I've noticed throughout much of my life that witnessed events between people and would pass some form of judgment to the situation, only to later discover myself in similar situations reacting and acting in a similar manner.

It is often when I experience a thing that my eyes are opened to the realities that many other people experience and that I see playing out in the world around me.

When I was younger I remember seeing elderly parents shopping with their grown children and seeing the children be short with the parent, or irritated by them...and I used to think...that poor person having to deal with the grumpy child of theirs and my heart went out to them.

I also, primarily thanks to television felt horrible that people would put their parents into a nursing home and then never come to visit. In fact many times when I was younger I'd visit nursing homes with friends and hear these poor people talking about how they miss their kids that never came to visit. having the experience of having an elderly mother with dementia has forever changed my perspective on those situations...realizing that the truth is, I've gotten grumpy with mom when she took off in the shopping mall and we couldn't find her.

I've been tired, irritated and I swear had a permanent scowl on my face when dealing with her in public...well and at home too at times.

As we get nearer to her leaving us to go to a Nursing Home, I realize she will likely be telling people about how she hasn't seen me in years....even if I came by just that morning.

So while it might not seem like a big eyes have been opened with experience...I no longer hold those people in judgment like I used too...but instead feel a great deal of compassion...all the way around.

As I prepare to step away from being the primary caregiver and take the roll of secondary caregiver, I suspect I will be doing a lot of reflecting on the past year and a half.

I am grateful for the opportunity to understand deeply these things and to have a whole new intimate understanding about something I used to be so ignorant of.

What are some of the things you've discovered up on reflection, after becoming a caregiver?

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Once our eyes have been opened the next great challenge is to keep our hearts open too.

It is hard to find out even the simplest things about old age from everyday sources of information ie radio, TV, books, newspapers etc. In fact TV is downright misleading, as Shannon mentions. I have no interest in sports but I know a lot more about sports than old age just from the constant reporting in a sports crazy culture.

On this site I am constantly finding out amazing stuff that I hadn't the slightest inkling of before. Like about UTIs having such a strange effect on older people, or toilets having "hats". I never realized how common it was for large families to leave all the caregiving to one person.

Under these circumstances, who is going to be perfect? Talk about learning on the job!

This quote was on my FB wall this morning:

“At the end of the day, tell yourself gently: "I love you, you did the best you could today, and even if you didn't accomplished all you had planned, I love you anyway.”
― François

This very thing has been a struggle for me most of my life.

Being in the caregiver situation with my mom and considering all of the emotional demon's I've face doing so, I see just how important it is.

"With age comes Wisdom and hopefully not Dementia"!....

Ive realized that at times I was the same way with my kids when they were growing up..... I've learned it is the human condition when we are tired, overwhelmed and needing a break..... I have learned, that setting boundaries with my kids was a struggle at times... and so with elders..... I have learned that the source of my irritation was coming from me.... thinking I had to be every where at once, doing a fantastic job at all times....... no way is the way life is..... I have learned to not be so hard on myself because I don't have all the answers and most of the time , not even sure what the questions are.... I have learned to embrace my 'humanness' .

That eventually you have to step back and let professionals take over care.

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