Family caregivers help elders stay independent

Silvia Jones
Daughter/Caregiver

My parents do need care. They are getting older. They are past 70-years-old. They are both retired.
Mom specially needs care she has osteoarthritis, she is also a breast cancer survivor. Dad has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and he also has other ailments give or take. So both of them definitely need help in their daily activities.
Right now they live alone, which is great, they are aging in place. They are independent for the most part but, you know, things like basic needs, medication management, going to doctors appointments. If they get sick, I’m the one that they call to bring them to the hospital.

Maggie Gulen
Mother

Most of the these things she’s doing for us right now, I really appreciate it and I never thought that time will come that this is where we are heading. Before I thought, “Everything is okay. We can do this we can do that.” But now that we are growing older I come to realize that we are older I come to realize that, gee, I really need my daughter. I really need help, not just from her but from other people that we can rely on.

Silvia Jones
Daughter/Caregiver

I see them pretty much every day. I pick up my daughter from school and I drop her off here so that gives me a chance to really check on them. If they need anything we go to the mall, we go to the store. So, I’m here everyday when they need me.
I can be here an hour. I can be here six hours. So all depends on what mom and dad need. If they need basic shopping, bring mom shopping. If they need dressing needs then that must just take 30 minutes.
I prefer to take care of them because I know them.

Maggie Gulen
Mother

He listens more to my daughter than me.

Veronica Moscoso
Reporter

Is that true?

Roger Gulen
Father

Well I guess so because of the closeness sometimes you’re used to the…

Maggie Gulen
Mother

You’re used to the wife so he doesn’t mind if I’m the one who’s getting angry so he doesn’t mind if I’m the one who’s getting angry but when Silvia tells him, he listens.

Roger Gulen
Father

You know, once you stay together that long, you know, sometimes you ignore things, so… Even though you didn’t mean it.

Silvia Jones
Daughter/Caregiver

During the weekend it all depends on how much they need. They also like to be social. Dad still drives, although sometimes I wonder if I should take that driver’s license away. He has some early stages and some early signs of dementia occurring once in a while.
That’s a bit of an argument back and forth sometimes between them.

Roger Gulen
Father

One time I was driving, and kept driving thinking I’m going somewhere. Good thing I had someone with me and he said, “Where are you going.” “At home.” “You are going somewhere else, not at home.”

Silvia Jones
Daughter/Caregiver

It’s definitely a struggle and a juggling act. Time management is crucial in trying to juggle family, juggle work, juggle other responsibilities outside of the home.
My daughter is 11, then I have a 6-month-old, then there is one on the way.

Maggie Gulen
Mother

She has a lot of things in her plate. However she’s managing it very good, beautifully. She’s doing everything in balance.

Silvia Jones
Daughter/Caregiver

As an only child I’m probably their main support at this point. There’s a huge amount of love, a huge amount of respect both ways.
And nothing beats being there for them in the end.

For more on family caregivers check out another story in this series.

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