Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Caregivers Three

For Katie, Ineke, and Josie, three most wonderful women, I am eternally grateful.

When Mom was released from the rehab unit in mid November after her hip fracture, she went back to Merrill Gardens to be with Dad. It was clear that she would need full time care for awhile to navigate safely the so-called "activities of daily living". What we thought might be a 2-3 week proposition has now turned into an ongoing 24/7 coverage by caregivers. At this juncture, Mom really doesn't need this level of care but it is so reassuring to know that there is always someone there to help her if/when she needs anything. Even Dad is getting benefits from their watchful eyes.

There have been many who have come and gone; we've learned that it takes awhile to bond with caregivers and sometimes the personal chemistry just doesn't work. But, by this point there are at least half a dozen wonderful women who rotate shifts and provide excellent care to Mom and Dad. Three in particular carry the bulk of the hours. Katie and Ineke, younger women, are like grand-daughters and Josie like a daughter to my parents. These women are courteous, insightful, thorough, caring, kind, and professional. They make Mom and Dad laugh and are always at the ready to serve in whatever capacity is needed in that moment. We collectively love and appreciate them. Each is unique and brings their own personal touch to the party that is going on in that apartment.

It's tough to know how to scale back on these expensive but helpful services. Mom could suffer another fall at any time; certainly having someone present and beside her 24/7 reduces the risk significantly. Just today there was an "almost fall" that Katie was able to prevent at the last moment. That this should be happening three months after the hip fracture shouldn't surprise me at all. The issue is knowing what risks are acceptable to take and which ones are not. What's the right decision?

But, for now, these three women make my life easier and the lives of my parents easier and safer. I am thankful and feel they've become part of the extended family. It really does takes a village to care for our elders; I'm convinced of this.

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