MY LIFE AS A CAREGIVER

I never thought that I would have to take care of my mother who is now suffering from dementia and psychosis.She was the rock of the family. I will never taste her cooking again. I will never receive her sound advice again. There are days that I cry wondering if I doing it right,worrying if she feels sure that I want her with me. Every day is a journey because I don’t know how she is going to behave. In the morning when she wakes up, I kiss and hug her and tell her I love her. She holds my hand and thanks me for taking good care of me. I hold back the tears because I don’t want her to think she is a burden. I think back to what the actress Swoosie Kurtz said about her mother. Her mother, is in her 90’s, she asked her if she was in the way. She responded, you are the way

As a caregiver, I have to manage obtaining by second Master’s in Human Services, my job (I am grateful for working with two supportive attorneys), cook, clean and do laundry. I caution anyone that if you do not have patience, please do not take on this task. You sacrifice so much to be a caregiver. They are days when I do dress her. As a son, I was so uncomfortable doing it but it had to be done.  I sometimes cannot sleep in my bed because I am so worried that she will elope. One day I was awake from midnight to morning watching her walk around the house “cleaning” and “decorating:” My mother has managed to break chairs and destroying my furniture. She tells me to “clean it up”. I have learned to laugh about it and accept that she is my mom. I would say this, my neighbors think that I am the best man in the world because I take care of my mother. They also know that if manages to sneak out of the house to bring back home. The police in my neighborhood are also on alert if she elopes.

The hardest part is Sundowning. Like clockwork, at 3 p.m., she goes into wanting to wander and her personality changes. You have to be mindful of certain TV shows. DO NOT WATCH MAURY, JUDGE MATHIS, DIVORCE COURT OR REALITY TV around this period. One day when I had Divorce Court on the television, she heard the program and punched me and accused me of cheating on my wife and abandoning my babies. I have taught my nephews and nieces about Sundowning.

When they visit, they will warn me, “Ii’s almost three o’clock.” We have found ways to distract her by singing to her, dancing with her, I play jazz piano for her, reading the Bible and giving her a coloring book. My nieces and nephews are a great help in keeping her calm during this period. Despite the challenges I face, I am honored to share a moment in her life others do not share. I caution that if you cannot handle this responsibility, do not accept it, One can become resentful and it can then turn into elder abuse.

If you have any questions, please contact the Pile Law Firm at 610-718-6368 or visit our website at http://www.pilelaw.com. If you witness elder abuse, please report it to the local authorities.

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