A day in a life of a caregiver

Saturday morning

7:00 a.m.

  • Rise and shine. Chances are my grandmother woke up at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. but because I would have had her sleep a bit later, she possibly slept through the night. Sometimes though, I’m in for a surprise and I have found her on the floor waiting for me to wake up to help her up. You see, there’s no guarantee she’ll sleep through the night. She may have to go to the bathroom, she have been woken up by a loud noise. Either way, she’ll get up to keep herself busy, unaware that it’s time for bed. And if she slips off the bed the wrong way either by trying to get up or sit down, the possibility of her falling is there. Once she’s up, we’re getting her clothes ready for the day.

7:30 a.m.

  • Bathroom break. Time to do the morning routine of bathroom break, disposing the used pull-up, doing a quick sponge bath (full showers, unless needed, are done every other day or every two days due to how traumatizing it is for her to take a shower or bath), washing her face and mouth, putting in the dentures, getting her dressed and ready for the day. Note that after every time she uses the bathroom, the bathroom is cleaned from the floor to the toilet to the sink.
  • Bedroom cleanup. My grandmother likes making her bed every morning so when there’s time, I help her make her bed before breakfast. Otherwise we wait until after breakfast.
  • Breakfast. My grandmother can be particular, but can’t we all be particular when it comes to food? She always needs her coffee but there are some days when the meal she loved last week all of a sudden disgusts her this morning. I like to give her a balanced meal without it being too much for her. A typical breakfast can either be silver dollar pancakes or eggs, one slice of toast with jelly and a side of fruit – usually 1/2 a banana. But again, sometimes she says the jelly is too sweet and all of a sudden hates things that are sweet or the toast itself might have raisins and all of a sudden she hates raisins. The point is, even meal time is an ever changing thing.

9:00 a.m.

  • Medicine/snack time. All of her meds get crushed and mixed with a pudding. She has the meds given to her this way to ensure she actually takes her medicine. Otherwise she’ll spit out the pills or just physically get angry and refuse to take anything.

10:00 a.m.

  • Bathroom break. You know the drill by now, don’t you?

11:00 a.m.

  • Exercises. At this time I’m actually taking 20-30 minutes to go through a structured workout with her from marching in place, raising her arms, walking around and having her sit down and sit up from a chair. This gets her moving her body in a way she wouldn’t otherwise but also to loosen up her joints.
  • Lunch prep. Depending on the day and her mood, the menu for lunch changes. I still try to keep it as balanced as possible but, again, she can all of a sudden hate something that she loved last week. It’s always great to have quick ready-made meals in the freezer for those finicky days.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

  • Lunch time!

7 thoughts on “A day in a life of a caregiver

  1. Thank you for this! I saw how difficult this was when I visited my aunt and uncle (they took care of my grandfather who had Alzheimer’s). But this post made me more aware of how many things need to be cared for, and the importance of motivation (be it for any job) and the need for well deserved wages… I could sense the exhaustion just reading this, I cannot imagine how tiring it would be everyday… you’re doing a great job! Being able to love your grandmother everyday amidst all of this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for following and reading! It is definitely tiring but it is definitely worth it. I guess, to a certain extent, it’s like what parents feel like raising children. And I just keep thinking, “what if it’s me in her shoes one day”, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow seriously reading all the things you have on your schedule everyday with your grandma is exhausting. I definitely don’t know how you do it. You truly have a heart of gold and so much patience. As I was reading I was suddenly reminded of how much you needed this trip right now. It’s a mental wellness trip bc you need a break and just be ‘Missy’ and ‘Missy and Alex’ right now. You are so strong. Can’t forget that you also have a senior diabetic dog to take care of too. I can’t even imagine. Fighting my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this post. My husband and I care for my father who is battling Stage IV Prostate cancer. He is now on hospice and we receive help from nursing staff 3 times a week. I admire your strength and your ability to take on each day with a fresh perspective. But I totally understand the days when it is tough just to get through each minute. I get it. I understand. And I will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for writing with vulnerability!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow! Good on both of you for taking on that level of care. It’s amazing how we can get renewed strength despite thinking we are at our lowest with nothing left to give. I wish the government would give us all more days of care from nursing staff. It’s great to have 3 days but seldom do people realize just how intense and draining (emotionally and physically) it is to care for a parent. You and your husband are beautiful souls indeed. Thank you for finding the time to read and comment. You all will also be in my thoughts and prayers. It takes a village, right? I’m glad to know we are not alone.


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