A Guide to Caring for Aging Family Members

Lake cabin

Katie planned our getaway vacations. She understood the need for respite.

I met Katie in the mid- 1990’s’s. At the time, I was teaching in an adult learning center. Some of our students were participating in an adult high school diploma program, and one of their competencies was to become certified in CPR.  My husband suggested I ask the wife of his co-worker to teach the class.  Katie is a nurse, and always willing to volunteer her time to help others.  With her guidance, my students all passed with flying colors.

Shortly after this time, we began to socialize with Katie and her husband, along with another gentleman from the work group and his new wife, Judene. (Both Katie and Judene had caregiving experiences and were contributors to “What to Do about Mama?”  These are the fictional names I used for them in the book.)  For future reference I will refer to the three couples as:  Barb and Dave, Katie and Sam, Judene and Manny.

We three couples would get together for dinner and games. Katie LOVES to play games and can get quite competitive (and so can my Dave, who generally expects to win).  On a couple of occasions, Judene threatened to end the game if “the children couldn’t play nicely.”

Katie and Sam owned a time share and got a good deal every fall at a resort four hours south.  We rented a townhouse apartment together and had days of fun exploring, hiking, golfing—and of course, dinner and games.   Katie was the driving force behind all of this—our own personal activities director.

When my mother-in-law moved in with us, Katie moved into overdrive to make sure David and I got away for vacations. In addition to our fall resort trip, she planned a 2008 trip to New Hampshire, where we rented a bungalow on a peaceful lake.  We kayaked and fished, and took a drive to the top of Mt. Washington.  The following year she arranged a trip to the Finger Lakes, not only for fishing, but to visit the wineries—a passion of my husband, David.

Katie was the driving force behind these vacations. She knew how much we needed to get a break from our caregiving situation.  She knew neither my husband nor I were going to get up the gumption to do this for ourselves.  Katie and Judene were always there to listen to me and to give me their love and support.  They both understood, because they had both been caregivers.

I will love them always, and I will do whatever I can to give back.

Sadly, the time has come…..

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Comments on: "Forming Friendships: Katie’s Story, Part Two." (2)

  1. I am sorry you have to give back to Katie in this way. But what an advocate you have been for her and your determination to see she has good, appropriate care speaks volumes to your love for her.

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