Caregiving has been the single most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, but it has also been the most rewarding.

My mom and dad are in their 70’s and both have chronic health conditions, particularly my mother. She is confined to bed or chair in the same room of her home (thankfully, she is still able to be at home). Her health problems are many – she is in pain much of the time, but her attitude is the stuff of legends. Because she is so positive, it really helps me to stay upbeat most of the time, too. We laugh and joke as we go about the mundane day to day chores and play games (the kind that boost cognition.) She is and always will be my “shero” and I feel so honored to be her caregiver. After all, she has cared for me for 50 years!

I am fortunate to have a sister who doubles as an R.N.!! Admittedly, she bears the brunt of the “doctory” stuff while I keep the laundry up and the healthy meals on the bedside table. We are an awesome team and I tell her all the time that I feel sorry for anyone who isn’t us in this scenario and I am deadly serious. I couldn’t imagine bearing this all alone.

For the past three years I have actively sought out websites such as this one, local groups for similar support, and the laughter of good friends over a glass of wine at our weekly summertime patio parties. I can honestly say that every second of respite has made the biggest impact on my daily mental health.

Believe me, I still get so down from time to time – especially when the helplessness feelings creep in. I work a part time job and have my own home and marriage to tend to, but through the grace of God, my family and my friends (and this and other awesome websites), I have learned to take care of myself in the craziness of taking care of my parents.

Today, I do a cardio workout for 30 minutes every day, walk when our weather permits, have a standing “date” with 12 friends from high school to play trivia or karaoke or just go out for a night of jazz or blues. I have three cats that absolutely soak up whatever love I still have at the end of the day but after cuddling and playing with them, I find my strength and capacity for love has been magically restored.

I am lucky to have my parents with me, and I want to stay as healthy as I can, (physically and mentally) so that I can be there for them.

For all of you walking this valley, I will pray for you and for your loved ones. We are in this together and while it might not be the club of our first choosing, we are fortunate to share it with others who care.

God Bless.

Lori

 

3 Responses to Lori O – parents chronic health conditions

  1. Pamela A. says:

    Lori i really enjoyed your story, and WOW what an awesome team you and your sister are! I am an RN too and even though an only child, have a great network of really good friends and neighbors that help out immensely. And your support network sounds not only good but fun! I love that you like karaoke, trivia and cats, all of which contribute to maintaining me too. I too am seeking health improvement and lost a whole lot of weight, started reg exercise and healthy eating. There is a turkey tetrazinni recipe on this site that is beyond great, and healthy too. jean spoke of her own health issues as related to caregiving and it kind of jolted me awake. Yeah, nurses are not always so good at taking care of themselves. I had been taking care of my dad for years and ignored “me” as in time for me later….and later was not coming so i congratulate you on what sounds like a really well planned care situation for everybody! Hey i also love that you like trivia and karaoke, and love cats. Two greyhounds and two cats here and i sing a mean Bette Midler lol. Take care Lori, Prayers for your family and continued success. Hey by the way those moments when you get all “blue” are gonna happen no matter what. Just share them. I find that sharng them shrinks them somehow. This site is a huge help that way. Kep us posted! God Bless. Pamela A.

  2. Lori says:

    Thank you, Char! It’s nice to meet you. I am really enjoying DLH.

    My sister and I are very close and are fortunate to be able to communicate and commiserate with each other often and very well. We learn something new almost every day it seems- new things about ourselves, our parents, and about what works for us in giving care. Unfortunately, we also find many new things that shake us up, frustrate us, and just plain terrify us!

    At the end of the day, I think we all want our loved ones to have dignity and to be comfortable in their declining years. That is evident in what I read here. Thank you, Char for all the great info and for sharing your heart.

    Lori

  3. char says:

    Hi Lori,
    What a bright infectious attitude you have, both you and your sister seem to have caregiving down to a science.
    Everything you said about caregiving is true. I read each line and smiled with the knowledge..um… been there, felt that, but the loneliness of caregiving, is one of the hardest parts at times, for some of us, isn’t it?
    You also are ahead of the game, taking care of you, in order to give care… Some of us(including me) have forgotten, or put off, the time to take care of ourselves… such an important part of the plan.
    As we walk in the valley you wrote of, and gain membership to the CG-Club, we are able to share our experiences here at DLH, and help others help themselves.
    Thank you Lori for your uplifting story, your parents must be so proud of their amazing children and awesome caregivers.
    ~Char

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