Wanda from Iowa

I cared for my parents the majority of my adult life. My parents were older when they had my brother and I so at times it was like having three generations in one house as my father (Lumir) was born in 1910 and passed away at the age of 88. My mother (Dorothy) was born in 1923 and passed away at the age of 75. I lost them 13 weeks apart in 1999. My farther was a hard working farmer whose heart just gave up. Two weeks after he passed away, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer and it took her life 11 weeks later. We lived together on the farm and then I moved us into 1/2 of a duplex. I worked a full time job and would make sure they were situated for the day before leaving and then return home to care for them further. Making sure falling and fires were not an issue. It took a lot of patience and finding yourself now the parent and not the child but also the caregiver. Back in that day, I was too young for AARP and pretty much had no one to ask for assistance. It would have been nice to know of the programs that were and are available today for the caregivers to make things easier. Money was tight and had I of known that I could have been paid for being there for my parents all those years would have eased the burden slightly. I found out too late that there were programs they would have qualified for that would have brought in a nurse and food while I was at work instead of giving up lunch hours to come home and check to make sure they were okay each and every day. Found myself burning the candle at both ends and in the middle as well. I would not change anything that I did as they gave me everything they could growing up even though money was tight so the least I could do is make their golden years better. One thing I learned is to network network network. Someone knows somebody who knows of an agency that can help you keep your loved ones well cared for and allow you to only burn the candle from the top. Love them learn from them cause the day will come when you wish you could pick up the phone or go over and just chat. I am their child and they taught me what I needed to know and they live on through me.

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