When Mother and Daddy lived in an assisted-living facility, and at times next door with skilled nursing care, I visited them nearly every day. I was blessed to live in the same town, about thirty minutes away, so visiting never became a burden.
Many residents or patients have no family or friends close by, no one who can come on a regular basis to sit a spell, to
bring comfort with their very presence, or to see with their own eyes the changes that are taking place..
Even though I saw my daddy on a regular basis, and knew he had some dementia, I didn’t realize how bad it was because my mother didn’t tell me, and perhaps I didn’t want to see it.
Neither of my parents got enough rest because he would awaken during the night, get out of bed, turn on all the lights and perhaps shave or get partly dressed. And when Daddy finally crawled back into bed, he never remembered his oxygen tube hanging on the bedpost. Mother would try to stay awake to remind him to put it on. And later if she awoke and asked him if he was wearing it, he always said yes, even when he was not.
I was not faced with being a long-distance caregiver, but many have no other choice. If that is the case, what can he or she do?
I recently came across a blog that discussed the particular needs of long-distance caregiving. I am fortunate I never had the additional stress that long-distance caregivers face.
I’ve known some children who deny their parents are declining in either mental or physical health or both, and don't believe any action is necessary. After all, when they talk on the phone, everything seems as normal as usual. But many times, this is not the case.
I think most parents, especially if they’re from the “greatest generation,” don’t want to become a burden to their children. They might be afraid of getting older and losing their independence, but they keep that fear to themselves. They want to protect their children from becoming a caregiver. They don’t speak about the changes in their lives, perhaps getting lost on a route that was once familiar or falling for no apparent reason or like my parents, suffering from sleep deprivation. When asked how they’re getting along, they answer, “We’re doing just fine.” And the children believe them because that’s what they want to believe.
If you live nearby someone who needs help, like I did, or if you do not, and cannot, there are options for you as a long-distance caregiver.
This page is dedicated to my inspirations and those who have enriched my life along the way.