A Caregiver's Story of Faith, Family and Hospice

In 2019, my parents needed help due to health issues. My retired husband, homeschooled son, and I moved in to assist. After losing my husband, it was just my son and me managing my parents' dementia. Hospice support has been invaluable.

A Caregiver's Story of Faith, Family and Hospice
A daughter, her father. He was the main caregiver for his wife with dementia

Written by Colleen, a wife, mother and family caregiver

In 2019, my parent's neighbor (and their best friends) called to tell me that it looked like my parents could use some help. The neighbor was a retired nurse and had been taking my mom to a neurologist where dementia  was confirmed.  My dad had heart disease  and COPD.  My retired husband and 14 yr old son, whom we homeschooling, started making a once a month, 4 hr trip to access the situation. We were debt free and decided we could move in with them to help.  They had a big enough home that we could all live there comfortably.

It started with just monitoring finances and doctor appts, preparing  meals, my husband taking care of home maintenance and the yard. Then, COVID hit and I lost my husband.  Now it was all on me and a teenage son. Mom's dementia was getting worse and dad was now diagnosed with dementia  also. He was becoming increasingly  irresponsible will bill paying and subject to being scammed online and over the phone. I had to take over everything  and could no longer properly homeschool my son..so he headed to public school for the first time and did amazingly well to the credit of a great support system of our church and the teachers and coaches at the school.

 Dad was getting where I could not trust him taking care of Mom's needs now and I discovered  that Hospice could help me even in these early stages. It took the pressure off in the areas of no longer having to take them to numerous doctor appts. An aide came in twice a week to help with bathing them. I have the support of a social working, nurses, chaplain. Incontenience supplies  provided and the biggest help to me...Respite care.  

Dad passed away February of this year (2024).  ( Heart Attack) That made things harder as he was a 2nd pair of eyes helping me watch mom. She suddenly would not sleep thru the night, getting up and wandering around the house. Hospice provided meds that make her sleep thru the night. I bought a pressure mat that alarms me when she gets out bed. Monitors to watch her. Gates to Block the stairs. ( My son and I reside downstairs in the basement area that is like an apartment.)

A grandson and his grandmother with dementia

This coming fall will mark 5 years of us living with them. My son is going  into his Senior year of high school.  Our future plans are to sell moms house and move back home after my son graduates, where I have adult children who can help me continue this journey  to the end.
     I couldn't have gotten this far without my faith and church family and the Hospice team.

Dear Colleen,

Your journey is a testament to the power of faith and resilience. Facing the immense challenge of caring for your parents while grieving the loss of your husband must have been incredibly difficult, yet you have shown extraordinary strength. Your story is an inspiration to all caregivers, highlighting the importance of leaning on faith and community support during the toughest times.

Your ability to juggle so many responsibilities and find solace in your faith is truly admirable. Your son’s success in public school is a shining example of the positive impact of a loving and supportive family environment. It's heartwarming to hear how your church and hospice team have been pillars of strength for you.

Remember, you are never alone. Faith not only sustains us but also connects us to others who can offer support and understanding. Your courage in sharing your story brings hope to others who may be navigating similar paths. As you plan to move back home, may you continue to find peace and strength in your faith, and may your journey be blessed with love and support every step of the way.

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