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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Returning the Favor: When a Mother Needs to Be Cared For - Guest Article by Henry McCambridge

Returning the Favor: Guest Article by Henry McCambridge. When a Mother Needs to Be Cared For

With two young children and a wife in school, the thought of adding additional family members to an already busy household was the furthest thing from my mind. However, we didn't even hesitate when my mother's doctor suggested that she move in with us rather than continue living on her own. Being that she was living in a large two story home, the physician strongly felt that it was too much for her and was contributing excessively to her stress level. Her health is certainly not something that is of the greatest concern, and there luckily are not any severely debilitating illnesses or conditions. However, her arthritis is worsening and it makes it difficult for her to remain completely independent due to the fact that the risk for falls is significant.

Everybody always questions my wife and I about the sacrifices that we have had to make over the past couple years, but we honestly feel as though everything pales in comparison to the years upon years that my mother took care of me. The feeling of caring for a loved one is not something that can easily be explained, but it is perhaps one of the most rewarding opportunities an individual can ever experience. The children love having their grandmother close by, but don't always understand that she sometimes needs to be left alone to rest. The balance is something that has been difficult at times, but a strong and loving relationship has helped us all through the process.

One of the most significant sources of my stress was the fear that something would happen while I was away from home, and I found myself constantly wondering if my mother was okay. While she didn't require any constant medical attention and certainly didn't need to be babysat, I felt it necessary to arrange to have other family members or friends with her at all times. I admittedly never really gave any thought to how it must have felt to her, and we both continued on uneasy ground until we finally discussed it at length one day. The solution was relatively simple, and a medical alarm emergency response system has made it possible for both of us to have peace of mind while I am not home.

My mother loves the opportunity to watch her grandchildren and spend time with a family that loves her more than anything, but it is understandably difficult for her to give up her freedom and independence. Other options that were considered were a retirement community and even an assisted living home, but neither really seems to be necessary at this time. Decisions have already been made to hire professional assistance should we need to in the future, but all of us would like to avoid having strangers care for her around the clock. As long as my mother is happy with us and enjoys being with the family, we will make whatever arrangements necessary to ensure that we can continue to take care of her.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reeve Foundation Paralysis Community

If you are a caregiver, a concerned person, a relative or friend, or a person with paralysis, I recommend you visit the Reeve Foundation Paralysis Community , a social community. The website is part of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

You'll find News, Blogs, Forums, and question and answer sessions with Dr. Dan Gottlieb, a psychologist and mental health expert.

In the News there you'll find Francesco Clarke's new book, "Walking Papers." The book will let you know what it's like to be one of the spinal cord injured people using a wheelchair. What is it like to be in that person's mind and body?

The author writes "What does it feel like to be immobilized in this way? After seven years of being injured, I still find this so hard to describe. To put into words what it feels like to feel nothing is like trying to give a blind person an accurate depiction of what it's like to see. It's just so strange. "