Caretaker; A Daughter’s Story- Me at 55, Dad at 90

senior and care taker

Anyone who has lived long enough to become the caretaker, either managing the affairs or daily life, of an elderly parent, also has been greatly influenced in their development, from infancy, childhood, adolescence and adult, by the parent child relationship which is now in its final phase in this lifetime.

Observe yourself carefully now if at times you feel similar frustration in your relationship to dad or mom now, as you did forty or fifty years ago.  Open yourself to finding new answers to old problems within your own heart.

Since age 10 I understood and was told by my dad, about his guilt feelings for not following the career path his father intended for him. Firsthand, I knew my dad handled his guilt by turning it outward onto me, imagining that I was not trustworthy of following through on almost anything.

Despite my outward success from working diligently in school and career, also being sensitive to pleasing others, I always felt insufficiently loved by my dad.  This pattern was locked into most of my adult ways of relating to others.

One day, my father, and I were in the lobby of his Assisted Living Facility. He was clear minded and physically frail, almost always utilizing a wheel chair.

I managed his affairs and on this particular day needed him to sign a document. He hesitated to do so, glanced at the front desk receptionist, who was near enough to hear our exchange. For a few moments, she watched our exchanges.
Then, in a strong and caring voice, she suggested, “its ok, Mr M, to trust your daughter. She loves you and is taking care of you.”  Once she gave her suggestion, he signed the paper.

For a few seconds I felt disheartened again by my sincere efforts being rejected by my dad.
Then, I saw the absurdity of my dad’s locked pattern to trust an outside authority instead of a trustworthy family member.

This was his childhood re-enactment of following a parental authority, and closing off intimacy with himself.
Fifty years of my own self-doubt of being worthy of love, believing I needed to prove my worth in order to be loved, all surged to the surface and washed off me.

In time following this incident, I learned to love myself for who I am, not for what I do. I learned to love my dad for all the love he was able to give.

If you ever are involved closely with one of your elderly parents, in addition to fulfilling a sense of duty, consider your unique lessons on who you are, how you became who you are. You may find some key insights of your deepest awareness.

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About Sherry Katz

Sherry Katz, LCSW is primarily a couples therapist who counsels partners and individuals of all adult ages, in relieving tension and unhappiness in their relationships. The spectrum of care in her practice includes recuperating from infidelity, clarifying and strengthening trust and communication, restoring and developing common ground for a relationship. Ms. Katz has a secondary practice interest in helping family members align themselves in response to caring for elderly parents, especially a parent who has Alzheimer's Disease.Old Stories, New Views Family Therapy

One thought on “Caretaker; A Daughter’s Story- Me at 55, Dad at 90

  1. elainecp

    Sherry, Nice article. I both laughed and cried reading your post. I’ve sooooo been there.

    I’m Elaine Pereira, author of “I Will Never Forget” the featured book on Family Affaires right now, my mother’s story although really it’s everyone’s story!

    I donate from book sales to support Alzheimer’s. “Help Me Help Others. Buy a Book!”


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