy, but I see a bigger problem brewing. And I’ve been losing a lot of sleep.

I have called a family meeting with my parents, Kitty, Ben, and my husband, Jonathan, so we can talk about some options. A colleague of mine told me about FSL, an organization that helps keep seniors safe as they remain in their homes for as long as possible. I called them this morning and they are sending someone out this afternoon. I am excited to hear about what’s out there for my parents. At the family meeting, I’ll share what I’ve learned. In the meantime, my sweet dear husband has agreed to sell our home. We are officially moving to Sun City to be near my parents!

Until next time guys.

XOXO,

Sleepless