Hi! I'm Joan, and I am here because I want to encourage caregivers. Hearing your stories and sharing mine with you is a real blessing to me.
I live in north Florida with my Art, my husband of 30 years. He's my dearest friend and encourager. We are the glad parents of two adult children: one a nurse and one U.S. Marine. We are also proud grandparents of a sweet little three-year-old granddaughter. Art is a young sixty and I am in my middle fifties.
My 84-year-old mom lives with Art and me. We moved her in with us in January of 2007 because of developing health problems. Mom is a widow; my dad passed away in September, 2005, just after they celebrated 55 years of marriage. Dad had vascular problems which eventually caused dementia, so the last couple of years he lived were pretty tough as his condition worsened. Mama and I were Daddy's caregivers and we remember him every day.
I'm an only child, so I've always known that taking care of either or both of my parents would be my responsibility "some day," but the day arrived sooner than I expected.
So I'd like to talk about all kinds of things, including the transition (for us it was sudden!) from a new empty-nester to caregiver; from caregiver to dealing with grief over losing Dad; learning how to take care of myself while caring for Mama; how to care for an aging parent and grieving over that change.
Additionally, we're blessed to have our little granddaughter stay with us every Monday, and we've learned to jointly care for that little bundle of energy. For the last year we have enjoyed a three-generation caregiving experience; we tie on our tennis shoes Monday morning, enjoy a lot of laughter and fun keeping up with a busy toddler, and we fall into bed exhausted but smiling and content on Monday nights! It gives me a new appreciation for the cartoon strip "Family Circus."
And I've learned that having great-grandmas actively help care for their little great-grandchildren is good medicine for all!
I'm also working to keep a strong, good relationship going with my husband, giving time to our joint interests now that there are three of us at home, and then, to carve out time for myself and my own interests (I have many!).
As you can see, some days life is nuts, some days it's bumpy, and we've all learned a lot. I wouldn't do anything differently, but caregiving is a big adjustment!
Are *you* thinking about these things?
If you are a caregiver for older family members, for your spouse, or for young children, welcome! Come and be encouraged. Join me!
Caregiver at Home