Retirement and Being the Caregiver to An Elderly Parent

Retired and honoring my mom. My mom is 93 years young. If God says so, she will be 94 years young in a few months. I have always promised her that when she became elderly I would not put her in a nursing home, because she would live with me.  I cried every night when I had to break that promise. 

My mom a widow, lived alone in Maryland, I lived in Southern New Jersey and my two older siblings lived in New York City. I am the youngest child. I worked and both of my siblings were retired.  From the first day that my mom became a widow I asked her to move in with me, but she is a very independent woman and turned down my offer each time.

Then the day came that I had to make the decision for her.

I took a few days off from work and with the help of my nephew I moved her in with me. When I began packing her things it was affirmed that I was doing the right thing. She had so much stuff. She had mail from fifteen years ago. I found money in cards that were from five years ago. The house was so dusty I had to use my asthma pump several times. My mom was always a very clean person. I became so sad and I had to fight the tears. I still did not realize how sick she was.

I tried very hard to make her as comfortable as I could at my house. In the beginning she was doing well. She seemed happy. Whatever she asked for I made sure that she had it.  When I was home I made breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I washed her clothes and cleaned her room.  I helped her to take showers. I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.

Then reality set in.  My mom has dementia. She went to stay with my siblings in New York for a few days. When she returned I saw a different person.  I call this person Belle. I cried and laughed when Belle came to visit. Belle was funny and sad. This was a woman who raised me sometimes by herself.  She held me when things were not going good for me. She encouraged me. This woman was not my mother. But yes she was my mother who was very sick. Because of my mother’s independence it was difficult to take care of her. She would not let me help her or do things for her. She told me I was too bossy. LOL.  Then things became dangerous.

Belle would get up in the middle of the night saying the house was on fire. According to Belle there was a flood in her room, the carper was a light blue. She wouldn’t get off of the bed because there was so much water. Belle also heard “the man” telling her she had to get out of the house. Belled saw police, firemen and ambulances outside waiting for her. One morning Belle dressed in a top no pants, hopping with her cane, bible and empty pocketbook decided she was getting out. She thought I was sleep and attempted to sneak past my room. I did not know she could move that fast. LOL

Even though the doctors and my siblings are telling me it is time to look at nursing homes, I still don’t want to do that. I start researching but at a very slow pace. Then the day came when I knew that I had to let go and do what I promised over and over that I would not do. I woke up with my mom on the floor. That’s all I can say, I tear up every time I think about it.

My mom is in a nursing home now. I visit every other day, sometimes less sometimes more. I wash her clothes because they might lose her clothes.  There are people there who love what they do and do it well. My mom is doing okay.