Sunday, August 20, 2017

BEING A LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVER




 BEING A LONG DISTANCE CAREGIVER


Quite a few years ago I recall defending myself from some other caregivers. They thought I did not qualify to be mom's caregiver since I lived far away. They thought that I did not care for her in the same way that they did. Their words stung me deeply and had me momentarily question myself.

I certainly felt compassion for their situation, yet I too, had the agony of hearing and seeing my mother disappear in front of my very eyes. One moment she knew my name and the next she had no idea who I was. My heart felt equally broken as theirs and I questioned why would they judge me?

Was I any less of a daughter to my mother because I did not live near her? Unfortunately, I could not just pick up and move to another state, and my mother refused to leave her home. I am my mother's daughter and that will never change, no matter how many miles may separate us.

Before moving mom into the nursing home for years I spoke to her caregivers every single day to hear how she was doing and to help plan her day. I questioned what she ate, if she took her vitamins and if she gave them a hard time when she was being bathed. I also delighted in hearing how mom loved to sing along to the CD'S that I made for.

There were moments when mom sounded great and there were other times when I was so frightened yet unable to just jump in my car and rush over to her. I remember when they called an ambulance to take mom to the emergency room after her aides discovered she had bruises (from a fall) that she could not tell us about. Then there were the times she was hallucinating which was due to a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Once, when she was in the rehab hospital I spoke to the physical therapist who told me that my mother was not following instructions. I responded "how could mom possibly remember what you just said since she has Alzheimer's." The therapist answered, “oh I didn't know she had dementia.”

Then there was the time I received a call from a first response team who was not able to reach my brother. Mom's neighbors reported her "just sitting" outside her apartment on the curb. Her caregiver left for the day and because of confusion mom went to sit outside to wait for her. You would think that one of her neighbors would have just brought her back into her home. After all these years of knowing her how could they now just shun her like this?

The time was approaching to place mom into a nursing home my brother and I realizing she needed twenty-four hour care. Talk about feeling guilty and confused. How could we do this to mom? Her wishes were to stay in her home till she died.

Mom now has been in a nursing home for 4 ½ years and my brother and I know that it was the correct thing to do. I call often speaking to the nurses and always ask them to please go tell mom that her daughter Lisa called and send her love. I may only get to visit her every few months yet the staff knows that I take a very active interest in her well-being. Mom no longer knows where she is living yet my brother and I feel secure with the care that she is receiving.

So with deep thought my question is am I any less of a daughter than the others since I am a long distance caregiver? The answer is clear to me. I am my mother’s daughter and no matter how many miles apart we are the love and concern I have for her is as deep as the bottom of the ocean. She is my mother and I will always be her daughter, which also includes being her caregiver.

 

 
MY MOM MY HERO - A mother & daughters new found love. http://www.amazon.com/Mom-Hero-Alzheimers--daughters-bittersweet/dp/0615773982/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1454248406&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+hirsch

6 comments:

  1. You're doing the right thing, Lisa. Even if you were living closer, most of the follow up care would be by phone. And just because your mother needs 24/7 care doesn't mean that you can't travel.

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  2. Thank you for being supportive. xoxo

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  3. I'm in a similar situation w my brother living nearby and trying to keep up with both parents (in their home and won't leave) w either dementia (Dad) or Alzheimer's (Mom.) I try to do what I can from here and can't move due to my health reasons. My bro really is sorry that I'm not physically there but he's sweet about it.

    Thanks so much for your writing and your thoughts.

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    1. Dear TM, First I am sorry about the failing health of both your parents. My father passed away over 24 years ago. My brother has been a "saint". Never complaining and respecting me for all the things that from afar that I do attend to. Calling her caregivers everyday and making sure that the list of things for mom were being taken care of. Visiting as frequently as I could. My brother actually got closer after mom became ill. I guess that is what family is all about. Your brother seems like a doll and I hope that your health improves quickly. With warm regards, Lisa

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  4. I live in Illinois, my parents in their 80s are in Texas. I completely understand your situation. I am a paid home care aide/caregiver. Often feel guilty because I make a living caring for others when I'd love to do this for my parents. For now my parents live at home but have had stays at the nursing home to recover. We do what we can. I'm glad I'm able to care for those like your mom with family distant & I know I can count on caregivers to be there for my parents when I can't. You're a great person & very brave to publicly post /share your story while so many behind a keyboard can be so ugly.

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  5. Sherry Gross you inspire me so....what else can I say except I send you my love and gratitude. Lisa

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