Looking after my mother proved to be both the most difficult and most rewarding thing of my life. We all get old, and I knew that Mom’s health would decline, but it all happened very suddenly and in a way I didn’t expect.
Mom’s stroke left her partially paralyzed. She was also afflicted with a condition called global aphasia, which affects the communication centres of the brain. For the first few weeks after the stroke, she could not talk and found it very difficult to follow instructions.
Therapy with a speech pathologist brought back a good portion of Mom’s abilities, but there was only so much that could be done physically. She would need a wheelchair for the rest of her life and no longer had the independence to feed, cloth, or toilet herself.
I have been self-employed and working from home for a number of years, so I moved Mom in with us. It was a big adjustment for both of us, and, rather quickly, I started having trouble keeping everything in balance.
Fortunately, Mom qualified for home care assistance and we soon had a PSW coming in every morning. This was a godsend for me because our worker arrived first thing to help mom prepare for the day. This involved getting her out of bed, dressed, washed (or bathed), and fed a good breakfast.
Having these tasks taken care of for me made all of the difference. In my profession, the morning is the busiest time, so it was very tough for me to allocate the necessary time to get mom going. Quite frankly, I was worrying that the situation would no longer be do-able as it was affecting my ability to work and earn a living.
Another very important benefit is that the PSWs provided additional company and friendship for mom. This became something she looked forward to every day and it has certainly enriched her life as a result.