nurse helping senior webAnna came to the United States around the turn of the century with her family when she was four years old. She was not old enough to be fearful of her new life away from Italy, but she knew things had changed. Children at school, and even teachers, laughed as she struggled to speak English. Eventually, she learned and found her way in life, marrying a first generation young Italian. The experiences molded her character to being strict and serious.

The young couple settled down and had three children. Father had a good paying sales job and life was typical for the family. The children grew up, started families of their own and moved away, only coming back and engaging on a regular basis when the aging couple’s health began to fail. Or at least, I did. When my father had a stroke and it became obvious that my mom, Anna, had dementia, my two older brothers relegated all responsibilities for decisions and care to me. They were devastated, and so was I, but I was forced to take the lead. I had a family of my own but I re-prioritized my life to address the issues of my aging parents. Visits in skilled nursing, rehabilitation, adult day care facilities, caregiver support groups, Alzheimer’s education, modifying the house so mom could live with us, coordinating 24/7 live-in care, and finding senior living --- I experienced it all. I saw the dementia convert mom’s austere personality from being tough and rigid to light-hearted and affectionate, even if she barely recognized me. Emotionally draining and physically fatiguing, it was one of the most difficult things that I have done in my life. It is also one of the greatest things that I have done in my life.

As I reflect, I have tremendous peace and satisfaction that I answered the call to love and care for my parents in their time of need. If you are a weary caregiver I hope that you find comfort in fulfilling your responsibility to care for those who so lovingly, at one time, cared for you.

Elissa Clausnitzer not only cared for her aging parents but also her mother-in-law. Being a real estate agent gave her the flexibility that she needed to be with her family. Being a caregiver gave her the understanding and patience needed to work with seniors through their transitions.

Elissa Clausnitzer, SRS is a licensed Realtor with Weichert Realtors and has over 30 years of experience in real estate. Elissa specializes in helping boomers and seniors achieve their goals in their next step in life. Call her at 610-573-0386.

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