I am often asked “You are a carer now – what does that mean?” Every situation will be different. You may lose a parent, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent. The situation will be different for each and everyone ~ but you will feel the same emotions – guilt, anger, sadness, depression, confusion, annoyance, frustration, relief or a mixture of all of them. By sharing our story we hope that we can help ease your way on this emotional journey.
Caring comes naturally to all of us, we care for our spouses, for our kids, for our families, for the environment and for many other things. It changes when you have to care for a parent. A parent who used to care for you, who used to provide you with everything you need both physically and emotionally.
You are a carer now – what does that mean?
For me I found this very hard to deal with, not only was it a sad time for us due to our mother passing away and having to deal with our own issues ~ my sisters and I now had to deal with Dad’s problems, issues, emotions and more importantly making sure he was being cared for.
Dad was 80 years old and lost his wife of 55 years. Not only did he have to adjust to life without Mum he had a few health issues that required monitoring. This was made all the more difficult as only one of my sisters lived near Dad.
So where do we start…
First things first – we got through the funeral service of our mother, only just. We banded together and made it happen. Tears flowed, plans were made and more tears flowed but we got through it. We sorted out all we could for Dad, well for the time being anyway and he seemed to be managing.
Dad stayed on in the unit – one bedroom good location and easy to look after. He was fairly self-sufficient – he could cook, do the housework, pay bills and generally look after himself. He even banked online. Things were going along quite well and Dad was handling everything until….yes there is always an ‘until’.
Dad was diagnosed with Macular Degenerative Eye Disorder.
Not only did Dad loose his life time partner but now his eyesight was deteriorating – a little bit too much to handle for an 80 year old.
Working together my sisters and I became the carers – well my elder sister who lived near Dad took on the bulk of the work but we all discussed solutions and made the decisions together.
In the beginning it wasn’t that hard, all the practical things that needed to be taken care of :
Bank accounts, Centrelink, Doctors, Library, Solicitors etc.All the usual stuff and not too hard!
All going well, of course there were a number of hiccups but nothing we couldn’t handle. Dad was coping, we were coping…
My sister would visit every week and all was fine. Yes there were some tough days ~ but mostly things were fine. Dad was looking after himself and managing well. Being a carer wasn’t too hard at all
You can do it – working together as a group, everyone having a say especially your parent. Never forget that this is your parent’s life and whilst you are being asked to help out if your parent has all their faculties it is up to them. The hardest thing is when they start to lose their faculties and don’t realise they can’t handle everyday situations.
This is where you need to be in regular contact with your parent and know what is going in their life. Listen to them – really listen to them and hear what they are saying.
Everything happens for a reason, you may not be able to see what that reason is. The sun will shine again and everything will be OK.
Keep an eye out for our book “Tough….Tough times….Tough decisions” which has lots of hints and tips for easing the transition to aged care for all the family.
The book is currently being published and should be available soon. Contact us at email@example.com for more information.
You are not alone and we are here to help.