Caregiving Is Not For Sissies

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Caregiving is not for sissies, but there may be unexpected rewards!

Are you shopping on eBay as personal therapy? Are you exhausted, depressed and looking for a way out? Do you bite your nails or drink a bottle of wine before bedtime? Do you have feelings of anger and resentment about your position as principle caregiver?  Are you craving pizza as an antidote? Are you feeling hopeless? Are you full of guilt? Are you eating chocolate daily or a tub of ice cream every night before bed?

I hear you.

At 99 my mother has 24 hour care, but not from me. Thank Goodness! Mother’s care is a safety net I’m extremely grateful for, every single day. As difficult as it is for all of us, I remind myself that I’ve already survived 100% of the things I thought I couldn’t “get through” in my life.

Mother is grateful I’m here because she hates to be alone. She loves to laugh with family and finds it humorous when her caregiver gets splashed with water while helping her in the shower. She laughs uproariously at anything inappropriate such as tripping, dropping things or other small accidents. It’s wonderful to hear her laugh, and important for me to suspend “judgement” about why she laughs. I know that laughing is the BEST medicine for me as well. When she’s napping, I watch videos of old comedians, read funny novels or watch slapstick or goofy movies. I keep a journal with both sad and happy moments to remember.

Since almost all her friends are dead and gone, we think up other ways to pass the time enjoyably. She loves seeing Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on YouTube, and listening to Swing Music from the 30s and 40s. She loves to look at photos on the computer, where I can enlarge them for better viewing. I make slide shows for her and put them to favorite itunes music.

Mother is cheerful, and if she gets confused about the seasons, who cares? She thinks it’s spring when it’s fall and therefore doesn’t dread the cold winter.

This year, her 99th, she’s beginning to believe she might actually be old. We’re planning a big “Blow Out Party!” for her 100th. She’s shocked by her age, but also pleased, because she knows it’s an accomplishment. To be almost 100 and still beautiful, is a true success!
 

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About the Author ~

Bonnie B. Matheson is a daughter, mother, grandmother and dog lover. She has five grown children, and 17 grandchildren. She is an author, life coach, and insatiably curious person. Bonnie graduated from George Mason University with a B.A. in psychology in 1998 at the age of 56.  Her book, Ahead of the Curve: an intimate conversation with women in the second half of life, is available for sale on Amazon. Today, Bonnie lives in her old room at her mother’s house in Washington, DC. Her two small dogs, Lord Byron and Magnus, keep her company.

 

Bonnie B. Matheson