When relatives care

By Sarah RaparoliLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

When parents grow old, many have no other option but to consider a nursing or retirement home. Some, however, pick a third option: Today, we will be talking to those who have chosen to care for their loved ones at home.

"Six or seven years ago, I noticed that not everything was working as it should at my parents", Pia Mallinger recalls. "It became more and more difficult, I was with them more and more often until I was there almost every day." She says it started with organising meals, "because sometimes they would only eat cake. Then my father lost his wallet, they had minor car accidents and at some point, I realised that this couldn't go on." Pia Mallinger was employed as a management secretary at a bank. When she was 33, her first child was born. Because of her children, she made the decision to stay at home. "A good ten years later, I worked at the bank again for a short time, but as my parents got older, I decided to stay at home."

Putting her parents in a nursing home had never been an option for the 61-year-old, although her parents had always said they did not want to be a burden on anyone. "They were even registered in some homes in case I would have no way of going on. However, I wanted to continue to allow them to live in their own home and go everywhere with them without having to give prior notice or stick to certain times." She says she found out about the option of 24-hour care through friends (see infobox). "Since then, my mother has been cared for by a woman from Poland." Her father has died in the meantime. "Through this way he could die peacefully in his own bed and not in some hospital or somewhere else. That was very important to me." Her mother, meanwhile, is 93 of age and has dementia. "She has Alzheimer's. That's why she can't really say what she wants anymore because she can't remember, although I think she would quickly adapt to life in a nursing home now. Still, I am convinced that caring for her myself was the best option, precisely because of her dementia. I don't see her alone in a room on her own. It reassures me that someone is with her all the time."

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