The words of many family caregivers I have visited came flooding back, as I lay on my back wedged in my mom’s new bathroom vanity. I was tightening the last of the connections for the new sinks I just installed. Caregivers frequently speak with tears in their eyes as they voice their frustration and exhaustion of juggling two households while trying to honor the requests of their parents. Too often the requests for minor maintenance and remodeling are the tasks that are the tipping point of weariness for many that are working and still raising children at home.

 

This generation is the War Generation, responsible for the suburbs, neighborhood schools and parks.  Homeownership is a symbol of success. They grew up in the depression, were resourceful, and paid cash for most purchases. They took care of all they owned and performed most of their own repairs.  Now their home is where they want to remain. For many, utilizing the reverse mortgage program, their home may help finance the remainder of their years.  Understanding this  about this generation explains the focus of the  requests surrounding issues of their home.

 

The appreciation of their home and desired to maintain its value does not decrease with age. Decreased mobility and limited transportation forces many aging seniors to remain at  home for the majority of their day. A local business specializing in barrier free living for aging in place really describes it best with the company’s name, “Remain Home”.

 

Sometimes, for the caregiver the thought of tackling another project is more time consuming and exhausting than getting them accomplished. Discussing needs for home maintenance and improvement may help strike a balance for time line, resources, and scope of project   In the past few months I have helped my mom with a few home maintenance projects. I will admit, worrying about how I was going to get these done wasted much more time than completing the  tasks themselves.

 

My mom recently asked me what she did to deserve my help. Well, besides the standard answer that along with my dad, she raised me with Christian values, paid for my education, and put up with my; how about all the hours of babysitting, all the piles of clothes that were folded, all the birthday cakes that have been made, and most importantly her unconditional love?

 

I still have the jobs of caulking her shower and repairing the tub, and then there still is her kitchen floor to retile. All will be done somewhere between her timeline and mine.

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