Caregiving is a draining task. Running a car with a dry oil reservoir will burn up the engine. Trying to care for a loved one when you have run dry will result in caregiver burnout. Taking care of yourself and refilling those empty reserves of energy, love, patience, and compassion are a necessity not a luxury.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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The last few years of her life, Mom didn’t always know who I was. She knew who Linda was, but she didn’t remember that I was Linda. When she moved into assisted living, she called all the staff members with long, blonde hair by my name. I guess she remembered the younger, cuter me. (more…)
Our first night out on the epic seven-week, sixteen state RV trip I wrote about in A Long and Winding Road, we cooked dinner on the grill and ate outside. After dinner we were enjoying the evening breeze when Mom looked at me and said, “We must be the luckiest old people in the world—getting to go all these neat places with you.”
Later, after she and Dad moved into assisted living, outings became more difficult. The last time we took them out, we loaded everyone into my brother’s van and went for ice cream. It took a while for them to walk from their room to the car, and getting them both in and buckled up was a chore. Ice cream was dripped on shirt fronts, and both of them were exhausted by the time we made it back, but it was worth it. Anyone who has watched Alzheimer’s steal a loved one away a piece at a time lives for those moments when the light shines through, even for a brief moment. When Mom turned to me with a bright, ice-cream smeared smile and said, “This is fun,” I knew it wasn’t a waste of gas.