On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Mom and Dad - Christmas, 2009

Mom and Dad – Christmas, 2009

Following is a three-sentence excerpt from my upcoming book, A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos:

I’m now in a situation shared by many Boomers. I’ve become my parents’ primary caregiver and have slowly reversed roles with them. Over the past two years, I’ve become the parent and they have become The Kids.

After Mom and Dad came to live with us, I often referred to them as The Kids, especially in my writing and also in our caregiver support group. It was meant as a loving epithet, and it seemed to be accepted as such. But this morning I was reading an article on AgingCare.com titled “14 Phrases to Live By in 2014,” and this one caught my eye:

Our parents are always our parents. No matter how helpless our parents become, they are not our children. Bodies may fail. Minds may deteriorate. Neither of these conditions erases the legacy of the elder’s life. Treating an elder with dignity will, in the end, help the caregiver as well as the care receiver if only because the elder will likely sense the respect and try to live up to it.

I did my best to treat Mom and Dad with the dignity they deserved as my parents and to make decisions based on what I thought they would want if they still had the ability to make those decisions. But because of my own feelings and frustrations, I might have been less respectful than I should have been. I mulled it over for a while and decided to ask my readers what you think.



A LONG AND WINDING ROAD, A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos will be released by Anaiah Press on July 1.

Comments on: "Caregivers, Respect Your Parents (My First Poll) | by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. After reading the article you just posted from, I found few other quotes for you to consider:

    “Try to express your needs in a way that leads to compromise and healing.” You found a loving expression that helped you keep a calm and caring perspective.

    “Once a caregiver resents the care receiver, the care receiver will nearly always sense the discontent and may feel that he or she is to blame.” Children resent their parents easier than parents resent their children, so, once again, you found a perspective that helped *you* acknowledge that tender love you felt for them.

    “Every situation is unique, so we aren’t in a position to criticize the decisions other caregivers make…” I think the author hit the nail on the head here, but this expert proved her own point (through you) by committing the very act she advises to avoid.

    I would love to know that my child loved me in the same my-life-is-yours way that I love her. Stop beating yourself up. You seem much too sweet to be made to feel so badly.

    • Jessica, thank you for you sweet and insightful comments. Caregiver guilt is difficult, especially for us recovering co-dependents. 🙂 No matter how well we do (or did) our job, we always find something about which to beat ourselves up. But someone like you who sees our heart helps a lot.

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