Caring Currents

Are You a "Designated Daughter"?

Last updated: Apr 06, 2008

Any of the following sound familiar?

  • You often walk around with two purses on your shoulder, one of them mom's.
  • You let your parent sit in the doctor's waiting room while you take her insurance card and credit card up to the counter for co-pays.
  • You have your parents' garage door opener on the car visor next to your own.
  • You compliment a fanciful new cane in words once reserved for good-looking handbags or silk scarves.
  • You are the person in your family "who can."

If you're nodding your head in recognition, maybe you're a "designated daughter," the apt term, coined by D.G. Fulford in her just-released book of the same name, to describe the sibling--so often a daughter-- who becomes the companion and caregiver for a parent who needs her (often after the other parent's death).

Designated Daughter: The Bonus Years With Mom (Voice/Hyperion) makes clear that caregiving is a two-way street. "I was needed. I delivered. And I received," says Fulford, who's been her 88-year-old mother's companion for eight years. Lines like this make it a nice Mother's Day gift for yourself (or any fellow caregiver, even a designated son):

"If you walk beside your mother when she needs you, you'll absorb her wisdom and her strength...And her strength and wisdom will take you as far as you ever want to go."