My husband and I moved my parents into our home on December 20th, 2020. Mom had her third stroke in September and with Dad suffering from Alzheimer’s, they needed my full-time help. I became a 24-hour caretaker that day. For three months I lived with my parents while we waited to see if Mom would recover enough for them to continue to be self-sufficient or if this would need to become permanent. It didn’t take long before we realized that the stroke had taken away their independence. Mom looked the same on the outside, she could still walk and talk normally, but it had taken its toll on her internally. She no longer had the stamina to make a sandwich, load or unload the dishwasher, or wash a load of clothes.
We called our contractor and began planning to remodel our home so we could move them in with us. We converted our laundry room into a second main floor bathroom and changed the bathtub/shower combo in the first bathroom into a walk-in shower with a tiled stub wall so there would be no shower curtains or glass doors to worry about. My parents are so unstable on their feet that we needed that extra security in case they needed to catch themselves since my mother had fallen out of her shower in their home and pulled the shower curtain down with her. It helped to break her fall but didn’t stop her from falling. We added two sturdy grab bars and ordered a shower chair.
They’ve lived with us for six months now. We’ve acclimated to our new reality fairly well. Dad is 87 and sleeps more than my 80-year old mom does. He’s also diabetic so I take care of his insulin needs several times a day. I know that right now is the best that it’s going to be. As they continue to age, it’s going to get tougher.
I don’t want to deceive anyone. It isn’t easy right now. There are days that make me wonder why I took this on. Two days ago Mom vomited all over herself not once, but twice. I did five loads of laundry that day. But I did it. Let me take this moment to say thank you to all of the people who handle these kinds of messes every single day and never complain. I admire you. Especially your fortitude. I had to talk to myself through the clean up to take my mind off it.
This isn’t easy. But it is worth it. Taking care of my parents is a gift not only to them, but to me. Every day I pray for strength and patience to handle whatever the day brings. And He gives it to me. I am so blessed.