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Caring for my parents was not a duty : Part 1 - Care of my elderly Father / Dad

Updated on January 15, 2018
A place for my parents to relax
A place for my parents to relax | Source

Caring for my parents

 ..Before we started caring for my parents,my Mother and father were already telling everyone that they knew ( unbeknown to me, but I found that out later ) they were coming to live with us and that I was to look after them, that was not a problem when the time came, but I believed that the time had arrived too soon.
At that particular time our home only had 2 bedrooms, which was barely big enough for our family of 4.
Panic! "My goodness what are we going to do" ?? They had already put their home on the market, and it sold within 3 days.
More panic! "Well it's happened get over it !" I said to myself, easier said than done.
We had a building out in the back garden, we made that comfortable for our two teenaged (at the time ) boys, and my parents moved in and used their bedroom in the main house.
So far so good: My parents were still fairly fit and healthy at this stage.

The house extension we built for my parents
The house extension we built for my parents | Source

OK for a while

Even though my husband and I were both working, and because my mother disliked cooking with a passion I did all of the meals for the whole family, fortunately my dad was very easy to please food wise and he loved my cooking, mum was very hard to please, but we muddled along for about 12 months in this way.

Things started to get a little off centre, so we took a big step and decided to extend our home by about 8 squares, which meant that my parents would have their own private quarters.

It was beautiful!  One very large bedroom, plus a large bathroom with laundry and a huge lounge/dining/kitchen, with bay windows all around and a private entrance. They could also come along a passage through a door into our part of the house. We also designed a lovely garden which they could sit in, entertain, do what ever they wanted to. It really was lovely!

Peugeot motor cars were always his favorite form of transport.
Peugeot motor cars were always his favorite form of transport. | Source

Give me a break!

They would go away once a year to visit dads sister, other than that they didn't go anywhere or do much else.
A couple of more years went by and dad got sick, with heart and lung problems, which was hard for everybody, but most of all him, he got extremely frustrated and mad, because he could no longer do the things he once could handle with ease and also things he wanted to!
      So he started complaining about anything and everything, like the food wasn't right, I wasn't mowing the lawn often enough, my children, husband. (actually my husband built 90% of the extension), and sadly without any appreciation from my parents.
I could handle his complaints but nobody, I mean nobody, picks on my children or husband. Yes I admit to being a tad touchy as far as they are concerned and nothing has changed to this day!

His health got worse

As my father's health got progressivly worse (we had our own business at the time), my husband without hesitation, took him to all his medical appointments, usually twice a week sometimes more, our business suffered a lot, but he was my father and we loved him.
I had a sister and brother then, but they did not want to be involved in any of it, Not helping with the new building or the care of my parents, "that was my duty" so they told me.
Oh well you win some and you lose some.
They may have come to visit them every 6 or 8 weeks, stay 1 hour, see you next time, never once did they ask if they could help with anything.
I was the middle child ! I have heard a lot of different stories about the middle child syndrome, maybe its right, maybe it isn't, who knows?

My dad used to tell me about his adventures on his motor bike.
My dad used to tell me about his adventures on his motor bike. | Source

Nursing Home , Oh No no no !

As time moved along a couple of more years, my fathers health got worse, in and out of hospital, now on oxygen, getting more upset and I guess a little frightened!

His condition very quickly deteriorated and it became apparent that I was not qualified enough to take care of him any longer at home. I really wanted to do this, but had to accept that I couldn't, the doctors at the hospital told me he could no longer stay at home and that he would have to go into a Nursing Home, something that I had always been dead against, but I was out ranked and the decision was out of my hands. This is something that I still have not come to terms with, the most hurtful thing my father had ever said to me was "I hate you for tossing me into a place like this" Writing it down now brings it all back!
While he was in this home, everyday I would cook his favourite foods and we would take it to him and feed him, he couldn't feed himself at this stage. My mother hated to go and visit him, unfortunately we had to encourage her to go with us, which sometimes was not at all easy.

Our last meal together

One fateful Saturday night we had an inkling that something was happening when he requested his favorite meal of "fish and chips". When he was well he would have them every Saturday night for 'tea' as he called it.
We stood around the bed and ate them and had a great last meal together.
The Home rang us during the night and informed us that he had passed away peacefully in his sleep.
I did love him dearly, and without hesitation,would do it all again, It was not a duty to me, it was unconditional love!
We did not realise it at the time but the journey was far from over!

:) :) :) (hugs) to all those folks looking after their parents.

Fargo Truck. Just as I remember the one my dad had when I was  a kid!
Fargo Truck. Just as I remember the one my dad had when I was a kid! | Source
The lovely parents retreat we built for my mum and dad. Can you see the magpie in the bird-bath?
The lovely parents retreat we built for my mum and dad. Can you see the magpie in the bird-bath? | Source
I believe my parents had a typical 1930's wedding similar to this old photo.
I believe my parents had a typical 1930's wedding similar to this old photo. | Source


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    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from australia

      Beth100. Hi.

      Please accept my apology for delay in answering your comment.

      Yes you are so right, as children we may have expected too much and just took everything for granted, in a way we either didn't know any better or did not care.

      Our sons went through it with us, and have learned how special and important family ties are.

      We are very proud of them.

      Your children will learn from you,they will just follow in your footsteps,so don't worry.

      Thank you for your very special comment,especially the last paragraph,I really do not know what to say,but thank you so very much.:):)

    • Beth100 profile image


      8 years ago from Canada

      How, we, as children, forget the sacrifices that our parents gave up for us. How little we value all that they have done for us.

      You and your husband, not only loved your father unconditionally, you taught your boys how important family is. There is no lesson more valuable than this. I hope that I can teach this to my children.

      You are an exemplary person -- passionate, compassionate, sensitive and loving. The world has plenty of room for people like you. :)


    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from australia

      K.Burns Darling. Hi. Thank you so very much for your very kind words.

      It was something that we wanted and needed to do. We did not want my dad to go into care and have strangers look after him, but near the end the Doctors over ruled me and I now understand why.

      With my husbands help we did all that we could for my dad.

      Your situation seems much harder than mine as you have a toddler and teenage children, you are an exceptional person with a wonderful husband.

      Putting your life on hold is not easy, but what you are doing is wonderful and if you feel good about it, that is all that matters.

      My mum had Alzheimer's and every day can be a challenge but as long as your dad is safe and happy that is so important.

      As you said you would not have it any other way,neither would I, and would do it all again in a heart beat.

      Thank you for your beautiful comment and I wish you love,peace and strength in the times ahead.Thanks also for you votes. :) :)

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 

      9 years ago from Orange County, California

      My heart goes out to you, and what a wonderful thing that you did in the taking care of your parents. I come from a long line of people who believe that you don't just drop your elderly family members off at a nursing home and forget them, my mother cared for my grandparents, until she died, and I took over their care, nursing my grandmother at home until her death some 20 years later. I am currently the primary caregiver for my father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's related dementia in 2007, it isn't easy, I also have 2 teenagers, a 3 year old, and a husband, (who to his own credit, has sacrificed a lot to allow me to do what I am doing, including giving up our retirement plans, and our home, and moving our family clear across the country back to our hometown to live in the house I grew up in, which is very crowded!) balancing my dad's care along with maintaining my family life is a continual struggle, but even with all of it's difficulties, I wouldn't have it any other way, no one is going to take care of my dad the way that I will. I know that what I am doing is the right thing, and your devotion to your parents was the right thing as well.

      Very touching hub. Voted up and beautiful!

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      beth811. Hi. That is so true, our Parents did make sacrifices especially when I was young. There was very little money, but there was always food on the table, mostly out of our own garden.

      If you give unconditional love it does make situations like this one so very much easier. You don't have to think about it, it just comes naturally

      Fortunately or unfortunately everything that I do is ruled by my heart not my head.:)

      It would be nice if my Children decided to take care of us. Time will tell.

      I hope you can work out the best care to suit your Mum and yourself and that you are both happy and comfortable with that decision. Nothing is ever perfect, you just do the best that you can.

      Thank you for your beautiful comment, it did bring a tear to my eye, Also the Voted up that was so nice.

      Hope all is well with your Mum at this time. :) :)

    • beth811 profile image

      Beth Arch 

      10 years ago from Pearl of the Orient Seas

      Our parents brought us into this world with love and sacrifices. Despite their shortcomings which are hard to deal with sometimes, the only thing that we could give them back as being grateful to them is our unconditional love... And you did the right thing to your parents, oliversmum. You have a golden heart indeed! Somehow, sometime you will be rewarded in what you did to your parents. Your children will take care of you too especially when they have observed how you lovingly cared your parents.

      Thanks for sharing this touching hub. This made me reflect on what best to do for the few remaining years of the life of my mother.

      Voted up!

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Hummingbird5356. Hi. I am very happy that you agree that caring for your Parents is not a duty.

      In our situation it was never going to be any other way, as long as we could give him all the care and attention that he needed to keep him comfortable and happy.

      It seems to me that you did exactly the same thing, which is wonderful.

      That someone obviously didn't understand that you were caring for your Dad with your heart and you were more than comfortable with that.

      I couldn't and wouldn't have walked away, that is not who I am.

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment, it was very moving. :) :)

    • Hummingbird5356 profile image


      10 years ago

      Looking after parents is not a duty as you say. It is something we do because there is no alternative. I stayed at home with my father till he died at 65. Then I moved to Germany to live with American friends that I had.

      Someone once asked me why my life was sacrificed because I hadn't been to university. The thing is that I did not consider it a sacrifice, I couldn't have walked away.

      I am sure you felt exactly the same.

      A good hub with feeling.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      fastfreta. Hi. Thank you.

      Yes the sad part was his frustration in not being able to do what he wanted to do, and nothing we could do to help him.

      We did what we could to the best of our ability. We loved him unconditionally.

      Thank you so very much for reading about my Father and leaving a lovely comment, It is very much appreciated. :) :)

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      What a wonderful hub and sad at the same time oliversmum. I can't wait to go over and read about your mother.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      agvulpes. Hi there. Phew, Some of it was hard and some of the memories not all that nice.

      It was the way that we wanted it to be, He was my Father and we loved him, And to do the best we could and try and make him as comfortable as possible was our priority. With my husbands help, that made it a lot easier.

      I now believe that what we did and the way we did it was as it should have been and would do it all again in an instant.

      Yes the past should stay in the past( easier said that done). But with the love of my Husband, Children and Grandchildren, Life is looking pretty good.

      Thank you for your really lovely comment. :) :) (hug)

    • agvulpes profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      Oliversmum I'm sure it must have been very hard for you to go over these tough years again in your mind, and I sense that it bought back some not so nice memories!

      However my feelings are that we should not dwell in the past! I am sure that with the love of your husband, children and grandchildren, your life from now on should be a joy :-)

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      saddlerider1. Hi. Thank you. It was something that we chose to do and it was never going to be any other way, he was my dad and we loved him.

      With out my husbands unconditional love and help it would have been a lot harder and he knows how I feel about that.

      It is sad to see the elderly become ill and dependent on others, but unfortunately it is a fact of life. We just have to make them as comfortable as we can.

      Thank you again for your beautiful comment, it lifted my spirits no end. :) :)

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      10 years ago

      Don't be so hard on yourself, you are a loving and caring daughter and you did the best with what you had. Unconditional love is the only love one should give, otherwise it is futile. I respect you and your husband for the kindness you showed for your ailing parents. Old age and illness goes hand in hand eventually and it's so sad to see how one deteriorates to the level of having to be taken care of. You did a marvelous job, and I commend you oliversmum. Respect, love and peace.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Sa'ge. Hi. thank you for reading both hubs on caring for my Parents, your comments made me feel good inside, and are very much appreciated. :) :)

    • Sa`ge profile image


      10 years ago from Barefoot Island

      going to read part 2 now, before i add anything else! sweet sweet you :)

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      valeriebelew. Hi. That is a wonderful thing you have done to care for your parents, and sometimes it is not easy, but we do it out of love and compassion, and for me personally, that was all that was needed. Thank you so very much for such a nice comment. :) :)

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Sunshyne. Hi. Thank you, It was not my intention to upset anyone when I wrote this hub,but to let the countless number of children and grandchildren looking after relatives that they are not alone. It was one of the hardest decisions that I have ever had to make, it was the right one, but it stills plays on my mind. There are no regrets, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you once again for your beautiful comment. :) :)

    • Sunshyne1975 profile image


      10 years ago from California, US

      Wow, what a touching hub, I have tears in my eyes right now. I am sure that decision must have been hard, but we can only do so much, and you did so much more than many sons and daughters would have done. God bless you.

    • valeriebelew profile image


      10 years ago from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA

      I also cared for both of my parents; they were good parents and good people, but caring for the elderly has its challenges. Excellent hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      2patricias. Hi. I am sorry Tricia has lost her parents and Pat is a distance away from her Dad. You can only play with the cards that you are dealt, that's the bottom line. I know how very lucky I was that my Partner was there to help me. Yes it seems that a lot of folks can't handle a situation as this, so its easier to hand the responsibility to the professional. On the other hand it may be the best way for all concerned . Every situation is different. Thank you so very much for your beautiful comment. :) :)

    • 2patricias profile image


      10 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Thank you for telling us about caring for your parents.

      Tricia has now lost both parents and Pat has her elderly father living in another country. It is very hard to do anything practical from a distance, but I try to phone often.

      You were very selfless, taking your parents into your house.

      It seems we are almost encouraged to push them away these days.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Peggy W. Hi. Thank you so very much for reading both my Mother and Father's hubs, He did love me to cook his special meals, and visiting him every day was not a problem in any way, I do fully understand that each family's circumstances, are not the same as ours were, I am starting to realise that we did all that we possibly could, and that has made me feel a little happier about everything. Thank you again for your beautiful comment. :) :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      10 years ago from Houston, Texas

      After reading about your mother, I had to come to this hub about your father. It would seem that you did all you could and to the best of your ability and of that you can always be happy. Taking your home cooked foods to the nursing home and visiting him there each day is more than most people could or would have done.

      Sometimes circumstances beyond our control affect what has to be done. You kept your Dad home as long as you could and did everything you could after he was in the nursing home to make his stay there as comfortable as possible.

      You are a shining example of what a good person does when caring for their parents or other loved ones. It is my great pleasure to have met you here via hubpages.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      VoiletSun. Hi. Goodness, I hope your tears were because of the wonderful memories you have of your mother,In a great number of cases A Nursing Home is the best place for Alzheimer sufferers, mainly for their own well being. It is just wonderful you had a great relationship with her. My mother also had Alzheimers, But unfortunately the friendship as you had was missing. I believe we are in a good place, It,s the way we handle each situation that matters. Thank you so very much for your lovely comment :) :)

      I have read and commented on G-Ma,s hubs.They were great.

    • VioletSun profile image


      10 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      My eyes got wet when I read this hub and several of the comments. Sniff! Mom had Alzheimer's and had to go to a Nursing Home as we couldn't care for her; that to me was more heartbreaking than her passing, but I have sweet memories of Mom when she would stay in my apt and we would chat like best friends, eat and have a good time together. You have a heart of gold and its endearing to see that this world is not in such a bad place as we like to thik, there are many beautiful human beings all over planet earth.

      BTW, G-Ma is a hubber who is caring for her mother who has alzheimer's and writes about her experiences. She is great!

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Maggs224.Hi. Yes there are all types in this wonderful world in which we live, Its how you handle each situation that you find yourself in that really matters. I do believe that there are a lot more caring and loving folks than selfish and unkind types on this planet, Also I hope that my story did let some know that they are absolutely not alone. It was not hard to do what was in my heart and that was where my choices came from, Not as some of my family said was my duty. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Never in my life have I had such lovely things said about me. Also thank you for your fan mail, It made me feel proud and humble at the same time, If that makes sense. I personally like the word f.n to f......r. I thank you again so very much. :) :)

    • maggs224 profile image


      10 years ago from Sunny Spain

      This is a most moving hub, what ever we do in life there will always be people that will criticise our actions, misjudge our motives, say hurtful and negative things about us, that’s just how life is sadly and the world is full of selfish people.

      Reading your hub though shows once again there are some people out there who are loving, kind and caring and who put the needs of others before their own. There are many like you out there and I am sure should they be fortunate enough to read this hub they would be encouraged to know that they are not alone and get great deal of comfort from reading this hub.

      It seems to me that your good heart led you down the right path, and as a daughter you went above and beyond what could reasonably be expected of you. Please don’t let the words spoken by your father when he was so upset frightened and hurting nest in your heart, your love for him gave you no other choice, you did what was best for him, even if he couldn’t see that. It was not a choice that you wanted to make, but you loved him enough to make it anyhow.

      I can identify with a lot of what you have written, and like you I had to make some choices that were not liked by my mum but I know in my heart that I did what I did out of love not selfishness. If I had it to do again I would not do anything different, except that I would not put myself through the senseless and needless torture of other peoples opinions and the resulting guilt.

      I think that you can take the peace and comfort that comes from doing the right thing in the right way from the right motives.

      I love the way you write and I love the character and integrity that you possess which produces writing like this. You have won yourself a new fan, whoops I mean follower.

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Art 4 life. Hi. I am sorry that it upset you,that was not my intension when I wrote it.Your brother and sister must have been made out of the same mould as mine, I am working on part two,which is my mother who also had Alzheimers,and I salute you for caring for your mother,as I know full well how hard at times it can be,and her not knowing you can be even harder,Thank you for your beautiful words,they actually brought a tear to my eye's,thanks again for caring.:) :)

    • Art 4 Life profile image

      Art 4 Life 

      10 years ago from in the middle of nowhere....

      oliversmum, I cried when I read your hub. I took care of my mother for 5 yrs. My older brother and sister, did nothing, and acted like they didn't even care. There were no calls at Christmas or anything, and my brother even stole her social security money for awhile...My mother had alzheimer's, and when it came to the point I could no longer care for her, and had to put her in a nursing home, my heart I understand your anguish. I still visit her weekly, but some days she doesn't know me....Bless you for having such a sweet and caring spirit...I loved your hub, it brought back some bittersweet memories....I will be back to read more, of your wonderful hubs, and thank you for your kind regards on my hubs...

      Art 4 Life

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Feline Prophet. Hi.Yes you are right,it happens more often than we may think,its nice that your sister comes to visit being so far away,also that you are there for your mum unconditionally,and it can be difficult at times. I will take your advice and not doubt it.Thank you so so much for your beautiful comment.:) :)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      10 years ago

      oliversmum, it often falls on one child to look after the parents, for whatever reason. My sister lives across the country and though she visits often, she can't be there for my mother's day to day needs - so it falls on me. I don't resent it - in fact I'm glad my mother is so close by - but sometimes it gets difficult. You did a great job with your parents - never doubt that. :)

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Pamela99.Hi.Thank you for such a lovely comment, It means a great deal to me. What a wonderful relationship you have with your mum. Unfortunately I was not a Nurse only had a Personal Care certificate,which was not enough to keep him at home until the end,but we did the best we could,as for my brother and sister,I have no answer as to why they were like that. Once again I thank you. :) :)

    • oliversmum profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from australia

      Earnestshub.Hi.Your very kind comment,encouragement and confidence in me is overwhelming, especially coming from someone so very much respected by all on hubpages.I just hope what we did was enough and made them happy.Thank you. :) :)

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      What a good hub. You explained the difficulties well and the joy of knowing you did the right thing. We care for my 86 year old mother and my brother and sister do nothing. That's just the way it is but I feel like I'm doing the right thing and I adore my mom. She has many health problems but as a retired nurse I can deal with that also. I'm glad you wrote to just let people know they are not alone in their trials. Thanks.

    • earnestshub profile image


      10 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      A very beautiful hub! You were just wonderful with your folks, despite their shortcomings, and this is really one to remember!


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