I looked after my Mother and Father. I had a great relationship with my parents, so taking care of them as they were ageing was a natural thing to do. I’m fortunate to have supportive family and friends, which influenced my role as their Carer.
My mother was deteriorating with dementia and her first fall was the beginning of a slow process of deterioration.
Though my friends were around and helped listen to me every now and then, the real support came from my GP. He was there all through my caring role for my parents.
He helped me understand what was going to happen to my Mother in relation to dementia, her injuries through her first fall, understanding the health systems’ support services, and generally a great external shoulder to lean on. I was able to articulate what was going through my mind pretty easily to him, and he was always there to listen.
I ensured that I was present with my parents for every doctor’s visit. This not only helped me keep abreast with their health issues, it also helped me understand what kind of medical and wellbeing advice and support they were receiving.
I was always around at my parents place doing chores around the house, like washing clothes or cooking. For tasks I wasn’t able to do, I would get my husband to help me out or delegate it to someone else. For example: getting a paid Carer to support with meals, getting my adult children to pick up their grandparents to come to family events, mow the lawns and so on.
My Father didn’t like that at times, but I learned to be firm and tell them that it’s best for me not only for them. When seeking help from family and friends, I learned who’s receptive and who isn’t. This helped me tailor my requests accordingly, rather than feeling frustrated about the lack of support or understanding.
At times I felt a little unappreciated by my parents, especially when they admired my husband’s physical help around moving furniture and so on, and not the regular chores I did around the house. I had to remind myself what I was doing day-to-day was (although sometimes less obvious), important to them and imagine what would happen if I wasn’t there.
I also thought about how fortunate I was to have a husband who understood. He picked up on care related aspects for my parents from time to time, which created a great sense of support and comfort for me.
I am using my experience of caring to help others now by being a Weaver.