Mom and I Talked About the What-ifs for Years

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by caregiver, Linda Scarbrough (Poteau, OK)

I am 67 years old, married with no children. My mother who now is 89 took care of my handicapped sister for nearly 10 years and is now 66. Both have lived with my husband and I for nearly four years. Some of the happiest years of our lives.

We became caregivers four years ago, when my mother phoned to tell me she was unable to take care of my sister and herself. Although I visited with her weekly, she wanted to tell me her decision over the phone. Mom and I talked about the what-ifs for years, not knowing she was really feeling me out for a quicker decision than I had anticipated. The phone call was the beginning of the best chapter in my life. After much discussion she agreed to move in with us. Although it took nearly six months for all the details to be worked out. Also, over 1600 feet was added to my house to accommodate their special needs and separate living quarters for the three families (the house grew from 2700 square feet to 4300 hundred square feet!).

We all try to come to the kitchen to meet for at least one meal a week. We all have jobs to do, washing, cooking and cleaning. Even my handicapped sister has learned to change her own diapers. Caregiving is a challenge for time management. I find between 6-8 is my time for coffee, prayer and reflection. Each morning I thank God for allowing me the hands to take care of my family as I know He takes care of me. P.S. Nursing homes are out. With the new healthcare laws, local staffing has been cut by 3/4. Patients are suffering. So I thank God that my family is safe and home with me.

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