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All I ever hear about are the negatives, are there any advantages to being a caregiver? It would help make my situation (I'm caring for an elderly grandparent) more hopeful and bearable.

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The benefits are there, if you don't let caregiving become your whole life. Because we're human, we often don't see the benefits until it's over. Then we look back and think, "I'm glad I did what I could."
The key is to avoid becoming resentful, and that means setting some boundaries. Decide how much you can give long-term. Get help where you need it - hired or other family members. Understand that you have limits, but that you want to make their lives easier, and that you want them to know you love them. Making another person feel loved comes back to you. Remember that you can still be a caregiver, even if you get outside help or they eventually go to a nursing home. They will still need an advocate and loving family members. So, the benefits are there, but they are often elusive during the hard times. Try to get time away to appreciate from a distance all that you are doing.
Good luck. You sound like a good person.
Carol
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I love my mother and have been there for her my whole life -- but right now I'm not seeing any benefit at all. I'm looking at having to quit my job, my relationship with my siblings have been strained and moving towards non-existance, my marriage is strained and my parenting has been undermined. I'm stressed beyond belief and cannot even keep a dr. appointment for myself. My social life is greatly impacted as I can no longer bear to be around non-caregiving friends as their life seems so free. The brass ring that i had believe would be there as my teens graduate is gone. My opinion on life has changed the person I am. I cannot be around my mother for long periods of time as my tolerance level is gone. Financially, it can be devastating although it is not right now, but once I lose my job, it will be. I no longer go to lunch or even have lunch hours as the time I'm gone from the office, I have to make up somehow. The one benefit I'm seeing at this point, is that I am making new friends in similar situations which has changed everything around me. Sorry to be such a downer, and this can be deleted if someone doesn't feel it's appropriate.
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I have been caring for my mom for 1 1/2 yrs now, with a 4 hr break every 3 months from my brother. The benefits .... watching her reaction as I hand her a warm slice of apple pie with ice cream; listening to her eww and ahhh when I pull out her warm nightgown from the dryer and put it on her; watch her tear up as she watches a girly movie with me; laughing while my husband and her banter back and forth everyday for fun; making her laugh so hard she pees her pants (even worth the changing); knowing her last days on this earth are safe, comfy, and happy; curling her hair every 3 days so she looks and feels pretty. All of these things are mixed in with the gross things, and aggravating things, and frustrating things, and overwhelming things, but I would bet anything when it is all over, it's the good memories that we will carry with us forever. I would bet after time, the difficult memories will be just a shadow of the good memories. Lord help us all to be kind and patient, and when we fail, don't let us be so hard on ourselves.
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Let me use this analogy:

During my college years, I didn't see the usefulness of many of the things learned until well after graduation. Then I was so grateful! Now I regret having sold many of those "useless" books.

When I cared for Mom, the b ___ing, moaning and groaning on my part never ended. I didn't have a social life, and even when I had the opportunity to get back to humanity I couldn't figure out how to function outside caregiving. I was literally "useless" to everyone ... including Mom. She was never satisfied -- and still isn't.

Caregiving tested my mettle but it made me a stronger, more resilient man. I evolved into a much more responsible person. I learned the true meaning of selflessness, and discovered how deep and powerful the love for a parent can be. Even when you hate some of the things they do and say, your heart often forgives them. Or you delude yourself into believing you've forgiven them.

Caregiving also exposed my innermost flaws enough for me to see them. Every day I wanted to be a better man, a better person, and a better human being.

That, my friend, is about as close as we'll ever get to sainthood.
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I have many negatives like every caregiver. I could go on about that but these days now since mom is last stage Dementia the positives outweighs the negatives. I am thankful that I have been given the chance to show respect to my mother whom I was never close too. She brought me into this world and yes she wasn't the ideal mom. but she is my mom. She took care of me in her own way. And now its my turn to be her mother so to speak. The last 2 1/2 yrs I have grown in many ways. I have learned to appreciate the time we have here on this earth. And the things I valued as important in my life, are they really that important? Yes, I think back about having time to myself, having the income to go shopping or out to eat, having a nice car and a job. But now when I am able to get away I make the most of the short time. I appreciate the little things. I feel that I was destined for this. I have only recently came to terms with that. But between me and my siblings, I am the one who has the caregiver personality. I blame it on middle child syndrome. But I feel it was always me, a higher power chose me for this role and has prepared me for the last 32 years. I would have never thought I would persue a career in home health prior to helping with mom. But that job choice really helped prepare me for this. Being that mom and I wasn't close allowed me to be more objective about caring for mom. Instead of letting my emotions overwhelm the situation. I have given my mother the opportunity to get the best quality of life by allowing her to remain at home. That did come at a price but its not all about me. Its about her!!! I have learned who my real friends and family is now. My closest friends now are some of moms old friends who has stuck by me. I feel like I have gained 3 more mothers.

It takes time to see the positives of what your doing. For me, I had to let go of resentment from what happened to my personal life. Somedays, that resentment lingers a bit, but I am given the strength to see the good that has come from this. You will too reach that point.

Too soon my mother will leave this earth with me and my husband by her side comforting her. I will have no regrets, knowing that I did my best. I will always cherish this time I had with her. The memories are mine to keep. I hope all of this will teach my children the value of family and unconditional love.

Pat yourself on the back at least once a day! Your doing a great job!!!
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Pablo Casals said, " The capacity to care is the thind that gives life its deepest significance and meanings." May God bless you.
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I love this question. I benefit every day from caring for my mom -- I know I am doing the very best I can at a job that only I can do. The family benefits financially from my donation of my time and care. The many people who love my mom are grateful that she is well and happy, and most people appreciate the thought and effort I put into care taking. I am able to help and advise other friends and family who are going through the same type of situation. And after the death of my partner a few years ago, I don't think I would be able to make it without the company and love of my mom. I

t's not all roses: it is hard, and challenging, and I'm sure I sometimes make mistakes in caregiving, I think some of my friends don't really respect the choice I've made, I don't have much time for myself, and my work life sometimes suffers. But I am proud to be caring for the person who gave me life, proud to be doing my family duty, and proud to be doing the right thing.
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As difficult as it has been for me, caring and almost giving up my life for my Parents, I'm thankful that I found out early that setting boundaries and making it clear how much of me that I would sacrifice to those who have an "all about me!" and maybe you along the way view of the world.

Once I realized that I had done ALL that I could and was now willing to do knowing that my Parents are well taken care of, needs met and many of their wants, I now can breathe and enjoy the air that God has provided for me as well.

So now I take vacations whenever my dear husband says lets go...baby I'm packing! And I go knowing that every "I" is dotted and "T" is crossed and anything that happens...happened beyond my control.

My friend, If you know you are climbing up a slippery mountain by continuing to attempt to satisfy an unsatisfy-able person, plant your feet on solid ground and take your life back!

I look at the "benefits" of caregiving as paying it forward. At some point, someone will have to care for me. I am using the experiences and knowledge to help others, for this I feel blessed; my journey isn't for nothing.

Take some time to reflect on how you want to live your life while caring for your Mom, then proceed to do so. I once was lost but now I'm found. Thanks to this website I am a better care giver.

I wish you wellness and a meaning filled life.
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It is difficult at times to recognize the benefits of caregiving when stress and frustration are taking over, however it’s important to acknowledge that there are benefits to this role. Taking time to appreciate the benefits during the caregiver experience will help ease some of the strain of caregiving and allow you to appreciate the care recipient more. It can help you develop a deeper relationship with the care recipient as you take the time to talk, go for walks or simply “be” with them. Caregiving can bond siblings when individuals come together to meet their parents needs. Also make sure you identify and utilize respite options whether family, community members or a paid provider. You will need a break in order to provide the best care to your loved one and you don’t have to do it alone.

Sincerely,
Jill
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I cared for my father for 8 years and he just passed away. I feel good knowing that I did the best that I could, even though there were times that I thought that I needed more help. Now I feel somewhat guilty when I just go shopping or do yard work without taking care of him. There is a true void, but he, for sure is in a better place. He was 95 and a WWII veteran.
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