I joined the Caring Across movement because of my mother, Rebecca. In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to tell you a story about my mom, and the reason why I believe so strongly in the movement we’re building.
Three years ago, my dad had a massive stroke that rendered him bed-ridden, unable to walk or feed himself without help.
At that moment, my mom’s life changed dramatically. In the weeks and months that followed, she became my dad’s caregiver—feeding him all of his meals, bathing him, and navigating the complicated and patchy long-term care system in our country to make sure he could get the care he needed. And this was on top of her full-time job as a dental assistant.
Caregiving for my dad became a family-wide team effort, with my siblings and I pitching in to support our mom. I would fly down to Texas as often as I could, and that’s when I would see the toll that caregiving was taking on her—the nights that she would fall asleep in her desk chair, exhausted after 16-hour days, the piles of bills and mail that would go unopened because she simply didn’t have the time to think of anything other than making it to the end of each day.
My mom is a hero in my eyes—but no one should have to go to those lengths to make sure that our loved ones receive the care they need.
When people cite statistics like the average caregiver spends 20 hours a week on caregiving, it’s true, but what that number doesn’t capture is the stress, the worry, and, let’s be honest, the financial burden of caring for someone you love.
As my dad’s health declined and we realized that he needed more support than we could provide, we began to worry. Could we afford a home care aide? How would we find one? What if he had to go to a nursing home at some point? How would we pay for it? What did Medicare cover, and what did it not?
I worried about my mom then, and I worry about her now as she’s taken on the additional role of caring for my aging grandparents. As a daughter, I can’t help but wonder whether I’ll be able to give her the support that I know she’ll eventually need.
It’s because of my mom, my dad, and my grandparents that I joined the Caring Across movement. We need to, and can, do better when it comes to caring for our loved ones.
Do you have a story to tell about caring for your aging parents? Share it with us as part of our next #Blog4Care. We’ll be gathering and posting them during the next two months. Click here for more information.