Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Filling a Need

I just read a post on Faith & Family Live entitled Who Cares for Caregivers  and quickly passed it on to Daddy for his reading pleasure.  I've always invited him to post on our blog.  He's always encouraging me to write things down and even helps me with my blog post titles.  I made a page for him called The Chiro Corner, but I'm the one that puts anything up there.

However, Daddy is a wealth of information.  He started helping with his chiropractic services 6 years ago at a Catholic elder care facility in St. Paul.  He is filled with stories from his patients about their lives, how they are managing after transitioning to elder care, and is up on the latest regarding health care, policy, and how these changes can potentially be harmful to the growing, aging population in America.

We've also both been through our own trials dealing with our parents, grandparents, and extended family members...Daddy's uncle and godfather just passed away last fall after 5 years of progressive Alzheimer's Disease...and how those issues affect our own family.  When we were married and moved up here to Minnesota, Daddy's grandparents were still both alive.  We went from seeing his grandmother (Grandma Esther) being cared for in his mother's home where she was finally being fed liquid through bottles by Daddy's mom and dad to transitioning her to a nursing home.  At that time, Daddy's grandfather (Grandpa John), was still living at his home.  His internal clock was inverted so he would sleep all day and be up all night.  He could barely care for himself so Daddy's mom would be over at his house caring for the house and stocking his fridge with food during the day.  Grandpa John was finally moved into a nursing home where he joined Grandma Esther.  She died in his arms one evening while he held her.  Grandpa John continued to live until his 100th birthday!  He finally died that fall from a massive heart attack.  Daddy's parents still haven't fully recovered from caregiving.  There house and lives are still turned upside down from years of neglect and caregiving.  My mother-in-law may never fully recover as she continues to deal with her own husband, Grandpa Ben, who is now getting more frail.  His short-term memory is almost nonexistent so he constantly moves things and forgets where he puts them.  This drives my MIL crazy.  You can only imagine what her life is like not to mention her home.

On my side of the family, we've dealt with Powers of Attorney for both of my parents, free conference calling between all of us siblings to decide courses of action, helping my parents change banks to have access to electronic banking (they live in a very rural area!), serious medical decisions involving end of life issues, and talked about home health nurses or paying for caregivers to assist my parents.  They are still pretty capable, but we know there will continue to be conversations as their nearest child is still an hour and a half away.

So, yes, there is a need to fill in the blogosphere for those who are sandwiched between child-rearing and parental caregiving.  There is also a great need for those who are currently caregiving to find support.  I wish my MIL could start a blog or the daughter of Daddy's uncle/godfather who dedicated herself to visiting her dad every day in his nursing home past the point of him ever recognizing her again.  

For us, it just calls to mind how our own vocation to defend life from conception to natural death may mean addressing it here on our blog.

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