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One Daughter's Story:
Caring for a Parent in my Home
By Kristine Dwyer, LSW, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 3)

Five siblings and their spouses, who were scattered across the country, were consulted on their mother’s future. Although each one cared and was well meaning, there were ten opinions on what was “best for mother” and her personal affairs. Some believed their mother should return to her hometown and hire help even though it was hundreds of miles from any family members. Others felt that they could take turns caring for her by moving her from state to state and house to house. Assisted living was an option while others felt strongly that she should just remain at Beth’s house, indefinitely. It then occurred to Beth that she and her siblings had never planned ahead for their mother’s care after their father died and they’d never made a joint family decision prior to this event. Coming to a consensus was going to be difficult.

At this point, Beth conferred with a caregiver consultant who listened to her needs and concerns. She helped her gain a perspective of her situation, discussed care alternatives and connected her with several resources. Best of all, Beth was able to consider other possibilities for care outside of her home and was encouraged to visit local assisted living facilities. She also found the courage to discuss these options with her siblings and eventually gained additional support from them.

Soon, Beth took her mother to tour several assisted-living homes in the area. Some provided individual rooms while others offered full-size apartments. All of the facilities offered activities, meals, housekeeping and personal care assistance. Initially, her mother was extremely hesitant to consider moving and was unsure about leaving the familiarity of Beth’s home. In her mind, she was still planning to return to her own home and resume the life she had prior to the stroke. The family knew at this point that she could not return and agreed that the homestead had to be sold to help pay for their mother’s future care. They convinced their mother that moving to assisted living near Beth was the best plan “for now.” A beautiful apartment became available, but it took weeks for Beth’s mother to agree to actually move. Surprisingly, within days of moving into the apartment, she had made new acquaintances, joined exercise and coffee groups and had volunteered to play the organ for the church services (a skill that had miraculously remained intact after the strokes!).

The caregiving journey continues for Beth, yet she has gained valuable knowledge, coordinated communication between her siblings, made positive decisions with and for her mother, and rebalanced the needs of herself and her own family. An unexpected change also occurred when the focus on daily caregiving was exchanged for a focus on a loving mother/daughter relationship. To this day, Beth’s mother is thriving and remains socially involved at her assisted-living complex.

These important suggestions are shared with readers who may face a similar life-changing event.


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