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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 201 of 1,083

I do my best caretaking for my husband.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 202 of 1,083

Thank-you for sharing all these wonderful stories!

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 203 of 1,083

I love summer and vacations.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 204 of 1,083

I would call this story "Buried Treasures."

 

Last summer I was caregiver to a friend's mother--a woman over 100 who stood about four-foot-nothin'. She still possessed some of her life stories yet told the same ones every day, until....

 

There was an oppressive heat wave one week. Glenda, weighing perhaps 80 pounds soaking wet, of course thought this heat was a marvelous thing, even in long pants and shirts with long sleeves. Meanwhile...I melted...my energy zapped. Needing AIR, I asked how she felt about going for a ride. Oh, she was on it! She grabbed her little wrist purse and started for the door.

 

"Where are we going?" she asked. (This was after I pulled out my medical step stool for her to use to get in my Jeep, which she pushed aside, stating she didn't need it...which she didn't. I did, though. Sigh.)

 

"On an adventure," I told her, not even having a clue if I would turn left or right out of the driveway. More so, I didn't know the town or surrounding towns at all. Thelma and Louise--step aside. Glenda and I would be their 2.0 version, geriatric-style. Buckle up, baby. The road is ours.

 

Day One: We ended up at an old barn that had been turned into one of those trash or treasure places. As Glenda walked around, certain old things--items she hadn't seen in years--sparked a memory here and there. Glenda was finding new stories to tell!

 

(And while I was concerned she'd trip on something in the over-stuffed barn, I was the one who did, knocking over a display. "Are you all right, dear? You have to watch your step.")

 

Day Two: When I showed up, assuming we were going out again, she had a shirt all picked out. Again, she hoisted herself up in my Jeep in a way that made me both envious and giggle-y. This time we ended up eating ice cream cones on the shore of a lake. Once again, the change in environment fueled her brain. She found more stories she'd forgotten...fishing with her father and brother; her brother, a bit on the naughty side, tipping the boat over; her mother watching from the shore, waiting with a picnic basket. She got a little teary, but I think she felt more joy than sadness over unearthing the buried memory of that day over 90 years ago.

 

Day Three: We went to a small park where we would stroll, sit, stroll, sit. This time, watching a woman walk her dog, she talked about a yellow dog named Toby she had as a little girl. Toby had been quite the comedian, and made her laugh as she recounted his antics.

 

(On one of the strolls, she also talked about her age and death, telling me she didn't know why she had to live "so god-awful long." She stopped and looked me square in the eye and said, "Can you tell me why?" And let me tell you...it was not meant as a rhetorical question!)

 

Day Four: Glenda asked if it was okay if we didn't have any "adventures" today. Sure....but within the confines of those walls, her memories were confined to the same stories she had before we ventured out to play. And she continued to tell each one as if it were the first time--and that's okay, because we can't miss something we never knew (or can't remember), but we both had three days of the (warm) breeze in our hair while she dug up some buried treasures in her mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 205 of 1,083

My name is Andrea Barrett. I am a retired Columbus Police Officer and retired Transportation Safety Supervisor for Columbus City Schools. I have 2 sons, one of which has 2 autistic children aged 5 and 10. The 10 year old has Sturge-Webber Syndrome as well as other maladies. The 5 year old was a premature birth with some things underdeveloped. Both are the love of my life. Taking care of the children goes "above and beyond" for autistic children and double that with 2 children. My son and daughter-in-law do it without apologies or regrets. Because of their love, devotion, and true care for their children, I take it upon myself to give them a "respite weekend" once a month, so they can regroup, refresh, renew, and regenerate. Every caregiver deserves a "respite". It is a small sacrifice for the wonderful work they do with and for their children.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 206 of 1,083

Caregiving is not an easy job, but it is rewarding in the sense that you know that your loved one is properly being taken care of.  We have been blessed to have my 87 year old mother in our care for the past seven years.  Mom had several strokes two years ago and currently has two clogged arteries in her brain that are inoperable. When mom had the strokes, they sent her to a nursing care facility for three months, where she sat in wet diapers for hours, amongst other things that were not acceptable to us.  The facilities comments to my complaints were that they were understaffed, and this may have been true, but was not acceptable that mom was not properly cared for.  This is when we decided that we would never send her to any facility for caregiving, as long as we were capable of taking care of her.  It is crucial that caretakers find ways, to make time for some relaxation, enjoyment and stress relief.  Because of moms inoperable clogged arteries in her brain, she is unable to travel by airplane, so we had to work around that issue.  We decided to take mom on a cruise, this would eliminate me having to make decisions on what to cook, shopping for the meals and cooking them, cleaning the house,  changing bed sheets and doing laundry for at least ten days.  Yes, I still had to change moms diapers, dress her daily and feed her at meal time but what a blessing to eliminate all the other routine chores.  This decision proved to be a good choice for us and mom,  great food, wonderful accommodations and planned entertainment.   Even though we weren't able to take any shore excursions, we were blessed to relax and enjoy beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  We even pushed mom in her wheelchair around the outdoor track so we could get fresh air, exercise and enjoy the calming effects of the ocean waters together.  We 87also received and added blessing from so many strangers, they would talk to mom and us,  several would touch her (touch is so important) and say what a blessing she was with her beautiful smile, which made her smile even more.  When it was time to leave the cruise ship mom said, "can't you sell the house and we just live on this ship," refreshment and renewal was had by all!   

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 207 of 1,083

.

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 208 of 1,083

I absolutely love to travel more than anything I can think of.  I travel all over the world.  I plan at least one big trip every year and would do more, if I could.  On average, I do very little in the way of entertainment and extra curricular activites, so traveling is that shot in the arm for me.  I look forward to it every year.  I'm so geeked that mostly everyone (friends and family) are geeked too.  They all want to know what's the trip this year?  Where are you going and how long?  And they all wait for the travel book that I put together for every trip.  Then the book gets to travel from house to house; to co-workers and people I don't even know on the train.  I'll travel in groups or alone.  It doesn't really matter.  I'm just that travel extrovert, so I can go either way.  In recent years, my trips are getting longer and further away, so I don't get many takers because they can either be gone that long or don't have that kind of money to spend on vacation.  You know the story!

 

Two years ago, I became a full blown caregiver for my mom who will be 80 next week.  She got sick, and I had to cancel my vacation right at the brink of departure.  Thank goodness, I insure every trip, so I did wind up getting all my money back.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that this would be the beginning of the end.  It seems like my "traveling well" has dried up.  I have one older sibling, and most of the time she just lets me carry the entire ball.  No sense to her in splitting or sharing the care.  She seems to do as little as possible.  Whatever is going on, her famous line is "keep me posted."  I said if I outlived her, I certainly would put that famous quote on her tombstone!

 

Long story short, I almost can't go any of the places I really desire because it requires that I be gone longer than I can comfortably stay away with my mom.  I truly love her and want her to have the best of care, but it seems like my life is over!  This is the only thing that I do that makes my joy complete and now it has come to an end.  I just started knocking off the continents on my bucket list.  In 2015, I started my "A's."  I was in Australia and New Zealand a few days short of a month.  I wanted to knock off Asia so bad this year, but it seems like it won't happen.  I feel I need at least 14 days minimally, or it doesn't even make sense for me to pack for less than that.  I'm not sure what happens going forward, but it seems as though I have nobody that I or my mom can trust to let me go.  I try hard to fight depression over this.  Here it is August and the "back to school" announcements are starting.  Then it's fall (if we get one).  I live in the Chicago area, so some times we're thrown full throttle into winter.

 

I don't know what my answer is.  Maybe some of you in the caregiving community have some advice you can give me.  Although I could add a lot more, that's basically my story.  I know others of you are out there experiencing the same or similar things.  Let's help each other!

 

Thanks for listening!

Mz. Dee

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 209 of 1,083

great i love the journey

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Re: AARP Caregiving Summer Break Contest

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Message 210 of 1,083

For 6 years we're didn't go anywhere.   My husband didn't want to do anything.  They had his meds messed up big time. We call them the forgotten years. Traveling was hard. Just recently we've been able to go out to more places. We haven't traveled far but we've gone to a few local places. I'm glad he's able to do more this year. Those other years were rough. 

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