Like many nights, night before last something woke me, not sure what, but a question came to mind. What is my best advice to a new caregiver?
Ian Kremer posted this a few hours ago, it’s a graphic, does the work of a lot of words.
My best advice for a caregiver, yep, get mentally tough.
I’m getting better. Total acceptance works for me. Giving my life to her is how it is. Others that I can no longer share time with seem to understand. I constantly look for ways and time to do the things that will keep me fit. No regrets.
Maybe this applies; “If you can’t have the life you love, then love the life you have”
Sure I can, it’s my life.
Can I be sitting and thinking about me, wishing I could go do things I wanted to do. You bet!
Then 10 minutes later look at mom and be glad I’m here keeping her safe. You bet!
From reading hundreds of post in Alzheimer’s or dementia chat rooms, I have a hunch. If the caregiver has always been the one that did most of the calling, and the going to see or speak with family, that probably will not change because you have become a caregiver.
Note: Some sarcasm in the last sentence.
Look at how many pages are out their devoted to supporting Alzheimer’s caregivers. Look at the amazing numbers that follow those pages. Look at the awesome advice given. Their’s a lot of caregivers out there. That’s a lot of empathy. Talk about a group of folks that stick together. This community does that.
According to the numbers the experts are giving us, anytime you drive through any neighborhood in America, you are driving by the home or apartment of an alzheimer’s patient and their caregiver.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 1300 new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease are made every day in America.
I’m proud and honored to know a bunch of those folks.
Yes, caregiving can be tough, but I’m connecting with a lot of folks that are extremely proud of their commitment and their work. As a matter of fact, I’m very honored to do what I do. It’s still tough, but like millions of other caregivers, I can do tough.
“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the Highest Honors.” Tia Walker, author
The caregiver shared her feelings with me.
“When I was a little girl, I wanted to cook. Mom would let me. Years later she said she done that because she could see it made me happy. She would teach, and then move into the background to let me try. She would hang around in the kitchen, but pretend not to be paying attention. When a red flag would pop up, she would find a way to step in and keep things safe, with no damage to my self esteem. I do the same for her now.”
Her mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and it makes her mom happy to cook.
Note: Since Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, kitchen work, as with other aspects of living, must change with it.
this question was inspired by a line in a poem by Alex Kotowske. The poem is apparently about survival. The words that got my attention were “his noble striving goes unknown”
I need to be clear about this. In the past I failed miserably at realizing and appreciating the work of caregivers.
I meant no harm and I know others don’t.
There is no question that throughout our lives we are continually learning new lessons, we have to in order to grow as human beings. Thats why we have to go out and teach, never stop teaching, about what it’s like to be a caregiver.