Suzanne | Caregiver Action Network


Suzanne Van Wagenen
Caregiver Relationship: 
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My name is Suzanne. I am a 57 year old female caring for my 16 year old grandson and 96 year old mother.

My husband and I have had our grandson with us since he was born. He was on on medication for ADD for about 3 years, until age 12. He generally does fine now, but his intense and negative personality have been stressful for all of us.

Last year,at age 95, my mother came to live with us. Moving Mom from Florida to New York by myself was a nightmare. It was painful to have to sell or give away most of her belongings. She felt as though she had lost control of her life.

Last winter Mom had a urinary tract infection that landed her in the hospital. She came in worse condition than when she went in. Gratefully, we had a wonderful home health care team which worked with us to get Mom back on her feet.

There have been many challenges and changes for all of us. Mom had to accept the fact that she is dependent on me or others for just about everything. My husband learned to be patient and understanding when I get stressed out. My grandson has had to realize that he has to help himself more. I have had to "opt out" a lot and change my way of doing things so I could devote the time and energy to careing for Mom.

The Bible says we are to care for the widows and orphans. With His help, I am doing my best to do that. I have learned not to "expect" my children and extended family to help - that only leads to disappointment. I have learned that God supplies my needs through "unexpected sources" - The Office Of The Aging, friends, adult day-care. And I have learned that it is a privilege to care for my aging mother. My prayer is that her latter days will be better than her former days. My hope is that she will always feel loved and needed.

Wish List: 
1. Help on the weekend so that I can go to church or do something with my husband. 2. Help with cooking and housework. 3. I wish the government would recognize the plight of the caregiver as well as the person in need of care.