John Lennon reminded us that “life is what happens to [us while we’re] busy making other plans.”
Maybe some people planned their lives thinking that one day they’d be caring for a family member with dementia, but I didn’t. In countless conversations with people who are now caregivers, not one has ever told me that they expected to assume this responsibility or felt well-prepared to take it on. Most of us accepted our roles when faced with a set of tough choices. For some, the decision to care for a parent at home is driven by economic concern, for others it is based on family values. But caring for our loved ones with dementia can also be an act of pure love. On this topic, John Lennon also offered advice. “All you need is love”, he sang. But caregivers need much more than that. We need sleep, health care, friends, information, support….and jokes. Without a sense of humor, the home care path is a trip to the Sahara with no canteen.
I decided to take care of my mom in my own home because it was the best option in a moment of crisis. When that moment turned into a month…which grew into a year…I found myself adapting to the situation whether I liked it or not. Today, I feel that this crisis choice led me on a journey that has strengthened our family and forever changed my perspective on life. If I look back at all, it’s only to cringe at the idea that any other possibility once crossed my mind.
Although caring for a dementia patient has had many unforeseeable joys, I will be the first to admit that you pay for every joyful hour with many sad and challenging ones. This site was not created to advocate in favor of a particular approach to caregiving — none of them are easy. But I hope that the posts and guest interviews will provide ideas that help families make good decisions about how to solve problems that arise when caring for a dementia victim. If you have questions you’d like to see addressed here, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My years of work as a writer and researcher have helped me build contacts with experts in many fields. If I have no insight to offer, I will do my best to get answers from others.
This introductory post is a way of saying hello to my fellow caregivers and welcoming you to a place for connection and support. Say hi if you have a minute. You will also find a link where you can submit “Crazy Lives Here” pictures. This is where we will feature a photo of the month’s most harried and hilarious caregiver. Send something in for October. You’re got the time, right?
With maximum respect,