Your Stories: Caring for Parents

After her father died, Janet Martin's mother's one wish was to remain in the family home. Her daughter has been working along with her siblings to make that happen, even when that means personal sacrifices. She admits there are daily challenges, especially with the role reversal between mother and daughter. "I am the caregiver and she is the child. She has been in charge for so many years that she isn't about to give that role up without a fight," Martin said. "I just feel strongly that this is an opportunity to give back to a wonderful woman."

Leslie Robinson

Houston

Leslie Robinson's mother came to live with her and her son in November 2002 due to being ill and having "forgetfulness," which created the need for supervision. "Even though at the time I was beginning graduate school, I didn't hesitate once about her living with me," Robinson wrote. "I enjoy the caregiver role. I wouldn't have it any other way." Robinson's son and brother help out to alleviate some of the stress, although sometimes Robinson said she can feel overwhelmed, missing the mother she knew as a child. But she said the rough times are worth the time she gets to spend with her mother. "I feel that caring for your parent should be a family tradition and honored if possible," Robinson said.

Pam Ball

Kearny, Neb.
When her father had a brush with death in May 2001, Pam Ball, 54, decided to leave her life in California and move back home to Nebraska to "help my mother and my father enjoy however many years we could spend together with the rest of our family." As the oldest of four siblings, single and never married, Ball thought she could be the most help to her parents -- aiding with prescriptions, insurance, daily household operations. While she said she can get frustrated, she calls her time with her parents a blessing. "This is the absolute least I could give back to my parents, who made me what I am today," Ball said. "I am proud to be their daughter.

Marsha Staley

Selma, Calif.

Marsha Staley lived in Los Angeles for 25 years, but when it came time for someone to move home to help out her mother, she volunteered. "The main reason I came back was to make sure I had as much time as possible with this fantastic lady," Staley wrote. "She's the life of any party and if you met her you'd wish you were me." Staley said she misses Lakers' games and the 20-minute drive to the beach but will never be sorry for the time with her mom.

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