Caring for a loved one? Take heart!
Julie Mantay, Barbara O’Brien’s daughter and caregiver, shares the strategies that helped her manage her mom’s heart condition. Maybe they can help you, too.
Put your mind at ease
“I had to work really hard at accepting that doing my best is all I can expect of myself, and that’s okay. And I consider it a gift to be able to take care of my mom. You can’t ever go back.”
Speak your heart
“We never know how much time we have. But when you have someone you love who is so sick, you know you might be running out of time. Say what you need to say. Tell them how much you love them, what their love has meant to you.”
Gather the support of family
“Caring for a loved one—it takes the whole family coming together. Watching me care for my mother, my sons learned compassion and how to care for the people you love. And I’ve got a very supportive husband, which is critical. Because at the same time I was caring for my mother, I was caring for my family. I always prayed for strength.”
Keep a notebook!
“I used a notebook to keep track of my mother’s medicines, including those she’d tried and couldn’t tolerate, as well as her doctor visits. I’d also log in Mom’s blood pressure, blood sugar [Barbara has diabetes] and weight—a gain could mean water retention and the need for a diuretic. Whenever Mom was in the hospital, if a doctor came in the room, I’d hand over the notebook and it told him everything Mom was taking and what she was allergic to—I didn’t have to worry about that anymore.”