Day 4, paid helpers

For a year, I cared for my mother and then my mother and father basically alone. Yes, there are other people in the household who have helped – most notably my daughter, who was there to take mom to the bathroom when I was out for short periods of time – but generally speaking, I was the primary caregiver. Around December, my father had problems with a medication that caused his Parkinson’s symptoms to become so bad that he could not walk on his own, and gave him hallucinations (particularly at night) and horrible thrashing, mumbling sleep that left him and my mother sleep deprived. (My dad has since recovered and is doing fairly well) It left me sleep deprived, exhausted and in pain as well. I knew I could not go on like I was without help.

I told my father that I was going to last about 6 more months at the rate we were going. I had to have help. So we hired an agency that provides CNA home health workers to come every day for 3-4 hours.

It was difficult for mom to accept someone she didn’t know taking care of her, and that made it difficult for me as well. I was surprised at how reluctant I was to relinquish her care to another person, too. I was driving the CNAs crazy.

We’ve adjusted, to some extent. I’ve noticed, however, that my mom has begun to find ways to avoid having these gals help her out. She gets up earlier on the days they are coming in the morning. She stays up and waits until I’m there before going to the bathroom or down for a nap. I’m at a loss as to how to handle that.

And for me – these hard working ladies wash the dishes, do the laundry, clean the bathrooms, cook food, assist my mom, and even take out trash. I’m not used to this. I work hard to accept the help and resist criticizing when things aren’t done the way I would do them. Sometimes I just want to tell them I need a few days without the help just to put things back the way I am used to them; but I don’t want my father and mother to think I don’t need help, so I let it go… I just have to figure out how to use the time they are here to do something nice for myself….

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