This post is a very personal one, but one that I feel many will be able to relate to. I debated about writing about this for a while, was it too personal, should I stick to more career, and upbeat topics? No. Every now and then I like to reflect about personal things in my life, and this one has been going on for about three years.
I am one of the primary caretakers for an aging parent. I’m not going to sugar coat it, it sucks. By this, I don’t mean they are a burden, I mean it sucks to see a family member you love so dearly, struggling with their health, especially aging problems.
About three years ago, my parent said to me and my family “you don’t know what’s coming.” I sure as hell didn’t. I thought they meant something in society, politically, anything but what actually has come about. Although not officially diagnosed, my parent is resembling symptoms very similar to Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, along with other health problems from pre-existing conditions. Let me say its hard. There are some days where I can not do a damn thing right, everything is wrong. Even small tasks such as vacuuming the carpet upsets them, because it’s too loud. Small things, large things, it doesn’t matter, I am wrong.
I really have to keep my patience in line, because to me, what I am doing is perfectly normal and an every day activity, but to them, its not. That’s one of the problems with these diseases, not thinking clearly. It is very scary, the patient once had total control of everything, and now their mind is slipping, its very very hard. All I want to do is help, but yet, I feel like a failure when my efforts aren’t enough.
My situation is a bit unique. I am a young adult, who lives at home with both mom and dad. I live in a very expensive real estate area. For some, they would say, “why haven’t you moved out of your parent’s house, and have your own life and career.”
Well for those people, I all I have to say is this; assisted living and nursing homes are damn expensive. I know what my parent needs at this time, and although some days I want to crack, I have the patience to deal with them. Some nursing home and assisted living places I’m sure are wonderful, others aren’t. I could never live with myself if I didn’t do everything humanly possible to make their life as easy as possible, even if it takes some sacrifice right now, so be it. I am called names, I am told how I am crazy, one moment, I get an immense thank you for my efforts, and then a moment later, its the exact opposite.
This message is for all the caretakers out there; you can do it. I am, and even though I don’t feel that I get much appreciation in return, I know the reward is there; I get that much more time with my parent. It’s worth the frustration and tears.
Thanks for reading,