Sights and Sounds


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That Was Then, This Is Now

My mother defied the doctors with a vengeance!  Once again she decided that the doctors were wrong.  She was going to get out of the hospital, and go back to her own home.  Words can not explain the joy of my sister and I when we realized that our mother at 83 had beat the odds again.  Not only was she going back to her own home, but she would be home for Christmas!

I started planning for her return.  She was now going to be on oxygen, and a walker.  She was no longer going to be able to cook, clean, or do laundry.  I went into her home in a way I guess new parents do.  What needs to be moved or removed to keep her safe in her home.  But I was not bringing home a little baby.  I was bringing a senior into the home she had run.  A home she no longer had the full capability to run alone.  I started preparing for the Christmas dinner she had planned.

You know when you are busy in the thick of things there's no time to think.  You just get things done.  It wasn't until they started delivering the oxygen machine, the walker, and the other things she would need.  It wasn't until then that I realized, "My mother is now my responsibility".  That one small piece of reality smacked me in the face.  Talk about walking in reality, I had NEVER had to take care of someone else, and now the well being of my mother was solely in the hands of my sister and I.  We brought her home on December 23, 2009, and our journey began........

There are hundreds of thousands of us whose life and lifestyle are changed in ways similar to ours.  The change is life altering for the caretakers, but even more so for the seniors.  As my mother says, "I used to be the parent, but now I'm the child".  She means it in a good way, proud of how we are taking care of her.  We are happy to be able to give back to her the love and nurturing she gave us.

With that said, this life is not easy, but it doesn't have to be problematic.  Taking care of a senior is a heavy responsibility, but you don't have to do it with a heavy heart.  Yes, there are times when I want to scream,or yell, or have a day off.  I now know how it feels to be interrupted, and my name seemingly being called over and over and over again, to do things that are to me less important, but not to her.  You can get depressed, you can feel isolated, you can feel like it's all a burden, but it's NOT.  It's an OPPORTUNITY!!!

Our opportunity is to play the game of "Senior Survivor".  The rules are:
1. Keep your senior HAPPY!!!, it goes a long way towards your own happiness.
2.  Keep your senior as HEALTHY as possible, both physically and mentally.
3. Keep your senior in their own HOME if at all possible.
4. Keep making MONEY, so you won't go broke.
5. Keep a LIFE of your own.
6. Keep 2 steps ahead of the game (your senior) at all times ( or as much as possible).

The object of the game is of course to WIN.  What's my definition of winning???  I haven't figured that out yet.  I'll let you know.



  1. Gwen, thanks so much for sharing this lovely reflection. My siblings and I had a similar experience caring for our dad when his health was in decline (he passed away nine years ago). Your post will, no doubt, resonate with many people in our generation. Stay strong and keep writing.

    Charles W.