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 My parents are both in 80s, and live on their own. My mother who has had heart problems for a long time and had a surgery for cancer few years ago, has been struggling since then.  She weighs some 80 lbs and very fraile. She wants to stay home, and not want to go to the hospital.  My father who is in late 80s has been healthy and has cared for her all these years since her surgery. 

  My father had heart attack about  two decades ago, but has been in good health since then.  With the help of a home doctor who lives nearby, nurse and the care person, he has cared for my mother at home.  Though we arrange the housekeeping help who comes every other week, he is the one that cooks, cleans, and cares for her day in and day out.

  I go there every week to have either lunch or dinner with them.  I talk about my work, my trip, my book, etc. etc. to keep them informed of my activities.  I also bought them iPad so that we can communicate via e-mail and they can read my blog and tweet.

  My mother hurt his lower back about a week ago and has had difficulty moving as she is in pain.  Now she needs help constantly so that she can be comfortable.  It appears that her pain is not serious, but it is still a pain. 

   I went there this afternoon to have lunch with them.  Talking with my father, I suddenly realized that he is the one who needs some help.  I remembered that I needed to take a day off a week when I cared for my husband when he fought with cancer.(He passed away after the battle with cancer for 10 years).  He was hospitalized some 30 times (including the test and treatment) over the decade and when he was at the hospital,  I visited him every evening after work so that we could eat supper together and chat.  After I tried the visit everyday of the week, I found myself getting so exhausted both physically and mentally. 

 Monday morning when I started the new week, I did not feel refreshed, and by Tuesday evening, I felt that I had already spent a whole week.  Finally, I asked my husband (who passed away 8 years ago after the battle with cancer for 10 years) whether I could take Sunday off.  Off day meant that I stay home and do not come to the hospital.  He was a bit disappointed at first, but we managed to make it a routine so that I do not get too exhausted.

 I was fortunate as I have a very close friend who always asked me what I was doing for myself during that time. Her advice was to do something for myself so that I could care for him. If I try too hard, I will burn out.

  Hearing my father talk today, I realized that he needs a day off here and there.  I felt so bad that I did not realize his problem, as I am the one that knows how much energy- both physical and emotional–is required to care for a person who is so sick with little chance of recovery.  

 Now that I know his needs, I have decided to work out my schedule so that he can get away to go out or do something for himself.  I can stay with my mother, talk with her, and probably get some reading and writing done.  Let us see if we can make it happen.

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  1. I look after my mum and since she moved in to our house ( it is much easier this way ) I realized how much more time You have to spent with elderly people. And what’s more she feels better being closer to family.

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