Cares for his daughter

Age at interview: 88
Age at start of caregiving: 31

Jacques (88 years old) is widowed and lives with his 57 year-old daughter at home. She has been mentally challenged since birth and has epileptic attacks regularly. Jacques’ daughter goes to a day care centre four days a week and he provides care for her the rest of the time. Jacques is determined to continue to care for her as long as he has the capacity to do so.

Jacques’ daughter attended specialized education programs through most of her childhood. However, at age 14 her school was closed, and it was difficult for Jacques and his wife to find alternatives for her care and education. They did their best to keep her busy with activities at home until she reached the age of 18. During this period, Jacques’ wife became ill, and for three years he cared for both his child and wife. Sadly, his wife died following her illness, and Jacques was left alone to care for his daughter. In general, Jacques has always been able to find the services required for his daughter.

Jacques’ daughter is now attending a local activity program for four days a week. This gives him the necessary time to organize things at home to properly care for her. Among other key responsibilities, Jacques helps his daughter perform her regular housekeeping duties, he cares for her when she has seizures, and he brings her to regular medical appointments. He appreciates and values the strong support system that he has built around him. From his perspective, this has enabled him to make the caregiving a constructive experience as opposed to a negative one. He knows the importance of taking time for himself in order to be fit enough to continue caring properly for his daughter. Thus, when he has some spare time, he enjoys painting – an activity in which he demonstrates great zeal and creativity.

Jacques has never considered placing his daughter in a specialized home or institution. As a father he naturally continued to care for her after his wife died and will continue to do so despite that he recognizes that he is now ageing. Providing care for his daughter is something he will continue to do so no matter what. Having been a positively minded person all his life he does not feel troubled by his situation. He feels that his care has helped him to not age too quickly or develop Alzheimer’s disease, as he never has the time to think about ageing. Jacques knows that he would not be able to do what he does without this inner strength. Throughout his life he has found continuous inspiration and support in his spiritual beliefs. He believes that he has been given his daughter by God and that it is his privilege to help and care for her.

For Jacques, caregiving is a lesson of love; had he not had this love and devotion, he would have never been able to keep caring for his daughter. And he feels that anyone who does not feel this kind of love and devotion should question his or her own readiness to take on such a life-long challenge.


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