After a number of years of serving as the primary caregiver to my aging parents, we were all
thrown into an immediate crisis that was devastating. My father had to be hospitalized after a
sudden fall, and my mother was incapable of living on her own due to dementia.
I called several organizations to enquire about vacancies at long-term care facilities and
received two pieces of disheartening news. The first was that there was a waiting list totalling
months, and the second was that there was no guarantee we could get them both into the same
home at the same time. There was a real possibility that my parents might have to live apart for
the first time in over 60 years of marriage.
The good news is that we were able to eventually attain placement for both of my parents,
and they were only separated for a matter of weeks. My mother was not severely impacted by
the change because of her reduced capacity, and my father had unconditional trust that I was
doing everything possible to resolve the predicament.
It is easy for anyone to imagine how stressful this type of situation would be for a caregiver,
and the only way I got through the challenges was a combination of acceptance and resolve.
You must tackle each hurdle one by one, and take each day one at a time so that you
are not overwhelmed.
It is important to accept the fact that you cannot do it all on your own, and that you will have to
count on the assistance of other people and organizations at times. Information is golden
throughout the caregiving journey, and utilizing various agencies that provide assistance is an
integral piece of the puzzle.
And lastly, self-care is critical to ensure you have the strength and fortitude to get through
immensely challenging situations. This includes getting enough quality sleep, eating right, drinking enough water throughout the day, and taking breaks so that you can recharge
physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Even though the challenges of caregiving can appear insurmountable at times, the rewards
are tremendous. I will never forget the sense of accomplishment and heart-warming satisfaction
we all felt when my parents were finally reunited and able to live together once again.