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Many People Helped Me Care for My Mother

“Many People Helped Me Care for My Mother” by Joan Y. Edwards

Mother and I traveled to many places together.

It takes many people to support you in caring for someone. Perhaps it’s an infant, a small child, a teenager, a young adult, a middle aged person, or an elder that you are caring for right now. You can do it. You can do it. I know you can do it. God will help. He will send people to help you.

Many people helped me take care of my mother. Perhaps in the hundreds altogether. I took care of her for 14 years total. God, St. Joseph, family, neighbors, friends, doctors, nurses, paramedics, hospital personnel, priests, ministers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, Certified Nursing Assistants, Social Services Adult Care, Caring Hands Agency, members of my critique group, and strangers. Thank you to all of the people who helped me. 

Carl and Joan Edwards

My husband, Carl was very supportive. He helped when Mother did not respond to me. She believed that the man was the most important thing in the world. One time when Mother passed out after a bowel movement, she wouldn’t answer me. I called several times, “Momma, Momma. Are you okay?”
No answer. So I said to myself, if I was a man, she’d answer

I hollered for Carl. “Carl, would you please come here and help me. Mother’s not answering me. I know she’ll answer you. You’re a man. Men can do no wrong.”

Carl said, “Sure.” He went to the bathroom and said, “Grandmaw, Grandmaw, can you hear me?”

Mother fluttered her eyes at him and said, “Yes.”

The doctor said, “Sometimes bowel movements can lower the blood pressure. Call 911 if she doesn’t respond or stops breathing.”

Back Row: Carl, Mollie, Mark, Lorrie, Kirstyn Middle Row: Joan, Wyatt, Kylie, Front Row: Mother, Luke, Kirk

My daughters, Lorrie and Mollie, and their families were priceless. They helped me by calling and visiting often. They were only minutes away when I needed them. They invited Mother, Carl, and me to join them for a week at the beach every summer. We had a great time being together.

My sisters, Judith and Janet.

My sisters, Judith and Janet came and relieved me for a long weekend or a whole week when their schedules allowed, usually once a year. Janet’s employers let her come to help me during Mother’s last three weeks with us. It was comforting to have her with me. My brother, Butch, called to check on us often.

Her niece, Susie and her husband, John Magoteaux came to visit Mother in 2006.

My cousin, Susie and her husband, John Magoteaux came to visit Mother in 2006.

Thurman Bruffey and my Mother in January 2009.

My cousin, Thurman Bruffey, called to check on us every week and visited once a year. Other family members and friends visited and called to check on us, too. I am very grateful for those phone calls and visits. They helped me know I wasn’t alone.

Barbara Walker helped me care for Mother from 2002-2009. We are still friends today!

After Mother’s hip broke in 2000, it was tricky figuring out what kind of help I needed for her so I could stay away over night. After trying for two years, I found CNAs who were willing to do private duty and stay overnight who bonded well with Mother and with me. They charged a reasonable rate. I left them directions, sort of like a lesson plan of care for Mother so they would know what she could and couldn’t do. They stayed with Mother one weekend every 6 months so that Carl and I could take off and have time together without responsibility. Barbara Walker was the first. Edwina Hayes was the second. They split the day up – 12 hours each. Edwina died 6 months before Mother. They were priceless. Barbara and I are still friends. Once every month or two, we eat breakfast at I-Hop and reminisce about the old times and help each other cope with the new times. 

Many times strangers came to my aid. When Mother’s hip broke and she fell in Dover, Delaware in 2000. They put a pin in her hip. She scooted along with her wheeled walker really fast at the hospital. However, at the rest stop in Virginia on the way home, she was very slow, perhaps slower than Tim Conway playing Mr. Tudball or the Oldest Man on the Carol Burnett TV show during the 1970s. I got Mother out of the car but it took her 10 minutes for her to walk from the side of the car to the sidewalk. The bathroom was at least 300 feet away. I called, “Sir, Sir, would you help me?” And a man helped me get Mother back in the car. She couldn’t even move herself across the seat! We put her on a blanket and he pulled her across the seat. We finally got all of her in, rested her head on a pillow, and closed the door.

Another time I used the “Sir, Sir” technique was when Mother wilted on me right before we were going to leave to go to her favorite Fireside restaurant in Matthews, NC. I couldn’t get her up. I went outside and saw a Duke Power meter reader crossing my front yard. I said, “Sir, Sir, would you please help me?” He asked me what I needed and helped me get her up into a chair. After I asked her name and when she was born, she smiled and said, “Are we going to the Fireside now?” We did.

I am very thankful that these people were willing to help me. They were loving and caring. Thank you for the times in your life that you take care of others. You may be caring for infants, young children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged people, or the elderly.

Calls and visits from family and friends are appreciated. Your help in crisis to family, friends, and strangers is essential in our world. Thank you. You are God’s answer to many prayers. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading these stories from taking care of Mother. I know you have stories to share of taking care of others, too. I hope you’ll share them with me in the comment area or by email to joanyedwards1@gmail.com/. I wrote Joan’s Elder Care Guide to help people who are caring for the elderly. This book will also help you in caring for people of all ages because it helps you focus on what is needed for both you and the person in your care.

One of the 16 Reviews on Amazon for Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive by Joan Y. Edwards.

 ***** Must Have Book! Review by Shawn Simon

Joan’s Elder Care Guide: Empowering You and Your Elder to Survive, by Joan Y Edwards, is a comprehensive handbook for those who are taking care of or may need to take care of an elderly person. So often when one becomes a caregiver to a parent or other relative, they are not at all prepared for the job at hand. Being unprepared can cause stress to the caregiver and to the person being cared for.

With Joan’s handbook, this stress, frustration, and exhaustion can be relieved. There is advice for how to handle emotions that are sure to arise and for making sure to provide social outlets for your elder, and so much more. From first deciding the best location for your loved one to the end of life discussions, this book has it all. The book even provides checklists to use and a whole host of resources!

Of essential importance, is making sure your own needs are met. We often forget to care for ourselves when we are caring for a loved one. However we are no good to them, if we are not good to ourselves. What is sometimes difficult to think about are the financial issues to consider after your loved one has passed. Joan’s book discusses how to best handle wills, trusts, estates, and more. There is even a section on grieving our loved one.

I especially love the anecdotal stories she shares about her time caring for her feisty, witty elderly mother. Her experiences are what prompted her to write this book. She realized how much she needed to consider before deciding to provide full-time care for her mother. There did not seem to be a comprehensive guide to help her, so she decided to write her own. This is a book everyone should have if they may ever need to care for an elderly person. Joan Y Edwards has thought of everything!

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
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