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    • #31483
      Jen Cueva

      As y’all know, our amazing moderator, @colleensteele, has been on vacation for a few weeks. I am proud of her for NOT checking in on the forums. She needed some time away and had her hands full with her parents on her trip back home to NJ.

      Welcome back, Colleen! You were missed greatly and are loved. We look forward to hearing some more about your trip back home once you rest up a bit.

      How can we best support you as you return home and any plans to return to NJ shortly?

      I am sending you lots of positive vibes, thoughts, prayers, and hugs. Of course, sending an abundance of love your way, too.

    • #31492
      Colleen Steele

      Thank you, @Jenc and everyone for your thoughts, prayers and messages while I was gone.

      Just to update everyone. A few weeks ago I left for NJ to visit my parents. The night before I arrived my mom took a bad fall and broke her sternum. There are also indications that she is starting to struggle with either dementia or Alzheimer’s.

      Needless to say, there was a lot of caretaking to be done and during that time I was teaching my dad how to safely and effectively help mom when I am not there. But he is up in age and has his own health concerns so I am worried about him too. I hope to return before the end of the year and make it an extended visit to care for them and make decisions that will be difficult for my parents to make.

      But on another note, I really missed all of you! I am trying to catch up with everyone. If there is anything important that has happened to you over the past few weeks please update me. My concern and support will continue for all of you!

      • #31510
        Jen Cueva

        Hi @colleensteele, I am so happy to have you back. Of course,. I hate that your mom had that fall, but so happy that you were there to help. I know that you are a natural caregiver and an awesome daughter.

        You are such a blessing to so many others; you truly make a difference. Please do not forget to rest some and take care of yourself. This is a ton to add to your plate.

        As you know, Kayla is an only child, and I pray that she will not need to take care of me. But, I know that is also natural as a daughter and only child for the most part.

        But you go above and beyond, love you bunches, @colleensteele.

        • #31528
          Colleen Steele

          Thank you @Jenc . I have no doubt that your daughter has and will continue to take care of you. When you are raised by a loving and caring mother such as yourself, it only feels natural to want to nurture you in return.

        • #31545
          Jen Cueva

          Aww, you are so kind, @colleensteele. Thank you for your love and support always.

          Yes, she is pretty loving and caring, and I remind her that I am OK. Lately, she has been calling me daily; we have been counting down the days for 2 weeks, hehe.

          I have no doubts; she and my “son-in-love” are both so loving and concerned about me all of the time. He was such a blessing to come into our family.

    • #31498
      Roger Bliss


      Welcome back!! I kinda know what you are going through. My Dad had dementia, broke his hip and ended up in a nursing home. Mom couldn’t take care of him anymore and barely could take care of herself. I am an only child and my parents were in NY, I am in Alaska. I ended up hiring people to go in and help my mom out. I went back to check on them when I could.

      I went through a lot of guilt, thinking I should be there full time to help them, but I couldn’t. They both passed away in June of ’94 about 2 weeks apart. I think of them often and would give anything to have them back. I am glad I will never have to go through that again……wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Our son is an only child living in Oregon and may have to go through it with us……I hope not.

      I came to the conclusion that I could only do so much. I hope you don’t beat yourself up too much wishing you could do more.




      • #31511
        Jen Cueva

        Hi @wheeldog, my heart aches as I know that guilt can take a toll. I am not an only child, rather 1 of 3 girls, but I am the “caregiver” for most of the family.

        My parents both live in Mississippi. I am in Texas, not as far, but that trip is often difficult for me. When my stepfather was started on hospice during COVID, it tore me apart that I had to help over the phone. Thank God they had an awesome care team of nurses and home health aides.

        I am grateful that I was with him at the bedside along with mom when he took his last breath in March. I often feel guilty for not being there more for my mom and dad now. But I do call and check in on them often. I make my dad’s doctor appointments and, at times, refill his meds over the phone. I am better now about the guilt.

        But, my hubby and I plan to relocate eventually. That will probably be long-distance, so that again, I am holding off a bit. But as you mention, there are a variety of options. Hiring some in-home care, either part-time or full time can be a huge help. Thanks for sharing; what an awesome son you are.

        • #31532
          Roger Bliss

          My wife’s mother had dementia and her father was diabetic. My wife had 2 brothers back in NY to look after them. One SIL jumped in with both feet to deal with it. While we didn’t agree with everything she did…..we shut up as we couldn’t do it. Her mother was in a nursing home pretty much a vegetable and her father didn’t do a very good job of taking care of his diabetes. They both were in pretty rough shape.

          We did have to laugh when things backfired on her. The wife’s father and brother had the same first name……Jr….Senior deal. The SIL thought the old man shouldn’t be driving and went to his doctor and got paper work to take his drivers license away and turned it in to the authorities. A couple days later the cops showed up at her house and took my wife’s brothers license away.  It took a while to straighten that one out.LOL


      • #31527
        Colleen Steele

        @wheeldog you have no idea how much I appreciate your comment. And guess what…I am an only child too! You caught me feeling guilty. It’s so hard not too. Thank you for sharing your experience and for making me feel less alone with this challenge.

        • #31533
          Roger Bliss

          Your right it is tough not to feel guilty. It sure bothered me a lot. You are a care giver to your kids and are trying to help your parents too. If you try and do too much you will end up needing a caregiver. I’m sure it has probably been discussed on here about how the care givers need to take care of themselves. If the stress gets to you and you get sick…….who is going to take care of everyone else???

        • #31546
          Jen Cueva

          Wow, @wheeldog, not such a funny story until I got to the end, LOL.

          As Roger reminds you, who will care for you and everyone else if you are sick? @colleensteele, Roger is right; you are not only a caregiver for your boys, your husband, and your parents. As you remind me all too often, you need rest and care, too.

          I would guess, Cullen, he is flipping the tables, and I am happy that he “hounds” you until you get the care that you, too, need.

          As an only child, I cannot begin to imagine the guilt eating at you. I deal with that myself, and I have 2 sisters. But, it will also eat at you until you get sick.

          Please take care of yourself and know I am here anytime, just like you are for me.

          Thank you, Roger, for that reminder. My grandmother is bedbound and has Dementia, my mom is there taking care of her, and she won’t leave her now. She has hospice care but being the only girl, and my mom promised my Pawpaw when he dies that she would take care of her. I remind her that does not mean that she can not get her brothers and their families to help. They all live within 20 minutes from my granma’s house.

    • #31555
      Colleen Steele

      Thank you @wheeldog and @Jenc for your kind words and concern. I have preached to so many about caring for the caregiver but if I were to grade myself on it I would probably average a C.

      Mom hasn’t officially been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s yet. Her first neurologist appointment is in October…if I can get her to keep it. Both her family doctor and my dad have said they have noticed memory changes in her as well.

      But she hasn’t moments, even days of clarity that make me question if I am making wrong assumptions. But then I’ll mention someone she should remember and the long pause on the other side of the phone says it all.

      I hope when she sees the doctor she receives a proper diagnosis and if needed, a treatment to help slow the progression.

    • #31564
      Susi Steppins

      Welcome back @colleensteele .

      That must have been quite a shock to think you were going for a visit and then have it turn into an emergency like that.

      So sorry it turned out that way.

      So glad you were there for your parents though.

      They are lucky to have such a caring daughter.

      Hope your mom’s healing is quick and that all is well for both of them and for you too.

      You had your son with you while you were there, right?

      It must have been nice to have him there for some support.

      Brad and I are leaving next week for a trip to California to finalize my MIL’s move into an assisted living facility.

      We have to clean out her apartment, (that has about 60 years of accumulated stuff) before the 5th of September.

      She was in a bad car accident last August that permanently disabled her and she is no longer able to care for herself.

      My husband is an only child so it is quite a job.

      She is 83.


      • #31570
        Colleen Steele

        @s-steppins my youngest son was with me for the 1st week then he had to return home and work. It was a huge comfort to have him there at least for a while. He jumped right in and helped in whatever way he could.

        I remember your mentioning that your MIL was in an accident but I didn’t know the decision was made about the assisted living. I’m an only child too and it’s so hard being the only one to make decisions and taking care of things. My mom is also 83 but dad is 91.

        My parents home is way too big for them and filled with beautiful memories that is going to make clearing out their home (if I can convince them it’s time to do that) very difficult.

        As you and your husband go through the process I would appreciate any tips you learn along the way…How you went about getting rid of things by either selling, giving away or tossing. And how do you keep big or small items that your MIL isn’t keeping but you will be taking…back to your own if in another state? For me it will be from NJ to WA.

        I will be thinking of you next week. If you need a break during that time and want a place to relax and/or vent, you know where to find us.

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