Life’s journey is paved with passages.
We go from childhood to adolescence, graduate from high school and then college, get married, have children, and then retire. Maybe we don’t all do these in the same order, but each stage in life brings challenges, opportunities, experiences, adventures and growth.
We usually can see one step in front of the other and know when the next life passage is coming toward us whether it is slow moving or rapid in its ascent!
Becoming a caregiver of a senior loved one is not always something that we see coming or can predict the exact time when it will be necessary. It can be a real AHA! moment when we realize that we are in fact a family caregiver.
When I was raising my children I knew that I was responsible for all things and charged with their safety and well-being. As a child myself, I have not yet been responsible for the well-being and safety of my parents.
My AHA! Moment
Recently I had a slight epiphany involving my place in my own family and how I had gradually taken on the responsibility and privilege of being a resource to my parents. We had been in this position years before with our grandparents to whom we felt a tremendous closeness despite the distance. We visited them often, communicated regularly, shared our children’s lives with them (their great-grandchildren) from a distance and actually moved closer to them to help and be there for them when the time came.
We cherished and never regretted the time we spent with them or the life changes we undertook to be available for them as they aged. We became family caregivers to them at the same time our children needed us and managed to get it all done somehow.
It is different now, these are my parents.
The other day I got a call early in the morning from my parents’ phone number which was very unusual and a bit disturbing as they continue to follow the old school way of thinking that early or late phone calls are not acceptable. This was my first clue that something was up!
My mother stated that she felt that she had a medical emergency and needed me to accompany her to the doctor since my father was busy with workmen in the house who were scheduled to arrive shortly. Naturally I got over to get her as quickly as possible and together we went to the urgent care center (everything turned out well). My mother is highly functional thank heavens with very few limitations so when she looked in my eyes and said will you come in with me, my brain went AHA! And so it begins.
I am so thrilled to be nearby and in a place where I can be there for them whenever they call as I was on this day. My entire purpose in being insistent that they make the permanent move towards me was so that I could be a nearby caregiver. I am the child who has a medical background, after all.
Your AHA! Moment
Many of us begin being a caregiver much earlier than we identify ourselves as such. It doesn’t take much activity to actually be a caregiver. It is not required that the family member live with you – or even anywhere near you – for you to be a caregiver.
Helping with the groceries, the cooking, the yard work, the bills, the housework or any decisions qualifies you as a family caregiver.
We need to recognize the part we all play in the lives of our family members. As our population ages, we will probably all be called upon to become caregivers to our seniors.
It is an honor and at times challenging especially when we are still caring for our own children or fulfilling the duties of employment. Balancing everything is not always easy.
We have many articles of information that you might like to review after you have an AHA! moment too that we hope will help in your journey. Here are a few, but we hope you’ll check out the topics at the top of the page or search our site for what you need.
- You Might Be a Family Caregiver (we have a video version of this below)
- Strategies for Happier and Healthier Life as a Family Caregiver
- Coping Strategies for Family Caregivers
- Worries of Family Caregivers as They Age
Being a caregiver for a special senior in your life will be one of the greatest gifts you can give and bring you joy.
Have you had your AHA! moment yet?