CONGRATULATIONS Bob Roney
The Caregiver’s Voice
Caregiver of the Month.
I am nominating my dad, Bob Roney, who has been caring for my mom who has Alzheimer’s, for 7 years. He listens patiently, and is willing to explain things over and over, and to remind her over and over where they are going, who someone is, or what they just did.
He sees to it that she takes her 7 pills every morning and 6 more every night. (This is quite a measure of patience, as she does not like to take them and often takes 1-2 hours to get them down!) Of late, he has created a game where he takes his at the same time and they race to see who finishes first! Of course, he could take them in one swallow, but he takes his time, to motivate her to continue putting one into her mouth.
… illustrates the devoted, unconditional love [of] caregivers …. To have done this so selflessly and tirelessly for so long represents the true spirit of caregiving… and being creative about how to “be there” for a loved one even when the person he “used to know” is no longer present.
— Caregiver for his wife and leader of a caregiver support group
He helps her with her personal hygiene, cooks her breakfast and lunch, escorts her up to the facility dining room for dinner, and takes her with him on errands.
The Caregiver’s Voice will recognize a caregiver for
a person living with Lewy body dementia (LBD).
Click on Caregiver of the Month Nominations for easy guidelines.
For this month only, your caregiver nominee must care for one with LBD.
My mom introduces my dad as her dad, or her friend, Bob or, sometimes, her husband. One day, recently, she asked him how it came to be that he was taking care of her. He said, “60 years ago, we stood before people and promised for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.” She looked at him and asked, “We did that?” He doesn’t get upset by this but, rather, has come to realize she is slipping away, and it is his job to explain what’s going on.
… an honorable man who believes in keeping promises and demonstrates unconditional love. — Geriatric Care Consultant
Many nights, she does not think it appropriate for them to sleep in the same bed. He patiently explains that they are married … even needing sometimes to show her photo albums to help get her oriented to the reality of her stage in life and her family. She finds peace and goes to bed.
Seven years of Alzheimer’s care for his wife. Heartbreaking comment about his marriage vow, “for better or for worse.” I was moved and getting choked up just reading that “he doesn’t get upset by this but, rather, has come to realize she is slipping away, and it is his job to explain what’s going on.” I saw a lot of my dad in him. — Long-distance caregiver for his mom
He holds her hand all the time, and often refers to her as his bride. A while back, he asked me in the dining room of their facility, “Isn’t she the prettiest 80-something woman in here?” Their continuing care facility has a dementia section, but he is not ready yet to send her there. He is 90 years old, as sharp as a tack, with a failing body, and he is exhausted. But he continues, hour by hour, day after day, to watch after her and include her in his life.
… he still sees her as the most beautiful gal in the room, even when she can’t remember their vows or aspects of the life they’ve lived together. I was moved to tears in reading this story ….
— Social media marketer focused on supporting caregivers
The most remarkable thing is that my dad hasn’t always been like this … treating Mom with such understanding, compassion, and love. As they are coming to the end of their lives, he is demonstrating how loyal he is, how tender his love, and gracious his attitude.
The role does not come naturally to everyone but remembering the marriage vows, “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” plus maintaining the loyalty that sustained long years of marriage allows him to trudge on in his long laborious journey to be an exceptional and loving caregiver.
— Former caregiver to her late husband
I miss my mom, as she rarely knows who I am, but it has been amazing to witness the side of my dad this has brought to the surface. He is much more patient than I would be, much more self-sacrificing than most. And that is the silver lining in having my mom experience this horrible degenerative disease. It is a gift, really, to watch them together. And I have my dad to thank for that, because without his caretaking, Mom would be even farther gone and the loss for the rest of the family would be much more intense. We still visit both of them in their independent home…we have meals together…we see the love and warmth of our parents/grandparents and, even though it will never be the same as it used to be, it’s more normal than it could be.
The thing that touched me was the statement that “my dad hasn’t always been like this.” He is 90 years old and has learned what unconditional love is all about. I agree with his daughter that he is truly the essence of a loving, giving, selfless caretaker. — Caregiver for a friend
Bob Roney is truly the essence of a loving, giving, selfless caretaker. He’s my dad.
… he continues to cherish the woman he committed to so many years ago. What a wonderful example he sets for his children grandchildren and others. — Retired director, Caregiver Resource Center
Nominated by Karen Dahl, Bob’s daughter
Slightly edited. TCV Ed.