As a caregiver there’s so much that you want to say but can’t because you don’t want to seem selfish or mean. There are times when you wish you can just disappear into another world but you can’t. So you just grin and bear it. You keep your feelings to yourself and try to keep your attitude positive because even if you were to voice your concerns, who would care to listen. But we hear you, we understand. If you can’t voice your thoughts. We will help.
“I never thought that I would become a caregiver to my Mom. She has always been a hard worker and independent woman.”
Seeing a loved one who used to be independent, now need help with eating, dressing, and even speaking is a transition only a few can understand or even adapt to. But you’re adapting to it. You’re dealing with the mood swings, the 24/7 care, and financial burden. But most times you just wish you had your mom back. The Mom that took care of everything in her own life. The Mom that was able to raise you independently. But that woman is gone and although there might be small remnants left, you just do your best in helping the woman who is now in front of you.
“Do I want to do this, well the answer is no...not really, but I put all that aside and do what I have to. I keep saying to myself, She is your mom love her.”
Who actually wants to watch their loved one decline? Who chooses this as part of their life. No one does.If you had it your way none of this would be happened. But it has. And it’s happening to you. So you do your best like any loving child would for their parent and you help them to the best of your ability. Because you know if the shoe was on the other foot. They would take care of you too.
“I love my Mom and she is not a burden to me, it's just it is so hard to deal with her sometimes. I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown when I took over her care…She can't remember what she said two seconds ago. She is suffering with dementia.”
This is probably the most frustrating task you have ever had.You keep your cool most times but reality is this is hard and it’s taking its toll. You weren’t trained in this and it’s just hard. You barely have a conversation with your Mom anymore. Something as simple as requesting what she wants to eat has become a full-time job. But what can you do? It’s not her fault. She has dementia. So you do what you have to do.
“I loved taking care of their mother. I took her to every appointment but now I feel like I’m the one with no one to care for now… ”
Your Mom has taken care of you when you were at your lowest. She has always been there for you. So the least you can do is take care of her when she’s at her lowest. So that’s what you do. Then at some point at being there for her. You realize, now you don’t have anyone taking care of your needs or just be there for you. It’s okay to feel this way because just because your loved one has dementia and needing care does not mean you still don’t need some type of outlet. Your only human.
“I cannot go back to work which is hard on my family financially. We are barely scraping by every day.”
You’ve quit your job and sacrificed time with your kids and spouse because you were the only one that could. You were the only person that was strong enough to take on the heavy burden that is caregiving. What used to be easy is now a struggle. What used to be abundant is now lack. You might feel that it will never get better. But don’t give up. There’s a way to make it through.
Do these thoughts sound familiar to you? If it does you’re not alone.
Every caregiver has had these thoughts but rarely express it. As a caregiver, you don’t want to feel like you’re being selfish. After all, you’re not the one living with a detrimental disease such as dementia. You can’t complain. Your worries and concerns mean nothing because you’re the ‘lucky’ one right? Wrong.
Your worries and concerns mean just as much, if not more, now than they ever did. They are apart of this new life that you are now living as a caregiver. Therefore, they are apart of you. Releasing these thoughts to other people will prove not only healthy for yourself, but also encourage other caregivers in similar situations to share their stories.
See, caregiving isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for those that are stronger among us. All heroes don’t wear capes. Some wear regular clothes that might not match because you were too busy trying to dress your loved one so they would make it on time to their doctor’s appointment. Or there might be some stains on your shirt from where your loved one threw their food at you. You don’t know this but you’re a hero. You are doing a job that is selfless and will change lives.