Monday, March 19, 2012


The girl woman was distraught.  She has been the sole care taker of her mom for years.  Mom has Parkinson's and is getting worse every day.  Insurance pays for an aid to help mom several hours a day, but that is not enough.  The woman works and goes to school and wants to do it all. 

In her culture, children take care of their parents.  They don't use nursing homes and keep outside care to a minimum.  But, in her culture there is usually an extended family to help.  The mom has no one but her daughter. 

The woman has no life outside of school and work.  Every waking moment is spent caring for mom or worrying about her.  Mom wants to go back to her country of birth to live out her final days.  The woman doesn't want this to happen.  She would miss her mom too much and the financial strain of going to visit twice a year would kill her. She would have to take on an extra job to pay for the aid that insurance now covers. 

Many of us have tried to convince the woman that a good nursing care facility might be best for both of them.  The mom would have round the clock care, and the daughter could visit often and still have a life.  The daughter is conflicted and depressed and barely functioning.

The daughter is in my night class.  She is a hard worker and bright but doesn't know if she will be able to finish out the semester.  Last  term depression caused her to take a leave of absence.

There are lots of  people with situations similar to that of the daughter.  When she began her story, others chimed in with similar ones.  I don't have answers but now a greater understanding of why so many of my students can't succeed.

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