Becoming a caregiver


So my father passed away about 16 years ago, and my mother was still living in her home. We noticed that it was getting more and more difficult for her to walk down stairs and do things with her hands—her hands were getting swollen and she was getting more and more arthritic, and it was more and more painful.  So, my brothers and I decided that she would be better off if she was living with me because I’m the only sibling who lives in this town with my mom, or she would be living on her own. 

At first she wanted to live on her own, and so, we sold the house and she moved into a condo. Very quickly we found that she wasn’t able to make meals; she wasn’t able to stand on her feet for any length of time. So, it became more and more difficult. First of all, she was coming over to our house for meals and then I would take her home after that. But, between work and taking care of her it was very difficult. So, I started preparing meals at home and we would have supper, and then I would take a meal to my mother’s and she would have supper, but she didn’t like to eat alone. So in the end, we brought her over to my house and it started by, “Mom would you like to come and live, stay with me for a couple of weeks?” So we prepared a room. My husband and I knew that it would be more than a couple of weeks, but for my mother who was very independent at that stage, she thought she was visiting and that was good because we didn’t have to go through the turmoil of making her upset.

So she came to visit for 2 weeks and then we started slowly bringing some of the things that she needed from her home. For example, when she was having her bath or her shower, I brought a little seat that she could sit on for her apartment. We would bring that over, and we had it now in our home, and then after a couple of weeks, she wasn’t asking to go home. And so I just said, “Mom would you like to stay with us for a little longer?” And when she said, “Yes, if you’ll have me.” I knew then that she herself was ready to accept the help from my husband and myself.

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