What's your golden nugget piece of advice?

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There are a lot of things the me from today wishes I could have told the me from 10 years ago. But if I could only tell myself one thing, it would be to tell myself that health events change people's personalities, not just their physical self. And that although those changes can be heartbreaking, new personalities can emerge after one of these events and you can create new memories with and generate new love and affection for that new person. It is hard, and you will always miss the person who you care for used to be, but that doesn't mean there won't be a new person to appreciate.

What one thing would you tell your prior self to help guide you through the caregiving process, whether practical or otherwise?

Happy Christmas and New Year's to All! May your cargiving be as easy as possible...

25 Comments

I had no idea how much humor can help! my husband and I can get a little short with one another. If I can stop, breathe, and call him a poopyhead, he laughs and we both feel better. My daughter spent 5 minutes mocking him because he always says, "Hmph! Why don't we ever have any tissues around here?" while sitting with his right elbow resting on three boxes of tissues. She danced around holding a box of tissues beside each ear, complaining that there were no tissues anywhere! No sensitivity at all, just open mockery based on a VERY loving relationship. He was holding his sides laughing along with us.
AKA and Jinx, I love both of these, thanks! My mother moved from four states away, to one mile away from my house, coming on 10 years ago. I'm not having to care for her yet, but she's a real emotional burden and I had years of depression and confusion. When it hits 10 years I may know what my piece of advice is ;) but now I do wish I'd drawn more boundaries, more quickly, and without guilt. I was very passive to her rages and control growing up, because she was the only parent (and no one else in the house)... then I never stopped to correct the pattern since. I'd like to testify that MY reactions to her add so much garbage to the whole deal; like with 99% of people out there, you realize they aren't so much trying to mess up your world, as doing their own personal dance. I'm learning more and more to just draw a line when I'm being threatened, then leave her alone (in my mind as well). As I've made strides in this, I'm also finding several of my long-standing friendships no longer 'fit'... odd sidedish. But I'm going with it. In all things, only be with people who treat you right, they may be good people but lose the ones that don't feel like joy most every time you see or talk to them. Be well, all you awesome caregivers! Lisa
My golden nugget would be to accept those things I cannot change.
Thanks, Lisa! I've often thought that there are so many people on this site with such great experience that if we all pooled our knowledge and wrote a book it would be just about the greatest guide ever to how to be a caregiver and how to laugh while doing it! :)
About 40 years ago my girlfriend and I were coming back from the beach after going down for the day. We were both in our twenties, and I had a really fast car at the time. We hadn't got very far from the coast when the traffic started backing up. Well I'm thinking, 'LET'S GO ALREADY'
Whoops, pushed the wrong dang button. Oh well... I'm thinking we need to get going, what's the hold up? This went on for 20 minutes until we hit a passing lane. As we were zooming past the old people driving that slow car, I saw IT WAS MY GRAND PARENTS!! Oh my gosh. So my advice to that younger version of myself would be... don't get in such a hurry, because someday that is going to be YOU!! ♥
I just found your website yesterday and feel so blessed that I did. At this time I'm trying to fill out a VA application for admission to a VA nursing home for my dad. Hopefully, I will be able to keep him home with me for awhile longer. He is getting weaker and has 2 Nursing home stays where I work at for Rehab. Of course, problem is it cost too much to keep him there. I work full time, so he does receive Aid & Attendance so someone else can watch him during the day. His all mine on week nights and weekends. At 58 he still thinks I'm a child, telling me all the time what to do and how to do it. It's okay though, as I know one day I will miss even this interaction. Thanks for the quick answer to my question from yesterday. I know have found others here that I can support as well as get support from. May god bless each of you and your wonderful family member you care for. PS I have been working at a local Skilled Nursing facility for 12 years now.
AKA, I truly appreciate what you said about making new memories with what the present gives us.... my 'nugget' is to always be yourself... don't forget who we are, what we stand for, appreciate my own sense of humor.... that gets me thru some of the worst times....I see the world a little 'skewed' at times anyway... so why not lighten the load and see humor in some of it.... thanks for this thread... there will be some great comments....
just be kind even when your brain is shorting out. the elder is not long for this world and there are no do overs. i took my mom to look at a lift chair only days before her death but she didnt like the chair being offered. upon returning to the car she started crying cause she expected an ass chewing. i told her sweetly that it was ok, and it didnt hurt to come to town and take a look to which she sweetly replied " thank you " . she was a brilliant adult smarter than ill ever be and if she didnt want the chair it was her right to decline the damn thing.
I am only four years into caring full-time for my husband, who has later stage Alzheimer's now. If you're caring for a loved one with dementia/Alzheimer's, they just don't remember things from one minute to the next. So I think the one thing I would say is my 'nugget' (so far) is to try your hardest to just let things go, put incidences and situations behind you and move on. Early on, I would carry hurt and resentment - even though my husband had long forgot. It's one of the hardest things I'm still learning to do - but, by far, one of the most helpful.

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