These are just some of the many responses we received
from our Editorial of 06/11/09 -
I would like to write about my fiancť, Philip.
There are very few men who would be willing to take
on the role of fiancť to a woman whose 87 year old
father with dementia and heart disease lives with
her. You can imagine the kinds of things he
has had to learn to deal with: very few date nights,
an extreme lack of privacy, aiding and assisting me
as we bring my father to church each Sunday, eating
at the SAME cafe each Sunday after church because my
father feels comfortable there, having to watch COPS
and Animal Planet as opposed to the NBA finals. The
list goes on and on.
He doesn't have to do this. Clearly there are any
number of women he could choose who do not come with
such situations. But he is steadfast in his
choice and NEVER complains about it. He is
very caring with my father, always jumping up to
help him when he begins to hobble away from the
table or elsewhere or bringing him coffee so as to
avoid the risk of spills
Because my father enjoys Cribbage, we play this card
game almost every night.......sometimes for 2 hours
straight. It gets tiresome, but Philip plays
with enthusiasm and compassion for my father's
inability to count his cards correctly. When he
isn't there and my father and I play alone, it is
not as enjoyable.
Another thing poor Philip has to endure is my
father's accusations. Because he has dementia
and because Phil is the "low man on the totem pole",
so to speak, he gets blamed for everything.
"Phil took my pocket knife; Phil didn't flush the
toilet; Phil left the light on; Phil dented the
tractor." I don't know how he endures that -
I'm not sure I could.
On this Father's Day, I want to recognize Philip,
not only as a great father to two grown young
ladies, but as a great fiancť' and a remarkable care
Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
I am a Social Worker with the
local Area Agency on Aging. About 9 years ago,
I made a home visit where a son was caring for his
aging parents, more so his Mom at that time.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimerís type Dementia and
as she was declining, so was her ability to help her
husband who was blind. To hear the sonís
story, still to this day, brings me that warmth and
realization that the world is still full of good,
unselfish, self-righteous people. Their son
relocated across the country from California to move
in with his parents in order to keep them together
and at home as long as he could. His own needs
came second, but he always found the positive in
situations and has never once regretted making the
move. He is one of the smartest caregiverís I
have met. He tapped into community resources
to assist him, enabling his parents to remain in
their own home for the next 6 years. He
recognized his limitations and there did come a day
about 3 years ago that both parents moved to our
local nursing home. Although not in their own
home, he was able to keep them together.
His care giving did not end with the move. He
remained very active in their care. His mother
passed away about 2 years ago and his father
continues to live at the nursing home. This
caregiver regularly attends our Family Caregiverís
Support Group, which meets once a month.
Although the support group cannot cure diseases or
provide all the answers, it was able to help him
through some difficult times. He now helps
other care givers get through some of those same
situations. He has developed some great
friends within the group, especially with two other
men who provide care for their wives. They
have become quite the threesome- some of the stories
of their adventures with each other are funnier than
the care giverís stories. I applaud this
gentleman for what he has so freely and
unconditionally given his parents. He will
tell you he has not given them nearly what they have
given him over this 9 year time period. He
recommends that family members jump at the chance to
provide care for another family member- it has
fascinated him as to how much he has not only
learned about his parents, but himself as well.
My brothers, as well as all
members of my family, are providing care for my 91
year old Dad. My Mom is 80 and is a stressed
out caregiver, but is very devoted to meeting my
Dadís wishes, which are for him to remain in his
house. Recently, in order for us to continue
with this plan, my brother and his wife left their
home and moved in with Mom and Dad. We also
contacted our local Hospice agency who immediately
admitted him to their care. This has been a
great emotional support for my Mom. My brother
is a husband, father, and very active in the
community. He works full time and has a small
part time grass cutting business. He is about
to become a father-in-law, as two of his children
are getting married next year, just a few months
apart. My brother is a man of a few words, but
his heart speaks loud and clear. He probably
hasnít always made the best choices in his life, but
I can tell you he made a good choice when choosing a
wife. She supports his every endeavor and is
very involved in the care of my Dad. Moving
out of a home you have lived in for 30 years cannot
be easy, but he is dedicated to seeing that our
Dadís wishes are fulfilled!
I was a caregiver for my parents for 8
years...six years for my Mom and eight years for my
Dad. The last four years of my Mom's life, we (and I
say "we" because the whole family joined in my Mom's
battle against Cancer) battled cancer on and off
until she lost the fight. My Mother and I were very
close and I feel sometimes that my Dad got his
feelings hurt by our special bond and closeness. Mom
required a lot of my time and attention because of
her constant doctor's appointments, treatments,
surgeries, and effects from the chemo treatments. I
had to resign from my job to care for my Mother in
her final days which I will never regret and once my
Mother was gone...I found myself jobless and
realizing that my Dad had some health issues that
needed to be addressed. I began working with my Dad
to find a new pulmonologist to relieve his
respiratory problems and working with him on some
other health issues.
Being unemployed, I was able to devote full
attention to my Dad's needs and to grieve along with
him about my Mother's death. We spent lots of
quality time together....going thru old photographs,
sharing memories, attending church, and sharing some
of our favorite meals together. My Father passed
away two years after my Mother died, but it was such
a special time between the two of us. He realized
that I loved him just as much as I loved my Mother
which was so important to resolve before his death.
He told me many times before he died that he didn't
know what he would do without me and that he loved
me. This is a memory that I will treasure all my
life. Those two years with my Dad were so important
for our relationship. This will be my second
Father's Day without my Dad and I look back on that
special time with him with fond memories and no
As one of my dad's daughters, I am the primary
caregiver for my 85 year old father.
In 2007 I took a major career demotion and relocated
home to care for my father, who suffers from Alzheimer's
disease. As the disease progressed, I took early
retirement this past year, a financial burden for me now
and for my future. There was no question;
this was the right thing to do for my dad.
Thirteen years ago my mother passed away from pneumonia,
the angelís way of taking her out of Alzheimer's.
At the time my dad looked to me for assistance and
support. Being single and at the time,
living relatively close to the family home, I was the
one who was called at work and many middle of the night
pleas for assistance. Not having the
advanced medical drugs available today, my mom went
through a terrible time with the disease and was
eventually placed in a nursing home. The trauma
associated with trying to find a suitable facility for
the woman he spent 50 years with, was horrible for my
dad. Approximately six months prior to her
placement, I moved back home to provide the necessary
support my dad required. He was
exhausted -- physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The first time I changed my mother's undergarments was a
traumatic experience; however, nothing can prepare you
for bathing your own mother (or father), regardless if
you are a male or female.
I applaud all caregivers who take on the thankless task
I have three other siblings; one who is a brother.
My younger sister has been wonderful. She
looked after my dad prior to me moving back home in
2007. She calls daily, and visits
at least four times a week.
My brother and older sister never call, nor do they
perform any sort of caregiving tasks. When I
relocated home and continued to work full time, I asked
for assistance from my brother. His
response was "I have a job and a family."
Apparently when I was working for 40 hours a week, that
is not considered a job. Although my
dad designated him and my older sister as his POA and
health care advocate, they do the absolute minimum to
assist in caregiving. They come here once a
week and sit on their butts, even when there are obvious
signs dad needs assistance. They are not involved in
any of his physician appointments, nor do they ask the
outcome of these healthcare issues.
One particular incident sticks in my mind.
As my younger sister and I were assisting dad into the
vehicle for a doctor's appointment, my brother stopped
by. When I told my brother we were on the way to the
doctor's for an emergency visit, my brother turned on
his heels and said "I just won $500 in a pool and I'm
off to buy golf clubs." As a result of the doctor
appointment, my dad was admitted to the hospital.
To my younger sister's disagreement, I refused to
call my brother and older sister.
In doing so, I created a crisis to get their attention
about the seriousness of their father's
healthcare. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter.
Previous to the hospitalization, my older sister was not
available during the day to care for dad.
Oh look, now that dad is hospitalized, she can come to
the hospital and stay all day. They
both have strongly suggested dad be placed in a nursing
home. Wouldn't that make life a lot
easier for them.
I am well aware of the issues, anger and resentment I
harbor. Unfortunately, some
dysfunctional families are pushed even further apart
during the caregiving process.
One fact remains, my dad changed my diapers and helped
me when I needed care, I am more than happy to return
the favor. Apparently what they both don't realize is
time not spent with your father can never be recaptured.
My primary focus is keep dad safe, comfortable and in
his own home for as long as we can.
Having a good sense of humor, balanced outlook, and
being thankful to have my dad around at 85, is a
blessing for me.
Caregiving is the hardest task I have ever taken on, yet
one of the most rewarding experiences I will ever have.
Thank you for the opportunity to vent.