Caregiving Is Only a Season of Your Life
Last updated: April 2023
When I was caring for my mom, who had Alzheimer's, I would sometimes get angry and resentful for having to put my life on hold for so long.
I was only 25 years old when she was diagnosed, and I quit my first full-time job when I was 28 to help take care of her. I saw other people my age doing so much with their lives, and I felt like I had nothing to show for mine.
Does this sound like you?
I did not have a real job for 7 of the 10 years my mom lived with Alzheimer's. Although my dad was her full-time caregiver, and we eventually hired homecare to help out, I still felt like it was impossible for me to work or have a life of my own. I put everything on hold and often said I would do things "after" - meaning after my mom died.
Does that resonate with you? If so, I have some hope for you.
Life on the other side of caregiving
Although it is hard to imagine when you're in the thick of caring for someone with Alzheimer's, this is only a season in your life.
There is life on the other side of caring for your loved one. Even if you have put everything on hold indefinitely, it is possible to pick it all back up again when your caregiving journey is over.
And although that can feel overwhelming, it's actually kind of exciting. You can start all over again and create the life you've always wanted.
The days are long
It's okay to be excited about your life after caregiving. It's okay to dream about all the things you'll be able to do and all the places you'll be able to go. It's okay to look forward to living your life again.
What you are going through now is incredibly difficult. The days are long, and the breaks aren't long enough. You have to show up every single day, no matter how exhausted or stressed out you are.
It may help you to remember that it doesn't last forever. This is only temporary. It may also help give you something to look forward to down the road. I know that can feel selfish, but it's not. It's survival.
Everything has a season
So, if you are in the thick of it, please remember that everything has a season.
Right now, you are in a challenging season, but it is only a season. There will come a time when life feels lighter and brighter - when you feel lighter and brighter. You will get to do everything you've always wanted to do. You will get to take trips and accomplish goals. You have to get through the tough part first.
Once you do, you will be so proud of yourself for all you have endured. You will be stronger for it, too. And it just might make you enjoy this new season a little bit more.
Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with Mild cognitive impairment?