Handling Caregiving Responsibilities

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Several years ago, I became my elderly parents’ caregiver. My father had become ill with two blocked arteries, and while he was in the hospital preparing for angioplasty surgery, he went into a coma and an incubation tube was then inserted in his throat to aid his breathing. Some observers said, ‘his life is over.” However, the Intensive Care Unit Nurses and Physicians were dedicated to helping my father, and at the time, he was a strong-willed, 88-year-old man and eventually he recovered.

He was discharged from the hospital and returned home; however, due to his diabetes and his long inactivity while in the hospital bed, he developed gangrene in both feet. When he returned home, the many health problems and the long list of medications he needed required much effort in 24-hour care giving at home.

My father’s physician, Dr. Raymond Hoare, wisely recommended that his recovery would be better in the comfort of his own home, rather than in a rehabilitation institution. The INOVA Visiting Nurse we used, Liz Flemming, did a wonderful job training us on the proper care to assist my Father on his recovery at home, including wound care, physical therapy, medication reminders, etc.

Since he is legally blind and wheelchair bound, I needed help with 24-hour assistance, and I obtained my first copy of Guide to Retirement Living from the Arlington County Department of Aging in search for a home health care agency. Using the magazine, I located a wonderful, sincere caregiver. Her dedicated work assisting me has greatly contributed to allowing my parents to continue to live in their home, where they have resided for over 60 years, while recovering from back surgery, pneumonia, and other ailments and various difficulties over the years.

Other caregivers often approached me to help them bring their family member home after surgery and a long hospital stay. Through our experiences, we have developed into a home health care agency named Dependable Elder Care, Inc., and we are helping other families accomplish their desire to remain in the comfort of their own home as they cope with various health issues. As we train new caregivers, they care for my parents before we send them out to other families.

Now, my father is nearly 92 years old, and my mother is 82. They are happy to be in their home, where they are encouraged by frequent visits from neighbors, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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