When caring for someone with dementia or any other illness that robs a person of being able to do for themselves you really sign on for a job that’s 24/7/365.
You help with bathing, dressing, grooming as needed. You make sure meals are prepared and hope they’re well received. You make sure doctor’s appointments are made and gotten to on time. You make sure that doctor’s orders for treatments and medications are followed. You keep your loved one safe from others and often themselves. You are their protector, shoulder to lean on, and champion. You give wholly of yourself for their welfare. Your entire focus is on their needs. You are their hero.
This is the life of a caregiver. This is part of the reason I love what I do. I get to be the hero to the caregiver. I come along side them and offer them a chance to recharge their batteries. I step in for a few hours to take some of the burden from their shoulders. I look them in the eye and say, “I’ve got this, go take some time to be good to yourself.”
For a caregiver to have a few precious hours to take care of themselves is huge. It is a chance to breathe. It is a chance to connect with the outside world. It is an opportunity to decompress from the stresses of life.
So, dear caregiver, here’s hoping you have someone in your life who can say “I’ve got this for a while, go take some time to be good to yourself.”
For those of you who know a caregiver, could you think about coming alongside them? Even a few hours can make a huge impact on the caregiver’s ability to continue.