November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. I knew about the Alzheimer’s Awareness but not the Caregiver part. I became aware when my sister wrote an article on her blog, Di Doodlings called Tips for Talking to Alzheimer’s Friends where she gave great information and also honored me, my mom’s primary caregiver.
I have written before about mom and Alzheimer’s here:
My family is committed to caring for mom as she took care of all four of us when Dad died unexpectedly from a brain tumor. Mom was 37 and had four children from 9 to 16. She went to work full-time and at times worked 3 jobs. She was determined that all four of us would go to college and we did and continued with advanced degrees. Things were not always easy and there were hard times but Mom worked to keep her family together. We saw her caring for her parents, who lived with us for a time when my grandfather lost his job. She cared for my grandfather when he had a heart attack and was put in a home. He developed dementia and she faithfully visited him daily. After he died, my grandmother got stomach cancer, and after her surgery she lived with us. Mom was caring for her, cleaning her bandages.
You see we saw our parents caring for their parents and so we are just modeling what we saw. We are committed to mom living in our home. I am thankful for my family and their support. I still teach two mornings a week and my sisters arrange their lives to care for mom so I can do that. All the family visits, calls and help with tasks around the house. The nieces and nephews, call and send cards. My brother and brother-in-law help with all kinds of repairs and heavy lifting. I always say ‘it takes a family’. I am thankful for my family and how they care for mom and me.
When I made the decision in 2007 to leave Columbia, South Carolina, a job at Covenant Christian School that I loved and been doing for 14 years, a church family at First Presbyterian Church with pastors like Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, and so many dear friends, there were some who thought it was not a good decision. I can say after 6 years I have no regrets. I love mom more today than I ever have and am thankful to God for my family. I realize not all families can do what we have done but I do think we as Christians should set the standard for how we care for our parents. The world is watching and so are our children.