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Letters From Listeners
When Health Declines
When Health Declines
02/08/2013
I never expected to be caregiver for my parents. My older brother, who never left home, and my sister were the ones I always thought would be there for them when they got too infirm to be independent. God said, "No, it's going to be you, too," and took away my health and my ability to make a living. I had to go home for my parents to take care of ME!

As my health improved and I started working again, my parents' health began to decline. My sister has a son who is disabled and needs lots of care, but she and my mother talk on the phone every day. My brother and I "tag-team" the care, since I'm available during the week for running errands and helping take care of the house, and my brother is home on weekends while I'm working. Both of our parents are able to take care of their basic needs, still, on their own, but most of the house and yard care has been left for me, plus all the shopping, banking, etc. since neither one of them can drive a car, anymore. My sister already has a list of qualified professional caregivers, if my parents should need them, too.

While I sometimes feel frustrated at not having as much freedom as I used to, I am content to be where God has placed me, and love my parents too much to be anywhere else. The biggest struggle is that neither of my parents are aging gracefully. They no longer have much control over their lives, either, and are not shy about expressing that in the manner of five year olds!! That's OK. I know I was much worse when I was five years old. I'm sure that the way they feel physically (Dad has emphysema and Mother suffers from wild swings in blood pressure) has a lot to do with their emotions, since I've been through a lot of physical pain and disability myself. I used to be much too self-centered to have the kind of empathy I feel for them now. I have no children, myself, so I won't have this kind of care when I'm old. This is my shot at giving back to parents who gave me a wonderful life.


Gail
Tags: Adult Child-Parent, Behavior, Family, Family/Relationships - Adult Child/Parent, Health care, Helping, Relationships, Relatives, Siblings
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