After mom passed away, dad grew weaker and didn’t get around well. He was determined to maintain his independence, so he refused to move in with us. Therefore, my sister, Tina, and I had to do tag-team caregiving. Tina worked a full-time job, and I was deep in caregiving for my husband, who had multiple health issues. Not to mention, I lived on the opposite side of town.
We called him daily and made sure he had everything he needed, like easily prepared foods, his favorite beverages, a wheelchair, a rollator with a seat on it, a cane, a quad cane, a first alert necklace, a cell phone, an oxygen concentrator, portable oxygen, etc.
Caregiving a strong-willed grown man, who is your dad, is . . . difficult! He had always been a hard worker. He provided for our family and loved us immeasurably, but he still had his opinions and quirky behaviors. Many times we stopped by and caught him moving about, holding the walls rather than using the walker. The life-alert necklace found a new home on the bathroom mirror, and he occasionally tossed his oxygen mask aside but couldn’t figure out why he was short of breath.
After our many discussions about safety, he finally succumbed to using the rollator, where he carried small bottles of water in the pouch under the seat, but the life alert button remained on the mirror, and his cell phone remained on the table by his chair in the living room.
Our frustration mounted, but we bit our tongues. He was in a difficult situation, and his bride of sixty-six years passed away and left him behind. Even though we were constantly checking on him, it didn’t lessen his loneliness. He loved for people to visit, but they’d best be ready to watch westerns and only talk during commercials.
Our time with Dad was bittersweet. Seeing him in his weakened state crushed us. Seeing him without Mom, his soulmate, was sad.
Too many doctor appointments kept me across town and forced Tina to take off work. He’d passed out on us too many times for only one of us to get him out of the house. Then one day, he didn’t answer his cell phone, which wasn’t that bad because we knew he never took it with him when he left his recliner. After multiple calls, Tina went by to check on him after work and found him on the floor. He’d been there almost twenty-four hours without food or medicine. How horrific?!
Our in-and-out tag-team caregiving system only worked when he followed our preset caution rules. He was to keep his phone and life alert button with him at all times, but he didn’t.
They admitted him to the hospital multiple times. This last time we learned he was in the last stage of prostate cancer. We had no clue. He was moved to hospice, and six weeks later, he was peacefully reunited with our mom in heaven.
Tag-team caregiving can work, but the loved one, the patient, must work with you. We can’t treat adults like children. We can’t govern their actions when we’re not physically with them, though we may try, knowing it’s for their own good.
Honor and respect for the patient are of utmost importance. Treat them how you’d want someone to treat you… and that’s biblical.
Award-winning author Loretta Eidson loves writing romantic suspense. Her first novel, Pursued in the Wilderness released in September 2022. Blue Ridge Mountain Escape releases in June 2023 and The Marine’s Deadly Reunion releases in December 2023. Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency represents her.
Loretta is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), ACFW local chapter, AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and is an AWSA Certified Coach. She is a member of Faith, Hope, Love Christian Writers, Heart of America Christian Writers, and is on the executive board of the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. She is a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC) and is one of eight members of the Suspense Squad where suspense authors interview authors on YouTube.
Loretta believes in the power of prayer and enjoys putting her characters in situations where they must trust God to pull them through.
Loretta’s debut novel, Pursued in the Wilderness, was released in September 2022.
Her second novel, Blue Ridge Mountain Escape, comes out in June 2023.
Her third novel, The Marine’s Deadly Reunion, will release in December 2023.
Amazon: https://a.co/d/fGpdVhd https://a.co/d/g3ZFSE6
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Tracy Crump knows from experience the burdens caregivers shoulder after caring for both her parents and her 100-year-old mother-in-law. A former ICU nurse, Tracy dispenses hope in her award-winning book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness Twenty-two of her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has published hundreds of devotions, articles, and short stories in diverse publications such as Guideposts books, Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, and Ideals.