Wynn Helms, M.A.


Caregiver's Journal

He had no words. Just silent paralysis. 

There is only one way for him to rid himself of the silent ache and that is to “re-enter life” outside the dark, confining house that he shares with his father.

Re-enter “life”. 

What does that even mean? Meet-up groups? Friends have said, “Go find a group with similar interests.” If he knew his interests, he would find interesting people on his own. “Go online…” iss generally the next suggestion. Online dating: The most popular bastion of social communication. Nah. He isn’t quite ready to share his “digit-talia”. Not yet. For now it would be caring for his father, tolerating his father’s bird and chatting with him—and the bird—during Sunday’s Meet the Press. 

He isn’t ill. He simply doesn’t have the ability to do basic things like remember a recent conversation or drive to the store. The good news: he is healthy for an 86 year old man. He loves his father so why was this “good news” so troubling—all consuming—tiring—guilt laden? The question itself makes him numb.


The hard facts about elder care. 

But it’s mostly questions. I can’t think of anyone I know who doesn’t ask questions about their own mortality, particularly when looking into the eyes of a parent. Speaking for myself, my mother can be the mirror of my soul. Sometimes I am amazed at the beauty I see there and other times I am deeply saddened by the reflection. Sad for her inability to recall the past? Sad for my bittersweet remembrances? Maybe both. And what about the guilt? For wanting to stay away from home; for not wanting to explain it 5 times; for raising my voice when I’ve explained it 5 times.; for thinking the unthinkable. So many questions that have no concrete answers.

How did I get this responsibility?

Elder care requires self-care.  It’s easy to say and not easy to do and definitely not easy to do alone. I’m here and can help. Reach out to me and we’ll explore your concerns together. 

Wynn Helms