We’re continuing our June Blogger Series and exploring what a day in the life of a long distance caregiver feel like. Today’s guest blogger is Chris, a full time long distance caregiver (not a LivHOME Caregiver or Care Manager) from Northern California We wanted to give you a glimpse into what a day in the life is like caring from at a distance.
Let’s hear from Chris:
Now that Mom is in a place where she is well cared for and we don’t need to worry, guilt is settling in. Not alot, but it lurks around the corner and in spaces unexpected. I don’t talk with Mom everyday right now. It’s challenging – I have about a 4 hour time slot within to call and sometimes I have work meetings or I forget. I need to be mentally prepped when I call her too. She is definitely better in terms of being happier, but the symptoms and the disease keep right on moving.
The other day when I called, Mom said she was wearing a sweater her Mom gave her. My grandmother died in 1996. Caught me slightly off guard, but I didn’t waver in my conversation with her. Mom also talks about Dad in the present tense, and when we get off the phone she reminds me to call whenever and to have the charges reversed. Our conversations are now about 10-15 minutes in length and Mom isn’t on repeat as much. Our topics are few – the weather, what I’m eating these days, I always tell her about the farmer’s markets, and if I’m happy and when I’m coming to see her next. She rarely talks about crochet unless I ask her. She has not left the memory care facility since she was placed there, now over 2 months ago.
And that was the last time I was home. I’m not sure the next time I will get to go back, and it’s not cheap – airfare, rental car, etc. Guilt: failed an obligation. Yep, it’s how I feel. Certainly not all the time, but it’s there. The days I’m unable to talk with her on the phone; the days when we do talk on the phone, her symptoms are worse and she asks me multiple times when I’m coming home.
Long-distance caregivers – we struggle with the spontaneous ability of dropping in on our loved ones when the time is convenient. Everything we do with our loved one needs to be planned out – the trip back home, calls on the phone. I’m a spontaneous person, and I love creating plans. So, I have my mom calls scheduled and get reminders on my phone, but still sometimes inconvenient. She’s getting her hair done, they are not done with lunch yet, can I call back in 15 minutes (when I have a meeting) and so on.
When those times happen, I whip out my pic of the 2 of us and remember some of the good times we have had, advice she has given me, the love we have, shed a few tears and know I will talk with her soon.
For more from Chris check out: http://twosistersandadementedmom-voyageur.blogspot.com/
Don’t forget to check out our first installment: A Day In the Life of Kirsty: HERE