I have to say that taking care of my mom has been one of the biggest challenges that I have faced. Taking care of my children, home, husband is so natural. Making decisions, caring for your parent is not.
My mom needs total care. The only thing that she does is feed herself. I wish that she would scoot her hips around a bit. I fear that she will one day develop a bedsore. I or my moms caregiver have to shift her, clean her, dress her, change her depends, provide her food, drinks, medication, entertainment, get her out of bed....basically meet all her needs.
Currently I am looking for her a new doctor since her current one does not accept more than one insurance so for some reason they don't file for the one that actually pays her bills. Making medical decisions for my mom is scary. What if I make a bad decision?
I have learned a lot. How to use a towel to help get her into the car. Her head is the biggest challenge, it just doesn't seem to fit in the car when trying to lift her and place her in there.
I have learned how to get her services. She has a caregiver who comes in 20 hours a week and we all love her. This allows me the opportunity to get a break from feeding and changing my mom. It allows me to just be her daughter, not her caregiver for a short period of time.
I have learned more about medical equipment and accommodations than I ever cared to know. Her insurance allows for one hospital bed overlay/mattress gel every 5 years. The one she received had an egg carton type pad with a mattress cover over top. it has failed, she is in bed a majority of the time. It failed within the first year. I purchased this mattress cover so we will see how it does. Preventing bedsores is high on our list.
I have also learned that I can't do it all. At least once a month we pay her caregiver extra so that she can mom and baby sit while my husband and I go out on a date. Sometimes we do this twice a month. I need a break at times. Every night before I go to bed I check on my mom. I change her, give her a snack and make sure her favorites shows are on. She is a night owl like me so is always up when I go to bed.
I have learned that sometimes it is the small things that make someone happy. She requested a strawberry cake again this year for her birthday. Yes, I used a boxed strawberry cake mix, sour cream frosting and a fresh strawberry on top. A single candle with all her grandchildren around singing happy birthday (even Jason made it) made her very happy.
She loved the cake. Another year has passed and every year I wonder if she will be here for the next. She mentioned her sisters today and I talked to her a bit about them. I told her that I would share her picture with them. I didn't tell her that one had passed away. Sometimes I wonder if I should. I feel as though I am keeping a secret. Other days I feel that she really doesn't need to know and it would just be painful for her. But it seems that life is that way, full of pain and joy. I am still torn on that subject.
Some days I miss having my mom to talk to about life. She can talk and express her needs but conversations with her is pretty basic. Most days she does know who I am, I am pretty sure of that. I see older mothers and daughters out sharing a meal and talking or shopping together and I feel sadness that I lost that. I think that is why I frequently take my children out to eat to sit and talk. I love having good adult relationships with my kids.
Anyone else caring for a parent or struggling with how to help from miles away? Our society is really big on just putting them away in nursing homes, there are challenges with caring for them at home.