(Editor’s Note: We welcome a new blogger today, Robin, who cares for her mom. You can connect with her on her profile page: @robincjsmom. Robin will write periodic updates and short stories about how she sees life on the Farm.)
I am a 25-year-old married mother of a toddling little boy. I am currently a full-time caregiver for my mother who suffers from dementia, TBI (traumatic brain injury), chronic pain and paranoia. My husband was teaching overseas when we decided to come home for a visit. On our visit home my mom was hospitalized. We realized then how much our lives were going to change. During a family meeting, we decided as a family to become my mom’s full-time caregivers and follow her wishes of not going to an assisted living facility. As we looked into places to live and what would be the best options, one of them was to start a farm and have my mom come live with us. Here I sit on the Farm.
My mom’s name is Joyce and she truly is one of the sweetest people I have ever meet. I am getting to know my mom each and every day. You see I haven’t always not know my “mom” or Joyce. I spent most of my life in foster care and in and out of group homes trying to chase down what county she happened to be living in then.
When I was 16, yes, 16 years old, I married out of the system and began a search for my real mother. I found my mom in a hotel room utterly confused about her surrounding and date and time. She convinced me she liked living like this. Days turned to weeks. Weeks turned to years and we stayed in close contact.
A few years ago I remarried to the man of my dreams and my relationship with my mom really started blooming. We began speaking almost daily. My husband landed a dream job overseas. My mom was getting care through IHSS and life seemed so simple.
Things started to get a little rough for my mom about a year ago when my oldest sister suddenly passed away. My mother dropped into a deep depression and has been trying to cope ever since. June of 2013 came and went and my mom had stopped calling again. I was a nervous wreck, but I am half-way around the world. What do I do now? So to be very honest I called APS. They found my mom living off of hot sauce and cooking oil.
Devastation, guilt, and anger filled me. How could I of let this happen? I knew it was too much for her?!
As APS and IHSS and county workers stepped in to help while there was no family in the U.S., I had no clue what to do. My husband and I had no way of knowing how bad things really were back in the U.S. We decided to take a trip home this January would get some more answers. At 25 years old I was once again faced with finding my mother.
I found my mom at her house with her IHSS caregiver that was an angel sent from above. THANK YOU CAROL! I spoke very briefly with Carol and told her to give me a ring if she ever needed me. Well lo and behold, two days later my mom had forgotten and took her night medication twice. Carol called and explained it was either time she went to a home or for us to consider talking with my mom about her joining our family.
So what did I do? CRY and cry some more. Eventually I got it together, looked up some houses in the local area and signed a lease. Not any lease but a lease on a seven-acre farm.
So this is really about a daughter wanting to get to know her mom a little bit more, understanding myself and the relationships that are important in life and all the fun animals that come along with the farm.
- Meet a Working Family Caregiver: Janet McCaskill (caregiving.com)
- New Study Shows The Stress of Working, Caring (caregiving.com)
- Why We Must Solve a Family Caregiver’s Greatest Challenge: Loneliness (caregiving.com)
- Video Chat: Managing Changes in a Caregiving Marriage (caregiving.com)