A one of the owners of Caring Companions of Atlanta, I have amassed a wealth of experience finding and integrating care into client’s homes. While it can be intimidating, following a specific process, usually yields a positive outcome (see this link to see out process named Anatomy of Great Care below)
Presently, however, I find myself in relatively unchartered territory. In August, my 90-year-old father is slated to be in town for a couple weeks while my stepmom orchestrates a move of sorts in Chicago. The townhouse they have in Chicago was devastated but a plumbing leak last year and, due to COVID and a variety of other things, the renovation has been lengthy. However, the time is finally coming to move back in. Fortunately, they have a small hobby farm only 90 minutes from Chicago and set up shop there while all the work took place.
Thirteen years ago, I did help orchestrate care for my mom while she battled Leukemia. However, it was a little different because my cousin was more on the ground than I was. My cousin lived in the same city while I was bouncing back and forth between my home in Atlanta and Arizona.
My dad had heart surgery in May and has been slower than expected to bounce back than anyone would have hoped. He is, indeed, better, but what was not accounted for when the surgery was planned were his past two years of health issues. He had a nasty car accident and a myriad of complications following that. All said, he had 24-months of atrophy and being largely sedate. As a result, much of his strength evaporated.
So, while the valve replacement surgery was nothing short of a miracle and he is improving, it has been as a snail’s pace.
We are excited to have him be here to say the least. He is a one of those people that is so easy to have around. He has his own agendas and coexists so efficiently. It is almost as if he is not even there aside from meals and chats. However, his care needs have increased significantly, and I find myself feeling somewhat intimidated to be a family caregiver during his visit. This is complicated by the common tendency for elders not to want to burden. He does not want to admit his needs…and as such it is hard to know what to do and when.
I wanted to acknowledge this for all the family caregivers out there. Care for a loved one, while a pursuit of passion and love, has its own challenges. Sure, our team orchestrates care for many people with a variety of conditions. However, when the care resides closer to home, a new set of emotional and physical challenges emerge.
I know we will love his company when he is here and miss him dramatically when he leaves. In the meantime, I admittedly feel some apprehension of what lies ahead.