Welcome to Let's Talk About It. In this
special section we will feature the question/topic of the month and provide an opportunity
for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible
solutions to concerns. If you wish to participate, just
follow the link provided at the end of the question/topic and add
your comments and thoughts.
What gifts have you found in caregiving? Did this new
relationship bring you closer to someone?
Name: Sharon Williams
Time: 08:22 AM
So glad you are doing this because I have told everyone that caregiving was a true blessing for me and my family! The gifts I found was a new closeness and appreciation for my husband who agreed - with no hesitation - that my aunt would come and live with us following a massive stroke. Another gift was seeing my teenaged children understand the importance of taking care of a loved one and being so loving and patient. I also received a gift of knowing that I was capable of providing very good care to my aunt for 8 years in our home and providing a loving place for her to live - and die. If given the opportunity, we would do it for another 8 years or more and be happy to do it!
Name: Carol E. Barnett
Time: 09:31 AM
Absolutely! My adult brother, Steve, age 44, moved in with me about 6 years ago. Steve has cerebral palsy and uses a power wheelchair to get around. We have always been close and there is just the 2 of us as both of our parents are deceased and there are no other siblings. It's a challenge as I am still working (I am age 53) and he was just laid off from his job and is collecting Social Security Disability and very much dependent on me but still the benefits of living together are there and strong. I would encourage other siblings to at least consider the option. Steve is sweet and loving and never fails to thank me for helping him every day with his daily activities.
We have a home health aide for about 8 hr/week but the rest falls on me. We have a van with a ramp and are on the go almost every day, as long as the weather allows. He has expanded my horizons as he is a sports fanatic and loves baseball, football and basketball so we go to games together. We spend a lot of time together as, is so often the case, folks with disabilities don't have friends and don't have lots to do in their spare time. My friends are usually supportive of having him accompany us out to dinner or for a vacation, etc. I think my life has been greatly enriched by sharing my home and continue to enjoy the benefits and try hard to cope with the challenges that come every day...there may come a time when I can't continue doing this so at least I'll know we did this as long as we could and a move to a facility will be the next step as I don't think he could live successfully on his own, without a great deal of support.
Time: 02:41 PM
Though my mom has Alzheimer's, we are closer now than we ever have been. Once in a while, when her mind is clearer, she thanks me for caring for her and tells me that she doesn't want to be a worry. I am so glad to have those moments-they get me through the hard times. Also, my brother and sister and I have worked hard to cooperate and share the load and we have grown closer also. I realize now how lucky I am and while we have very difficult times and I get tired, I would not trade these times for any other.
Location: Mound City MO
Time: 06:56 AM
Being blessed with a loving, caring family that had always been close, I was unprepared for the closeness that would come with my Dad as he began to fail. I am the sibling that lived closest to my parents, and taking care of them just sort of fell into my lap. In the last 2 years of Dad's life, he gradually became weaker and weaker and less able to care for Mom or himself. Soon, I found myself taking him to doctor's appointments, etc, leaving Mom at home, and I found a relationship that was strengthened by love and caring, always knowing how very much he appreciated everything I did. He retained a clear mind, up until the very last, so I learned history of our family on our jaunts that I didn't know and can verify through family history now. We became so very close, and now he's been gone almost 2 years, and I still miss him as much as the last day I saw him, but I have a heart full of gratitude and thankfulness for the intense times we got to spend together. It truly cemented our father-daughter bond. Mom is still living in a care center close by and I am her care-giver also, but our relationship is totally different.
Name: Doris Konkol
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Time: 07:23 AM
When my widowed sister retired, she moved from the Chicago area to live with me. We had never been real close as children, but the ensuing years while she was here brought us closer. Consequently when she developed Alzheimer's she stayed with me and I became her caregiver. The result: we became even closer. The five years she needed care are ones I would never trade. Not only did we really get to know each other, our strengths, our weaknesses, but I also had a long time to say goodbye to my sis. Ultimately I had to give up the role of caregiver, for at the age of 81, the physical and emotional stress wore me down. She moved to a daughter's home in the Chicago area toward the end of August this year, and died from pneumonia a month later. I look back on her years with me with many fond, and many sad memories. The gift? Life has become much more precious to me, and to my 5 grown children. We have all come to realize fully that we can't really know what or when something serious will happen to us, so we treasure every moment we can be together.
Name: Mary Lund
Time: 08:03 AM
My parents moved in with me 12 years ago and I became their caregiver very shortly thereafter.
We had many children in my family growing up and I was at the tail end of the brood so my interactions with my parents were sparse. Having them live with me as an adult and ultimately caring for them as they died was very profound. My daughter was raised with her grandparents, something I had never known, and I was able to secure new memories of both parents that will last me the rest of my life. In short, gift.