Monday, February 17, 2014

Not Everyone is Cut Out for Caregiving

Caregivers at the end of their rope. Wives/Husbands who cease being either and become a caregiver to what can be considered a child at times.

Not many want to hear this, or even think of it. Most want to think this is my husband/wife, Mom/Dad, and I will take care of them come hell or high water.

That is the normal, compassionate thing to do. What I am saying is, listen to the ones who have been doing this for years. The hardships they have endured. The endless struggles they face day in and day out.

I will never forget what a patient endures, simply because I live this disease everyday. But I also see and hear the pain this disease brings to a family.

A wife who for whatever reason just can't do this. A son who must make the decision to walk away from everything and be there for a parent.

All of these are noble jesters. And I could not agree more that we need to be there for the patients.

But lets not kid ourselves. You can compare how some caregivers act to how we are human beings act out in public, compared to how we really are in our homes.

You see a young child throwing a tantrum in a grocery store, and you just know the Mom wants to lay into them, and would if they were home.

That's what happens with some caregivers. Notice I said some. Certainly not all. No one thing is set in stone and caring for a dementia patient certainly has it's moments.

But I want to talk about the caregiver who are just done. They can not take this one more day, one more hour, one more minute. We all know they are out there, common sense tells you that.

But we live in a society that would never hear the words I give up when it comes to caring for your loved one.

And that to me is very, very dangerous. When you first take on this roll as a caregiver, little by little this disease, not the patient, but this disease will wear you down.

You can not avoid it. Dementia has more time on its hands than you do and everyday will progress. To the point, five, ten, even fifteen years has passed and you lost them all.

Why? Because you have no life. When you are indeed a caregiver for a dementia patient, you social life is non-existing. Some will say, "So what, thats what I signed up for"

It's those caregivers who would never admit it, but they blame their loved one for the years that have been taken from them.

Again, to think this doesn't happen is just wishful thinking. There are caregivers who don't take care of their pets, let alone another human being.

There are people who for whatever reason should not be in charge of someones heath, or well being in any way. There are family members who make it a living praying on the patients and trying to get everything they have long before are gone.

I worry so much about this. I have been blessed by the unconditional love of a woman. But some are not so lucky. Dementia doesn't just come into households who have a strong marriage to begin with.

Dementia hits people who couldn't stand one another before this disease came along. Dementia knows no boundaries.

If you are a caregiver, and you simply cannot do this, for whatever reason make arrangements so someone can take over for you. So many times loved ones take this on and have no idea what they are in for, yet they say they will never give up.

That is noble. Perhaps not very well thought out, but noble just the same. My wife and I have sat our kids down and explained to them that there will come a day when she can no longer provide the care needed to take care of me.

That doesn't mean that our daughter takes over. What that means is it is time for me to be placed. I will not be a burden on another family. Period. This is my decision, and my wife agrees.

She knows and has seen from years of running squad, that its not a case of if she can't take care of me, it's a case of when she can no longer take care of me.

We made these decisions together. She didn't sneak around and make any arrangements or say, "Well that's what he says, but I will never place him". She knows. I know.

This is called accepting what is coming. No where is it written that we get to choose what happens in our lives. We are destined to die. Each of us. And one must prepare and be prepared for what is in their future.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."...John 14:3

Mine just happens to be this disease. We can ignore it, we can say we'll beat it, we can fight it. But it is coming. There is no fix, no cure. Not in my lifetime.

Just do what you can, while you can, and please make plans for what is coming...cause it is coming. To think different is indeed denial...

This is unlike anything, anyone could have ever imagined. And not everyone is cut out for it...