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A Baby-boomer’s chronicle of the challenges and rewards of caring for her elder parents
In 1996, at the age of seventy, my Father fell off a ladder at his part-time job. He landed with all his weight on his left heel. After surgery he had a plate and sixteen screws holding his foot together. The orders from his physician were “no weight baring for three months.”
At the time of the accident Dad was my Mother’s caregiver. Mother had a plethora of health issues that brought their dream of travel in a motor home during retirement to a grinding halt in my hometown.
They had purchased a singlewide mobile home and set up residence where I could assist Dad with his care of my Mother. Now the caregiving fell squarely on my shoulders. I would leave work; pick up something for dinner, drive to Mom and Dad’s, fix dinner, clean up after, help Dad to the shower and back to his chair, clean house, perhaps water or mow the lawn, make sure they had what they needed for the evening, then run home to bed – only to rise the next morning to start the process all over again.
Exactly three months into Dad’s recovery he experienced a heart attack, which lead to triple bypass surgery.
It was unthinkable that Mother could care for Dad. I couldn’t continue the way I was – running on my caregiver treadmill. Something had to be done.
In April of 1996 we three purchased a home and moved in together. This is our story.
(These articles originally appeared as a column in the Gresham Outlook, our local newspaper.)