Caring for Our Ill, Disabled and Dying Loved Ones | BJ Gallagher

February 13, 2015 4:08 PM

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Caring for Our Ill, Disabled and Dying Loved Ones | BJ Gallagher

My 86-year-old mother has had Alzheimer's for about eight years now. Ten months ago she fell and broke her hip, requiring surgery, followed by two months in a convalescent hospital. While there she got so depressed she stopped eating, lost 16 pounds in eight weeks, threatened suicide, and pleaded incessantly to go home. There was nothing I could do about her Alzheimer's -- nothing I could do to heal her broken hip faster -- but there was something I could do to honor her only wish: I could take her home. So I did.

I hired four caregivers to take care of Mom in her home, making sure someone was with her 24/7. I was the fifth caregiver, working my regular shifts every week like the others. Mom was a fall risk so we had to keep eyes on her at all times. We cooked for her, took her to the bathroom, bathed her, ga...

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