My Experiences With Elder Care

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(c) 2007 Kathleen Garber. Do Not Reproduce.

I had never thought that I’d be doing elder care until I was much older myself. My parents are only just recently in their 50s and are doing fine. My father-in-law however was much older than my mother-in-law (by 30 years) and his health was not good. In 2005 my in-laws moved into our house and by end the end of 2006, his health kept getting worse. My mother-in-law passed away January 2006 and my father-in-law was dealing with multiple heart attacks (he had a pacemaker and defribillator in his chest), diabetes and by 2007 a stroke.

In 2007 my father-in-law was 71. He was at the hospital a lot, sometimes for weeks at a time. When he was home, I took care of him. My husband worked and since he was living with us, it fell to me to take care of him. I didn’t mind though. As he got more and more sick, he was often confused. So I dolled out his medication, administered his insulin, made him the occasional meal or tea (he liked to do some things himself) and I even had to help him bathe once or twice. I’m the one who recognized that something was wrong when he had a stroke and I called 911 many, many times.

Taking care of my father-in-law was stressful. I constantly worried when he’d have another heart attack, stroke or extremely low blood sugar. We had a nurse visit him weekly. He was having more and more trouble walking because of what the diabetes had done to his legs. Our house now had a walker and one of those special seats for the shower in it. Sometime later we acquired an oxygen machine because he was often out of breath. Then we got a hospital bed. At one point he was even on an IV. Our house was looking more and more like a nursing home. I had a child at home and felt I was too young to be this responsible for someone’s life but I did it anyways because I loved him. 

In April 2007, I gave birth to my second child. I couldn’t possibly care for a new baby and my father-in-law so he moved in with one of his daughters. I felt relieved that someone else was taking over his care but also guilty that I wasn’t taking care of him anymore when we had established a routine and I knew what to look for and such. I felt like I had decided my new daughter was more important than him and just threw him out. I visited him as much as possible and did what I could. In October 2007 his body had finally had it. He had been in hospital for weeks when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be coming home this time. His body was failing, one organ at a time and it was tired. October 12 was the day we said goodbye.

I still feel a little guilty for not taking care of him right till the end. I keep thinking I could have taken care of the baby and him. I now know that wouldn’t have been possible as I was dealing with postpartum depression as well and I needed to take care of myself too. But I still feel bad.

*This is a sponsored post from Bucks2Blog and I was compensated, but everything in it is true and from the heart. I’m feeling quite sad from stirring up these memories.

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