Because I love her. That’s usually my answer.
Hello everyone! My name is Rita R. Almaguer.
I’d like to take a few minutes to formally introduce myself to the Keeping It REAL Caregiving family.
Who am I? I am the primary family caregiver to my 78-year old mother, also named Rita. This role consumes most of my time and energy.
My mother has a host of health issues. She suffers from diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy, has back and knee problems, and has fallen a few times. She is now also beginning to forget things.
This worries me, because my maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease.
My mother has always been very independent and strong, so we have decided to say I am her ‘assistant’ and not her caregiver.
But really, I am her caregiver, 24/7. Does this sound like you?
- I make all the meals
- Clean house
- Go grocery shopping and handle all other outdoor errands
- I take her to all of her appointments.
I have two siblings, but I am the one who helps mom. My siblings have told me that because they have families and I am single, it is my obligation to take care of mom. It is not always easy.
ICYMI … In case you missed it, check out the KIRC Blog: Vanishing Sibling Syndrome
The journey of ‘caregiving’ began long before taking on the role of caring for my mother.
I studied Child Psychology. I have worked with children since I was 16 in one form or another.
As a younger woman my mother studied nursing and later decided to volunteer and teach ceramics arts and crafts to Hispanic senior citizens. I would often help my mom and take classes right along with her.
It was during those classes that I would spend time talking with the other seniors, helping them with different projects and getting to know them.
Those were beautiful and rewarding experiences. Who knew those moments would one day help prepare me to deal with my parents as they aged; each with different and unique needs of care as the years passed.
ICYMI… Read more of Rita’s journey of care and the impact of losing her elderly father to Covid-19
My parents divorced 37 years ago and I have lived with my mother since. As my parents aged, I was able to see differences between my dad, who I saw occasionally, and my mom who I saw every day.
Because time passed in-between visits with my father, I could recognize my dad getting older. But I did not quite see my mother aging. Despite my experiences and knowledge from working with and around seniors, I was not fully prepared for this new chapter in both of our lives.
I am not the psychologist in this scenario – I am the loving daughter. That means sometimes I will make tons of mistakes but I take on the task of caregiving for my mother with lots of love and good intentions.
What to expect
As I join the Keeping It REAL Caregiving team, I will share my personal adventures and experiences with all of you. I hope that by doing so, you will be able to see yourself in some of my experiences, and realize, ‘Wow, that has happened to me, too,’ or maybe, ‘I didn’t think of that – good idea!’
Please know – I don’t have all the answers. I don’t think any of us do. Of course, when we are young we think we know everything. But as we get older we realize we don’t. And it is easy to sometimes feel like we are running out of time.
So as we all travel together through this journey called ‘caregiving,’ let’s continue sharing stories, experiences, information and support.
It won’t always be easy, but I think it will be rewarding.
Look for my stories here in the Keeping It REAL Caregiving Blog and the Keeping It REAL Caregiving Newsletter at Meta Bulletin.
Thanks and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!