I can’t recall when I became a caregiver, but I was willing to do so. After being marriage for about a year and a half my father asked me to move back in and I never left home again. It started with my father who work on the railroad ever since he was 16. After retiring, he developed dementia and passed away at the age of 71 in 2002.
It was then my mom and me. She had the best sense of humor and we loved shopping and cooking together. She begin to have back problems before my father passed away but still helped me take care of him. At the time, I was employed by the Dallas Area Agency on Aging, which allowed me the flexibility to take care of both my parents. It is always helpful to have a job that understands your priority to take care of your love ones! My mother suffered from chronic illnesses but never gave up until she passed away October 2019 at the age of 89 just before the COVID-19 pandemic.
How did you become a caregiver?
I don’t remember being asked if I wanted to be a caregiver, but I chose to be. Caregiving happens!
How has your relationship with the person(s) you care for changed? If so, how?
My parents have passed on, but I have wonderful memories of them both.
What is the hardest thing about being a caregiver?
Learning to take care of yourself through it all.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a caregiver?
The relationship that you develop with the person(s) that you care for.
What advice would you give to other caregivers?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You never know who is willing to help you.
In ten words or less, what has caregiving taught you?
That caregiving is rewarding to both the caregiver and the recipient.
Describe a successful caregiver challenge that you met and how?
I asked a family friend if she would be willing to care for my mom and she accepted for $40 a week. She provided care while I went to work and she stayed with her overnight when I had to go out of town for work.
We want to hear your story! Why? Because your story matters. Have you ever listened to someone talk about their life and thought ‘Oh, someone else has been through that, too? I thought it was just me!’ Every story shared is a chance to aid another caregiver and help them feel less alone
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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