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Reflections on caring responsibilities

I am what is commonly called part of the “sandwich generation”. My husband and I have two kids 19 & 16 years and I have a 90-year-old Dad. When my Mum died 8 years ago, my Dad was heartbroken but determined he didn’t want to go into an old age home. So, we compromised and moved him closer to us into an over 55’ers village with his own kitchen, so he could cook for himself.

Over the last 8 years he has gone from walking down to the local village, riding his bike for exercise and buying his own groceries to just sitting in his chair with me taking care of buying his food, paying his bills, taking him to doctor’s appointments, all while I am working for How Do You Do It as a facilitator and coach and caring for my own family. It has been tough. It is also very difficult to watch someone you love deteriorate and not want to engage with the world. We have now moved him into a high care retirement village as I can no longer do everything for him as he needs to be cared for 24×7.

If I was to reflect on what I would share with others who find themselves in my situation it would be the following:

  • I would have had more open communication with my Dad about what his options were going forward as he became more and more incapacitated before he got to the stage of dementia and couldn’t contribute to the decision making.
  • I would seek out earlier what government assistance was available, and not be precious about using these services to help care for my Dad so that I wasn’t doing everything myself.
  • I would talk to friends who have parents in a similar situation and share tips and strategies on how to navigate the way forward.
  • Being open and honest with your employer about your situation is also really important to relieve the pressure. Being a carer means that you often have to drop everything and just go and sort things out and if your employer is aware of this it will help you to feel more supported and less guilty.

My Dad is now happy in his retirement village which makes my siblings and I very happy as well.

Linda Martin
Australian Director
How Do You Do It

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