Monday, June 26, 2017

A Grand Family

A year after Vicki Radavich’s father died, her mother, Vera, moved into Radavich’s home. Vera had health problems:  type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and vascular dementia, which falls under the Alzheimer’s umbrella.  

For Radavich, it was nothing less than an honor to care for her mother.  

“I am blessed with a very godly, compassionate, patient husband, who did not hesitate when the decision came to us,” she said.

The choice was clear, but complicated. The Radavichs lived with their daughter in a small threebedroom house in southwestern Greene County, in McLain. It was not practical for an additional person. Vera had a home to sell in Indiana, and her power of attorney had to be conferred with lawyers. Radavich left her part-time job and the family relocated to Lucedale.  

Radavich surrounded Vera with familiar things to help her feel comfortable in her new home.  

“In the beginning of our togetherness, we had to remind her often it was her decision to move in with us and to live in Mississippi,” Radavich said.

Prior, Radavich had made a vow to her father to never put Vera in a nursing home unless her safety were in jeopardy. She remained steadfast in honoring her mother. 

As her mother’s condition worsened, Radavich said taking care of another person was challenging; Vera’s needs usually ended up the priority. Sitting down for meals with family was impossible. Vera’s blood sugar had to be checked, her plate prepared, her insulin dose calculated, drawn up, and administered. An argument happened every single time about how much insulin Vera got as opposed to how much she thought was required.

Leaving the house was difficult. Had Vera forgotten her hearing aids, diabetic meter, testing strips, syringes, insulin in an ice-packed bag, sweater, and coffee in a travel mug? If not, the hunt was on, because she had no recollection of the location of the items.

Radavich could not leave Vera alone, even for an hour. There was an extra bathroom to tidy, extra laundry, appointments to be kept, and medications to manage. Conversations, special moments, and sleep were interrupted. Falls were a concern. Vera repeated things. Radavich said it was much like looking after a toddler.

Vera, now stays in bed 90 percent of the time. Radavich waits on her more, bringing her coffee and meals. A hired caregiver comes twice a week to help.

Radavich said her family is just one of many who deals with this. 

This devotion to honoring parents showed Radavich’s daughter, Morgan, that everyone has value and needs love, no matter the person’s age. Morgan saw family members take care of their own, and understood firsthand the realities of life. This important life lesson was taught by example.

“I love my mother dearly,” Radavich said, of why she could have done nothing less for the woman who bore her. “I hope, too, that should I need her, my daughter would do the same thing for me.” 

 
Mary C. Fairley is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a retired Medical Technologist. Mary is a devoted wife and mother. Her favorite role is grandmother. Mary is an avid baseball, performance dance, and soccer fan.

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