My husband Marty and I live in Indian Mound, TN on some beautiful property my sister owns. We have a plant and herb nursery. Along with that I write articles on herbs and healing therapies.
What most people do not know is how many years on the side, I worked as a professional and private care giver. Those years were the hardest, most heart wrenching, but most rewarding of my life. The ghosts of the people that passed on haunt my dreams and heart. This blog gives voice to their lives and their stories.
My professional experience as a care giver
In the 1980’s was my first experience with agony of the legal aspects of care giving. This couple had no children and were aging. I became friends with the man who was a writer and his wife. He had some paralysis and she was losing her memory. They decided to move into a nearby assisted living/nursing home facility. It was only a few weeks later that bills were not getting paid, there were complaints about their little dog and her memory getting worse. They asked me to become power of attorney for them. That resulted in trying to get them better care from the staff, fighting the staff on everything from cockroaches to flooding of their room. She lost her eye due to infection from flies. She was overdosed on sleeping medication twice. I moved her to the only nursing home in the whole area with good reports after her husband passed away. I could not get them to move while he was still living despite the bad care they were receiving.
IN 2000, I was running a paper which ended due to a company take over. With no income coming in, I applied for my first care giving job with an agency. During the eight years that followed I took care of patients from different agencies, several private jobs, and as a private care giver in a expensive assisted living facility. What I saw and experienced during those years tore my heart apart from violations in the nursing homes to the general treatment given elderly patients that cannot speak for themselves in many cases.
In 2004, I met my husband whose father was a retired Navy commander His father was a pistol even before dementia set in about 2012. He was a man who demanded things be done his way or the highway. When he issued a no, there was no discussion. He had been drinking all his life, hard drinking. He had been a pro golfer and could still play an amazing game of golf up to several months before he died in 2018 at 94 years old.
In 2015 we took him back here to live with us in TN. He lived with us for a year, then we moved him to his own apartment with myself as his care giver.
In 2018, that became a full time job for me until 5 weeks before he passed away. Those 5 weeks in the lock up unit of the dementia ward still trouble my heart. His father dying taught me the harsh realities of care giving from the legal view and the emotional view of taking care of family members. Taking care of family, is a whole different view than taking care of a patient through an agency.
So much needs to be told to you the family who is contemplating what do we do with our parents as they age.
Google Kate Freer, the herbladyisin to check out my online presence.
Visit my blog on adaptogen herbs for health and longevity below:
My published articles on herbal therapies and health are located below: