Guest Post by Liz Caston: Caring for the Elderly is Much Like Caring for Newborns

in Babies


I was born to be with babies!  Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you how much I love babies!  There was never any doubt that I wanted to be a  mom and have several children of my own.  Growing up, I always had a baby doll in my arms and as I grew into a young adult, those dolls became real babies.  Nephews and nieces came along and I loved taking care of them!  Neighbors would as me to babysit and caring for those sweet little angels came so naturally to me!  Before I was 30, I was blessed to have two beautiful babies of my very own; a son and a daughter.  I loved my new role as Michael and Emily’s mother!

Now I am 52 years old and my babies are grown.  I want to share something I came to realize as I was visiting with my 82 year old mother recently.  I was taken back to the days when I used to put bibs around my own babies’ necks.  You might ask, “Why?”  Now, as I visit with my mom in the nursing home, I am putting a bib around her neck to catch the food that does not quite make it to her mouth.  I help her with her drink as she struggles with the cup, just as my babies did so many years ago.  It is not just old age that has crept up on my mom.  It is dementia that has brought her to this place that not even I could have been prepared for.

As I have been on vacation, I take the opportunity to sit with her every day.  My thoughts are not only on my own mother, but on the many women and men that sit here day after day, most with the abilities of small children; or some just like infants.  I’ve come to the conclusion that what I see is so closely parallel to what my own mother did for me 50 years ago.  She took the time to bathe me, feed me, change my diaper, push me in my stroller, hold my hand when I was not steady on my feet, and lovingly tuck me in at night.  The care of the elderly is truly like caring for a baby.  When I kiss my mother goodbye and tell her that I love her, I can only hope that the person in charge of caring for her when I am not there, will do so with as much love and passion as I did for the little ones back when I was a young girl.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anne November 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

You totally have me tearing up…I never was as great with the littles as you, but you’re so right. It is a weird balance too as some elderly are with it enough that you don’t want to talk to them like babies, but they need so much care too.

And with my babies, I just want to hold them all day and never let them grow up!

Though, I do promise to wipe your chin when you need it too, ok? ;)

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