Daily, my inbox is full of articles, blogs, and personal stories about being a care partner for a loved one with dementia. Each has its own gems and perspectives. I eagerly flag the ones I don’t have time to read and save them for later. Over the years, starting with when I was caring for each of my parents, until present day reality, where both of them have passed, I often reflect (and write about) what I learned during all those years of agonizing decisions and difficult emotions, and where they have left me as I’ve moved on with my life. Even at the present stage of this Baby Boomer’s life, the absence of the two people who were my biggest fans, my rocks, who are no longer here, is hard to bear.
What I am grateful for, on the long list of gifts these two lovely people left me, is that I was moved to shift my life to a place where I spend my days working with others who are having an experience similar to mine. Best of all, I am able to help them in a way that supports who and where they are in this journey — whether it is pointing them to resources, sitting with them in their distress, helping them find the words to talk with family members, finding residential care if it becomes necessary, assisting with finding the best in-home care, or just giving them the often overwhelming lay of the land of senior care.
In my quietest moments, I am moved to think about these gifts I received and to honor my own experience of what it meant to parent my parents and provide them with all the love and compassion I could muster, in the midst of my own grief and loss. It was a messy business, for sure, and I made lots of mistakes. I always try and remember that I did the best I could at the time it was happening, with few tools except my devotion to my Mom and Dad. Caring for my parents at the end of their lives took me to places inside myself I don’t think I’d have visited, had I not needed to dig deep for the resources I needed.
Today, when I found “47 Things Dementia Partners Say They Have Learned” by Susan Macaulay in my inbox, I was moved to share it. You might be on this path now, you might be further down the road on the journey that really never ends, as I am or maybe you know someone who could find some solace in this article. It is relevant no matter where you are in this moment. Please do enjoy this excerpt of an exceptional piece.
If you have any questions or would like to be in touch with a Senior Care Authority Advisor in your area call (888) 854-3910 for a no-cost phone consultation. We have many resources to share with you. You can also find a local advisor on our website at www.seniorcareauthority.com.
Written by Marcy Baskin: Elder Care Manager, Family Coach, and Managing Director of Senior Care Authority. She is also the author of Assisted Living: Questions I Wish I Had Asked.