I’m currently taking care of my mother who has dementia. I have learned that rice is “bird food” and pasta looks like "snakes". (She used to love rice with sugar/milk & spaghetti was her favorite meal) That vegetables are “yucky” unless it is corn. That meat is nothing but “dead animals” and she isn’t eating a dead animal. That cookies (I laced with vanilla protein power) is a food group, that ice cream only comes in strawberry. I learned that swings are not only a playground item they are also mood swings. I have learned to dodge non-lethal flying objects that may come my way any given time.
I’ve learned that 8 hrs. of sleep and daily exercise is a privilege not a given. I’ve learned to hide negative emotion and act like a clown when I feel like screaming. I’ve learned selective hearing and to let the verbal abuse go in one ear and out the other. I’ve learned to smile when I feel like crying. I have learned a new level of patience and to find a tiny spark of light in the darkness. I’ve learned that as bad as things get, I have the love, respect and support of my children and that I did a wonderful job of raising my children alone and that they have a wonderful life.
I have also learned that under no circumstances will I EVER put my children through this. When the time comes and I’m unable to take care of myself, they are instructed to put me in a veteran’s home.
I have learned that to survive being a caregiver, you have to find the positive in the negative no matter how small it may be.