CALIFORNIA CAREGIVER shares her journey: KIRC welcomes a new voice

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.

Rita Almaguer (Left) & family

Let me explain. My mother has a host of health issues. She suffers from diabetes, arthritis, neuropathy, has back and knee problems, and has also fallen several times. She is now 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 any of this sound like you?

  • I make all the meals

  • Clean house

  • Go grocery shopping and all other outdoor errands

  • Take her to all of her appointments.

I have two siblings, but I am the one who helps mom. My siblings have told me since they have families and I am single, it is my obligation to take care of mom. I think they should help more, but… It is not always easy.

Rita Almaguer/Family Caregiver

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Our journey

My journey of ‘caregiving’ began long before 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 along with her.

During those classes, 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 lessons would one day prepare me to deal with my aging parents; 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:

Covid-19 took my father’s life: Statistics and insensitive comments from Covid-19 doubters hurt just as much as losing dad

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 that my dad was getting older.

But I did not quite see my mother aging. Something about being so close all the time. Even my experiences and knowledge from working with and around seniors did not prepare me for this new chapter in both 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.

In this together

Rita Almaguer/Guest Essayist Keeing It REAL Caregiving

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 offering mutual support.

It won’t always be easy but I think it will be rewarding (much like caregiving)!

Look for my stories at:

Keeping It REAL Caregiving Newsletter

Keeping It REAL Caregiving Blog.

Reach me by email me with the subject line: Caregiver Rita at: [email protected]

And find me on Social: