I saw today on Facebook a post which said
“I never knew I was a caregiver until I started doing things for Mom that I never did before.”
My Mom was 73 years old, and my Aunt was 71 years old when Alzheimer’s and related complications took their lives. Each of these women were attractive and vivacious, with a keen sense of humor. Both were energetic and enthusiastic about the things that they found pleasurable, and both seemed to have had an aggressive form of this illness which quickly attacked them in the end.
Having just turned 55 years old myself, I have to say that both women by no means, in my mind, looked or acted like “old” people. Yet, when those of us who looked after them began to regard their cognitive decline, it was like witnessing a fast moving train toward death.
Alzheimer’s is generally marked in 7 stages. Mom walked through the stages quickly, while others may linger in them for prolonged years. Mom could have possibly been in early stages of Alzheimer’s undetected by us for a long time, but it was not until we witnessed her loss of language that we took notice of something wrong. Mom was originally diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. I suspect she had both, or that they overlapped into one big mess of an illness for her.
As a caregiver…(it makes me want to laugh aloud, as the word “caregiver” rests on the surface of a page as though it is a sweet and endearing word, it’s not), my Dad experienced long and painfully difficult days waiting on, and watching over his beloved wife.
As I have been writing this book, Dad has commented often about things in which he had forgotten. Dad never had time to “catch up” through his care giving days. He just kept bravely putting one foot in front of the other. As I look back, I don’t know how he ever had time to do anything but address the moment and do what needed to be done.
Caregiver: a person who has accepted responsibility to look over a vulnerable neighbor or relative.
That’s a big pill to swallow, and my hat is tipped to all who have taken on this daunting task.
May God Bless, and give you strength and an abundance of merciful patience.
Thank you Dad for being a devoted husband, and for loving and caring for Mom with all your heart.
Your daughter Barbie