Many Baby Boomers today are filling the role of Care
Giver to an aging parent or aging parents. This is Claire Abel's
touching story as Care Giver to her mom, Anne.
My Mom Anne
by Claire Abel
My Mom, Anne, has lived with my
husband, Lyle, and me for the last 16 years. She was 87 when she
arrived, old in years, but not in spirit or her desire to live life.
That was nice for me because I could take her everywhere, shopping,
out to breakfast, lunch or dinner, out with friends, to concerts,
visiting friends at their homes and to church. She never said "no"
and loved getting out if just to ride in the car.
My Mom is now 103. She is still in
relatively good health and takes no medication at all, except for
vitamins. However, her hearing is very bad and even with her hearing
aids, she has difficulty with conversations. Her macular
degeneration has deteriorated her
eyesight to the point
where she can no longer read and can hardly see the TV screen.
She fills her days by listening to "talking books" which I get for her
from the library. She is still able to go out, but it is not easy
walking down our 15 steps from her bedroom or back up them again, so
we plan our days where she does not have to tackle this feat more
than once a day, and only with our assistance which has been
necessary for many years.
her Mom, Anne
Mother's Day 2012
Her memory is not what it once
was and since she is completely aware of that fact, it makes her
panicky at times. I told her that being aware of her forgetfulness
or loss of memory is a good thing and not to worry because we are
here to help her with everything. People that are in an advanced
state of dementia are not aware of this.
The title of one of my favorite
songs is There is joy in serving Jesus. Serving Jesus can be
done in different ways; for example, in Matthew 25: 37–40, the Bible
|Then the righteous will
answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and
feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You
a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when
did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the
King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you,
inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My
brethren, you did it to Me.’
I am blessed that she has been
able to completely care for her bodily needs for so long, cleaning
herself and dressing herself with the clothes that I laid out for
her. Only lately, I’ve had to step in assist her in more personal
ways. This embarrasses her to a great degree. I try to assure her
that I understand and that it is not easy for me either but that she
should try and be thankful that her daughter cares enough to do
these personal things instead of a stranger.
Claire, as a child, and her Mom
Mom and Claire, May 2012
It is not easy for me when she
takes my help as a personal insult and I do not always react in a
positive manner. I am the only one doing this for her and I am
turning out to be "the bad guy." At that point, I have to leave the
room to "regroup," many times in tears. I do not want to say
something that I will later regret because it is not necessarily
what you say, but the tone of voice you use to say it. Kindness
under pressure is easier to say than to do; nevertheless, it is of
I have found, over the years that
my being able to cope in a happy, positive manner depends on no one
other than ME. First of all, I have to be happy! So I try to get
enough sleep. No one can function or have patience with the lack of
sleep when everything feels overwhelming. I try to surround myself
with the things that I love and that make me happy. I have my two
Maltese sweeties, Snuggle and Pancake. I love music. It immediately
transports me to another level and fills the house with beautiful
melodies. I love to sing to the music! Attending church every week
helps "recharge my batteries." Afterward, I am equipped again to
face a new week knowing that I am not in this alone. "I can do all
things through Him who strengthens me."
Click to continue reading Claire's
1998-2018 National Centenarian Awareness Project & Lynn Peters
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of Lynn Peters Adler and the National Centenarian Awareness Project.