Caring for someone is a privilege, rewarding and something I enjoy but it is also hard work, emotionally challenging and at times exhausting . Often the role falls to women who find themselves caring for elderly parents after years of raising a family. In my family the caring role is mutually shared by my parents as my dad is self employed and can be more flexible in the day, where my mum works full time. Mum though makes extra meals and arranges hospital appointments for the school holidays in order that she can attend. Currently as a family we are helping care for both grandads who are now living alone. Popa R has dementia and needs more assistance but both are now not driving and require a bit extra care. We help by taking them food shopping and sometimes cleaning or helping repair things. My parents obviously do the majority and shoulder the responsibility but we all pitch in where we can.
I visit Popa B each week, for a chat and a coffee and it is wonderful. This past year since my nan died I have talked to popa far more, I know more about his early life than ever before and I am glad that I know these stories. He is lonely with very few visitors and misses the companionship he shared with his soulmate. Visiting him each week is a joy and we chat about our days and also what is happening in the world. My children all have a wonderful relationship with their grandads and visit whenever they can. He also goes to town to meet dad for a coffee most weeks and keeps himself fit this way. It is great that he can still do all this aged over 90.
My Popa B has embraced more modern technology in the past year. We encouraged him to get an iPad and taught him to use Facetime and also how to download books to read (hi popa – if your reading this!) I love it when I walk into a room and hear Erin chatting away on Facetime to her great grandad who is some 85 years her senior! Breaking Barriers have some great suggestions on how you can improve the lives of those that you may care for. Advances in healthcare and standards of living have improved quality and length of life for older generations, but it has us asking, ‘Why does society often cast off its seniors as ‘incapable’ or ‘unable’ to learn new skills?’ My grandad proves that you are never too old to learn new things.
Both of my grandads are able to live independently in their own homes and this is important to both of them although both have some aids to make this easier. I did giggle with popa last week who admitted to getting stuck in the bath, thankfully he was able to laugh later but at the time I am sure he was getting worried. He has had a bad leg and was unable to get out and since then we have talked about bathing solutions. Popa is fiercely independent, and still climbing ladders and frequently being told off by my dad and me for not slowing down enough!
Spending quality time with him each week has been a blessing and both my grandads enrich my life so much. Do you care for anyone, what challenges do you find in the role?
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