Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Taking Care of Mom at Home

The Summer of the Ice Cream
By Guest Blogger: Henry Peter Gribbin

I am a home health care giver. I left my job and my life to take care of my 88 year old mother. She is riddled with arthritis and dementia, but she is a fighter, and over the course of these many months we have dodged many bullets. We are a team, and we manage.

Our main enemy is time. I try to fill in the hours the best I can. I try to overcome her sense of uselessness by devising little projects she can do. We also go for long rides whenever we can. For instance, every Sunday at 1 p.m. the two of us head out on the road. We started doing this in late spring of last year, and at the start we tried to go to the highest ground across the city trying to find the best views. As summer came on we changed our mission to find the best ice cream stand the city had to offer. I called our quest the "Summer of the Ice Cream."

But these little projects can only fill so much of the day. Like I said time, or too much time, is our enemy. We are lucky in that we have a big front porch. Our house sits atop a busy roadway so in the spring, summer and fall we utilize it to its full extent. Neighbors and family sometimes drop by to visit, not often enough for my liking (everybody is so busy these days, or so they say). But it is the winters that weigh down on us, and Pittsburgh winters can be long and hard. One can only do so many puzzles. One can only read so many books. But like I said, we are a team, and we manage. My only hope is that the next winter is a mild one.


  1. I never thought about the time aspect when it comes to being the person with dementia or for the person caring for the person with dementia. Thank you for sharing this story and might I suggest carrying on the food theme, only perhaps you need to find the best hearty soups, best hot drinks or pizzas for the winter months......

  2. Thanks, Beth, those are good ideas. I will pass them on to Henry. I never thought of this time aspect either.