What seems to make the difference between a frustrated, worn out, feeling beat up caregiver and a happy caregiver? Is there anyone who deals with the "abuse" often heaped upon those who care in such a way that it does not created distress?

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I've seen a few masochistic ones around here who relish and thrive in hellish caregiving. Going through that rollercoaster 24/7 seems to give them a sense of purpose -- if not atonement. Their sacrifices are well publicized in this forum, as if seeking a gold medal for their re-enactment the Passion that skips the nailing to the Cross on the way to Heaven.

The truly happy few have taken the time to set up a solid support network so they can have a productive, enjoyable life. Those are exceptions to the rule.

The rest of us, I venture to say, are professional jugglers masquerading to be happy and displaying a teflon kind of attitude to make it seem it's all under control. Half the time, it isn't.
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I think this is one of the best questions I've seen on this site. Hard to know how to answer tactfully, but it reminds me of the Lincoln quote:' "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." Yes, we are struggling, and yes, this is hard, and often unfair, and sometimes brutally hard, but if we can find some joy and meaning in what we are doing, then I think happiness is possible. Maybe not in the form we always pictured or planned for, but then how often do things work out the way we expected? For some of us happiness may not be a possibility right now -- grief and exhaustion and anger may be foremost in our minds, but eventually, yes, I am hoping happiness may reappear in our lives. Right now the person I am caring for is not in pain, and is peacefully reading a book about Yosemite, and outside in the garden I can see blue sky and afternoon sunshine, and for this moment, I have room for happiness in my heart.
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Lincoln was basically right, in my opinion, that most people are about as happy as they have made up their minds to be. Mostly. But Lincoln, according to his biographers, was a melancholy man. And I can't conceive of any person being happy (as an overall condition) while presiding over a country in a brutal divisive civil war.

Happiness is not totally within our control (even if we are president of a great nation). We have some innate characteristics that predispose us to melancholy or optimism. And events outside of ourselves influence us. But we can do noble things without being happy.

And I don't think we all mean exactly the same thing by "happiness."

I was a willing caregiver to my husband. I did it by choice. I came to take great satisfaction in influencing the quality of his life. We grew very close. It was a rewarding (and exhausting and frustrating and expensive) experience. I would make the same choice again. But happy? That is too superficial to describe the rewards and too pollyannaish to describe the reality.
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Yes. I feel blessed that I am in a position to take care of my Mother, and give her the best quality of life she could possibly have, in her condition. I have had it rough in the past, including 2 abusive marriages and the death of my son. Living with, taking care of, being best friend to her and having her as my best friend, has given my life meaning and has helped me to understand God's plan for me. Is it easy???? NO!!!! But nothing worthwhile ever is.
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No. Happy caregiver is an oxymoron.
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personally i think caregiving is hard for anyone BUT its harder if youre not happy in other areas of your life. I would be a happier caregiver if I was living in a place i liked and had a life ie..friends and a job,nights out doing other things than just caring for my mother. i would love to have my own life and visit my mum when I could and bring her out more to eat etc.. I suppose it depends on what your life is like apart from caregiving and i just want my life back THEN i would be a happier caregiver. I do what I can to keep saine and hang on to faith that my life will get better. i want to move from here my mum wont move and maybe this might be too much for her now? but if she lived where I wanted to be and i had some sort of a life outside her I think I would not only be a happier cargiver but a better one.
Im so glad that Blannie is happy but sometimes its not just the caregiving that makes us unhappy but our own lives on top of it.
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No. I'm not. And I have to roll my eyes at all the self-sacrifice I see on this site. All the "it's worth it" comments. Frankly, it's not worth it. My situation with my mother takes a huge toll on me and I am not too shy to say I'm looking forward to her eventual death. The pain will shift, but it will no longer be this soul-sucking slavery to another human.
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I would not use the word "happy" to describe my frame of mind about caregiving. I was never happy that the need ever arose. Who can be happy that her husband has dementia? Who is happy about her mother's dementia?

I was glad I was able to take the dementia journey with my husband. I'm glad I can give my sister respite by caring for my mother one weekend a month. And there are moments that I am happy when she seems to be enjoying herself.

But overall? I agree with keppelish. Happy caregiver is an oxymoron.

(I would do the caregiving again in a heartbeat. Not everything in life has to make me happy.)
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I'm not unhappy! I've been at this for 12 yrs.I have to say that I am frustrated daily by my Mom's dementia..I have to remind myself often it's the disease and not her that's argumentive, forgetful, whining, etc., etc...

Family is important to me and I'm lucky to have this time with my Mom..
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Don't get me wrong........I am frustrated, often angry, sleep deprived, stressed, and cry a LOT. But in the big picture.........I'm happy when Mama's happy. :) You also asked this question on a good day. ;)
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