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I've been on here for about 6 months and it's very helpful. Many of us know what its like to have long day's at work and at the same time trying to take care of a loved one.

I'd like to hear some positive things from people who look at the plusses of being a caregiver.

So, please don't respond if you resent being a caregiver etc and you want to go on the rampage of the down sides.

And, please don't judge me for posting this. Ive been on here for about 6 months, but I've been a caregiver much longer. So yes, I know all to well what it's like to be a caregiver.


We can all us some good thoughts, especially after long days.

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My Dad was sad about not going places like he use to. Later that  evening, i decided to play youtube videos of songs he likes from back then. Thank G-d he cheered up and sang along. It was nice. 
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My FIL was settled into SNF today. It's been an exhausting, sad, challenging time, the last weeks. I'm totally spent and yet, I'd do it all over again for him. After all of his love and support these many years, it is an honor to be able to be his constant advocate.  
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Plus, I've discovered how wicked smart and relentlessly perseverant he is. All of that was definitely NOT appreciated by me when I was younger. I admire him a great deal now.
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I've spent a lifetime being afraid of or ticked off, usually with good reason, at my dad. In spite of that, I've never once wondered if I loved him, but many times wondered if he loved me. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Since his strokes, he has become kinder and more docile, for the most part, and definitely with me. For the first time in my life, I've enjoyed more days in a row than ever, where I felt loved and respected by him. For the first time, I feel like I have a dad. As you can see by my other posts here, I don't always feel that way!!! Not perfection, but there has been a great deal of progress. When I feel frustrated by the lack of involvement by family members, I remind myself that I am very lucky to have had this time with him. It's given me a healthier outlook on relationships, and more confidence. 
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The tiny moments:

"I'm so glad you're here"; the "OOHooh" when I hand her something she loves to eat and she gets a sparkle in her eyes.

The one time she suddenly wanted to go sit on the porch--an extreme rarity. It was 9 p.m. and it was windy and dark and cold, something she didn't know. When I told her of the conditions, her body language was of such abject disappointment it broke my heart. I bundled her up, and we had a grand five minutes on the porch, watching the quiet neighborhood, until she had her fill.
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My dad and i had a difficult relationship - especially when he needed care. I would come one weekend a month to give my wonderful stepmom some respite care. He was often hostile and angry, but if i could get him in my car - we would drive around the countryside for hours and he would point out different farms and houses and remember who had lived there and stories about them. My family had lived in the area for about 150 years and many of these families were distantly related to us - he knew all about everyone. it was fascinating plus enjoying the beauty of the countryside. Those times were peaceful for us both and i remember them gratefully.
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I enjoyed being with mom when she was alive. Whether having lunch together at home, or going shopping, it was nice.
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I play the games with her that she learned in her childhood: dominoes, carrom, parcheesi, rummy. She is fading, but can still share these precious moments with me.
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It was the hardest job I ever had, to take care of Dad. But I cherish the time we had together and know that I am blessed that I had the opportunity to get to know him so well and be with him until the end.
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I like the connection with my past, the (good) memories of my father, and the good ones of my grandparents that we can share.
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Listening to her stories, sometimes comical, watching and commenting on tv shows. My mom loved Parking Wars and Dog the Bounty Hunter. I still watch both shows in her memory.
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Sometimes a thread like this just deserves to go back to the top! Because if you read these posts from the beginning, you simply cannot help but feel a little happier. Thanks guys!
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I'm with Roger, thank you all for sharing your parents and your good experiences. It's a good reminder to always try and look on the positive side.
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JennaRose, that is such a great thing to do. I miss the voices. Just didn't try to do it and wish I had. 
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I wouldn't trade care taking of my parents for anything. Very, very difficult both times, but I am so happy I could do it. I loved them both and to know that I could help them in their time of need - there is just no substitute. Always close to my mother. Just devastating when she died of Ovarian cancer at 69 about 20 years ago. I did everything I could. So glad I did. I will never regret that. I was working then, but was still able to do a lot for her and she was so appreciative. I have no kids and that did make it easier. Miss her so to this day. I just wanted more time.

Years later, 2013-2016, it was my father in his late 80's. I was retired then so I could do it and wanted to. The big positive is that my father and I finally got close after many years of kind of butting heads. We were a lot alike. In caring for him over time, I realized how much I loved him and how much he loved me. That special handshake that we had every night. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Loved working with a sister that gave me a break sometimes in spite of her Fibromyalgia. Brought most of my sisters and I much closer.

On the practical side, I was proud that I handled things even though there were times when I thought I would really lose it. It made me stronger. I liked figuring out ways to do things more efficiently, ways to help him.
There had to be a routine which was good for me. I got better at cooking. I tried making my great grandma's recipes which my Dad still had. It was fun to talk about them and get his input.
I made a booklet of his WWII Navy pictures and his recounting of those days - a time that meant so much to him. He wrote things down on the back of grocery receipts - hard for him to write much - and I put it together and made the booklet. He got to review and edit it all along the way. We gave one to everyone in the family. Great experience. We talked about so many things that happened in his life. I got to know him.
I grew a little garden in the year that he was doing better and we had great food out of it. We both loved it and would check on it every day. It was a nice shared diversion.
I lost weight and got in really good shape from all the work, stairs, etc. We would exercise together with the stretchy green bands and weights.

At first I was kind of incredulous that I was in that situation. He was always so independent - it was shocking when he finally had so many health problems. At first I thought it would be temporary - his care. And then I felt like I had no life - and believe me, it was stressful. But then it became my life and I was into it. We did things together and we finally had a relationship after so many years. What could be better? He often said I saved his life. What could be better?
And then it was over. I miss Mom and Dad and would give anything to have it all back.
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It's been a very rough few weeks/months so I wanted to take a couple of minutes tonight to say thank you to everybody who has posted a reply on here. When being so mentally drained, it helps a lot to read something good.
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Before I brought my Mom to live with me my older brother was abusing my Mom. So getting her away from him relaxed my Mom and she was no longer afraid. That was a huge positive.

I bought a tape recorder and record my Mom so later on in life I can listen to my Mom and her stories as well as her singing songs (I print out the words to songs she loves).

Mom even with her dementia still has a great sense of humor and cracks me up which lessens the burden of caregiving. We have our special moments where I take my Mom to stores she enjoys going to or just car rides to look at the scenery.

Last week I took Mom to the beauty shop and she got the most wonderful hair cut which made her so happy. These are moments that I treasure... Just that look on her face.

Of course caregiving for my Mom is not all roses and sunshine, there are some very tough days but they pass and then I have a good day...

I'm happy that I'm my Mom's caregiver because I don't know how much longer I will have with her.
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I am so happy to see these positive comments and experiences. They give me hope, as my journey with my husband has been so fraught with sorrow and upheaval. I appreciate the uplifting stories shared here, and I will learn from them.
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I'm not on here much anymore, as my father passed over 4 years ago, and Mom passed last summer, but I do come back and read from time to time.

There ARE positives to caregiving, though the negatives are often much more prevalent in our minds, because the negatives happen every single day, while the positives are little rarer - especially in the later days of caregiving.

Positives from my experience with my mom:
- I got to hear her childhood stories and write them down. There are still holes in the story, but I got to hear stories I'd never heard before, because I was here 24/7 with her.

- I was able to provide healthy food for Mom, which meant even though she only had a few years left, she was healthier and felt better those last few years, than she had in years before, because as the decline progressed, neither she nor dad would cook - they ate junk food and fast food or ordered pizza. I was able to get her on a lower-carb way of eating with more fresh foods and fewer processed foods - she lost weight and her cholesterol dropped by a huge amount. Her doctor (who told us low-carb was not the way to go) was astounded.

- Dad was not a fan of cable and refused to have cable tv in the house. Therefore, they relied on an antenna and watched 5-7 channels. Mom LOVED old movies from her youth, but couldn't watch them unless they bought them on VHS or DVD. When I moved in, I brought my satellite service with me, and Mom was thrilled. It was a joy to me to watch her enjoying those movies, and for her face to light up when a particular movie star came on the screen. Simple pleasures.

- Mom traveled more in the last years of her life than she had in about 20 years. As the decline progressed, travel was curtailed for both mom and dad. I took mom to her favorite places, and when I decided to have the floors in the house refinished, we spent 2 weeks in a lakeside cabin so we wouldn't be in the way and exposed to fumes while the work went on. Mom loved it - she never really ventured out much but just loved sitting in the cabin and looking out the window at the lake.

- Mom's sense of humor was intact until the day she died. She could come up with some real hilarity sometimes, and I would have missed that if I wasn't here.
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Wonderful topic that Roger posed, enjoyed so much reading through this. With my mom, and now my dad, I feel I learned from them throughout my life, and still am. That's the privilege in this, despite the difficulties, getting to still learn and honor those who've taught us so well.
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My mom lived 2 states away (7 hours). I always wanted her to live closer to me and be more a part of our lives. She always was adamant about staying in her own home. After the dementia set in, she came to live with me for 2 years (she thought she was just visiting). "Be careful what you wish for - right!" During that time frame before her health and Alzheimer's took a turn for the worse. I got my wish.

We went out to restaurants, we spent holidays together, she met my amazing friends who did not shy away from Alzheimer's. Mom used to be a ballroom dancer and loved music; she would dance anytime music would come on. At the mall, at daycare, etc. My 90 year old mom danced at a bar with my friends husband during a birthday party, we went to visit a Sunrise facility during an event; they had a band and she started dancing the Cha Cha. The mood changed in the room, other residents got up and danced, people started recording her on their phones (she probably on Utube somewhere). It was fun, we had fun.

So amiss the heartache, the struggles, etc. - I actually had fun with my mom. And now that she is in memory care - I miss her, I really miss her. But I am so grateful for the good times we shared.
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I have learned what really matters and how to gracefully let go of things that don't matter. It doesn't matter if all my pots, pans, and dishes are "correctly" stacked in the right cabinet. It does matter that I can find them in a cabinet when i need them and Mom has the satisfaction of being a useful person that still unloads the dishwasher and cleans up the kitchen. It doesn't matter my towels and washcloths are not folded and sorted "my" way. It does matter that Mom likes helping with the laundry. Occasionally I give in and spend a couple of minutes rearranging some things when Mom is not in the room - but that's my problem and not hers.

I have shared the joy of seeing Mom playing with her 2 year old great grandson - both of them delighted in the other. Seeing that little boy accompany my mother on her daily walks up and down the street makes me wonder how many years he will choose to be her walking companion.

Mom and I used to talk about current events and books we had read. Since Mom's short term memory has mostly left her, we talk less about current stuff and more about what her life was years ago. I have heard more stories about her early life and her grandparents, parents, siblings, and cousins in the last year or so than in the previous 40. We've been going through old photographs and she identifies people and tells me about them. People post old photos of the area on a facebook group and I print them off - she recognizes almost all of them immediately and has a story or two there too. Her great-grandchildren like these stories too and will sit at the dining table asking her questions about the photos and the people. I cherish not only the stories of my relatives and hometown 70+ years back but the pleasure of sharing Mom's company.

I cannot promise Mom she will always live here. I can promise that as long as I can adequately care for her in my home (even if we need nursing or assistants to come in daily) she will remain. I can promise her that if she ever does need nursing care, we can get her into a good home and visit her daily.

When Mom is gone I will miss her greatly but there will be no guilt. I will have the satisfaction of knowing I helped her live those final years in contentment and even some joy.
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I took care of my mother, who has dementia, for 2 and a half years in her home. I took her everywhere, including to the pool where she did aquacise while I swam laps. It was so nice to have her to eat with and shop with and go to concerts and plays with, even when she couldn't hear well or understand it all. Even when she yelled at me 5 to 30 times a day, when she didn't want the help she needed. Then in January, it got too hard, and I put her in an "Alzheimer's Assisted Living Facility". I miss her so much even though I see her almost every day. She'd been getting more aggressive lately, hitting the caregivers at the home occasionally, and being very withdrawn. But last week she had 2 lucid and happy days that filled me with joy.
When my brother said he didn't want any of his kids to have to ever take care of him, I told him to let them if they wanted to, because it is such a blessing to be a caregiver for those you love.
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I type with tears in my eyes because caregiving is tough and I didn't even do it 100%. I moved my parents in 2 years ago because my dad was 91 and diagnosed with dementia. My mom, younger, had her hands full and we had concerns about his paranoia and mobility. They literally moved in just in time before my dad had another decline. There were challenges along the way and my mom was most often tending to his needs, but I saw him every day and helped get him to bed, prepared meals, fed him toward the end, helped getting him dressed/undressed, cleaned up spills, helped with diapers, etc. It was hard on him to no longer be the independent father. I learned patience that I never thought I had. I learned compassion. There were times at night that my dad needed help going to bed and after working all day, teaching an evening workout class, I wanted to just go to bed.  Somehow, I just would put my needs aside, find the energy to get him into the bathroom, wait and help him through his routine, walk him to bed, tuck him in. So often he would say how much he loved me and how proud he was of me. He knew it wasn't easy and he felt bad for being a "burden". He often would cry saying he was "helpless" and I would pat his hand and just say he needed a little help, like everyone else. Sometime I'd make up little songs to get us down the hall from the bathroom to the bedroom when he didn't think he could take the steps. It's not easy but it's worth it. My dad passed in April after hospitalizations and about 6 weeks of terrible hallucinations and disturbances associated with his dementia. Now that he has passed, I don't feel any guilt. I'm at peace because I know I did everything I could to help him when he needed me the most. I was blessed to be a stronger person by being his caregiver. It's not easy and I know you are drained and tired, but hang in there. As a person of faith, I had to pray a lot. I asked God to allow me to be my best self when things were the most challenging. HE did.
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I am the primary live in caregiver and even though I am in a time of overwhelming stress and completely fed up with siblings, I find the joy in:

Making my mom laugh.

Getting her to dance all silly

Surprising her with little things that make her feel special.

Knowing that she (finally) has faith in me and trusts me completely with her care.

The fact she gets to live at home and not a care facility.

Making her feel safe

Making her feel good and not embarrassed when there are accidents.

Seeing all I have accomplished and what we have accomplished together.

Getting my mom to realize the joy in her life.

It's a rough and tumble ride but I like the feeling of having a purpose, knowing I'm doing it to the absolute best of my ability, and I will have no regrets in the end.
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Taking care of my husband has taught me much about myself. Some parts bad, some sad.
We are taking one day at a time.
My goal is to be creative, courageous and kind.
Luckily we are retired and he is able to use the bathroom.
Lots of deep breathing and quiet naps for me. Keeping chaos out of our home.
But it is a difficult time as you know. Thank God for this group.
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Hearing my mom finally say "I love you" instead of "love you, too" after all these years has made my heart glad. Seeing the smile on her face when I surprise her with something that she didn't even know she wanted is another great thing. No, it's definitely not all negative, we just tend to get washed away by the worries and ignore the bright spots. Thank you for starting this thread! Gave me some things to smile about after a rough week.
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Being my mother's full-time caregiver over the last 4+ years has brought me a lot of joy. BC I take care of her, she is still in her own home. I am there for her to comfort her, and listen to her, and I can still make her laugh. She is still there for me too. My mother is very loving, and I would have missed out on all the love that she has given me over the past 4+ years.

But, being her caregiver has also allowed me to pursue my dream of teaching real estate. If I were working full time, I would not have the time or energy to pursue this professional dream. Teaching real estate (part-time) has given me tremendous job satisfaction, and it is a marketable skill I did not have before I became my mother's full-time caregiver.
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I have been the caregiver for both my parents since 2014, though Dad passed away this year. I am so glad to have been the caretaker for both of them and to have them live with me. Their stories are priceless and my children give them a new audience to tell them to. The work can over take me some days, but it melts away in the moments of their expressing or showing that they feel safe and loved. Dad passed away this year, and Mom has had a particularly difficult time. I believe that her living with us and our ability to console her in those rough moments has softened her loss. Her dementia requires that I tell her repeatedly of Dad's passing, and I cant imagine someone else taking the time to tell her and love her through the emotional response. I think I better understand sacrificial love - much like the love for our own children.
Besides, I now appreciate a generation of actors and musicians I would have never known; cook more family recipes instead of eating frozen; and have countless memories that I cherish.
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I'm a week late jumping into this conversation but I am happy to see someone asked this. There is no perfect happy scenario to caregiving 100% of the time, all the same I've stood back and looked at my own situation at the positive side of it over the years. I've learned a lot in caregiving, I took care of my mom, my husband, my daughter and now my dad. For me first it logically has been a lesson for what will come my way as I age. As caregivers we learn where to go for help, what medical procedures are, how the law works, all aspects of what we need to take care of for ourselves, so our children/grandchildren have an easier time of it than we've had. I think we also learn a clearer method of working with doctors and hospitals before we end up sitting in the waiting room for our own medical issues. But in the end most importantly is I've learned forgiveness, it's easy to be angry when it seems everyone has walked away, but that anger only hurts yourself, and when you dig deeper you realize everyone has their own pain. And some of us are just stronger.
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