- Aging & Longevity
Caring for my parents was not a duty : Part 1 - Care of my elderly Father / Dad
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.
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!
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?
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.