The responsibility of a caregiver involves many tasks: decision-maker, chauffeur, legal and financial supervisor, housekeeper, cook, nurse, hairdresser, doctor scheduler, and being their advocate in all areas of their health. To care for a parent may be the hardest and most challenging thing you will ever do, but in the end, you were there for your parents in time of need. One day we will all need help and caring for a loved one is the highest honor.
Caring for both my parents became very challenging as my dad was in a memory care facility and my mom was at home with me. I would bounce back and forth from seeing my dad come home to help mom in the restroom, get dressed, prepare meals, do grocery shopping and housekeeping duties, and everything in between. Instead of saying, “I have to take care of mom and dad” say this, “I get to take care of mom and dad.” I had heard this phrase a long time ago and it rings true for all caregiving duties. The days will be long, hard, demanding, and challenging to your core, but do the best you can to get some rest, drink lots of water, and some exercise. It helps you on the days when you want to collapse in a chair and fall asleep. When you think, your body will stop working on you, God will give you the strength to keep going. I had that feeling many times and thought my body would give out on me, but the strength of the Holy Spirit keeps me going on the days when I was completely exhausted. Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our parents deserve love and attention they showed us as children. Many times, I would say, “It’s hard to see my parents’ age.” My heart would break into pieces as their mobility and health declined. But I was there to help in any way sacrificing my own life and time to do all the things I enjoyed. My parents came first and I spent 12 years putting their needs before my own.
In the middle of caregiving, you may not realize this is where you need to be right now. If you make room in your heart for someone who needs you, you’re a caregiver of the highest order. I never thought I would have spent 12 years caring for my parents but looking back now it was where I needed to be despite my frustration and lack of time for myself or my dreams. God gave me this time with them. If I had been busy with a career, I wouldn’t have been there for all the appointments and special care only I could give them. I was the typical Type A personality and was hands-on with both my parents in all aspects of their care. I wanted the best for them at all times and as their only daughter, I did the best I could with what was put in front of me.
When they are gone, you will know in your heart you did everything for them when they were alive. Recently, both my parents passed away (mom passed away 60 days after my dad) I know in my heart that I had the honor and privilege to care for my parents. It was so hard, tiring, and wore me out emotionally, physically, and emotionally to a degree I can’t describe in words but I gave it my all and would do it all again. If I had one more day with my parents, I would tell them How much l love and miss them. Savor every funny moment, take lots of videos and photos, and recorded their laugh.
I hope you will find peace, comfort, and assurance where God placed you to be the caregiver to your dear parents.