This topic has been addressed in other threads, but I wanted to start a new one. I started to think about my caregiving journey (2+ years) and how it's changed me, for good and for bad.
My mom (93) with mixed dementia lives in a memory care unit. I thank God for guiding me early on to this solution for Mom's care. I can see now that had I brought Mom home with me (against her objections) my marriage and sanity (by now) would have been in tatters.
As Mom progresses further into her dementia journey, I am changing, too.
1. I've come to terms with my mortality. I will die someday. Dementia might happen to me, too. I will care for Mom as I would wish to be cared for.
2. An enhanced appreciation for caregivers, especially those who manage or have managed in-home care. This must be the hardest job on the planet. Not just in practical but emotional terms. It's gut-wrenching. Caregiving for an elder in some sort of assisted living arrangement is challenging too, to say the least. Before I walked in your moccasins, I never fully appreciated all of you who give 200% 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You. Are. Amazing.
3. An enhanced appreciation for the Higher Power guiding me.
4. An enhanced appreciation for this forum. You've been my go-to people when I needed someone who understood. You still are. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
5. An understanding that I lack courage, self-control, patience and fortitude. I'm working on these.
6. A better understanding of my own strength. I'm stronger than I thought. But still.....
7. I'm old. I'm tired. I have my own issues. These last 2 years beat the stuffing out of me. At my weakest moments I'm afraid of not being able to see Mom through to the end.
8. There are worse things than death. Now that I've witnessed up close what dementia does to people, I pray God takes me before too many brain cells die and I no longer find joy in life.
9. I care less and less about what other people think.
10. Every hour with my loved ones is gold.
11. No guilt.
12. The understanding that ultimately, I'm responsible for Mom's needs. I will meet them to the very best of my ability.
13. Making Mom happy is futile. She chose unhappiness and there's nothing I can do about that.
14. Loved ones die. Loved ones hurt and disappoint, no matter what I do. It's out of my hands. Life goes on.
15. I've made many mistakes in my life. There are no do-overs. Every day is a new beginning and another chance to get it right.
16. Happiness is a choice. I choose happy!
How has caregiving changed you?