The Challenge of Caregiving
August 3, 2008 · Print This Article
The challenge of caregiving is keeping your own sanity. I swear, if my mom opens the fridge and says, “What am I going to do with all the cheese?,” one more time, I’m going scream, pull out my hair and run for the piny woods. She can’t remember that she just opened the fridge and uttered those exact words just ten minutes before.
My little 88 year old mom is suffering from serious dementia and is needing consistent and constant care from my sisters and me. I’m the oldest of 6 daughters, and the responsibility for mom rests on four of us who live close by. We take turns as caregivers for her needs as we watch the devastating results of memory loss.
My mom has always had eating issues… “I don’t what to get fat.” (She’s under 100 pounds.) So, getting her to eat has has been an extra challenge the last several months since her dramatic down turn.
We keep cheese on hand to add to her morning scramble eggs for added calories. For some reason,seeing the block of cheese in her fridge sends into a frenzy… as does the rolls we just bought and the Stoffers dinners we just put in her freezer. “Take these home… I don’t need them.”
One who is in excellent physical health and, up until very recently, had pretty good mental health…this is certainly a blow and a traumatic experience for her. She’s frustrated when she can’t remember present time events and becomes confused easily. “I just can’t get my brain to work right.”
As patient as I try to be… it just gets to me after the fifth or sixth time. “Shut the damn fridge and don’t look at the cheese.” Then I go away feeling guilty. Being he caregiver, isn’t easy either.
After a three day stretch of caregivng, I see my sisters tired, and frustrated too. Right now… we all face the unknown. Will she stay the same for awhile? How much worse will she get? Should we get outside help?
I recently told my kids, I was going to get a document which states: “When I’m nutty-er than a fruit cake, shoot me or put in a home….let someone else be the caregiver.” Save the relationship! ” Oh mom… we would never do that!” Wanna make a bet…I insist! I hope I have the last word.
Hold on Nana… things could be worse!
P.S. We’re hiding the block of cheese…for all of our sakes!