My mother has been losing her memory. I take care of her twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. She is bedridden now. My father died a few years ago, and she confuses me with him….

The occasional times when my aunt can take care of my mother so that I can get out of the house, I feel nostalgic because I think about the times when I was able to take my mother on walks.

I would like to continue doing that, but it is difficult. She weighs a lot, and I have back problems. Besides, she’s not always motivated for several of us to take her for a walk. It makes me sad not to be able to take her for walks or to go out on the patio.

Dear Friend,

What a good son you have been! No mother could ask for more. You have devoted yourself to taking care of her in the best way possible and to giving her a good life. You are truly fulfilling the commandment that says to honor your father and mother. In fact, not many adult children can measure up to what you have done.

Aging is not easy for the person who is getting older, nor is it easy for those who surround that person. Sons who were once carried in the arms of a parent now need to lift and carry that parent. Sons and daughters who were once fed by the parent, now must do the feeding. Children who were once taken on walks to get fresh air, now must be the ones to plan for the outings. It seems like everything has turned upside down.

We are glad to hear you say that your aunt occasionally helps so that you can go out to take care of your own business. It is crucially important that you develop a network of relatives and friends who can help, even if it is only for one hour, so that you can have some personal time. As much as you want the best for your mother, you must remind yourself that she is going to eventually die. (Unfortunately, it happens to all of us.) What will you do when she is gone? Will it be as if your life is turning upside down again?

Caregivers often neglect their own physical and mental health to care for the loved one. Therefore, we highly recommend that you look for social services in your community that can help. Ask your medical doctor for a referral to a counselor and/or a program for caregivers like you. Without professional help, you could become clinically depressed.

Please remember that even though your father died a few years ago, you still have a Heavenly Father who loves you and wants the best for you. He does not want you to burn out like a light bulb from too much uninterrupted caregiving. Instead, He wants you to keep yourself healthy in mind and body.

We wish you well,