How I Overcame My Biggest Caregiving Fear


Becoming a caregiver for the one you love will change your life.

A health crisis, in my case my wife's cancer, will create so many demands and distractions in your daily lives that your life will change immediately and forever. Despite your best and greatest efforts, things will never be the same.

Ironically, it will become simpler and harder as a new focus is required to be there as a caregiver for someone you love.

"Now I was facing Carol's traumatic disease. I knew I had to be different and I was afraid I would not be enough. The good news is I finally figured out I don't have to do this alone…I have friends . . . and our adult children are available and very supportive. And I know I can't heal Carol. Greg (a friend) helps me understand my greatest gift to her is to be ‘consciously present'. I can ‘be'. I now understand. I can consciously be myself and continue loving her. I can simply sit with her and be consciously present." (Excerpt from "The Dhance")

My suggestion to all caregivers is to simplify your life.

I will repeatedly stress the importance of acceptance. In this case, accept that you can't do everything yourself. Someone told me, "This is a marathon, not a sprint."

If you are going to endure, you'll need to take care of yourself. Many caregivers die before the one they are supporting.

Who will be there if you are not? Decide which activities, chores, etc., you can eliminate, which can be relegated to friends or family, which you can hire to be done, and which ones only you can do.

"I am well aware that this last twenty-four hours has already changed my life dramatically and permanently."

Coy Cross, PhD, spent years questioning the role of faith in his life. But when his beloved wife, Carol, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it was the lessons of Rev. Carol Ruth Knox that helped him accept his role as a male caregiver. Coy has chronicled his caregiving and spiritual paths in the book, “The Dhance: A Caregiver’s Search for Meaning.”

View full profile

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!


My wife has Alzheimers. I follow just what is preached in this article. I plan to keep Nancy at home. Her companion is here 40 + hours every week. A MUST FOR ME.

Thank you for writing this.

My experience backs up what you say. At the moment, Mom (96) is in residential rehab, scheduled to return to her home and my care early next month. The prospect so boggles my mind that I'm not even functioning at the impaired level I was before she was hospitalized, after 10+ years taking care of her.

For a while, I thought I SHOULD do better and have come to realize I can't. This is it. I can only do my best under whatever circumstances exist and take it one moment at a time. I am reaching out for help now and deeply appreciate the friends and agencies that are there for us.

God bless all who are engaged in the work of elder care.
Life is so unpredictable. I've learned to ride the highs and lows. Not always so easy. I lost my father, sister and mother all within eight months. To cancer and Alzheimers. It forever changed my life. No I'm living a new normal. We all have our crosses to bear. Some days are better than others. I do my best and try to not beat myself up.