Monday, November 8, 2010

Decisions & Sacrifices That We Make

We as Family Caregivers make decisions and sacrifices every day in the care of our love ones. I made the decision that my 89 year old mother with dementia would live in her own home and be taken care by myself and occasionally by certified nursing assistants (CNA). As primary caregiver, I sacrificed the time I could have spent with my teenage daughters. I sacrificed my career and who I was as a person to focus on the care of my mother.

I was watching a movie My Sister's Keeper with Cameron Diaz that spotlighted the decisions and sacrifices that family caregivers make in the care of their love ones. Cameron Diaz played the mother and primary caregiver for her daughter who had cancer. She had to choose between the needs of one child against the needs of her other children and her relationship with her husband. Cameron Diaz's character chose her daughter with cancer over the needs of her son and younger daughter. I'm curious what decisions and sacrifices did you make as primary caregiver for your love one?


Kerry said...

When I brought my mother to live with me I sacrificed my time. I am sure my teenage children did not receive the full attention from me they would have in normal circumstances. My relationship with my sister ended because of the strain this disease put on our relationship. Many hidden blessings also came through the years of taking care of my Mom and we are closer now than ever before. So good also came from it. After 3 years I opted to move my mother to a nursing home for various reasons. The most important being the opportunity of an opening in one of the best nursing homes in the area was hard to pass up knowing if Mom went into a crisis that option would most likely not be there. And also my husband was near retirement and I did not feel it was fair to deny him the ability to travel and fulfill some of his dreams in order to take care of my mother. Not having any relief for her care limited our options. I know my mother and she would not have wanted that nor would I if someday my children are in the same situation. Mom is 10 minutes away and I see her most everyday and she comes home at least 4 times a week. She seems content and I am enjoying my new freedom. Basically now I feel I have the best of both worlds and I feel she does too. Her family at home and her family at the nursing home which offers her new friends and activities.

Tina from Miami, FL said...

Dad developed Alzheimer when he was 59 years old and we decided to bring him home to live with my family. It was an easy decision for me because I was a Daddy's girl. I quit my job as a lawyer to take of dad full time. I sacrificed my career, time with my teenage boys and my husband. I became an advocate in the support to cure Alzheimer and raise funds. I am now divorced and my two boys are in college. Did I make the right choice? We were able to hire caregivers 24/7 or place him in a home but he was my dad.

Lisa said...

I made a decision to keep my dad at my house instead of placing him in a senior center. My entire family had to sacrifce and it has become difficult. My son could hardly wait to go to college and my husband and I are separated. My dad has dementia and being alone has made it difficult.



Anonymous said...

My dad is 97, has difficulty walking and with hygiene, but will deign to accept a bath once a week. He has short term memory loss, so there's much repetition. I've been his caregiver for 14 years (when he was able to drive and was sometimes verbally abusive to me, his daughter who lived in his house and has chronic pain which prevents me working). Before this, I took care of my mother while she slowly died from cancer. Sacrifices? Every day is the same. I'm never away from the house for more than 4 hours. Even if I'm in so much pain that I'm throwing up, doesn't matter. I still have to do everything. I've walked the dog with a throw-up bucket in my hand. I have no way to get clean, as the shower was replaced by a walk-in tub for him, and I don't have the arm mobility to use the wand with a water spray. So I have to shower at the gym, but can only get away for a short time, so it's often only time to go there and shower, not actually use the gym. Plus carrying my supplies and clothing hurts my herniated discs. I'm a vegetarian who has to shop for, cook, and clean up meat, so I'm grossed out on a daily basis. And if this isn't frustrating enough, he has congestive heart failure, which means no more than 1000 mg sodium per day, 300 per meal. No take out, no microwave meals, everything from scratch. AND, it all has to be able to be consumed by someone who has no bottom teeth, as he won't get his bottom denture fitted. He frequently reaches into his mouth and swiped out meat too difficult to chew, and flings it into a trash pail on the dining room table. It's often too revolting to eat with him, and he won't eat pureed meat. From the first time he uses the downstairs bathroom until he goes to bed, I have to clean the bathroom floor before I can use it, because he misses the bowl, and doesn't care. He also doesn't wash his hands, so I have to clean doorknobs, etc each time. I've given up on the upstairs bathroom, but still clean it sometimes, especially when it's gross. This happens because he's convinced he should have a bm at least every other day (have talked him down from every day), and takes laxatives. There are "accidents". Though usually it's changing the sheets every other day (because he doesn't do a good job of wiping and refuses to use the wet wipes, the last one was a full day of cleaning. Sacrifices? Every once in awhile he gets it into his head that he can walk without the 2 canes (he won't use a walker), even though he won't do more than 30 seconds of exercise. Then he falls and I have to pick him up. This blows out my herniated discs, more pain than the pain pills can handle. Every morning when I wake up, I'm so disappointed that I didn't die in my sleep.