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I’ll never forget Mother’s Day 2016. The day that my job as a Caregiver would start.
The look on my Mom’s face asking me to stay at the hospital with her that night, as she was scared, will forever be a part of me. The sadness in her eyes when the Doctor asked where she wanted to live upon being released with Hospice care….and she said, “I’d like to go live with my daughter Nichole.” That moment changed my life.
I don’t think you can ever fully mentally prepare yourself for being an in home Caregiver to a parent. I never imagined that I would be the only family member taking on that task of caring for my Mother. She was only 52!
My Mother craved her independence. It was hard for her to accept help. It was hard for her to feel like she should be the one in training pants and not my toddler son. I remember a fit of rage one night, she fell asleep in the tub and kept the water running. My whole hallway was flooded! I was throwing bookcases out of the way, books, and grabbing every piece of fabric I could to dry it up. Yet there she was, so fragile, just wanting to stay warm in the tub. In that moment, I knew she was not going to recover.
As time went on through June, she had her good days, where we could go to a store together. Then the bad days, where I could barely sit her up to take her medications. It became a task to try to make sure she had been using the bathroom. Some mornings, I walked into urine soaked clothing on the floor. She didn’t make it to the bathroom in time and needed me to clean up everything.
I learned through the last two months of her life what it was to give dignity to a parent in their time of need. No matter how stressed I had become, how sad I was, and how tired I was, my Mom needed me in those moments. A nurse was not always available to give a suppository or give a shower.
It was one thing to be changing diapers on a toddler but I had to find a way to give my Mom dignity while also allowing me to help her stay clean and dry. It’s no joke that bladder leakage, also known as incontinence or loss of bladder control (LOBC), affects up to 25 million Americans each year, though only one in eight are diagnosed. Absorbent protective hygiene products designed by Prevail help support the lifestyle of anyone with bladder leakage, because this condition can affect anyone, at any stage of life.
I am very excited to find out about Prevail® Air™ from Prevail which offers a Doublesorb layer using a dual core system with a lower storage core to lock up moisture and keep it away from skin. They use breathable material to prevent any leakage the absorbent core may not retain, and allows air to circulate through without letting moisture escape. This product is just what she needed. It would have allowed her to not wake up in soaked clothing. She felt so embarrassed if I had to clean up in the morning.
Once I realized that most of her sadness was from embarrassment, though she knew she was not healthy, it made things a bit smoother for both of us. We were both in emotional states of distress but found that planning dinners together, eating dessert first, and finding comfort in quality time with our pets was key to this transition of her living here. My dogs, quickly became her dogs. My son and her were inseparable.
Her biggest fear was being placed in a nursing home or Hospice House. I vowed to keep my promises to her and she in turn made me a stronger person in those last two months. If you are caring for a parent who is ill there are a few tips I can offer from my experience to mentally try to absorb what is about to happen.
- Know that accidents happen and finding a solution like Prevail® Air™ helps not only for the urine accidents but also the bowel leakage that could occur due to medications.
- Plan fun things, even if stuck at home. Movie nights, cookie decorating, coloring in adult coloring books, and just talking. There were times we finally shared stories with each other that I cherish more than ever now.
- Don’t tell them what they are to be doing, they are still the adult! Give options; dinners, daily activities, let them choose if they want morning or afternoon nurse visits.
- Keep things light hearted. They may forget things, they may sleep all day, they can’t fit into your schedule as you would like, this is not what they chose from themselves, but they have entrusted YOU to care for them.
- This is a huge responsibility and one that is not to be taken lightly. Your parents took care of you and if you get the opportunity to provide comfort and care, it will be a journey you both will never forget.
- Ask questions. This is new to you probably, ask questions to Doctors, Nurses, and anyone involved with the decision for you to be a caregiver.
- Patience. When all else fails, take a deep breath. Think of the best course of action. Then proceed.
While I miss my Mother every single day, knowing I made her comfortable and gave her dignity to feel comfortable when friends visited, is something I will forever be thankful for. A few months after she passed, I found this under her bed in my home. The plaque to this day, gives me strength. I know if ever presented with the opportunity to be a caregiver for another family member, I am ready.
While one item from Prevail might have been great for us, they also offer an assortment of products for both men and women to suit the needs of those you are caring for. Find more Prevail products here.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.