Community Views: Describing Caregiving in One Word
Caregiving is one of the most demanding roles you can ever play in a person’s life. But it’s also one of the most welcomed, loving things you can do.
When you’re a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, that role can be all the more complicated. Truly, every day can be different and you may not always know how your loved one will react throughout the day.
To hear more about your experiences with caregiving in the Alzheimer’s Community, we reached out on the AlzheimersDisease.net Facebook page. We asked all of you caregivers to describe in one word what it is like to take care of your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
Here’s how you described your role.
A few of you shared that you keep coming back to the word ‘patience.’ Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a minute-to-minute ordeal. We admire those who are able to bring patience to every moment and show up continually for their loved ones.
“Patience is my word now!”
Several of you mentioned that looking after your loved one is stressful. Yes, it’s a lot of work—nonstop. But, it can be additionally taxing if you are comparing your loved one’s capabilities now to what they were before. Or, if you are feeling fear or sadness for them, it can be hard. If possible, try not to make the situation harder by labeling what is happening, or by assigning meaning to it. Your loved one might not remember something in this moment, but you can also choose to accept that as it is. Labeling it ‘bad’ or adding thoughts as to what it means will only make the day that much harder for you.
“Stressful but very sad to see my mom’s memory disappear as each day passes.”
Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Being a caregiver can be so exhausting. The question you may want to ask yourself: Who is caring for the caregiver? Are you taking care of yourself? It’s always worth looking at your own cup and what is filling it. Are you taking alone time? Walks? Time with friends? Please don’t forget that you can show up and be of service, but you are also entitled to some time for yourself. Always.
“I was exhausted in every way but I would not trade it for the world.”
“Emotional, joyful and exhausting all in one.”
“Exhausting, but glad I am here to help her.”
There is nothing more inspiring than to hear that several of you in the community see your job as rewarding. Our hats are off to you. To know that there are people who show up to love and serve, and then on top of that, believe that it rewards themselves is so amazing. It truly is the most enlightened state to show up and come from a place of service.
“Rewarding but also heartbreaking. It affects the entire family!”
A handful of members in the community used the phrase ‘unconditional love’ when describing their role as caregivers. To show up and be the one in a relationship who continually gives and gives while asking nothing in return – this is the definition of unconditional love.
More than a few of you used the word heartbreaking. And a few of you used this word while also calling the role of caregiver rewarding. That’s the thing about feelings. You will likely not experience them one at a time. You might be sad and feel so much love in one moment. You might be angry but grateful your loved one is still here. Humans are complicated, and our emotions are complicated. Whatever you are feeling today is okay.
“Heartbreaking. Affects the entire family!”
So, so many of you have such beautiful souls. You described your job as a caregiver as a gift. A blessing. To be able to show up and physically demonstrate your love and to serve someone whom you love so much is something that is precious to you. The world needs more big-hearted people like you.
“I have loved being a caregiver for my mom. I was blessed.”
“I feel a lot of emotions caring for my sweet Mama, but the only one that matters is blessing.”
We want to say thank you to everyone who contributed to this story. We appreciate all that you do for the Alzheimer’s community. We, as well as your loved one, are lucky to have you.