For my sister, “Let’s go” used to be defined by coaxing her two sons to get out of bed, ready for school and in the car before being late. However, at the ages of 80 and 82, she and her husband have drastically turned to a whole new chapter.

My sister and her loving husband have been married for 58 years; unfortunately, the last seven have been spent battling his Parkinson’s disease. Now their days are very busy, consisting of timely medication doses, both physical and speech therapy, doctors appointments and day camp twice a week.

They were fortunate to have traveled around the world over the years, and grateful to have raised two boys and have five grandkids and a healthy supporting family and friends unit.

As his primary caregiver, she tries to maintain some routine by weekly lunch outings, occasional shows and family and friends gatherings, which keep them grounded and are good distractions.

Their priorities have changed, and caregiving is exhausting, but as she looks over at her gentle husband, who is also struggling and frustrated, he motivates her with his endearing grin and caring eyes. Raymond is still very mentally aware of his challenges, and as a Brown University graduate and vice president at Boston Paper Co. for 30 years, he remains extremely sharp.

Striving to maintain some normalcy, they enjoy listening to music, singing to the radio while driving to an appointment, encouraged by Raymond’s speech therapist.

On weekends, they get an energy boost with visits from family and friends. We pitch in to help and allow her to run some errands. These simple pleasures lift their spirits. Words of wisdom – “Don’t complain”; “Give your best”; “Stay positive”; “Keep active” – are embedded memories from Mom and Dad, who cheered us on!

Some days are easier than others. Being aware that they are not alone, reading funny cards for humor, helps them manage. One constant is, as a team, they support and push through together, exercising their daily mantra: “Let’s go!”

This mantra has had many definitions throughout their life stages: coaching two kids at their sports games, five grandkids, work, travel and now just getting up each day. They are thankful and inspired, and realize that many others are struggling, which encourages them to keep moving and never give up the fight.

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