My sister and I will never forget that day in March when we rushed Mom to the emergency room. The entire time while we were sitting in the ER, we were thinking "this is just a side effect from her new medication". When the ER doctor returned with her test results, we would not be prepared for the news that changed our world forever. "Your mother has Leukemia."
Until that day, our Mom was an active 76 year old super woman - a grandmother of two, working her home based business as a seamstress, gardening, going on casino trips with Dad and playing a very active role in both mine and my sister's life. We never considered her or our Dad as old or even ever getting old. This is not completely true since we knew eventually they would be, but we were not expecting it all to happen on this very day. On this day, our active parents became aging parents and we were not prepared for the journey on which we were about to embark upon.
On that day, we did not realize that we just became Caregivers for our aging parents. How our lives took a quick turn onto the express way of: doctors visits, chemo treatments, insurance company battles, meal makings, picking up medication, and running out for groceries. Meanwhile at home alone during all of this was our elderly dad, their household responsibilities; in addition, to our own lives - homes, children, husbands, full-time jobs, etc.
The journey with our Mom ended very quickly when she passed away within months of her diagnosis. We were not at all prepared to deal with her death emotionally, nor were there any plans ever made for it. We never talked about death as a family so when this moment arrived we struggled through the process of finding her a resting place, making her funeral arrangements, tackling their finances; as well as, dealing with our grief and an 83 year old Dad who is now living in their home alone.
About a year after Mom passed away, Dad suffered a stroke that left him legally blind and unable to return to his home. My sister and I found ourselves even more unprepared for what we were about to face on this part of our journey - making Dad's long-term living and care arrangements, deciding to renovate or to sell his home, which one of us will he move in with; in addition, to taking him to doctor's visits, managing his finances, all the while having lives, husbands, children, full-time jobs of our own.
The Caregiver journey with our Dad lasted for nine years and the entire time we kept asking ourselves, why do we feel so lost and alone in all of this. Why were we were so unprepared for all of it? Why did it have to be this way? The reasons why were very simple, there is no clear path that prepares us for this. There are no advocates for preparing adult children to become their parents Caregivers, until now.
We believed that there is a need for more awareness, better preparation, and access to relevant education for adult children of aging parents. This is why we decided to create a platform that would incorporate information that supports current and future Caregivers of an aging parent or loved, so my sister and I had embarked on this new journey - Aging Parents Management!
Everyone's journey is going to be different. The journey with our 93 year old Dad ended when he passed away in March 2019. It is somewhat ironic that he passed away in the same month that our journey with our Mother back in March 2010.
For my sister, her journey is different now, too. Although we consider ourselves as Dad's Co-Caregivers, she maintained the primary responsibilities for his care. She sacrificed so much of herself for nine years, so today she is focused on re-capturing the time that was lost by making herself the priority, reconnecting with her husband, spending more time with her almost grown children - 19 year old daughter and 17 year old son.
For me, my journey has been difficult in finding a way to move this venture forward without my sister but I am more determined than before in making a difference for Caregivers through the Aging Parents Management Platform. There are so many amazing resources available, we just need to know where to find them. Therefore it is my intention to improve the Caregiver journey for others through education and awareness on this platform.
Our world has changed so much since the onset of the Coronavirus which has elevated the need for what we are doing here at Aging Parents Management even more.
Everyday there is someone waking up as a NEW Caregiver for an aging parent or loved one. It is our commitment to be here to support you as Caregivers along this journey with your Aging Parent or Loved one.