Caring for My Aging Father

For the last four years, I’ve become more and more involved with assisting my father with doctor appointments, getting medications, errands, etc.  We have spent more time together over the last four years than I ever thought possible!  He lives alone in the same house I grew up in.  To be exact, he has lived there for 48 years.  The neighborhood is not what she used to be!  All four of us children wish he would consider relocating, but he doesn’t see any reason to.

He keeps busy with volunteering at his church five days a week.  He runs the print shop for the church and their school.  I’m really proud of him as he has had to learn and re-learn a variety of copy machines over the years as they have upgraded to newer models.  At age 77, he doesn’t own a computer nor has he ever; yet, he uses one at the church.  He has volunteered for 31 years now, and it’s good for him to have that outlet.

My mom passed away twenty years ago, and, to be honest, we weren’t sure how he might handle her death since he was so dependent on her for everything.  My dad doesn’t drive, so the transition was tough.  But, he has really flourished, and, overall is doing very well.

Sometimes the volume of medical appointments, etc. overwhelm me, but God continually gives me the grace and strength to endure.

I firmly believe in the Scripture that says, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land I am giving you.”  ~ Exodus 20:12

Ephesians 6:2 says it this way: “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise.”

One of the greatest blessings of living close to my dad again is when I watch my children honor their grandfather by helping him carry groceries in the house or pour him a Pepsi, etc.  They have watched me as I help to care for him, and they see how important it is to have a servant’s heart.  My dad contracted a severe case of bronchitis last October and was nearly hospitalized.  His breathing was fairly labored at times with wheezing.  He really scared me on more than one occasion.  Because of his age, his recovery period was prolonged.  I had him stay with us for a week, so I could keep an eye on him and ensure regular doses of antibiotics, etc.  He really enjoyed being surrounded by family and quickly adapted to the whole being “waited on” scenario.  🙂  The kids were wonderful during this time getting him soup, drinks and medication.  They knew how tired I was becoming and really stepped up to the plate.  I actually believe that his recovery period would have been even longer had he not stayed with us.

Last week, he called me on average 2-3 times every day!  We had to straighten some things out about a couple of his medications, but honestly, I was getting burned out fast.

I texted my siblings last week to remind them it was dad’s birthday and maybe they could give him a jingle.  I thought that might afford me a little reprieve.  However, during one of my near “burn out” seasons last year, I texted my siblings to see if they could call dad as I thought he was lonely.  (and it’d be nice to have a break from him needing me so much)  That was a mistake!  He loved hearing from each of them, of course; but then he felt obligated to call me to replay their conversations!  Alas, I shot myself in the foot again! 🙂

It’s a fine line caregivers walk,  the line between caring deeply and burn out.  He just wants to share life with me, and I understand that.  I really do.  It’s just sometimes I’m pretty well at the end of my rope of patience (and time).  That’s when I really lean on God and His grace.  I am, after all, still in human form.  I have my limits, as we all do.  How often I remind God of this!  To which I hear quietly in my soul:

“My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9 NLT)

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Caregiver

3 responses to “Caring for My Aging Father

  1. I can relate so well with your journey of care giving. I have been living with my parents for a year and a half caring for them at the expense of my husband 1500 miles away. My husband has been a trooper and very supportive of this situation.

    The story is really fascinating as I have watched God work through this situation. My Dad has 4 doctors that we were visiting once a month between visits in the ICU 3 times in 6 months. My Mom also had appointments with her doctors. Not to mention labs, x-rays etc.

    I am not sharing this to whine, complain or bring attention to myself. I share this to emphasize what a glorious, caring God I serve. I thank Him daily for being able to serve Him by ministering to my parents. He has taught me so much about Himself and shown me how much I am dependant upon Him.

    As time went by my Dad was doing great but then my Mom began having confusion issues and was unable to be trusted in the kitchen and taking her meds and such. Now my Dad will be having a liver biopsy for a mass in His liver. His health has declined a lot in the past 6 weeks. Each day I continue to look to Jesus for strength and guidance, leaning on His outstretched arm.

    Treasure every moment you have with your Dad, making memories for your lifetime and know that you are being a witness to His glory to those who are watching.

    God is in control so in every situation I TRUST. God bless you Amber.

    Continually seeking Him,

    Sharon

    ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
    Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
    Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ — Isaiah 41:10

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! Yes, the Lord has been teaching me much throughout this process. Praying for strength for you, my friend! It’s not easy watching your parents age before your very eyes, but God promises to never leave us or forsake us. May He undergird you with His strength as only He can.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s